bluedaisy: (Default)
This was a lot of fun. I love Judith Martin's style, so reading this
is like reading Ettiquette
Hell
with more answers and more super-polite snarkyness.

Mostly from this I reinforced things I think I already knew (like
never include registry cards---just throw them away) although I
learned a couple things (Don't invite "and guest"---ask who their
guest will be if you think they might want to bring one!) that I wasn't sure about.

Anyway, super-short-review, but I enjoyed this and am happy to lend it out.

Books Read in 2006: 15.5
bluedaisy: (Default)

This was recommended to me by a recently-married friend, so we picked
it up off Amazon. Mostly, I liked its tone, but didn't get a lot out
of its suggestions that I had not gotten out of the other 20 tons of
wedding-related advice I've read recently. I got much more from the
Miss Manners book, since at least it was funnier.
(That review will be coming soon.)



In general, this is a nice couple hundred pages of feel-good stories
about other people who had situations that may or may not sound
familiar (some did, some did not), with some commom-sense suggestions
for how to address them without anyone killing anyone else. Sadly, I
think I picked it up too late to be helpful with the initial "Ack, I'm
throwing a party!" stress, and the more specific conflicts we had with
our families were either already resolved or really not addressed by the advice in the book.



(For some reason, nobody has advice on whether people will be insulted
by the lack of meat or alcohol at the wedding, or on how to deal with
passive-aggressive attempts to claim that someone not-the-speaker will
be insulted. I can't imagine why not. The book did have a bit about
a vegetarian couple whose family was surprised, but not a lot about
how she dealt with it.)



Books Read in 2006: 14.5
bluedaisy: (Default)
I love John Ringo. He needs to write faster, because this series is fantastic, but there are *no more books*! (There will be more.) Ringo has made it onto my list, with George RR Martin, of authors for whom I will happily do favors for the next chapter. (By the way, guys, should you somehow come across this, I make great cookies.)

Before starting this series, you should be warned there are not just one but two "Mary Sue" characters---larger than life and everything the author wanted to be (or maybe is. I don't actually know. Maybe John Ringo really is a l33t SCA warmonger.) Herzer Herrick and Edmund Talbot are both amazing---but you do at least get to see the "zero to hero" transition for Herzer.

You should also be warned that the SCA, a self-confessed "cheap Japanese knockoff" of an Elf, spaceships, and dragons all do appear in this book. Therefore, since it's a Baen book, the elf, the dragon, and a (non-exploding) space ship are on the various cover of "There Will Be Dragons". As [livejournal.com profile] nakor said "Jim Baen was born to publish John Ringo's books".
(The other covers have a mermaid and a winged girl, respectively).
Also, the title is literal---there will be dragons in the first book, but you don't really see them until Emerald Sea. There's one dragon in There Will Be Dragons but you might miss her if you blink.

All warnings aside, the books are great. I had so much fun reading these that I am tempted to read them again, but I probably won't---there's too much else to read. The premise is fun (and doesn't wear out even with much exposition) and the characters are likeable and hateable and real. Even the bad guys are smart---evil, twisted, and tricky, but smart---so you can really enjoy the good guys' victories.

The plot also twists in intricate ways---you know the battles will come out with the Mary Sue party on top, but then you think "wait, no, they're going to lose!". And then you turn a page and realize that they've got a plan. Then you turn another page, and realize that the bad guys have a plan, too, and it's a really good one. And then he totally blows you out of the water with the Good Guy plan to beat all Good Guy plans.

The one thing that's wrong is that I do somewhat wish I knew more about the SCA. It's not necessary to the plot, but I think there are a bunch of things I would have been more amused by if I'd been an SCA member.

All in all, I really really enjoyed this series. I should go read more Ringo.

Books Read in 2006: 13.5

bluedaisy: (Default)
igana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Now, I like the surprise twist ending as much as anyone. I also like
genre endings. What I don't like is being picked up and dropped
repeatedly like the on-again, off again romance of an abusive lover.

Kay builds up expectations, again and again, with fantastic
characters, beautiful prose, an intricate world and interesting
conflicts but every time you get really into the story he ruins it for
you.

spoiler-tastic specifics )

He does, at least, show the characters to be very real---at least the
ones he focuses on. Even the ones who drive me mad are reminiscent of
real people who drive me that mad. I *know* people who take up a new
cause with the same naievete and utter obsession as Devin, pitying
themselves for having been unable to take it up sooner. I know women
as stupid as Dianora---angsting about their predicament rather than
choosing one path and sticking to it. I also know people as haunted
and driven as Baerd and Catriana... something to prove, indeed. The
Barbadian could have been cool, but ended up kind of flat, since the
PCs were focused on Brandin. Brandin could have been cool, but we see
too little of him, and only really through Dianora.

It's such a beautiful world, and such interesting characters---it's too bad the story is so awful.

Books in 2006: 10.5
bluedaisy: (Default)
Here's another "three paperbacks stapled together" book---"The Black Company Goes South". It has two books about the Company going South, and one about the people who didn't go south with the company. (One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same...)
Read more... )

Books in 2006: 8.5
bluedaisy: (Default)
Orphans of Chaos
Author: John Wright

Wow. Oh wow.
I really liked the Golden Oecumene series, but I think I actually liked the main character in this one more. [livejournal.com profile] nakor pointed out to me that this is the first time Wright's used a female protagonist, but he really does get into her head pretty well. She's not every woman, but she's certainly one I can imagine. None of Wright's characters are flat, but they're not rounded either---the best way I can explain is that they're like polyhedrons with millions and millions of faces, so that they look real until you get close enough to see the god-faces where power overwhelms their apparent humanity.
maybe some spoilers )

Books in 2006: 6
bluedaisy: (Default)
Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury

This has been on my "should have read long ago" list for some time, so I checked it out of MITSFS before the trip. I think I finished it in two sittings, of no more than an hour each, but I did really enjoy it.
(And it's nice sometimes to have a book that's nice and short.)

The characters seemed a little flat, but many of them were supposed to, I think. Mildred was clearly intended to be no more real than her "Family", Faber too afraid to really define himself, and the other firemen, neighbors, and friends just setting. Only Captain Beatty and Montag are real characters, as far as I can tell. (I think Clarisse only looks real for her brief moments "onscreen" because she's a mirror to show Montag what he can be)

I'm still trying to figure out whether Beatty was really a bad guy, or whether if Montag had given him a better way out, been less impetuous, he'd have shown that he was really a book-lover too. There were times I really wanted to beat up Montag and spin him so he'd really look around him and see his world, but he's supposed to be naïve.

I can't decide whether it's because the book is (compared to my worldview) so old, or because I'm missing something that I feel like the ideas in it are not as revolutionary as I'd have expected. It didn't seem as strange or terrifying to me as the world in Catch 22, or 1984... just sad.

Books read in 2006: 5
bluedaisy: (Default)
"Garrett on the Case" by Glen Cook

Garrett on the Case is actually two books---Angry Lead Skies
and Whispering Nickel Idols. I read them together because I
like hardcovers, even when the cover art is sort of confusing.

(There's a picture I assume must be of the Dead Man, Garrett, a rat
and a dark-haired girl. I assume the girl is Belinda, so the rat must
be Pular Singe, but it's much smaller than I assumed she was. I'm
pretty sure she's supposed to be person-sized...)

Anyway, both of these are pretty typical Garrett books---Garret is
totally unappreciated as he stumbles through to startling success.

Reviews with some spoilers )

Books in 2006: 4
bluedaisy: (Default)
I'd forgotten how much I liked Honor Harrington. Even the soap opera plots (many of which, for those of you who don't like them, resolve in this book)
The cover honestly spoils an awful lot with respect to the soap opera plot, since it's a scene from the final chapter of the book. Boo to Baen. There aren't even any exploding spaceships. However, I'll cut for Spoilers/Review ) anyway.

Books in 2006: 2
bluedaisy: (Default)
I hate you, George R.R. Martin. Except you're fantastic.
This book is incredible. It would be more incredible and less incredibly frustrating if it didn't end in at least three distinct cliffhangers.

Cut for spoilers )
Books in 2006: 1
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