One Down…

…Three to Go

Goodreads tells me I’ve met my reading goal for this year—or rather my personal reading goal.  Then again, I aimed low, aiming for 50 books.  AT least that’s double last year’s goal.

I can’t take all the credit, though.  It’s mainly the result of the three challenges I’ve signed up for.  Two are annual challenges, one is a bi-annual challenge.  (Goodreads also have monthly and quarterly challenges.  And probably more that I don’t know about.)

Continue reading One Down…

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Tuesday Ten: My Year in Books

Towards the end of 2018, Goodreads said I had read 73 “books.”  Considering I read a couple more after this tally, that brought my total to at least 75.  That’s 200% more than the goal of 25  I’d set.  Pretty good for someone with a (semi-undiagnosed) learning disability and possible dyslexia. But, to be fair, some of those “books” were short stories and novellas.  And most of the “full length” books were on the short side, under 300 pages.  Still, I’m taking time out to congratulate myself.

Then again, the majority of those books were of the m/m (male/male or gay) romance genre.  And to think romance novels never interested me.  I blame it on Diana Gabaldon and Lord John Gray, specifically, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade.  It wasn’t a romance, per se, because there was a lot going on— mystery, political intrigue, military action, and a near-death experience.  But romance figured throughout.

But the year in books did include some diversity.  I’d planned to do a “Sunday Seven” featuring the non-gay-romance books I read, but there’s actually ten.  So let’s call it a Tuesday Ten.  Here they are, in order of longest to shortest (pages, not words).

  1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Time’s Best Novel of the Year 2004 and many other awards. I even read all the footnotes!
  2. Past Poisons, an anthology of historical mysteries dedicated to Ellis Peters, by a whole slew of authors
  3. Ballroom by Alice Simpson, more boring than The Man in the High Castle—but the cover is pretty
  4. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick, only slightly better than the extremely boring television series
  5. The Squire’s Tale (Sister Frevisse #10) by Margaret Frazer, featuring the return of one of my favorite characters from the first Frevisse novel, The Novice’s Tale
  6. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters, Brother Cadfael #1
  7. The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Oz #8) by L. Frank Baum, not his best
  8. The Ladies of Grace Adieu, a collection of very clever short stories by Susanna Clarke, a kind of continuation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
  9. King Solomon’s Mines by Allan Quartermaine H. Ride Haggard, it hasn’t aged well, what with all the animal cruelty and machismo
  10. One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters, the second Brother Cadfael novel
  11. Nozy Cat #1 (yes, that’s its title) by Lyn Keyes, a cozy mystery with a talking cat.  The second book in the series is called Nozy Cat #2.

(Crap!  How did that list turn into 11? When I added them up initially, I swore there were only 10.)

My favorites and highly recommended:  The Ladies of Grace Adieu, One Corpse Too Many, and A Squire’s Tale.  I’d recommend reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell before The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and Sister Frevisse #1, and A Novice’s Tale, before The Squire’s Tale, to get a better understanding of Roger Fenner.  One Corpse Too Many can stand on its own, I think.

Any favorites you’d recommend?  (Oh yeah, I tried reading The Great Gatsby for a second time and didn’t even get as far as I did the first time.  Don’t recommend it, please.)

Calling All David Tennant Fans

Yes, Suzanne, I’m looking at you!  :mrgreen:

3. Another Thing I Learned from Twitter

Cressida Cowell retweeted a notice from David Tennant ForumsCressida Cowell has a new book in her How to Train Yor Dragon series.  After seeing the above tweet and the accompanying trailer (voiced by David Tennant), I rushed to Amazon to purchase the final installment of the adventures of 14-year-old Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third and his Common or Garden dragon Toothless, only to find this isn’t the final book.  Rather, it’s a compendium of dragon species, drawn from Hiccup’s boyhood notebook.

Way to psych the public out, guys!  Which leads me to one of this posts alternate titles: Continue reading Calling All David Tennant Fans

Mothers and Vikings

[Note:  This post is about the How to Train Your Dragon books, not the movie.  Although the names are recognizable, the stories are quite different.  I love both versions.]

"How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel" is the tenth Hiicup and Toothless book by Cressida Cowell.
How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel (hardcover version)

I finished reading How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel last night.  It’s the tenth (and latest) book in Cressida Cowell’s “How to Train Your Dragon” series.  At the end of every book, adult Hiccup writes an epilog.  Its style is quite different from the rest of the book.  Being written in first person (the stories are told in third person), they are often profound—and quite poetic.

This epilog has a very old Hiccup reflecting that the story is really about mothers.  Hiccup’s mother,  who up until now, had appeared in only a couple of the books, proves to be a mighty warrior and Hero.  And Hiccup’s best friend, the orphaned Fishlegs, learns his mother loved him and had not abandoned him, but had died before she could be reunited with him.  [It’s such a beautiful but heartbreaking tale, I tear up thinking about it.]

Is this a sign I should write about my mother?  It’s something I’ve been thinking about.  She has an interesting story to be told.  Perhaps I should get busy telling it.