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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Vacation books

I read several books during the vacation and watched almost no movies. Hmmm.

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler. I read this because it was the Syracuse Book Club selection for July (though I ended up not going to the meeting because our Fresh Air Fund child came a week earlier than planned due to a paperwork mistake by the area coordinator). It's not a perfect book, but I really enjoyed it (and I was really looking forward to discussing it!) I loved the way that it switched voices several times throughout, giving the reader different perspectives on what was going on over the years. And it was quite poignant. And it's my hands-down favorite genre - dysfunctional family drama. Definitely a good read.

Pretties. The second in the series by Scott Westerfeld. At the end of the first book (Uglies) the first chapter of this book is included as a bonus. I hadn't really planned on reading the second book, but since I read the first chapter, and I found that I kept thinking about it, I picked it up at the library to take on vacation. It's a perfect book to read in a car/airplane. Plus, I really did want to find out what happens to Tally and her friends. And I like the messages about outer beauty and ecology, etc Considering that I didn't even plan to read this, I got quite caught up in it, and now I want to read the next one in the series, Specials.

The Iron King. Yet another book loaned to me by my friend Meredith. It looked quite charming and the reviews on the goodreads website were all raves. (Everyone seems to think the sequel, The Iron Daughter, is super too, though it won't be released to the general public until next month - apparently many people get the chance to read proofs and advance copies.) I can see why people like this. Very vivid descriptions of a fascinating world and a fine, fierce protagonist (the extremely ordinary young lady turns out to be the daughter of "the faery king" and must rescue her half brother from the faery world). Plus very aggressive messages about the natural world and the impact of technology run amok. At the end of every single chapter, you want to keep reading - the book is very hard to put down (I stayed up way too late finishing it). It's very heavy on the descriptions of places and I got a tiny bit bogged down in the middle, but, just when I was getting frustrated, the plot took off and I really got caught up in the characters and the story. Clever, evocative ideas about dreams and creativity as the source of the "fey" world, and the destructive nature of "progress." Overall, a perspective that is not too innocent and not too jaded. Just right, to borrow a phrase. I really can't wait to read the next one. And, bonus!, the author wrote a bridge story which is available as a free ebook (called Winter's Passage). So that will keep me somewhat occupied until the next novel arrives.


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