Sunday, January 29, 2012

Books: week four (and a word about the Whitney Awards)

Another week with partially finished books. Sigh.

I read Alexander McCall Smith's, Bertie Plays the Blues, and really enjoyed it. Bertie is such a fascinating character. Strangely enough, my own little boy seems to grow faster than Bertie does--now that they're almost the same age, I love Bertie even more because I can see some of my son in him. Smith has a gift for fleshing out ordinary characters in extraordinary ways.

I also read Gail Carriger's Heartless. I read the first of her Parasol Protectorate series some time ago and then hesitated to start the rest--not because I didn't enjoy it (Victorian manners, paranormal activity and steampunk?), but because the end was, well, a little *warm* for me and I worried that the series would only get warmer once the MC was more established in a relationship (this isn't really a spoiler--it was pretty obvious early in the book).

I discovered my library had the next three books and figured if the scenes got too hot to handle I could always stop. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying enough attention to the order of books and wound up reading book 4 instead of book 2--and was halfway through the book before I realized that. (I'm now working through book 2). I do prefer my books in the right order. I still enjoyed the book, although not quite as much as the first one. Sometimes the language feels just a little stilted and artificial to me, although Alexia is a great character.

I also started Ann Patchett's State of Wonder, which was gorgeously written. Unfortunately, I read the ending early (a very bad habit of mine that I'm trying to break) and now I'm not sure I can go back and make myself finish the rest. Not because the writing wasn't strong or the characters interesting, but because I'm not sure I'm in the emotional state to handle it!

Anyway, that's my week in books. I imagine next week will bring more Gail Carriger, but hopefully some things with a little more substance as well.

I signed on to help with Segullah's Whitney vote (the Segullah staff gets collectively one vote for the Whitney Awards) and I'm really excited. The Whitney Awards for anyone not familiar with it (I hadn't heard of it until last year) are awards given out to the best publications by LDS authors by LDS publishers (Deseret Book, Covenant) and national presses. The list of finalists comes out February 3, and I then have two months to read as many of the books as possible (I'm not spearheading Segullah's vote, thank goodness, but I did volunteer to cover YA, YA speculative, and speculative general).

I used to be quite skeptical of LDS fiction, but that was before I realized how many great LDS authors were out there. And since I hope someday to be part of that community . . . . Anyway, does it make me weird that I'm so excited to read these books?

1 comment:

  1. Fiction by LDS authors has come so far. I think it is safe to say some of my favorite recent reads have been by LDS authors.