FF: Lost in Print (and Audio)

This past week, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, figuring out what would go into what cabinet.  That gave me a bit more time with recorded books.  I rewarded myself with one day when I let myself read without watching the clock.  Bliss!

Ready to Read!

Ready to Read!

So what exactly are the Friday Fragments? The FF feature lists of what I’ve read over the past week.  They are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive list, you can look on my website.

This is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

The Book of Kells by R.A. MacAvoy.  Set in Ireland something over a 1,000 years ago, the plot intertwines with intricate historical detail much like the Celtic knotwork of the title.  I found myself tangled up in historical details in the middle, but enjoyed the book a great deal.

The Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner.  Audiobook.  Middle grade.  In a city where protecting the children from any and all dangers has become the excuse for an increasingly dictatorial regime, the greatest thing one can steal is oneself.

Chobits.  Manga.  The complete series.  Interesting tale that starts out looking like a romantic comedy and evolves into a meditation on identity, the nature of relationships (including “mere” friendship), and love.  In these days where Social Media is coming to dominate so many people’s lives, even more timely than when first written.

In Progress:

Tamsin by Peter Beagle.  Audiobook.  Read by Peter Beagle.  The first part of the book could be any book about a major life transition but Beagle is so good that his rather whiny narrator (who knows she’s whiny) still held me.  I’ve just gotten to the ghost.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.  Just started.

Also:

Isn’t this enough?  <grin>  My to-be-read shelf is crammed, but I’d love to know what you’re reading.  There’s always room for more.

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15 Responses to “FF: Lost in Print (and Audio)”

  1. Julie Hagan Bloch Says:

    I read The Book of Kells years ago (at least 27 years ago), and totally loved it! It’s one of the few books whose plot lines I more or less remember, which says a lot for it! I particularly remember how precious sewing needles were…
    I lent it to a friend, and he lent me a book in exchange. I finished the book he lent me, and called to ask when he wanted to make the return exchange, and he said that he’d already passed my book along to someone else; he didn’t know I kept paperbacks.
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (He is *otherwise* an exceptionally kind, thoughtful, and responsible person.)
    Naturally, I bought myself another copy.

  2. Julie Hagan Bloch Says:

    I forgot to mention that currently I’m reading Charles de Lint’s Out of This World.

  3. Louis Robinson Says:

    Right now? “The Rising Light Curves of Type Ia Supernovae”

    I got addicted to arxiv.org a couple of years ago 😉

    I don’t recall ever seeing Tamsin [hmmm…. 1999?] but would venture to say that Peter Beagle has never written “any book”.

    • Jane Lindskold Says:

      I’m really enjoying it. And I agree. Peter Beagle has his own vision. Any of his other titles you’d like to recommend?

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        Is this your first Beagle? Then you have The Last Unicorn to look forward to. I wasn’t quite as thrilled with A Fine and Private Place, but my mother loves it [or did, at any rate, I don’t thinks she’s reread it in 20 years or so], and it really is a good story. It’s calm and quiet – as suites the locale – where LU is very lively, and I think it was the contrast that disappointed a little.

        I’m blanking on other titles, but checking ISFDB, I see why – there’s a huge gap between the later ’60s and the early ’90s. I read many of the early stories but haven’t looked at the newer ones since they started coming out when I had no regular access to English books. I don’t recall even seeing most of them.

  4. Paul Dellinger Says:

    Mine lately are C. J. Cherryh’s “Cyteen” (almost finished) and Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” (kind of surreal, like Mark Helprin’s “Winter’s Tale”).

  5. Chad Merkley Says:

    No more Bujold this week, Jane? Memory is what I would consider one of the most important books in the Vorkosigan series, in terms of Miles’ character development. Also, Bujold’s fantasy novel The Curse of Chalion cannot be recommended too strongly.

    I’ve been on a YA fantasy kick the last week or two: Patricia Wrede, Gerald Morris, Tamora Pierce, Patricia McKillip…fun stuff.

    • Jane Lindskold Says:

      I DO plan to do more Bujold, but I felt I wasn’t being fair to the novels, since reading them in close sequence made my writer brain all too aware of similar motifs in the novel structure. I have really enjoyed and didn’t want to sour.

      I’ve read all the YA authors you mentioned except for Gerald Morris. Can you recommend a title?

      I never really considered Patricia McKillip YA, though. What titles do you consider YA?

      Tamora Pierce, in fact, is GOH for our Bubonicon this year!! Jim is absorbed in reading the Winding Circle novels right now.

      • Chad Merkley Says:

        Gerald Morris has done a series of books retelling Arthurian legend, and he does it brilliantly. The first one is The Squire’s Tale, which mostly uses Mallory as the basis for the story, with a hint of Chaucer. The second is The Squire, His Knight, and His Lady, which tells the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Later books use von Eschenbach and Chretien de Troyes, as well as more Mallory, and probably some more I’m forgetting. He manages to stay true to the sources while creating memorable characters and telling good, engaging stories. He is also great at creating moments of humor. These are some of my favorite books.

        As for defining YA books, that’s tricky. To some extent, it’s a matter of author’s intent–does the author want kids to read the work? There are some consistent themes and ideas–coming of age, dealing with a peer group, first loves, confronting death or trauma for the first time, etc–but not always. “Rating” is also a factor–could you consider the book “PG” or “PG-13”. If I can recommend a book to my nephews without upsetting my sister-in-law, it probably counts as a young-adult book. The best YA books are the ones that you can discover and re-read and keep finding new stuff in. Madeline L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, some of Terry Pratchett, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper…that sort of thing kind of crosses the line into great literature.

        As for Patricia Mckillip, my local library has her books scattered between three locations–the regular SFF section, the YA section, and the “Junior” fiction (this is “chapter books” for elementary school reading levels). I think mostly this depends on which department or librarian ordered the book, rather than anything intrinsic to the books themselves. There are duplicate copies of some books in both the SFF and Y sections, I’ve noticed. I’d say that most of her works that I’ve read could be comfortably placed in either section.

      • Louis Robinson Says:

        I wouldn’t have listed McKillip as YA, either. But when I think about it, Chad is right. In fact, if Riddle of Stars were to be published today it would almost certainly be shelved there. Perhaps the main reason why we don’t think of them that way is that, although the protagonists are often young, the settings are never juvenile. Od Magic or The Bell at Sealy Head or, especially, Solstice Wood simply don’t feel immature, the way that Harry Potter, say, does.

  6. Alan Robson Says:

    Oh the “to be read” shelf is so large…

    Ross Thomas and his delightfully witty thrillers, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. The list goes on and I’ll never catch up. Oh gloom…

    But oh! Joy! There are books to read! What could be better?


    -Alan

  7. Jane Lindskold Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Chad. I’ll keep the Gerald Morris in mind, especially the ones that don’t deal with the “main” story of Arthur.

    What is YA is indeed a tough designation. I wrote about it for Tor.com way, way back, and revisited in a Wandering of April 2013. If I did again, I’d certainly include some of what you said.

  8. Jane Lindskold Says:

    I don’t think the Riddle of the Stars would be YA. Morgan is an adult, running his family estate, small as it is. His friends are the equivalent of grad students.

    Not even older YA.

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