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June 8th, 2012

End of Spring Reading



Today is T.R.’s last day of school, so it is time to tally my spring reading. Not the world’s greatest totals this time around, but I have apparently been busy! Nineteen books for 7,583 pages.

I’ve written about most of them already, but here’s the quick scoop on the last few I crammed in. (Yes, I am too lazy to do links. But the books aren't hard to find.)

I sometimes like Ruth Rendell’s books, but sometimes they freak me out. Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter is one I liked. I think I’ve read it before, or else I’m getting better at figuring out who did it. I liked reading the whole thing anyway because she does have a lovely technique with words. It came as a hand-me-down and will go out as one.

Death in the Family by Jill McGown had great characters. The plot had slightly too many moving parts to work smoothly and one key piece of information, when revealed, made a few characters’ behavior questionable. I liked the detectives and would enjoy reading more about them on a beach somewhere, but the book itself, another hand-me-down, will continue to hand down.

I really wanted to like the stories in I, Richard, a collection of Elizabeth George’s short stories. I didn’t. Not even a token appearance by Thomas Lynley helped. I think it is partly in the nature of short crime fiction to be gimmicky; it relies more heavily on the sudden twist ending. For me, it meant that the story was secondary to the mechanics. If the characters had been at all sympathetic, I could have enjoyed the stories, but they were not fun to hang out with, either as guilty pleasures or as nice people. With luck, this means that there will be more novels instead. (Patiently waiting…)

Unfortunately, Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson is not my book. It was awesome. I want to investigate these writers more! Each of the tales drew me in and wouldn’t let go. Also, I like dragons, phoenixes, salamanders, and the like. The book was I-can’t-hear-you-I’m-reading absorbing with flexible, enchanting prose.

More than a few of my friends do not enjoy Gregory Maguire’s books. This makes me sad. I find him clever and subtle and funny. Out of Oz is, according to the jacket, the final volume in his Wicked series. Bummer. I also think it is the strongest in the series since Wicked itself. I loved it, I’m keeping it, and I think other people should like it, too, but if they don’t, I can’t make them.

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