This is my first day back from a week-long holiday and I am drowning in unwritten reviews, half-finished books, and general catching up on Stuff That Happened On the Internet. It’s good to be back! May turned out to be a meager month when it comes to reading, mostly because I started watching Battlestar Galactica and – if you’ve seen the show you will understand this – there was no way I would spend a minute of my free time doing anything other than watching BSG. My Gods, I loved that show. Four season and a movie were over way too fast and I already kind of feel the urge to start over again.
But let’s talk books. Here is what little I managed to read in May 2013:
After hearing only good things about Nalo Hopkinson, I randomly picked one of her books and was pretty much blown away. Writing this now in June, the themes and language still reverberate and it’s hard to get the book out of my mind. Tan-Tan was a fantastic protagonist and I can’t wait to discover more of Hopkinson’s books. She is immensely gifted, her writing feels fresh and different and utterly fascinating. Please sir, can I have some more?
By now I know there is no going wrong with Cat Valente. I particularly love this book because it is signed (yay) and beautifully made. The story, while short, pushed all the right buttons and transported a well-known fairytale into a Wild West setting. The pictures she paints with her prose are nothing short of magical and if I weren’t extremely careful with my books, I would have underlined pretty much every other paragraph. Totally worth its 30 Euro price, and then some.
Frances Hardinge has given me hope that YA and children’s fiction has not completely gone to shit. Everything about this book was original. The language, while easy enough to understand, was challenging at times (that’s how you teach people new things, after all, and not just children!), the setting and characters were fully fleshed-out and different from anything I have read in a children’s book before. Hardinge is another author that went right to my must-read-more-of-that list.
Seeing as I only read four books, the chances were pretty low to come across a terrible one. And I didn’t. Nothing bad in May, other than not reading enough in general.
Sullivan, Kate (ed.) – (re) Visions: Alice 5/10
A small short story collection set around the original Alice in Wonderland. As with any collection, I didn’t like every story. There was a broad range of styles and quality. If you want to read about a noir version of Wonderland, meet old friends from Wonderland in real-life London, or see how one person can flee into her own Wonderland because real life deals her nothing but trouble, you may well find something to like in here. The collection also includes Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which was by far the most fun of the stories represented. All in all, the collection left me with a feeling of “meh” but the first short story still sticks in my mind as a lot of fun and very close to Carroll’s nonsensical writingn style.
Margo Lanagan – The Brides of Rollrock Island (Sea Hearts)
I expected something as breathtaking as Tender Morsels but even a week of holiday and unlimited reading time didn’t make me finish this book. The narrative switches too much between characters and reads more like a short story collection than a novel. I am also missing some of the magic that, in my mind, should be present whenever selkies are involved. That said, the writing is beautiful and some characters’ arcs are truly touching. Maybe the ending will sweep me off my feet (though I doubt it).