[At the Amazon Kindle Community forum there is a monthly thread where participants list and comment on which books they’re reading at the moment on their Kindles. These aren’t full reviews, just relatively brief impressions. I’m copying over some of my comments made there into Book Bits posts here.]
Originally posted on 7/8:
I finished reading Kindred by Octavia Butler ($4.95). It was very good.
It’s the story of Dana, a black woman, who is inexplicably drawn back in time to 1815 in order to save the life of a white man she soon realizes is one of her ancestors. She’s drawn back several times because of their link, some of the periods of time lasting several months. The location is Maryland, a slave state, so she has to deal with everything that entails.
I didn’t have a very distinct picture of who Dana was as an individual, her personality isn’t really very fleshed out, especially in the first part of the book. In this case that doesn’t really matter, it’s the story, her experiences, and how she has to adapt that are of central importance. One of the main themes of the book is the ease with which a powerless person can become a slave, both literally and figuratively. It really was a fascinating story and I enjoyed it.
In sort of keeping on a theme of racial relations I decided to start A Passage to India by EM Forster ($4.93). Unfortunately I’m struggling with this one. The first chapter was all description which bored me to tears. The second chapter introduced characters, but nothing is grabbing me. I think I may have to ditch this one. It’s feeling more like a book I “should read” as opposed to one I want to read.
Originally posted on 7/9:
Well I threw over A Passage to India by EM Forster. I just couldn’t bring myself to pick it up to read again. I’m leaving it on my Kindle to see if I can give it a go at another time in the future. It’s not all the book’s fault though, I’ve been antsy.
You see, last Tuesday Heartless by Gail Carriger ($7.99) downloaded to my Kindle because I’d bought it a while back as a pre-order. It’s book number four in the Parasol Protectorate series. Which is kind of a mashup between Steampunk and Paranormal Urban Fantasy.
The problem was that I hadn’t yet read book three, Blameless. I’d somehow missed it when it was released. I was trying to patiently wait for my next payday before I bought it, so was killing time reading books I already owned like a good girl. Well, you know how that goes when you’ve got a Kindle. If the itch gets too bad all self-control flies right out the window and there you are with the “forbidden” book on your Home menu!
So I guiltily, but happily, started reading Blameless, only to realize I’d forgotten way too much of how book 2 ended for book 3 to be truly enjoyable. I was too lost. So the only solution of course was to start re-reading book 2, Changeless! Which means I should have just held off buying book 3 after all. Oh well. At least I’m enjoying my reading now?
For anyone interested in the series Soulless is the first book. The books are truly delightful, especially if you love humor associated with Victorian language and etiquette, with a few werewolves and vampires thrown into the mix for fun. And for queer readers there’s the added benefit of a foppish gay vampire (starting in the first book) and a cross-dressing lesbian inventor (starting in the second book) as secondary characters. The first three books can be purchased in an ebook bundle for only $9.99, which is a great bargain.
Originally posted on 7/19:
I’m finally up to date on the Parasol Protectorate series having finished book four, Heartless.
This series can be difficult to describe. I think I’d put it like this: Jane Austen writes a mashup of Steampunk and Paranormal Urban Fantasy. A lot of the humor in the books comes from Victorian manners and sensibilities being satirized. The books really are very clever, though I found it was a bit much to read three in a row like that.
The third book doesn’t have as strong of a start as the others and both books three and especially four get a bit repetitive. But they’re still rollicking good fun. I think my favorite so far is still book two, but not because the following books are duds or anything.
Carriger adds her own unique twist to werewolves and vampires which is quite a bit different in many ways than anything I’ve read before, which also helps make these books fresh. Plus she makes the addition of “preturnaturals” which are rare individuals who are born without any soul. When I read the first book I kept waiting for something to come along to make the characters realize that there’s no such thing as a person without a soul, but it turns out no, that’s exactly how it works her alternate world. The amount of soul a person has directly relates to a lot of different things in the word.
Earlier tonight I finished reading Dare Truth or Promise by Paula Boock, which is on sale right now for only $2.99. It’s a YA novel, so it was a quick read. I enjoyed it quite a bit, especially because it was by a New Zealand author. It’s the story of two high school age girls who fall in love with each other and everything that entails in terms of discovering who they are, how they have to deal with their families, etc.
Unfortunately the Kindle edition has quite a few OCR errors remaining that should be cleaned up by the publisher. Things like the letter F often displaying as H, the name Louie sometimes displaying as “Lome”, etc. It wasn’t bad enough to ruin reading, but it was enough to get irksome at times.
Originally posted on 7/26:
I just finished Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. ($4.93) I urge anyone who has any interest in apocalyptic fiction to get a copy of this classic if you haven’t already read it.
The book was originally published in 1951, yet the story holds up quite well. I can really see the influence on later books such as The Passage by Justin Cronin and Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling. The story turned out being very different than what I was expecting, but that didn’t end up being a bad thing. I thought it was going to be a story about the day plants invaded from outer space and took over the world. But the plants were actually already spread all over the planet by the time the incident takes place and served as an extreme complication, rather than the cause of the apocalypse. It was an excellent read.
The ebook is obviously created from an OCR scan, but the only truly annoying artifact is quite a few missing periods. It wasn’t bad enough to ruin reading though.
Originally posted on 7/30:
I read Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. It’s $7.99 right now, but I was lucky enough to get it on sale for only $1.99 last year. It’s the first book in the Amelia Peabody series.
It was a wonderfully entertaining read, especially since I’ve always been fascinated by Egypt. People have mentioned in this thread that Amelia Peabody isn’t a particularly likable character and I agree with that to a certain extent. Yet somehow that doesn’t detract from the book at all, she’s a fun character to read about all the same.
The mystery wasn’t too difficult to figure out. I knew who the culprit was through most of the book. Though there was an additional twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. Knowing who it was didn’t ruin much.
What was really interesting to me was reading this so soon after I read some of the Parasol Protectorate books by Gail Carriger. Her character, Alexia Tarabotti, is obviously a direct literary descendant of Amelia Peabody. They have a lot of things in common, including a penchant for using parasols aggressively.