April 2004: Book Reviews

This is an archive of my shorter book reviews and notes, which historically have been posted over at the 50 Book Challenge on LiveJournal, but which I’m starting to move over here. I’m posting them with altered date-stamps, but they might show up in my LiveJournal cross-post anyway. Bear with me, please.

Note: Many of these books also have full reviews available in the book review podcast (RSS).

#22: A Bondswoman’s Narrative, by Hannah Craft.

I finally finished listening to this two months after I downloaded it from Audible.com.

I would not call it great literature. I frequently lost interest in the story, which was very uneven. In many ways, it was more like a series of interconnected short stories with related themes. The theme was always the quest for freedom and the triumph of the virtuous over greedy white slaveholders.

#23: NAUI SCUBA Diver

The course book for my basic SCUBA class. I passed the written test last weekend and am taking my checkout dive this coming weekend. On May 2, I start the Advanced course.

What I’m reading now/next:

I am now listening to The Gunslinger (Stephen King), and have also downloaded The Alienist (Caleb Carr). I have several other books-in-progress, including:

Charles Sheffield’s Borderlands of Science (all about science for science fictionists)

Albion’s Seed (the cultural history and heritage of early settlers of America from England and Great Britain). I don’t anticipate finishing this one, as I’m only interested in one particular cultural group for research purposes.

Don’t Shoot the Dog (how to train anyone or anything using positive reinforcement)

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Alexand McCall Smith – I started reading this one last night.

In addition, I have a stack of books to read that I haven’t started yet:

The Shivered Sky Matt Dinneman – the end of days has come and gone, and Heaven lost the battle.

To Reign in Hell Stephen Brust – It’s another Satan-protagonist story.

Borderlands of Science – Michael Shermer – Same title, similar subject, different book. About going past known science into the implications of science and philosophy.

The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd: Bought it on sale at Border’s.

A few books on aviation/learning to fly (on hold while I learn to dive first 😉

Magazines: Analog, Asimov’s, and The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’m still catching up on these. I let my Analog and Asimov’s subscriptions lapse and am now buying them on Palm format, so I don’t have to be concerned with storage anymore. SF&F has a “best of” compilation available every 6 months through Audible.com as well, but my subscription there is current until September.

Basically, I have too much to read and not enough time to read it in!

#24: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

I finished The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith at lunch today. It was very cute and sweet, but…. it was a little bit disjointed. Still, I would read others in the series, expecting that the plot isn’t going to be a single storyline, but rather a series of interconnected tales.

I tried reading a little bit of it aloud to my husband last night– one of the more humorous passages, at any rate– and realized that, while I was enjoying the story immensely, I had no idea how to properly pronounce anyone’s name. Or rather, I generally knew how, but my tongue would trip right over the words.

#25: The Gunslinger

I finished The Gunslinger by Stephen King (audible.com download — unabridged) this morning on my way in to work.

I have to say, I really liked it. The pace wasn’t terrific, and the writing was kind of stark in a way that King usually isn’t, but the bleakness really fit the tone of the story. About the only thing that really confounded me was the worldbuilding– it’s hard to get a grasp on when things take place, where they take place, etc. I guess that’s because people skip around in time/space, so I’m looking forward to learning the rules of that mystery.