Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Books I've read lately...

It took most of my time off to make it through this book, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I've had it for a while, since MJ mentioned it on her blog in the time when I was still buying books. I bought it and put it in the stack. The stack has dwindled to frightening levels and I reached this book. It isn't my normal style: a little dark, mysterious, with the potential to have the crazy first wife in the attic who burns the place down. A young woman is called on by a famous author to write her biography. Vida Winter is a woman of mystery. She's created dozens of false histories and no one know the real truth of her past. Until now. And it takes a while to get there. For me, the highlight is the epilogue because I'm a firm believer that all books require happy endings or at least fair endings. And this one does. If you go for books where the state of the house is a metaphor for the state of the people in it and ghosts lurk in every corner, try it.

After a desperate hunt through Amazon and Barnes & Noble lists of books of the year, things you shouldn't miss, etc., I found this book: The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. The blurbs likened it to a Dickensian tale told by Mark Twain. After reading it, I'm not sure about that. And I had a bad moment when I saw that one of the endorsements on the cover came from Junot Diaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar of the few books I've quit on and the reasons are so very easy to remember. Still, thanks to very few options, I gave it a try. This one isn't my normal style either, really, but it has the requisite happy ending again. In a nutshell: an orphan falls in with thieves and finds his history as well as a new, weird family. Ren's story includes plenty of adventure and danger, a little humor, and he's a likable character that you want to find what he wants most in the world, a little bit of Huck Finn goes New England to find his Fagan who turns out to be better than we all thought. Throw in a dwarf, a giant who returns from the dead, and an evil mousetrap factory owner...and you've got good times, right? I wasn't at all certain of the happy ending. That saved the day. And I could have done without stealing the horse. I knew he would come to a bad end and we all know how I feel about fictional animals.

OK, I checked out The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan after I saw a movie trailer. It's a young adult quest book and has the required comparisons to Harry Potter, only instead of magic we're dealing with Greek gods. So it's educational too! And it looks  to me like the movie will be better than the book...big stars. Basically, Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old who's had a hard time fitting in. He's been asked not to come back to Yancy Academy, his sixth school in six years, and all breaks loose. He finds out that his dad, who he's never met, is a god. And that there are a lot of people like him who study at a summer camp at Half Blood Hill, and a lot of monsters determined to destroy them. So far I've met the Minotaur, a satyr, a centaur, the Furies, the Fates (who are knitting a monster sock before they clip the yarn), Medusa (proprietor of Aunty Em's Gnome Garden)...and others and Percy has escaped death in a car, in a bus, and in the Arch in St. Louis. Seriously, he has problems.

And then...there's Under the Dome by Stephen King. At some other point when I needed a book, I put it on the list at the library. Now I have it...and it's large. I'm not sure I dare to open it.

1 comment:

Mary in WI said...

I'm half-way thru Under the Dome, it's pretty good. Classic King, but not horrific like some others of his. Let me know what you think! :)