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03 November 2010 @ 09:03 pm
#46 - #51  
I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett



I freely admit I'm not the greatest fan of Tiffany Aching and I only read the Wee Free books because, well, they're Pratchett. But I'll also and equally freely admit that the miniseries has improved with each book. I'd advise anyone chary of starting them to just read Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight.

ISWM is mainly about romance - the one that doesn't happen between Tiffany and Roland, as we might expect, and the ones that do happen between Roland and Letitia and Tiffany and Preston. I could have wished that he'd spent just a little more time explaining why Tiffany and Roland didn't work - I accept that they didn't for the reasons he gave, but I wanted to be sold on it. There were some charming cameos from the Watch, which again I wished were just a small bit longer.

I assume there's going to be another book, if only to wrap up the plotholes about Amber and Ezkarina's son - now that seemed very hastily thrown in for a book that wasn't about her at all. I have no idea why Tiffany would be surprised by it, as opposed to the readers. As for Amber, well. I made a lot of 'bzuh?' faces, because the domestic violence seemed almost gratuitous and irrelevant to the plot, and Amber's skill at magic even more so. Perhaps Tiffany, Letitia and Amber will form a coven - even though they're all married - but I'm not entirely sure if I care. You know?

Still better than a lot of his recent stuff.

"[...] It was his dad who was a madman; I mean, things were a bit rough and ready in those days and you could expect a clip around the head if you disobeyed, but Seth's dad had a thick leather belt with two buckles on it, and he would lay into Seth just for looking at him in a funny way. No word of a lie. Always used to say it would teach him a lesson."

"It seems that he succeeded," Tiffany said, but her father held up a hand.


I did like that Tiffany was impatient and made mistakes. She reminded me of myself, a little.

And I warmed to the Feegles a lot more in this book:

"Weel, I think I did hear that maybe a piece of sheep kind of accidentally fell intae the pan when it was cooking and we tried to drag it oot but - well, ye ken what sheep is like - it panicked and fought back. [...] It is my thinking that it must have been suicidal owing to having nothing to do all day but eat grass."

"We are experiencing some turbulence, ye ken. If ye look to the right and tae the left you will see that there are no emergency exits -"

Pished: I am assured that this means 'tired'

They landed next to the pigsties, to the usual ferocious screaming of piglets, who believed that no matter what is actually happening, the world is trying to saw them in half.

I STILL BELIEVE, TERRY.



Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen



This is a YA story - I think. It could possibly be a primary school/middle school story, it was that childish. I don't go for YA as a general rule, because it seems to deal with the same things as adult fiction except with worse writing, and I still don't know what a young adult IS. Like, am I still one? At what point do I become an old adult? Are there any in-between stages that should get their own sections in bookshops? AKA, if you mean 'teenage,' SAY 'teenage'!

It deals with an fairly tired concept: that you shouldn't judge people entirely on their looks. Juli has loved Bryce for his looks since she was like four. Bryce has been scared of her enthusiasm for him since he was like four. She's apparently fascinating because she can incubate chicken eggs, something I thought happened all on its own, but whatever. She also likes trees. Literally: it's not developed further than that, no budding ecologist tirades or refusal to eat meat. Just. Trees. And apparently it's okay for Juli to like Bryce for his looks but not okay for him to like Shelly for her looks? Idk, the whole premise is facile if it means you have to rule out looks all together. How you present yourself to the world says a lot about who you are. I would have thought a teacher would know that.



The Return Journey, Maeve Binchy



This is a series of short stories, which start bad and get gradually worse. Some of them are twenty years old, which is startling when you've just read a contemporary story that was clearly thrown together in a day and a half. I can't even be bothered to summarise the stories, mainly because I've forgotten what happened in most of them. Pitiful.



Minding Frankie, Maeve Binchy



You may wonder why I persist with Binchy when I've found these two books so bad. The answer is that I LOVE some of her books. I think Circle of Friends may be one of the strongest chicklit/romances ever written, and deserves a place next to the likes of Jane Eyre or Rebecca (or in fact above either). However, she retired about five years ago - BUT continued to produce books. That was the fatal flaw.

This story is about Frankie, the baby of a drug addict/alco with cancer who finds the equally alcoholic father and convinces him to take on the care of the baby when she dies post-Caesarean section. Why she died precisely post-Caesarean section is something that perhaps most of the readers will accept, but it made no sense to me. If doctors could predict death with that exactitude, we wouldn't have a bed management problem. Anyway, he cleans up his act - sort of - with the help of his American aunt Emily. Emily is one of those Binchy characters that would have been great if she'd been given space to develop, but Binchy apparently decided that after a career of being wildly successful at the opposite, now was the time to try out the 'tell not show' method of storytelling. It's an awful shame.

(I’m also not sure non-Irish people would understand that the term ‘minding’ means ‘looking after’ here.)



Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer



This book evolved from a letter-writing game that started in - you guessed it! - April 1986. It gave me weird shivers to think that they were doing this as I was being born and now I'm reading it. CREEPY.

It's very cute and charming but the epistolary style let it down in the end, as we never see just why the two girls are so irresistible to the men who fall for them, or exactly how clever and strong they are in defeating their enemies. It also left me with questions: where are their mothers? Why do they hate Aunt Charlotte so much? Indeed I thought for a while there must have been a prequel I missed.

The idea of Regency steampunk - as opposed to Victorian - has endless potential that was not explored at all. Still, I enjoyed it a lot.




Previously, on Book Glomp 2010:
The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories, Anton Chekhov | I'll take you there, Joyce Carol Oates | Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides ♥ | The School for Husbands, Moliere | On Green Dolphin Street, Sebastian Faulks | The Famished Road, Ben Okri | Lord of the Flies, William Golding | Moby Dick, Herman Melville | A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway | Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell ♥ | The Sea, the Sea, Irish Murdoch ♥ ♥ | Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad | Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy | The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman | The Sea, John Banville | paddy clarke ha ha ha, Roddy Doyle | The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough ♥ | The Godfather, Mario Puzo ♥ | The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman | Possession, A.S. Byatt ♥ ♥ ♥ | Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales | The Mysteries of Pittsburg, Michael Chabon | Dragon Haven, Robin Hobb, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon ♥, Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby, Life of Pi, Yann Martel | Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier | At Swim, Two Boys, Jamie O'Neill ♥ | The Children's Book, A.S. Byatt | Un Dun Lun, China Mieville | Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel &hearts | This Book Will Save Your Life, A.M. Homes | Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons ♥ ♥ | Whose Body?, Dorothy L. Sayers | Crime and Punishment, Feodor Dostoevsky, The Invention of Love, Tom Stoppard ♥ ♥ ♥, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard, Love's Shadow, Ada Leverson, The Cherry Orchard, Anton Chekhov, The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie ♥ | The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
 
 
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on a yellow spaceship: milkmaido_glorianna on November 4th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC)
Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.
There was a sequel called something like The Great Voyage (Oops. It's actually The Grand Tour, but close enough, and another one after that.) I quite enjoyed the book as well when I originally read it years ago; I too wondered about what made the girls fascinating but it was written for teens so I'm not going to overthink it. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 8th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC)
Mmm, I noticed that, and how Wrede seemed to have written it alone, but ... I'm not really interested enough to pursue it?
lokifan: Spike: bookloverlokifan on November 14th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
I’m also not sure non-Irish people would understand that the term ‘minding’ means ‘looking after’ here

I'd get it - but I'm English, don't know about Australians/Americans. I had fun with Sorcery and Cecilia, but I'm not a huge Wrede fan.

I don't go for YA as a general rule, because it seems to deal with the same things as adult fiction except with worse writing

:( There's a lot of great YA out there, quite at 'adult' standard! I sympathise with your irritation with the label but I actually think it's a good thing. WHSmith puts kidlit and 'teenage' stuff together on its shelves, which is MESSED UP - I've seen stuff I know has semi-explicit sex next to A Series of Unfortunate Events. I reckon YA's good for distinguishing between teenage like Pratchett/Anthony Horowitz/Eoin Coulfer and teenage like Maureen Johnson/John Green etc.