June 13th, 2011


T.R. wins!

T.R. and I have completed our spring reading contest. He read 18 books for a total of 9,250 pages. I read 60 books for a total of 23,175 pages. A multiplier of 2.5 gives T. the victory by something like 50 pages. I will take him out to dinner in Europe in a little more than a week as his victory dinner.

On to the details. Today I’ll review what T. read, noting when I read the same book. He actually did a lot of rereading this time out, so it will be a relatively brief account.

He reread The Song of Ice and Fire books in preparation for the new one that comes out in July. I will probably have to do the same while he works through the new one.

He also reread a couple of the Bartimaeus books, The Amulet of Samarkand and The Golem’s Eye. Excitingly, there is a newish book in the series out, which both of us read. It takes place before the events in the original trilogy. The Ring of Solomon is a worthy companion to the other books with plenty of both excitement and humor. The character of Bartimaeus is just awesome.

T. continued to reread Rick Riordan’s books, sucking down The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, and The Lost Hero. The second book in the Egyptian series came out in May, so we both read The Throne of Flame. I think that the new book is stronger than The Red Pyramid. It also has a very funny weird Harry Potter reference involving a sculpture of Lenin’s head made out of chocolate. Rick Riordan is an author who writes things I wish I had thought of myself and he is a genius with chapter titles, among other things.

John Flanagan wrote another Ranger’s Apprentice book. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja is theoretically the last of them. Both T. and I enjoyed the book, but kind of the way you enjoy a Happy Meal; it tastes good in the moment, but you don’t feel exactly satisfied at the end because you’re pretty confident it wasn’t food that you just ate. Perhaps we’re just tired of the formula. Also, T. has a much more advanced reading level than he did when we started reading the series. He commented that it was fast reading after George R.R. Martin. He also became annoyed that all the heroes were handsome and all the bad guys were shifty-looking.

Someone recommended The Name of the Wind to me as something both T. and I would like. Whoever you are: thank you! What an awesome book! The second book in the series is also terrific, The Wise Man’s Fear. The characters are compelling, the story original and satisfying (except that now we have to wait for the resolution in the third book. Patrick, please write faster!), and the prose supple.

T. read Kindred for school, so I did, too. It’s a time travel book in which an African American woman in the 1970’s is transported back to the antebellum South. The immersion in slave life captures the imagination as well as horrifies. It was a little too “educational” for me, reading as an adult, but it was a perfect primer about slavery. The exploration of the complicated relationships between masters and slaves did penetrate deeply and raise interesting questions.

Finally, T. read Night for school. I had been resisting reading it for years on the theory that I’m depressive enough without reading a depressing book. T. talked me into it. Yep. Depressing. Beautifully written, brave, difficult. I’m glad I read it, but I won’t be reading it again.

Tomorrow I’ll start on what I read.