Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Book list

Completely utterly behind in posting many many books I had intended to write about:

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

OK, well, I've written about this quite a bit recently. But I did go back and read it once again. (And last night I got my husband to watch the Anthony Andrews made-for-TV version w/Ian Mckellan and Jane Seymour. Hee.) This is SUCH FUN to read!!! Very silly, outrageous, so overwritten and overdone. Lud, Madam!

Killing Neptune's Daughter by Randall Peffer

Wow. Or maybe a "Wow minus" if such a rating exists.

Personal disclaimer: I read this book only because I had Mr. Peffer as an English teacher. He introduced me to Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five), Thomas Hardy (Return of the Native), Mr. Heathcliff, Thomas Mann (Death in Venice), James Joyce (The Dubliners), and Henry James (Turn of the Screw). He was insanely inspiring. (And for those of you who have read my archives and think that perhaps I once wrote a Eulogy of sorts for him: No, that was another English teacher. I have been very blessed to have had so many mentors.) I've known for some time that Mr. Peffer wrote travel pieces, did a search on him and discovered that he had written a novel.

Killing Neptune's Daughter is about a group of men who were friends as boys who have come back to a small New England town after the murder of a girl they grew up with. There is a possibility that the narrator is himself the murderer--very cool idea. The flashbacks are clear and vivid concerning a group of boys who are violent and drunk mostly because there's not much hope of a future for them in this small coastal village. But ultimately I think (Oh, Dear God, forgive me Mr. Peffer) that the ending doesn't work. Revelations are made which give the boys a reason to hate each other and to hate themselves. And it's just a little too much, or a little too contrived. I'm not sure that every randomly violent gang of boys "mucking around in boats" playing with sex and knives, hating themselves for not having any future really needs a single villain to blame for their self-immolation. Nonetheless I enjoyed the read.

Somebody Wonderful and Somebody to Love by Kate Rothwell

Oooooo. Likey.

These books are fully deserving of a review wherein I detail what parts I liked, what characters were the best, how the stories shifted slightly between the two books, how much I look forward to more Historicals, but, eh, the reason I'm doing this stupidly long lost in the first place is that I just can't seem to find time to sit down and write about these. If you haven't read these, you should. Mick in particular is great. (Also read Summer Devon's Futurelove. Also likey.)

Annie's Song by Catherine Anderson

Very nice. Annie is a misdiagnosed deaf girl who has been raped. The younger brother of the rapist, Alex, tries to make ammends and ends up marrying Annie so that the child she carries will have a legitimate name. Normally I hate and abhor stories surrounding pregnancy and early infanthood. (I've been pregnant a number of times and never enjoyed it much. I do not glow in the sure knowledge that I am bringing forth a wondrous addition to the universe. I vomit. I become anemic. I can't sleep. And my bones hurt. Therefore I am disinclined to read about the miraculous gift of pregnancy as I am seized with the desire to dope-slap every character so enthralled.) Annie's Song ventures into that territory of wondrous amazement, but really the truth of the story is in Alex's discovery of Annie as a person. DID NOT like that he sent her away, seemingly to extend the story. Overall, maybe a B. Liked Alex enough for an A, but the plot lowered the score a touch.

No True Gentleman, The Devil You Know, and The Devil to Pay by Liz Carlyle

Good grief. Did I read them in order? Is it possible? Because I never ever read series books in order. I think I read No True Gentleman first, but I may have read To Pay before You know. Maybe.

Eh, quickly. I liked Max from No True Gentleman, and Sidonie from Devil to Pay. (Tattoos? Really? Where exactly does one go in Regency England to get a tattoo?) Sidonie was quite wicked in her little temptation of Dev. Tie me up, Tie me down seems to work quite nicely. In regards to The Devil you Know, I had to go read some reader reviews to remind me what it was about--the back blurb didn't even trigger a memory. But now that I do remember, I'll say, "Ooo. I liked this one too. Very sexy." (But it's disturbing to have a read you enjoyed just waltz right out of your head like that.) Planning on reading more Liz Carlyle.

Slightly Sinful by Mary Balogh

Read it quite a lo-o-ong time ago, in the general scheme of things (Christmas?). Really really liked. Supporting cast was memorable and not annoying.

Lindsay glom: Tender Rebel, Gentle Rogue, Love only Once

I wanted to reread the "Pirate" story I remember reading oh so many years ago. Amazon was running a 4 for 3 sale (still are), and I couldn't remember if it was Tender Rebel or Gentle Rogue that I wanted. (Could not these stories be named "Yo Ho Ho! Regency Pirate Tale from 1980's!"? It would make backlist glomming ever so much easier.) I bought these three, reread Tender Rebel and Gentle Rogue and just couldn't bring myself to read Love Only Once (which I'm still pretty sure I've never read--although it's heavily referenced in both of the other books). There is nothing I could write about these books which are embarrassingly delightful which Meljean and Missy have not already said, and better than I.

The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, aka Chung Ling Soo, the "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" by William Steinmeyer

Please read this. It's wonderful. A British magician (Robinson) who isn't particularly articulate on-stage adopts the personna of Chung Ling Soo, a mystical Chinese conjurer. Steinmeyer is a magician and so gives wonderful insight into Victorian magic and Victorian culture. He points out that Soo is a much more successful "Chinese magician" than Ching Ling Foo, (an actual Chinese magician, from China, whose act Soo stole) because Soo more perfectly presents the Victorian audiences what they expect a Chinese Magic act to be. And then there are bits like this:
[Soo's assistant, Frank Kamentaro] always looked elegant and convincing in a Chinese cap and a silk robe, adding further authenticy to the act. It was another fraud. He was actually Japanese.
Although he didn't speak Chinese, offstage he was occasionally required to do the "translation" routine with visiting reporters so that Chung Ling Soo could appear suitably, inscrutably Chinese. Now the procedure was surreal in its complexity. The reporters spoke English, which was instantly understood by Kamentaro and Soo. Kamentaro repeated it in his own version of fake Chinese. Soo responded in a different fake Chinese. Kamentaro nodded and answered the original question in English. p. 243

Whew! I'm sure there are others in there that I've forgotten to write down, but I think this post's long enough for today. (Made it to the end, did you?)

Oh SHOOT! I just remembered I was going to write about Untie my Heart by Judith Ivory. OK, well, whatever. I'm not going back to add/delete at this point. I've got a few memes to post too. (gasp)


alau said...

I LOVED "The Scarlet Pimpernel." Sometimes you just need those silly escapist books.

Suisan said...

alau, welcome!

The Scarlet Pimpernel will forever be close to my heart. It's just a little distressing that when you try to quote him in public most people have no idea what you're doing. I recently told a friend that if he was going to keep on emailing me then he'd better read TSP so we could have *some* common ground.

Suisan said...

Annahid here. I liked Love Only Once. It had a nice plot and the characters actually DID something, not just say stuff like "She's been kidnapped!!! But how? I want _______ (<-insert name of minority servant) to go find her! Godspeed!" Did I mention haw much I HATE the term 'Godspeed'? All in all, good book.

PS:Loathed Annie's Song. Annie was helpless and couldn't do anything to save herself even if she had noticed that she was going to be raped. Hmph.

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