Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Words from the Well, 7

Before I forget, this post is brought to you by me, with inspiration from The Story Siren's In My Mailbox meme.

Yes, I agree- it's out of control.  But I was technically on vacation this past weekend, and this is how I treated myself...

The Odyssey The Lady and the Unicorn: A Novel The Dogs of Babel : A Novel The Bean Trees: A Novel (P.S.) Witch Way to Murder (Ophelia & Abby Mysteries, No. 1)

Via Paperbackswap:

Witch Way to Murder (Ophelia & Abby Mysteries, No. 1)

Via the SUNY Binghamton campus bookstore and library:

The Dogs of Babel - Carolyn Parkhurst
The Odyssey - Homer
The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracy Chevalier
The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver

I will be starting one of these tonight, as a matter of fact.  I think this will be the very first time I can begin a book within a week of buying it, so that's cause for some celebration, no?  Lucky for me, I get to go straight home after work, so you should hear back from me on that first book pretty soon.  Now which book is it I will be reading, you ask?  You'll just have to wait and see!  So exciting!  Are you excited?!

In other news ...
As you probably guessed, I'm giving up on The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  I picked it out as my Ultimate Fall Book of the Totally Fall-ish Month of November.  I love fall.  But you know that already.  Anyway, I was hoping this book would be IT and might even get me into the New England literature scene, but I was so wrong.  I did enjoy a lot of the language, and the all-pervasive doom and gloom of Puritan America wrapped up in one House of Seven Gables:  But ancient superstitions, after being steeped in human hearts and embodied in human breath, and passing from lip to ear in manifold repetition, through a series of generations, become imbued with an effect of homely truth.  They do, indeed.  However, I dug through chapter after chapter of character descriptions with absolutely no action, and decided this was not the right literature for me.  Hence my buying Homer's Odyssey, which should go wonderfully with the modern rendering of Penelope's Daughter I bought recently and mentioned in WFTW 6.

Don't go away, folks, we are on a roll!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hobbit-free fantasy

Hello there, all.  At the risk of being accused of lumping all my weekly (hah!) blogs together and ignoring you all the rest of the week, welcome back to Reader's Well for another review - not of a book this time, however - of an entire genre!  I haven't officially taken on this particular genre yet, partly due to my moratorium on book-purchasing (although I've been very naughty, and will explain this in a bit).  But after doing my homework, I most definitely plan to get started soon.  If you're familiar with the genre, and know your sh*t, please contact me or comment here and let me know what you think.

Yeah so I was browsing book blogs as usual and as was bound to happen eventually, came across an awesome article about Steampunk - what we need to know about it, why it's so awesome, and the possibilities inherent in the genre that will keep it alive for years (centuries?) to come.

Here is that article, written by author of Steampunk novels, Cherie Priest: The Clockwork Century.  I thought I'd share this in hopes of getting some feedback from y'all about this genre and if it's worthwhile for us fantasy-lovin' types.  I'd have to even narrow that down to certain kinds of fantasy because - let's just say I am totally into the LOTR movies, but as far as reading about Frodo's adventures in Middle Earth... not so much.  So look out for a re-posting of this entry sometime with your feedback on Steampunk as a literary genre, its relevancy to modern fantasy-that-isn't-about-hobbits and more info from me on both as I collect it (along with my thoughts).

With that, another Words from the Well post is on its way!  Yes I have been naughty.  Again!  :cackles:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



Before I go on to review this particular installment of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, I'll give you a brief recap of what to expect if you're not yet aquainted with a certain rugged red-haired 18th-century Scottish vagabond named James Fraser  - and of course, the main character herself, Claire Randall, a dispossessed woman of the 1940's who takes an unexpected foray through some standing stones right into Jamie's Scotland.  Intrigued?  You should be.

The very first tome in the series, Outlander, is historical romance at its absolute best.  The good guys are loveable, the bad guys are despicable and the suspenseful drama between them all keeps a constant tension present throughout the entire story, just setting you up for a long night on the beautiful but insanely dangerous highlands of 18th-century Scotland.  With the next book in the series, Dragonfly in Amber, the page-turning will slow down a bit, as we're taken through a time of political upheaval, in preparation for the famous Battle of Culloden in 1746.  But you'll have to keep slogging through some of the ho-hum details and eh-characters to discover Jamie's place in the scheme of things - will he fall at Culloden as predicted by his time-traveling wife?  And finally, on to the "present" with Voyager, the third novel.

Voyager (Outlander)
Voyager picks up right where Dragonfly left off, as each new book does.  I won't give any details away, but I will say that the immediate drama and action is still there - it's just not as ... immediate and dramatic.  Blame this on the fact that the main characters still don't seem to have very many flaws and don't ever really do anything wrong -  or you can blame it on the fact that you just know nothing really bad will ever happen to these folks because they are, of course, the main characters.  I guess this is a common problem with most series, I just don't happen to read very many (there are way too many books out there to read and re-read the same characters, right?).

The main reason I'm still reading the Outlander series is admittedly because Gabaldon did such a bang-up job on the first one.  Unfortunately, the steam of the original romance has already run out, and so has the sense of real danger and the what-would-you-do fantasy that kept readers guessing through Outlander and Dragonfly.  I really hope this is just a lull in the scheme of things, and I still plan to pick up Drums of Autumn, as soon as I find it again (I think my sister stole it, so you'll have to excuse my promise to continue with the series uninterrupted).  Voyager did end with a good cliffhanger, and in some form I do very much care about Claire and Jamie's adventures in (not gonna tell you where!), but there's a reason it took me such a long time to get through.

Now on to the next read, which is very fall-ish indeed!  Check out my Currently Reading widget to see what's next!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pouring through fall

I don't know where you guys all are in the world, but it is raining here.  And will be the whole week.  Am I sad about that? - definitely not.  These past weeks of changing weather and ... other changing things ... have shown that you can only complicate your own life for so long - until suddenly you get a wake-up call (or maybe more like a hibernation-chime or something ... yes ...)  It is time to simplify, folks.  Fall Cleaning is upon us all.  Here is my own personal Anti-To Do List:

  • STOP buying books.  I've said it before, but I mean it this time.  Just to show how much I mean it, I am removing my Strand gift card and my library cards from my wallet.  Yes, I like that word remove - so final.  The lesson is to read what is already collecting dust on the shelves.  Who's with me?
  • Give up two projects in my life.  My two things are: private tutoring and a crochet project for a friend.  The end.
  • Throw stuff out.  If it's good stuff, give it away.  And more importantly, do not replace the stuff.  Let the stuff go in peace.
  • Learn to procrastinate.  Choose only the things you HAVE TO accomplish each day, and get them done.  Everything else can wait.  Rushing around is only going to make everything lopsided and just plain wrong.
  • And lastly?  Read!  Duh, right?  I've never regretted reading before, have you?

Now send me your lists, why dontcha?