Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Report!

Now that I've recovered from the trip and had a day of rest, it's time to buckle down and get onto that "creating my own luck" plan. That means some serious writing today, plus a long walk. I got ambitious and signed up for the neighborhood fall festival's 5K run that's happening this Saturday, and that means I probably ought to do at least a little preparation. I'm not going to worry about time and I'm not going to try to run, just walk, and I know I can easily walk 5K. However, if that old lady I kept finding myself up against back when I was doing a lot of races (it was an effort to meet men. It failed.), the one who could barely walk but who somehow always seemed to be ahead of me, is there again, all bets are off. It is on, grandma! (Seriously, it's demoralizing to see a woman who probably uses a walker to get around her house beating you in a race.)

It's been ages since I did a proper Book Report post. I think some of that has been because I got sidetracked with so much else going on, but it's also because I kind of hit a reading slump. I read a lot, but nothing much really got me excited enough to want to talk about it, at least, not in a positive way. But looking over my reading log, I saw some books that I did want to talk about. I guess they fell into times when I was busy posting about other stuff. So, here's a quick rundown:

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez -- It's a film noir-style mystery in a science fiction setting with a robot as the detective, and it's utterly awesome. I stayed up until 2 in the morning finishing it. I think Mom's read it twice already. It's got humor, mystery, a femme fatale with a brain and lots of action.

I read another couple of books in Mercedes Lackey's Five-Hundred Kingdoms series, and I like those. I need to see if there are more. I also read The Serpent's Shadow, the first book in the Elemental Magic series, and I like the Edwardian setting, which is a nice twist on the usual quasi-medieval fantasy setting. Unfortunately, the library doesn't have the second in the series, but it doesn't seem like this is the kind of series that flows one to another. It's more like lots of things that happen in the same universe, with some common supporting characters, rather than a series that tells an overall story. There was a supporting character I'd love to see as a hero in his own book, but I haven't been able to figure out if that's happened yet in the series. I felt like kind of a dolt when I looked up info on the series and found that each book is a fairy tale retelling because I totally didn't pick up on that when I was reading it, though in retrospect it's obvious. What I like about both series is that they have just the right amount of romance in them for me, with it flowing in a nicely subtle way. That makes for a satisfying, feel-good read.

Then to get ready for FenCon where House writer Doris Egan was a special guest, I found an omnibus edition of her Ivory trilogy and read that (though I ended up never referencing it on any panels). Yes, in addition to writing for House, she's a fantasy novelist. I really liked this trilogy, especially the middle book. Bookstores tend to have a science fiction/fantasy section, meaning either science fiction or fantasy, but this book really was a blend. It's fantasy in a science fiction type setting. There are flying cars and spaceships and computers, but on this one particular world, some people can use magic. The world reminds me a lot of Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar, in that it's a very traditional, ancient-style culture that uses technology but that's still a little suspicious of the supposedly more advanced cultures from other worlds. The trilogy follows the adventures of a graduate student in folklore from another world who gets stranded on this planet, and as part of her effort to earn enough money to get back home, she takes a job as assistant to a sorcerer, and that gets her into all kinds of adventures. I think this series is out of print (Amazon doesn't even carry it), but I may add at least the middle book of the trilogy to my mental search list next time I do a bookstore crawl.

Now that the weather's getting cooler, I'm switching into mystery and heavy fantasy mode. I found the first Trixie Belden at the library and read that (of course, my branch doesn't have the second, which is a true sequel), my parents have the new Dick Francis, so I guess that means I need to visit them, and I have a stack of other mysteries and fantasies on the to-be-read pile that I've been saving for cooler weather.

There's a front coming in and a chance of rain, so it should be a good writing day.

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