Tag Archives: Books

A God In Ruins

agod  A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2015

Borrowed from my public library.

The first book I read by Kate Atkinson was When Will There Be Good News? .  I remember devouring it, loving the characters, loving the writing.  I read all the Jackson Brodie books, and was excited to learn about Life After Life.

It took me weeks to read that book.  I kept picking it up and putting it down, not sure if I would ever get through it.  I think it was the time shifting, creating a kind of vertigo, much like the main character, Ursula Todd, felt, constantly dying and being reborn.  I ended up finishing the book, really enjoying it, and amazed at Atkinson’s writing abilities, at how different Life After Life was from her other novels.

Atkinson calls A God In Ruins a companion piece to Life After Life.  I read it over five days, taking it in at a moderate pace. It follows the life of Ursula’s younger brotherTeddy, and lovingly weaves in family members, Teddy’s parents, his wife, child and grandchildren.  It also shift chronologically, following the lives of these people in a way I found less jarring, filling in the Todd family story and allowing for mystery, elements of family drama that evolve because of events finally revealed at the end of the book.

There is history it both of these novels, World War II, the blitz, the British and Allied bombing of Germany.  Atkinson dug deep, she holds nothing back in her descriptions of the blitz, in the scenes of Teddy and his crew in their Halifax bomber, flying to and from their bombing runs.   A God In Ruins is beautifully written, deeply engaging and I found it emotionally honest.  I highly recommend it, even if you haven’t read Life After Life.

There, I’ve jumped in, glad to be back in the water.  I find myself reading more and more historical fiction lately, particularly World War I and World War II.  Not sure what that is about but any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

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Filed under Books, British, Historical Fiction, Kate Atkinson, Uncategorized

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

0316216852.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Mulholland Books, New York 2013

Borrowed from my library.

First I read Zoo City.  Then I read Moxyland.  I have been waiting for this one to come out since I first heard Lauren Beukes had another novel being published in the US.  Boy, was it ever worth the wait.  This is a thriller, a murder mystery.  Very enthralling and very creepy.

A killer find a key.  The key opens the door to a house.  The house opens the door to time.  The girls shine.

A young girl meets a stranger.  Years later, she is attacked and almost killed.  When she recovers she is obsessed with finding her attacker.

The Shining Girls grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.  It’s a time travel story unlike any I have read, with a structure like a house of mirrors, dark, frightening and constantly driving towards a resolution.  I loved it.  I think it could be this year’s Gone Girl.

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Filed under Books, Mystery, SciFi, Thoughts, Thriller

The 7th Canadian Book Challenge

Brought to us by John Mutford at The Book Mine Set, this is a challenge to read books by Canadian authors or about our neighbors to the north.  I am hoping this will get me back into writing about books I love.  Information about the challenge and how to join in can be found here.

7thCanadian

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Filed under Canadian Book Challenge 7

What I’ve been reading…

I know, it has been a while.  Work, life and a broken laptop.  What else can I say.   I did manage to get through the TBR Double Dog Dare and read 24 books, not quite as many as I had hoped.  Once again, James has inspired me to continue plowing through the piles of unread books I have sitting on shelves and stacked in corners.

I am getting ready for another camping trip with the children and another season of hanging out at the beach, introducing folks to the rich diversity of animals that live in Puget Sound.  I’m not sure what the summer will bring.

As for what I have been reading:

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow WilsonAlif_

Grove Press, New York, 2012

Borrowed from my public library.

A surprising combination of middle-eastern fantasy and cyberpunk.  The story takes place in an unnamed country whose government is turning into an ultra-high level security state.  Internet activists are finding ways to expose corruption and abuse.  The backlash is all too familiar. Alif, a talented hacker, find himself running from state security and dealing with creatures he cannot believe exist.

Filled with djinn, demons and a land only accessible by magic,  layered with high-tech and folklore, this was a fun read.

The Antagonist by Lynn Coadycoady

Knopf, New York, 2013

Borrowed from my library.

I’ve read Lynn Coady before and was impressed.  When this novel was short-listed for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller prize and I learned it was being published in the US, I put it on my hold list at the library.

The Antagonist is “quirky” and only an author with Coady’s skill and daring can pull this kind of thing off.  When Gordon Rankin, known as Rank, picks up a novel written by Adam, an old college friend and discovers it seems to be a thinly veiled fiction about his life he grows irate.  In a series of emails, he rants at Adam and, through those rants,  slowly unburies his own memories and untwists his own story.  Again, as in her collection of short stories, Coady creates a rough, crude and intimidating character that I couldn’t help liking.  I love how this women writes.  The Antagonist will be in my top ten books of 2013.

I’ve also just finished Home by Toni Morrison and Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran.  That one has me anxiously awaiting the second book in this mystery series, Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway, due out in June.

Enough for now.  What have you read lately that really grabbed you?

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Filed under Bookish, Books, Short Reviews, Thoughts

It is Spring – Once Upon A Time VII

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It’s Spring and Once Upon A Time is here.  Running from the March 21 to the June 21, Stainless Steel Droppings magical challenge is one of my favorite yearly events. From Carl V’s website:

Thursday, March 21st begins the seventh annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through Friday, June 21st and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing whims.

The Once Upon a Time VI Challenge has a few rules:

Rule #1: Have fun.

Rule #2: HAVE FUN.

Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!

Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”.

There are many ways to participate, I plan on taking The Journey, which means I only need to read one book from any of the categories.  I plan one reading many more than that.

I am hoping OUAT VII and Arti’s Proust Read-Along will get me back into blogging about what I am reading.

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Filed under Books, Events, Once Upon A Time VII, Read-Along

Fountain of Age by Nancy Kress

Fountain of Age by Nancy Kresskress,jpg

Small Beer Press, Easthampton, MA, 2012

From my TBR pile.

This is a collection of stories previously published in magazines like Asimov’s and Fantasy.  The opening story,” The Erdmann Nexus,” won the Hugo Award and the title story,  “Fountain of Age”, won the Nebula.

I don’t believe I’ve ever read anything by Nancy Kress before and I am now jumping at the chance to read her novels.  This collection runs the gamut from illegal genetic modification to alien intervention brilliantly.  It is worth the price of admission for “Laws of Survival” alone.  Read it.

I just found out one of my all time favorite magical realism tinged  novels, Winter’s Tale by Mark Halprin, is being made into a movie starring Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay (for all you Downton Abbey fans).  More here.

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Filed under 2013 Challenges, 2013 Science Fiction Experience, 2013 TBR Double Dog Dare, 2013 Women of Genre Fiction Challenge, Books, SciFi, StoryCollection

Playing Catch-Up, Again

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I spent most of January reading lots of Science Fiction for the SciFi Experience, but have been loath to write review posts.  Instead of forcing myself I thoughts I’d give brief descriptions of some of my favorites.

willisTo Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.  A wonderful time-travel romp jumping between the mid-Twenty-First century, the 1940’s and 1888 or so.   It is sweet and funny and a deeply intelligent book, the questions of time-travel’s possible impact on history had me reeling.  I’ve been meaning to read Connie Willis for a while and, having finally done so, am on a mad search for used copies of Blackout and All-Clear.

clarkeChildhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke.  A Classic.  Aliens mysteriously appear, connect with representatives of the United Nations and help bring humans beyond war and into a Golden Age.  I read this one many years ago and it stands up pretty well.  I had forgotten the ending, found it surprisingly moving.

Still Forms on Foxfield by Joan Slonczewski.  I have a dear friend who has been part of Clarion West and Wiscon for a number of years.  When I though to ask him what science fistion book I should read he suggested this one.  I had never heard of Slonczewski before, and was thrilled to find a new-to-me women author of science fiction.

A colony of Friends, after escaping from warring earth, has landed on a planet they call Foxfield.  Already inhabited by a life-form the humans call Commensals, there is a period of adjustment as the two species learn to live together.  Their hard but peaceful co-existence is threatened by the arrival of a ship from earth piloted by representatives of UNI, the world government.  Should the colonists rejoin their earthly cousins?  Will their faith and way of life be threatened?

I enjoyed this book and found the author using her story to explore society and culture much the way Ursula LeGuin does in her science fiction novels.sloncz  Slonczewski wrote several other novels including The Children Star and Daughter of Elysium.  They are on my used book search list.

All of these books came from my TBR pile so I have managed to stick to the TBR Double Dog Dare as well as join in the 2013 Science Fiction Experience.

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Filed under 2013 Challenges, 2013 Science Fiction Experience, Books, SciFi, Thoughts