The better to see you, my dear
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.

 

Pre-party Part 2: Bring on the Horror - Favourite Horror Reads and how scary thet are
It - Stephen King Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov, Craig Raine Misery - Stephen King Ponies - Kij Johnson

I like my horror reads to be absolutely chilling and of the mind-fuck variety, so I'd say very scary for any title here.

 

It - Stephen King : Beyond how inherently scary a concept a boggart is, and one written by King at that, what terrified me in this book is the truth of how helpless children are against adults, their power and their belief in other adults. It's always that scene where Bev is running from her not-dad, and no adult even stopping, because it rings so creepily real.

 

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov : I don't get why anyone would mistake this one for a romance. Ever. That's the ickiest, most compelling and therefore scariest, unreliable narrator of literature. Real horror.

 

Misery - Stephen King : This one gave me palpitations. It gets violent and there are lasting consequences.

 

Ponies - Kij Johnson : Maybe horror is not the genre one would put it, but this little does cause horror. I never read it again, but I still feel like crying when I remember it.

 

 

Reading Challenges for 2019

6/25 female authors

 

I'm focusing on new-to-me for the most part, but there is a mix.

 

A

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor

Ann Aguirre: Enclave (08/07)

Katherine Arden: The Bear and the Nightingale (05/23)

Tomi Adeyemi: Children of Blood and Bone

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun

Sarah Addison Allen: The Peach Keeper

Julia Alvarez: En el tiempo de las Mariposas

 

B

Leigh Bardugo: Ruin and Rising

Katherine Blake: The Interior Life

Liliana Bodoc: Los días del Fuego

Charlotte Brontë: Shirley and Villete have been there some 10 years on my tbr but I've been procrastinating because I did not care for Jane Eyre when I was a teen.

Lois McMaster Bujold: I owe to myself to try her. Almost did for Bingo (twice), but couldn't get my hands on one of her books on time.

Octavia E. Butler: Ditto

Fanny Burney

 

C

Trudi Canavan

Rae Carson

Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories

Joy Chant: Red Moon and Black Mountain

Jo Clayton: Diadem from the Stars

Susan Cooper: Over Sea, Under Stone

 

D

Pamela Dean: The Secret Country

Daphne Du Maurier: The Birds (01/20)

Diane Duane: The Door into Fire

Tananarive Due: My Soul to Keep

Marguerite Duras: The Lover (*grimace* I did not care for her shorter work, but since I own it...)

 

E

Phyllis Eisenstein: Sorcerer's Son

George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans): Middlemarch keeps popping up (Chist, it's massive)

Kate Elliott: King's Dragon

Sylvia Engdahi: Enchantress from the Stars

 

F

Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Cornelia Funke: Inkspell (we bought the whole series! Further heartbreak here I come)

 

G

Elizabeth Gaskell: Wives and Daughters

Jessica Day George: Dragon Flight

Molly Gloss: The Dazzle of Day

Lisa Goldstein

Mira Grant

 

H

Jenny Han: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Cynthia Hand: Unearthly

Victoria Hanley: The Seer and the Sword

Kristin Hannah

Georgette Heyer

Robin Hobb (Megan Lindholm)

Alice Hoffman

 

I

 

J

Elfriede Jelinek: The Piano Teacher

N.K. Jemisin

Diana Wynne Jones: Howl's Moving Castle

 

K

Phyllis Ann Karr: The Idylls of the Queen

M.M. Kaye: The Far Pavillions

Maggie Shen King: An Excess Male

Barbara Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible

Nancy Kress: Beggars in Spain

Ellen Kushner: Swordspoint 

 

L

Mercedes Lackey: Arrows of the Queen

Selma Lagerlöf: (Nobel)

Marghanita Laski: The Victorian Chaise Longue

Clarice Lispector: I think mom added one of her books to our library

Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien

Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice

Megan Lindholm (Robin Hobb)

 

M

Juliet Marillier: I've heard so amazing things about her, and fantasy is my love

Carson McCullers: scared to, but have The Heart is a Lonely Hunter somewhere around

Collen McCullough: The Thorn Birds (... yeah, another scary prospect)

Sandra McDonald: The Outback Stars

Vonda N. McIntyre: Starfarers (08/18) (Dreamsnake might get kicked to next year)

Toni Morrison: Funny thing here: I've had it on my "author to try" list for a long while, but thought her male

Anchee Min: Empress Orchid

Kanae Minato: Confessions

Miyuki Miyabe: Crossfire

Judith Moffett: Pennterra

Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Blue Castle

Ann McCaffrey: Dragonflight

 

N

Linda Nagata: Vast

Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler's Wife

Anais Nin: Delta of Venus has been waving at me, but... another massive one

Amelie Nothomb: another on mom's wish-list that I can't remember if we bought

Naomi Novik

 

O

Joyce Carol Oates: Bellefleur is one I took a stab at when I was 14 and never finished. Might rectify this year (and how did I come to the conclusion Joyce was a male name then? maybe my brain associated James Joyce?)

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge... Or maybe The Housekeeper and the Professor

Lauren Oliver: Liesl & Po

Wendy Orr: Nim's Island

 

P

Ann Patchett: Bel Canto

Katherine Paterson: Bridge to Terabithia... if I'm feeling brave or wanting a good bawl

Barbara Paul: Pillars of Salt

Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz): Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody 1)

Rachel Pollack: Unquenchable Fire

Eleanor Porter: Pollyana (05/08)

Katherine Anne Porter

Barbara Pym: Excellent Women

 

Q

Amanda Quick

 

R

Ann Radcliffe: The Mysteries of Udolpho

Jean Rhys: Wide Sargasso Sea

Veronica Rossi: Never finished her saga. Might go for it if in the mood for YA

Mary Doria Russell: The Sparrow

Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

 

S

Jessica Amanda Salmonson: Tomoe Gozen

Sofia Samatar: Stranger in Olondria (read a short story of hers in Clarkesworld magazine, and oh, my!)

Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis (reading)

Dorothy L. Sayers

Alice Sebold: maybe. The Lovely Bones did a lot of noise

Lisa See: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (some group discussed a buddy read when I was still on goodreads, and the movie renewed my interest)

Mary Shepard: Mary Poppins

Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Dodie Smith: I Capture the Castle

Wen Spencer

Mary Stewart: The Crystal Cave

 

T

Amy Tan

Josephine Tey: Brat Farrar was brought to my attention during the games, and will read as soon as I can get a copy

Megan Whalen Turner: The Thief

 

U

 

V

Catherynn M. Valente: In the Night Garden is one I want to buy and savor

Sara Varon: Robot Dreams

Joan D. Vinge: The Snow Queen

 

W

Sarah Waters

Winifred Watson: Mrs Petigrew Lives for a Day

Martha Wells: All Systems Red (03/27) Artificial Condition (03/13)

Edith Wharton: pure author faith (even if she rips my heart)

Connie Willis: keeps popping up on my radar

Virginia Woolf: sure I have a couple of hers back at home

 

Y

Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen is a book that keeps popping up and haven't gotten to yet

Jane Yolen: I had Tam Lin on my list, but reading up on her... over 365 books! Woman!

Marguerite Yourcenar: Have Memories of Hadrian on my bed-table

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

 

Z

 

Other Original Languages

 

Julia Alvarez: En el tiempo de las Mariposas

Jorge Amado: Gabriela, Clavo y Canela

Aristophanes: Lysistrata

Roberto Arlt: Los 7 locos

Honoré de Balzac: Pere Goriot

Erique Barrios: Civilizaciones internas (leyendo)

Simone de Beauvoir: El segundo sexo

Liliana Bodoc: Los días del Fuego

Ítalo Calvino: Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore

Fernándo de Rojas: La Celestina (this one I have on hand, but it's such an archaic Spanish, it gave me head-aches the one time I attempted it. We'll see)

Marguerite Duras: L'Amant

José María Eça de Queirós: El Crímen del Padre Amaro

Umberto Eco: El Nombre de la Rosa (bought it too, will have leisure to read)

Gabriel García Marquez: El amor en los tiempos de Cólera (08/29)

Juan Ramón Jiménez: Platero y Yo (leyendo)

Yasunari Kawabata: Snow Country (07/19)

Clarice Lispector:

Cixin Liu: The Three-Body Problem

Guadalupe Loaeza: Las Niñas Bien

Facundo Manes: Usar el Cerebro

Kanae Minato: Confessions

Miyuki Miyabe: Crossfire

Haruki Murakami: Kafka en la Orilla

Kezaburo Oe: Memushiri kouchi (Pluck the Bud and Destroy the Offspring)

Yoko Ogawa: Revenge

Ovid: Metamorphoses

Tulsidas, Ramayana

Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen

Marguerite Yourcenar: Memorias de Adriano

 

... Those are over a 100 books I'm hyped to read... doubling my challenge already... Lol, I always bite more than I can chew

Review
4.5 Stars
For science!
Starfarers - Vonda N. McIntyre

I still take the wide range of the cast as the best part of this.

 

If you take the "scientists car-jack a self-sustaining space base and go exploring" plot thing away. Because you can't say that isn't all-around BAMF and likely the main reason why one would land in this series. (Oddly enough, it was not my case, but the fact that it was listed in a Tor article about books with older women in a central part of the plot).

 

And that's a maybe... I still like the fact that is scientists, mostly older, and mostly women characters, that compose the cast on a freaking space heist. For science!

 

Anyway, that comes late in the book. Mostly, we build on the political climate and the personal motivations that lead to that situation, and if you want action packed and get bothered by very flawed characters the book will loose you before then. I felt like shaking most of the people inside those pages more than once, and enjoyed myself immensely.

 

I though there was a lot of unbelievable political naivete in the alien contact expert (wouldn't you have to be good at politics, social studies and what-not for that?) and some stereotyping is going on that makes the whole feel a bit pulpy. But it's good pulp and I'm still wavering between four and five stars.

Reading progress update: I've read 190 out of 280 pages.
Starfarers - Vonda N. McIntyre

So far I'm loving the widely diverse cast and relationships, and all the way characters rub awkward, sometimes awesome, sometimes sweet, often making me impatient (and in Griffith's case, like wanting to maul him till death) and all around very human.

 

And there are these bits:

 

“Every time the argument about evolution comes along again, I start wondering what would happen if it were true that god invented fossils to fool us with. What if god’s got a sense of humor? If I were god, I’d plant a few fossils that wouldn’t fit into the scheme, just for fun.”
“And that’s what these are? Does that mean you’re playing god?”
“Artists always play god,” Crimson said.
“Don’t you believe in evolution?”
“That’s a tough word, ‘believe.’ Believing, and knowing what the truth is — you’re talking about two different things. Human beings are perfectly capable of believing one thing metaphorically, and accepting evidence for a completely different hypothesis. That’s the simplest definition of faith that I know. It’s the people who don’t have any faith, who can’t tell the difference between metaphor and reality, who want to force you to believe one thing only.”

 

That had me laughing and remembering Good Omens, and also parallels some of my vaguely agnostic thoughts.

 

Or things like this:

 

Under ordinary circumstances, they would never have had a hope of buying their house. Nobody living on ordinary incomes — even three ordinary incomes — could afford to buy property.

 

Which is wildly unfunny by how real it is.

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