What I’m Reading
1. All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Initially I was a little concerned about this book. The opening stories weren’t captivating me the way they normally do. And even though I could literally hear Stephanie’s voice in my ears while I was reading, ( I am fortunate to share a LYS with her and sometimes we end up at the same knit night), there was just something missing from this book. And then I made it the fourth story entitled Personal Filters and started laughing so hard that I choked on my drink and gave myself an asthma attack. And just like that, I couldn’t stop reading. As always our beloved Harlot is able to mix humour and personal reflection in a way that makes you feel like you are getting insight into her own world. Her writing is publicly relevant and highly personal at the same time. It’s true that a non-knitter wouldn’t “get” everything that she writes about. But I am kind of assuming that if you are currently reading this you are a fibre person and therefore will find great humour in what she writes. The book (being a collection of short stories or essentially long blog entries) is a fast read and very easy to pick up and (slightly harder) to put down. It’s great when you have five minutes to spare or you’re stuck in transit for 1/2 an hour. I absolutely recommend this to all knitters/crocheters/spinners. You’ll find yourself in the pages of this book and have a good laugh at the same.
2. The MockingJay by Suzanne Collins
I finally finished The Mocking Jay, the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy. This book is a painful read at best. It starts off horribly slow. So slow that I almost tossed it aside unfinished. Eventually Katniss, the lead character, becomes an active participant in her own story again and that leads to about 100 pages that are worth reading. The middle of the book is very enjoyable and I was able to settle in to the plot. Unfortunately, the end of the book is incredibly predictable and disappointing. It is repeatedly stated throughout the book that the other characters do not know what to do with Katniss and really I’m not sure Suzanne Collins knew what to do with her either. For a series that began with such potential for greatness it all really falls apart in the third book and I was left feeling very unsatisfied. If you’re interested in reading the trilogy I strongly recommend skipping the third instalment all together and waiting for the film. At least the battle scenes will create great cinematography.
3 & 4. Purification & Disintegration by David Moody
I am pleased to say that I have finished the final two books in the Autumn series by David Moody. I mentioned the third book, Purification, a few weeks back and finished it just before heading off to Mexico. The third is the conclusion to the story of the survivors who are attempting to flee the city. The story is well written and does briefly conjure up images of the final scene of Dawn of the Dead (though it is in not the final scene of the book). As any good zombie story does, this books becomes less about the dead and more about the human relationships. The series could have easily ended here, however Moody had one more novel in mind.
Disintegration, the fourth book, I read while on vacation. While I appreciate the idea that Moody took the writing back to the city to convey the story of the survivors who were left behind, I did feel like he started to rely a little too much on the gore factor, which did detract a little from the story lines about loss of humanity and evolution of the human relationships. I also found it a little difficult to completely have to shift modes to a new set of characters after having become so heavily invested in the charactors from the other books. These two things combined did make the fourth book a little tedious, but overall it was still a fairly good read. Moody is able to provide enough continuity in the timeline of the third and fourth books (you realize quickly that both books occupy the same linear timeline) to explain why things happen in the fourth book the way that they do and second half of the book becomes very enjoyable. It feels like Moody got his second wind to finish both the book and the series. The final paragraph of the book is truly haunting and you can’t close the book without one last cold chill.
If you like zombie stories, the Autumn series as a whole is a worthwhile read. And in four books, he never uses the word zombie. Not even once.
5. The Worst Hard Time
6. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
The classic coming of age story meets Alice on the other side of the looking-glass, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is exactly what the cover says, peculiar. That’s not to imply that it is not an enjoyable read. I look forward to seeing how the plot unfolds and how the charactors develop. I think it speaks volumes for the author’s creativity that he was able to look at a collection of photos and weave a tale of that incorporates time travel, Romeo and Juliet, super powers (though up until now the super powers have been used for little more than entertainment value) and WWII. Slightly gritty and rough around the edges, this books lacks the polish of some other novels I have read, but that works well with this story and makes it an intriguing read that I am enjoying.
#7 Fevre Dream George R.R. Martin
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin is an odd combination of a vampire story and a love story rolled into one. I say odd because all the traditional aspects of commonplace vampire lore are present; the befriending of a human, the struggle to balance the nature of a vampire with the desire for humanity, the need to blend in or completely destroy the humans. But the love story is not one between a vampire and a human (though a strong friendship is eventually formed), it is the love that a mortal has for the river and his boat and a way of life that he desperately wants to cling to while it is slipping through his fingers. Martin draws many parallels between the human and the immortal and it sometimes feels a little bit like he (Martin) is using the story as an allegory for society as a whole and the want for differences to be put aside in an attempt to create a more harmoneous existence for all of us. A little bit of Tom Sawyer, Dracula, and Oliver Twist all rolled into one make this an interesting read.