reading list as of july 28th

you didn’t think i’d stop reading when the flood of words threatened to pick me up and sweep me away, did you? everyone needs a break, and i’d rather read than breathe most days. so yes, i made time for books. if you’re wondering how the new project is going, i’ve got two and half chapters left to write. i cut one, bringing the total down to 21. there’s two already written that i’ll be combining, and two more that need to be added to. so. in theory, i should be done with book one of three sometime next week. that means…the first 1/3 of the project will have been (mostly) finished over the course of three weeks. sometimes i seriously scare myself.

most of what i’ve read this month is, again, of the fantasy and paranormal variety. i can’t seem to stop myself.

chronicles of elantra (cast in secret through cast in chaos) michelle sagara – i would say this series took up the bulk of my reading time. there were four remaining books, all of which were around 300 pages. i sped through them in about, oh, two weeks? kaylin battles a rip in the elements, finds a leontine mage, defeats a fieflord, and takes on the devourer. her powers grow stronger, she still has no idea what to do with them, and her relationship with severn seems at once more complicated and just as simple as it was when they were children. sagara’s created, hands down, one of my favorite heroines, and a fantastic dynamic between kaylin and severn. toward the end of cast in chaos, severn gives such a moving monologue that i had to go back and read it again. and then again. and my pathetic little mushy heart wanted to cry. sometimes i’m such a sap.

the raising laura kasischke – a car accident takes the life of a beautiful co-ed while her boyfriend, the driver, escapes unharmed. except that he has no memory of the accident itself, strange things begin happening to people who question the validity of the official story of what happened, and then most puzzling at all: is she actually dead? kasischke brilliantly weaves the narratives of the characters together, forming a tight, engrossing story, except for one thing. which, unfortunately, i can’t tell you without spoiling the ending, but two weeks later, whenever i think about it, i still think WTF? basically, i didn’t like the way she ended the story. it appears she did it on purpose, but it’s incredibly frustrating, because it’s one really important, and unfortunately unanswered, question.

state of wonder ann patchett – i have to preface this by saying i read patchett’s bel canto a few years ago and loved it. i’m also a sucker for award winning books, which can be hit (bel canto) or miss (the gathering by anne enright, winner of the man booker prize). wonder has doctor marina singh hightailing it deep into the amazon jungle to find some answers after her colleague mysteriously dies. she’s up against a formidable foe: her former teacher, anneck swenson, who strikes me as a cross between doctor house and sheldon from the big bang theory. incredibly intelligent, she has little patience for questions of any kind, and doesn’t slow down for anyone. patchett’s characters are vivid, and i felt myself wanting to strangle anneck several times, and slap her silly at others. that said, i was not all that taken with the book. it makes me think the reason i enjoyed bel canto as much as i did was because of the subject matter (a guerrilla unit storms the presidential palace of a south american country and takes everyone hostage).

the ice princess camilla lackberg – erica returns to her parents home to sort out their estate when she discovers her childhood friend, alex, has been murdered. unsettled by how little she actually knew about her friend, she and a detective, patrik, begin to uncover alex’s secrets. lackberg’s penchant for interspersing the normal thoughts and worries of a 30-something woman (erica laments her weight gain, time and again, and grieves for the loss of her parents, alex, and the crumbling relationship with her sister, anna) was disconcerting at first; i’d expect it more of a romance novel. or something specifically directed at women (aka “chick lit”). after a while, though, i got used to it, and even enjoyed it. but i have to conclude that swedish just doesn’t translate well into english. parts of it were so stilted, just like stieg larsson’s millenium trilogy. a shame, but it wasn’t enough to discourage me from finishing it.

*images via harper perennial and pegasus books

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