Tuesday, April 01, 2008

March reading list

The books which I did read in March--lo, there are many.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down--Anne Fadiman: Read for Anthropology. Fascinating story of the conflict between a Hmong family and the doctors treating their daughter for severe epilepsy.

Imaginary Lands--ed. Robin McKinley: A collection of stories by different authors, meant to convey a strong sense of landscape. Some I enjoyed, others I didn't. Cautiously recommended. (There might be some content involved--I can't quite remember at this point.)

Rowan Farm--Margot Benary-Isbert: Excellent book, reviewed it here.

I, Claudius--Robert Graves: I enjoyed it quite a lot. A mixture of funny, serious, and quite tragic, it provides a personal glimpse into Roman history.

A Schilling for Candles--Josephine Tey: One of my favorite Tey books, of which there are many.

Them Children--Martha Ward: Another book for anthropology. A case study of children near New Orleans.

Up to Speed--Rae Armentrout: For poetry class. I'm not a huge Armentrout fan.

Sorcery and Cecelia--Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer: I cannot say enough about this book! It's just lovely. In fact, I think I may have to re-read it.

Crown Duel and Court Duel--Sherwood Smith: I found myself remembering these books with fondness, despite the rather predictable storyline. Meliara is just such an interesting character. So I picked them up again.

East--Edith Pattou: A re-telling of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." Definitely recommended.

The Silver Branch--Rosemary Sutcliff: A very worthy book from one of my favorite authors. Highly recommended.

River Secrets--Shannon Hale: Once I made it through, I was glad. Not up to par with the earlier books, in my opinion, but if you're reading the series, you'll probably want to keep going.

The Year of Secret Assignments--Jaclyn Moriarty: A fun, quick read.

A Great and Terrible Beauty--Libba Bray: Not recommended at all. Really.

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?--Eleanor Updale: Another quickish read.

The Grand Tour--Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer: The sequel to Sorcery and Cecelia, and just as delightful. Unfortunately, I can say almost nothing about it without giving away major spoilers for the first book.

Keturah and Lord Death--Martine Leavitt: This is a lovely little book. Very quiet and very haunting. I am resolved to post a longer review later, so that's all I'll say for now.

His Majesty's Dragon--Naomi Novik: I've heard this described as a Patrick O'Brian/Jane Austen cross-over with dragons, and it really is. Very well done. The library system here does not have the second book, and I am angry. Seriously, not pleased at all.

I, Coriander--Sally Gardner: An interesting story of magic in Cromwell's England. I liked that the characters did actually seem part of their time. They weren't just modern people in another setting. And yet, Coriander is very spunky and strong as a character.

The Door in the Hedge--Robin McKinley: Short stories by one of my favorite authors. Yay! I didn't read the last one because I'm working on a re-telling of the same fairy tale and I knew it would Influence me.

At the Sign of the Star--Katherine Sturtevant: Story of a girl in Restoration England whose widowed father is re-marrying. Again, I liked that while Meg is a spunky character, she and her family and the whole situation did feel very much of the time.

I Capture the Castle--Dodie Smith: I really, really loved this book and want to post a fuller review later.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane--Kate DiCamillo: So, let's count: Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and now Edward Tulane. All excellent books. What's Kate DiCamillo's secret?

The Falconer's Knot--Mary Hoffman: Two young people end up in adjoining monasteries, murders occur, as well as love stories. The thing I really liked about this book was the way the monasteries were portrayed. It was a very nuanced thing--while the main characters are not there by choice, it's made clear that they are grateful for the peace they find there, and additionally the other monks and nuns are shown as full characters.

Set in Stone--Linda Newbery: I did not like this book. I finished it because I have this almost constitutional inability to not finish books when I start them, but I felt like it was a watered-down version of The Thirteenth Tale, though actually I've no idea which came first.

Why Shoot a Butler?--Georgette Heyer: My first Heyer, which I loved! Funny and sweet. Reminded me in place of P.G. Wodehouse without being a rip-off. Excellent.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing--M.T. Anderson: I really felt remarkably little about this book. It was...I don't know, I didn't end up caring all that much about the characters.

The Lightning Thief--Rick Riordan: Greek gods, summer camp, and evil stepfathers. This book is a lot of fun.

Beware, Princess Elizabeth--Carolyn Meyer: I picked this book up in the throes of my mild obsession with Queen Elizabeth I. Eh. It was all right, but I didn't feel any real insights into Elizabeth's character. It would be good for a child interested in Elizabeth's life to start out with.

Love That Dog--Sharon Creech: I like this one. It's short and fun for the poetry reader, although also quite tragic.

Tiger Rising--Kate DiCamillo: And she does it again. Seriously, what is this woman eating? I have not read a book of hers that I did not like. Wow.

The Mislaid Magician--Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer: I think this is the last one in the Kate/Cecelia series out, although I could see another one being written. Anyway, again, recommended. Their husbands write letters in this one too--slight language warning there, although given the characters it makes sense (and it's only there twice).

Blow Out The Moon--Libby Koponen: A true story of an American girl's time in English boarding school. It was interesting, but to be honest, I didn't feel there was all that much of a story, at least not when she was actually at the boarding school.


Mimi said...

I feel like such a loser, but I really didn't like "I Capture the Castle" very much.

However, last summer I read a Josephine Tey book about Richard III that was fabulous!

Valerie said...

I LOVED I Capture the Castle. It inspired me to try Speedwriting, actually. ^_^ Beautifully written.

MaureenE said...

Mimi, I love that Josephine Tey! I really just love all of her books, I think, but "The Daughter of Time" is the first one I ever read, so it has a special place in my heart.

Val, I thought you might like it. :) It's just the right mixture of sweet and angsty and funny for you.

Sherry said...

Lo, there really are many. I might have to try Sorcery and Cecelia.

Love Josephine Tey, especially Daughter of TIme.
Liked I Capture the Castle. Reviewed here: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=2013