The better to see you, my dear
Reading progress update: I've read 225 out of 324 pages.
Beloved - Toni Morrison

It's making me cry at the others things.

 

Like, there is the brutality (mostly inferred, none explicit so far), and the tragedy, and the whole landscape itself. And, OK, I'm not unmoved, but mostly wincing in horror more that tearing up.

 

And then there is that "mass" at the clearing, and a page about being able to love, and suddenly I'm sobbing like mad because...

 

Well, maybe it's not so odd. Because this book is functioning by negative space. What's there shows you what's absent very powerfully. And what's absent is a void that sucks attention to itself, and demands to be acknowledged, and holy molly, this is turning into me writing the review...

Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 324 pages.
Beloved - Toni Morrison

This is a heavy weight puncher.

Reading progress update: I've read 110 out of 209 pages.
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

So far, what I keep thinking is that some things are simply universal. The words and the flavour may be different, and it's interesting to read, absorbing, and at the same time, vaguely recognizable.

Review
4 Stars
Angsty, rosy and funny dialogues
A Wicked Kind of Husband (Longhope Abbey #1) - Mia Vincy

This came to my attention from some feed or other, recced as an entertaining romance, and it hit right the spot. Since I'm a picky bitch when it comes to my romantic reads, to say this was a nice and serviceable way to kill a reading slump, and a fairly enjoyable one at that, is no small praise. I might not be claiming it as perfect or touting it's brilliance to all and sunder (because I'm a bitch), but I will certainly read more of the author.

Review
4 Stars
“Poo-tee-weet?”
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

Took some pages for the book to grab me. If I'm honest, I'm pretty sure it was the chat with his war-buddy's wife, and as it happens, it is something of a key for the whole book. There was a promise there

 

If I ever do finish it, though, I give you my word of honor: there won’t be a part for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne.
“I tell you what,” I said, “I’ll call it ‘The Children’s Crusade.’”

 

It was kept, in sub-title and spirit.

 

There is nothing that could ever come close to glorifying war inside these pages. The theme is how absurd a beast it is, the little and big tragedies, how far in time the damages travel (and who was that said that wars die only with the last soldier that fought in it dies?). Hell, the whole way it's constructed is thoroughly trafalmadorian, which we would call hell of a PTSD outside any sci-fi bent mind.

 

It's also so bittersweet and human. There was also this other bit near the beginning that caught me

 

And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.

 

Because... well, I guess because it kind of encapsulates the thing, and how it feels. It's horrible, and terrible, and pretty disgusting, and so are almost every character in one aspect or another, but you are compelled to look. The dead demand to be witnessed and acknowledged and war sucks.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 275 pages.
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

The blue fairy god mother rocks.

 

This is... wow, is this a book about war that delivers on what promised in the beginning.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 275 pages.
Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut

This is my first Vonnegut, and so far it's a jumble where nothing is really happening and I'm kinda waiting for the mix of pieces of background to emerge into the story it's hinting at.

 

No idea yet why it's is shelved so, but apparently this one would fit my Aliens square?

 

Review
3 Stars
I would have been happier without the romantic plot tumor
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

For all that three years passed, 21 years old Catalina feels so much younger than Nevada at 23 did on that first volume. Mostly because she got so derailed by Sagredo.

 

And I know; hormones mess with you, and so does passion, and 21 is very young and perfect time to be stupid about those things (and really, crushes and love makes idiots out of everyone at any age). But: Sagredo.

 

I have ZERO likes for those dangerous, maybe-bad, likely-bad-for-you, Cassanova-wanna-bes with tortured backgrounds that enjoy teasing and baiting, then hide under all the angst to not commit, and leave the damsel paying while telling themselves they are being all selfless for not dragging her all the way in. That's... so much disrespect for the girl, her feelings, and her capabilities.

 

I did like most of the periphery though: the one-scene-wonder Venenata coming back (though her brother could get stuffed... and I just realized almost every male made me rage at some point, and the exceptions would be Heart and Sgt Teddy, like, wow); the family interactions; what happened in the interim with the fallout of previous volumes; that chat and decision with Victoria (terrible, stupid, and still very interesting) and... that's it.

 

Yeah, doing a recap, I realize that although it was a fast fun ride, it was not awesome like I'd expected.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 270 out of 400 pages.
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

Sergeat Teddy!! Damn, I love him.

 

Interesting way to fill the gap and the fall-out.

Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 400 pages.
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

Fuck that dip-shit. If he's the romantic interest I'm gonna be so disappointed

Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 400 pages.
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

Had a couple crazy weeks, so this is my first Halloween Bingo book, and I just realized I have no idea where to place it.

 

Should work for Suspense or Supernatural, right?

Review
5 Stars
A tale is a tail
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman

Several stray thoughts I had while choosing the tags for this one:

 

It's not really romance-done-right. While the title is scrupulous, there is little romance to all the types of "loves" (because there is always that doubt, of what is and is not love, what is selfish use, or abuse, and whether that frontier is concrete) weaved into the tapestry of the story. Most are too real or too fantastical, or grotesque (and still real, maybe more so), and the ways they happen are written just so; with all the anxiety, the terror, hesitation, thoughtlessness, doubts, crudity or day-to-day boredom that merits the occasion.

 

Wanted to tick better-than-expected but I still don't know why I am surprised by his writing.

 

This one is not magical-realism. Actually, leaving aside One Hundred Years of Solitude , I don't know that any of his other books would fit that one. Might be the grandiose, nearly mythic proportions of the stories he pieces together in his novels.

 

 

It is an odd and frankly ambitious book. It immerses you into the story by way of an octogenarian last chapter no less, and after it wraps you in, tells you how two seventy-somethings traveled through 50 years of other loves to re-meet as lovers. It meanders through the years and the relationships, and the depictions when gathered turn into a tapestry that is nothing less than epic in scope.

 

I can't say that I truly liked any of the characters, and yet, maybe I loved them all, in their terrible intensities. They are certainly memorable.

 

As always, I take off my hat to his opening and closing sentences, to the strange feats and acrobatics he manages from the language, to the way he depicts the shiny and the rotten side by side, making something amazing and nostalgic of a nature core of reality.

Halloween Bingo Books (Tracking Post)

I've just realized I've not yet posted my tentative picks for this round of Bingo. Some of the squares could use a bit more love and options, so I'd welcome suggestions (Stranger Things, I'm looking at you)

 

 

13: Small gods - Terry Pratchett ; The Curse of Chalion - Lois McMaster Bujold ; The Thirteenth Tale - Diane SetterfieldMagpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz ; Year One - Nora Roberts ; Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo 


Doomsday: The Road - Cormac McCarthy ; Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood ; Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon


Grave or Graveyard: I'm thinking of using a Transfiguration Spell into: A Grim Tale: Beauty - Robin McKinley ; Daughter of the Forest - Juliet Marillier ; Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik ; The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert 

Suspence: The Ivy Tree - Mary Stewart ; The African Queen - C.S. Forester ; The Ugly Duckling - Iris Johansen 

Stranger Things: Help?

--------------

Gothic: The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins ; The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins ; The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe ; Bleak House - Charles Dickens 

Dystopian Hellscape: The Minority Report - Philip K. Dick ; Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler ; V for Vendetta - David Lloyd,Alan Moore

It was a dark and stormy night: The Mysteries of Udolpho - Ann Radcliffe ; Bleak House - Charles Dickens

Sleepy Hollow: The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne ; A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving ; The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories - H.P. Lovecraft 

Cryptozoologist: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip ; Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey ; The BFG - Roald Dahl ; Metamorphoses - Ovid 

 

-------------

Diverse Voices: Something by Octavia Butler or Tanarive Due; The Decagon House Murders - Yukito Ayatsuji ; Beloved - Toni Morrison

Halloween: My second transfiguration turns this into Supernatural: Hell House - Richard Matheson ; Mort - Terry Pratchett ; The Hunger - Alma Katsu 

Free Space

Slasher Stories: Third and last spell to Film at 11: that I'm likely to fill in as the humor strikes

Dead Lands: The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey  Blood Games - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro  Feed - Mira Grant  The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan 

----------------------

Darkest London: The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie ; Murder Must Advertise - Dorothy L. Sayers ; Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz ; The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins 

Classic Horror: Uncle Silas - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu  In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu 

Modern Noir: Mystic River - Dennis Lehane  Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane 

American Horror Story: Flowers in the Attic - V.C. Andrews 

Spellbound: The Pillars of the World - Anne Bishop  Taliesin - Stephen R. Lawhead 

--------------------------

Creepy Carnivals: Full Tilt - Neal Shusterman  NOS4A2 - Joe Hill  The Prestige - Christopher Priest  Caraval - Stephanie Garber 

Aliens: Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut  Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke  All You Need Is Kill - Hiroshi Sakurazaka  Sundiver - David Brin 

Amatheur Sleuth: El nombre de la rosa - Umberto Eco  Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz  

Stone Cold Horror: Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist  Snowblind (Dark Iceland) - Ragnar Jónasson 

Vampires: Blood Games - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro 

Review
3.5 Stars
Cute romp
The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia, #3) - C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes

Smiled at some bits, laughed at others, and loved the mare most of all.

 

I liked the part about being told only your own story and the detail of the torn back. Oh, and the Pevensies' cameo (reading carefully, there are these minuscule hints of Susan being different than the other three too).

Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 348 pages.
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman

Whenever I read another of his books, It's like I rediscover the weird ways he uses words and how damn good the writing paints things in your head. I don't know how well that's is captured in translation though. Like:

 

.... la ayudó a acostarse en una cama de sábanos tersas y almohadas de plumas que le infundieron de pronto el pánico instantáneo de la felicidad.

 

... porque su pretendida era la más preciada de una familia típica de la región: una cábila intrincada de mujeres bravas y hombres de corazón tierno y gatillo fácil, perturbados hasta la demencia por el sentido del honor.

 

Which are two bits from the same page.

 

Also, I love how the daily made grandiose resonates with our family legacy stories. I mean, the little tortures that culminate in an absent bar of soap that almost terminates a marriage of 30 years? A man holding a torch for 50? Dying for a parrot? Keeping an affair secret for decades just because? It hits something close to funny, like there is an implausible and grotesque air to them, but in the end you laugh because goodness, did the elders of your family have stories to share in lazy afternoons.

Pre-party Part 2: New Releases?
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

Christ, yes!! I'm counting the days for this one, and it's getting released just for Bingo. I've reached the conclusion I'm seriously addicted to this writing team. There is no other way for me to be this exited about a book with a teenage protagonist at this point.

 

currently reading

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Outcasts Three Stories - Vonda N. McIntyre