Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Reading Diary January-February 2007

I've often wished I had kept a record of what I read, so this year I'm finally doing it. I was going to publish the whole list at the end of the year, but it was getting kind of long so I've decided to break it up. This list is for January and February; from now on, I'll post monthly.

Books read online are in green.

  1. Sacred Cows, Karen E. Olsen. Fair. Interesting background set in Providence. Heroine too prickly and unlikeable.
  2. Winter's Heart, Robert Jordan. Oy, when will it be over? Another installment without much happening, although they finally figure out what happened to Moiraine.
  3. Children of England, Alison Weir. Boring; had to plow my way through. Gave me some info I didn't know, however.
  4. Lord Byron's Novel, John Crowley. Beautifully crafted but ultimately unsatisfying. The stuff purportedly written by Ada is the least convincing.
  5. Daemonomania, John Crowley. As always, beautifully written, but doesn't seem to advance the story much. What is the point of Bobby Shaftoe and the many, many repetitions of the war between witches and werewolves?
  6. Pattern Recognition, William Gibson. Another wild but inconclusive ride from Gibson.
  7. The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson. Fun read. Repairman Jack is a great character. Plan to look up more of the series.
  8. One Corpse Too Many, Ellis Peters. Rereading my way through the classic Brother Cadfael mysteries.
  9. Monk's-Hood, Ellis Peters.
  10. St. Peter's Fair, Ellis Peters.
  11. The Leper of St. Giles, Ellis Peters.
  12. The Virgin in the Ice, Ellis Peters. One of the best in the series.
  13. The Sanctuary Sparrow, Ellis Peters.
  14. A Grave Mistake, Stella Cameron. Dreadful. Only finished because I was too stubborn to give up. Unbelievable hero, stupid heroine, both completely lacking communication skills. Usual cast of "colorful" small-town characters. Mystery solved by witness ex machina.
  15. High Heels Are Murder, Elaine Viets. Ho-hum.
  16. WebMage, Kelly McCullough. Flawed but promising.
  17. The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library, Alice Kimberly. Apparently the author doesn't believe in spelling, grammar, or historical accuracy.
  18. The Young Widow, Cassandra Chan. OK. Bethancourt is no Lord Peter Wimsey.
  19. Cold and Pure and Very Dead, Joanne Dobson. Reread.
  20. The Skewed Throne, Joshua Palmatier. Interesting, somewhat predictable.
  21. Other People's Children, Joanna Trollope. Touching, with a large cast of well-drawn characters.
  22. Mona in the Promised Land, Gish Jen. Pretty funny with some very sharp writing. Tedious subplot about cook and his black power friends. Final conflict between Mona and her mother seems to come out nowhere, but nice bittersweet resolution.
  23. Immaculate Midnight, Ellen Hart. Ugh. Neither plot or subplots wrapped up -- loose ends or set-up for another in this ongoing series? Heroine and her brother act so stupidly it's hard to care about them.
  24. The Devil's Door, Sharan Newman. Forgot I'd read this already, but it was worth going back to. I also have another in the series. May have to look up the others at some point. Well researched but not overbearing, Catherine and Edgar are fun characters.
  25. The Difficult Saint, Sharan Newman. Worth rereading. Not much suspense if you already know what Cathars are.
  26. Crown of Stars, Kate Elliott. A mostly satisfying conclusion to this epic series.
  27. Fifty Degrees Below, Kim Stanley Robinson. See post Feb 13, 2007.
  28. The Water Devil, Judith Merkle Riley. Disappointing. Flashes of Riley's characteristic humor and erudition, but a weak plot and unconvincing villain. I love Riley's amused and tolerant God, however.
  29. Pagan Babies, Elmore Leonard. Fast-paced and fun, with the usual Leonard line-up of mobsters, ex-cons, lunkheads, and misfits.
  30. Powers of Detection, Dana Stabenow, ed. I always like these theme collections in theory, but they never really live up to expectations. Even the story by Sharon Shinn is kind of a snooze.
  31. Slow and Sure, or From the Street to the Shop, Horatio Alger. Continuing adventures of Paul Hoffman of Paul the Peddler. As usual, supplies fascinating details of life on the streets in New York and the economics of the period. Google online edition marred by truly heinous scanning.
  32. Jack's Ward, or The Boy Guardian, Horatio Alger. Counterfeiting and mysterious foundlings. Not as compelling as his up-from-poverty stories.
  33. Harrowing the Dragon, Patricia A. McKillip. Collected short stories. Magical and beautiful as always.
  34. Risen from the Ranks, or Harry Walton's Success, Horatio Alger. Sequel to Bound to Rise. Fewer unlikely coincidences and strokes of fortune than usual; hero is still able to borrow money from an old boss at an opportune time.
  35. Od Magic, Patricia A. McKillip. Beautiful and enchanting as always, but a little on the thin side. Distinctly anticlimactic ending.
  36. Singer of Souls, Adam Stemple. Good concept, horrible ending.
  37. Joe's Luck, or Always Wide Awake, Horatio Alger. At least in this one Alger is upfront about the incredible luck that underlies the hero's success. Somewhat interesting because it actually follows the hero out west, but still less fascinating than his New York stories.
  38. Cursed in the Blood, Sharan Newman. Another in the Catherine LeVendeur series. Some interesting history and a few touching moments. Not so much mystery.

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