I’ve been reading several different novels and works of nonfiction since my last update, but I wanted to share just a few of my reads from the last few weeks.
Chime by Franny Billingsley
This book was a National Book Award Finalist, and it popped up in the available e-books list from my local library. So I checked it out.
What I can say on its behalf is that it is very well-written. The prose is lush and evocative. I could probably use excerpts from the book to teach various aspects of writing.
What I struggled with was the pace of the narrative and the detachment of the narrative voice. There were several parts that dragged, and sometimes I felt as if I were reading the story through a haze or a fog. Even though the point of view was first person, I felt separated from the main character, as if I couldn’t quite get to know her the way I wanted to.
As I was reading the book, I turned to reviews of the book from time to time to see if it was just me or if other readers were struggling with the story. I wasn’t alone in my feelings, so that was encouraging to me, if not to the book.
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
This novel is part historical fiction and part fantasy. In 19th century China, a young girl from a respectable but impoverished family is offered a betrothal by a wealthy family. The only catch is that the potential bridegroom is already dead.
Li Lan, reasonably, does not want to marry a dead man. When this potential groom begins haunting her, she begins a long and fascinating adventure through the Chinese afterlife.
I loved the characters and the setting. This was a truly enjoyable read.
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
I’m a sucker for all kinds of retold fairy tales, and I loved this book for retelling Beauty and the Beast in one of the most distinctive ways yet. When Disney’s Beauty and the Beast first came out, I saw it in the theater; I later bought the, ahem, VHS. To this day I still have my fuzzy Beauty and the Beast blanket. I’ve read Beastly by Alex Flinn and Beauty by Robin McKinley and probably several other retellings. So I’m pretty much sold on the story, but I like to see it told in new ways.
This novel combines the fairy tale with dystopian science fiction. In a future society where humans have populated a new planet, two groups of people struggle to survive. The “smooth-skins” have walled themselves into cities, away from the deserts where the “monstrous” live. A princess and a monstrous have to help their people survive and in the process they, of course, fall in love.
Poison by Bridget Zinn
This book was just plain good fun. Bridget Zinn, who passed away all too soon in 2011, wrote a lively, witty story with a fiesty heroine who is, like many great teen heroines, lacking just enough self-awareness to embroil herself into hilarious situations as she attempts to save her kingdom.
With a pig.
And with a handsome adventurer from a neighboring kingdom who just won’t leave her alone for long enough to complete her mission.
I rarely use the word delightful to describe books (or anything else, really), but I think it applies in this case.
So that’s what I’ve been reading! What are you reading this week?
“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a great way to keep track of what you’re reading and see what others are reading each week.