jan_can_too (jan_can_too) wrote,

Book Report: No more contest

The whole purpose of my reading contest with T. was to get him to read more. That mission has been accomplished: he is a dedicated book addict who caused me to have another 20 or so pounds of luggage on the way back from Australia. Neither of us has collected on our wins in a good long while. The worst part of the whole thing has been getting him to write what he reads down. So I’m still going to keep track of what I read and will mention if he finds something so good I have to read it, too, but it is no longer a contest. If what you liked best about the book posts was what T. has read, I’m sorry; you’re stuck with me.

So, since school started, I have read 33 books and 13,907 pages. I’ve already either blogged or mentioned the most important detail (thumbs up or thumbs down) for 17 of them.

Of those remaining, T. and I both read several. We liked Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, but not as much as we loved Hugo Cabret.

John Flanagan has finished off the Ranger’s Apprentice series with The Lost Stories, some loosely linked short stories produced in answer to his readers’ questions. It’s about time. He has embarked on a new series called Brotherband. T. liked the first book, but I haven’t read it yet. I haven’t decided if I’m going to read it or not. I may have had enough of John Flanagan’s prose to hold me.

T. liked The Clockwork Three, but I really loved it. This is explained by the fact that while there are adventures and a sort of quest, the book is pretty much a fairy tale about three friends. Bonus gold stars for an ending that did not meet up with every standard of the genre.

We like Rick Riordan. We like him enough that we would probably enjoy reading his grocery list (2 yams large enough to eat Manhattan, 1 gallon milk, preferably cow rather than yak, Q-tips of doom…). Fortunately, he wrote another book we got to read instead. Read Son of Neptune, but read all the rest of his books first. Be aware: these books are like crack; you may not leave your house again until you have finished them all.

As I was reading Jasper Fforde’s most recent Thursday Next book, I kept thinking that T. would like his work. My only question was whether T. had read enough of the books referred to in the books to understand what was going on and to find it funny. In answer to this thought, Jasper kindly put two books in the store in the YA section, The Last Dragonslayer and The Song of the Quarkbeast. They are just as clever and outrageously funny as all his other books, but knowing how to read is the only prerequisite to enjoyment. When you are done reading all of Rick Riordan’s books, start on Jasper Fforde’s. (His grocery list might run to things like Dodo snacks and Ex-Lax for constipated wizards…).

In school, T. read several O. Henry stories. I hadn’t read any since maybe middle school, but I came across The Best Short Stories of O. Henry and plunged in to see what I thought now. T. was not impressed. I understand why, now that I’ve reread. He is masterful at the concluding twist, but all the stories are the same. Perhaps the book is now the literary equivalent of a charm bracelet—out of fashion, but interesting in its way (please note that I love charm bracelets, fashion or no.) as an artifact of a particular time and place.

Wildwood is a book we bought in Sydney for both of us to read. For a change, I got to go first. I think T. will like it, at least partly for the coyote army and the cannons. I liked it because it’s a great story with smart characters who have to figure things out. Also because it is about the areas of the map where the unknown is.

I have had several E. Nesbit books on my shelf for a long time. They come in free e-book form, so I downloaded the lot to my iPad and devoured The Wouldbegoods, New Treasure Seekers, and Five Children and It. I think T. would have liked the stories when he was younger because the children get into some lovely troubles. I have two more left, but I’m saving them for a gloomy day. That concludes my reading in the kid and young adult realm for the moment.

I finished Careless in Red and prepared to be sad. It was my last novel-length Elizabeth George novel. She’s a genius. And, fortunately for me, her next book is coming out in six days. I love it when authors get my psychic messages.

My reading of Trollope continues slowly. I finished The Kellys and the O’Kellys. There were plenty of good Victorian problems and an ending full of weddings. It stays on the shelf. I can’t think of a person I would buy it for, but there is probably someone out there.

At a used book sale, a copy of The Lacuna insisted that I buy it because it was a hardback book, I wanted to read it, and it was a buck. More than worth the investment of a dollar (and almost as good a deal as the copy of Underworld I scored for a quarter at a library book sale!). It was fascinating! What’s not to like about a book with painters, writers, and communists? And, of course, really nice prose.

Finally, I read The Christian Agnostic. It is out of print. I expect this is because of the psychic leanings of the author. The person who recommended it to me did not remember that part, but rather the part where the book talks about the conflict between traditional church liturgy and services and rational thought. It did not help me through my current spiritual issues, but it is an interesting examination of the problem.

Until I read something else, this is it!

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