This is a Good Book Thursday, January 14, 2021

This week I started a Connie Willis binge, starting with To Say Nothing of the Dog and Crosstalk, both of which I love. Then I looked to see what else was on my Kindle and saw something called DA. It was a YA, but I like YA, and I was immediately invested in the heroine and her problem and her best friend, and while I saw the plot twist coming, I wanted to see what the protagonist did with it, and it was going along great and then the protagonist just changed her mind and the story ended. It’s a short story. And I am frustrated. The whole thing would have been a great first act because Connie Willis is a terrific writer, but then the protagonist evidently got a mind wipe or something and became a different person, and the story that was set up here, one I’d really like to read, just does not happen. Amazon needs to label novellas and short stories as short fiction. Actually, I think it does usually say if a book is a novella when you read the descriptions, but this time there was only a plot tease.

So now I need a Willis that delivers, which I assume is most of her books since she’s really great. Weren’t there some that had downer endings? Because I can’t face those right now.

What did you read this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, January 7, 2020

I re-read a lot this week although I did start a new-to-me series, Novik’s Temeraire stories. The first story is a little military-ish for me but she’s such a lovely writer that I’m sticking with it. I also read the NYT, WaPo and 538 obsessively last night while the Capitol caught fire, metaphorically. Thirteen more days. I’ll just bury myself in a good book.

What did you read this week?

This is a Good Book Thursday, December 31, 2020

Welp, this is the last day of this did-you-get-the-number-of-that-truck-that-hit-us-and-then-backed-up-and-ran-over-us-again-several-times-freaking year. As Dave Barry said, I used to think some of my years were the nadir (my major-relationship collapse/abortion/diagnosis of stage 3 cancer summer springs to mind) but now I have a baseline for all eternity. Of course that’s what I thought about the summer of ’83, too, so please god, let this be the low point in years. One of the redeeming factors: books. Lots and lots of very good books.

This week it was My Girls, Todd Fisher’s memoir of his life with Debbie and Carrie, a re-read of Loretta Chase’s Last Night’s Scandal, and the fantastic Antiquarian Sticker Book. But if I look back at the whole year, I think the best book memories are the new writers I discovered, the ones I can re-read over and over and be enthralled each time: Mhairi MacFarlane (If I’d Never Met You), Casey McQuiston (Red, White, and Royal Blue), Sarina Bowen (The Year We Fell Down), Alexis Hall(Boyfriend Material), Naomi Novik (A Deadly Education), and ohmygod Martha Wells (I will buy Murderbot books as soon as they’re published forever). I know a lot of those are not new authors, but they were new to me and made me very happy.

So what good book did you read this week? What were your faves this year (this no-good, horrible, very bad year)?

Oh, and Happy New Year! (Just read until it’s 2021. And drink, but mostly read.)

Tropes, A Defense Of

So I fell down a black hole there for awhile (past two weeks, sorry about that) and survived on Diet Coke and Vernors and a LOT of romance novels. So now I have Thoughts. I wrote a whole post on “smirk,” and then realized I was just repeating myself–“Damn you, writers who don’t bother to know the precise meanings of words, get off of my lawn Kindle!”–and nobody needs that. Then I started thinking about tropes.

A trope is “the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.). That’s the definition I learned doing my lit degrees. But “The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.” And in fact, the Merriam Webster Thesaurus gives as equivalents “banality, bromide, chestnut, cliché, commonplace, groaner, homily,” and several more tsking equivalents.

I disagree. Continue reading

The Re-Readables: A Theory

I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary non-supernatural romance, and I’m noticing that while there are always books that I close after two chapters because I can’t take any more, there are a lot more that I finish. Those finished books fall into two categories: the ones I liked but that I doubt I’ll ever read again and the Re-Readables.

I’m pretty sure that everybody’s criteria for re-readable is different, but I’ve been looking back over the things I’ve re-read lately, some of them over a dozen times, like the Murderbots, the Rivers of London, some of the Ivy Years, some Pratchetts, some Heyers, some Stouts, some Francis, some MacFarlane, and others, and I’ve narrowed it down to four things: Continue reading

This is a Good Book Thursday, Oct 8, 2020

I’ve mostly been rereading my own works-in-progress along with some research books, old school in hardcover. I’d really missed underlining in the real world. I reread an old Mary Stewart and was surprised by how light on the romance it was. As in, no arc. And I’d loved that book many decades ago, too. I’m desperate to find something to take my mind off the increasingly bizarro news, so I will keep searching for re-reads. The problem is that I’ve reread my fave Heyers, Francises, Allinghams,Aaronovitch’s, and Murderbots so many times I can recite them now. So maybe Pratchett and Wodehouse. I can read Baxter falling down the stairs several more times without fatigue, I’m pretty sure.

What are you reading?