31 July 2009

What I am reading: July 2009

  1. Regenesis by CJ Cheryh: Wow. It was great. I put aside everything that I was supposed to be reading and just made my way through this sequel to 1988's Cyteen. Since my copy of that is, of course, back in the US in storage, I ordered a copy (in 1 volume and without the iconic Whelan covers) to reread before digging into the 585 page (and boringly covered) sequel. But I couldn't wait. I remember the original (I think I must have reread it two or three times) well enough that I just plunged into the sequel and I didn't feel the lack (although Cyteen is now waiting on my night table to be reread RSN). It's just classic Cherryh and I love it. The new Invader novel is somewhere much deeper in my TBR pile: this brought me back to the basics of why I used to love SF so much (and makes me sad- I read so much fantasy now because I just can't find enough SF to be passionate about anymore). My gosh. This is just great stuff. Genetics, cloning, birth labs, "reincarnation" through cloning and mind-tapes, societal engineering: this is what made science fiction so exciting and it still is exciting.
  2. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews: Sequel to Magic Bites and Magic Burns by a husband and wife team writing urban fantasy as Ilona Andrews. Their writing is improving and their story is as interesting and exciting as it has been. The concept is that waves "post Shft" of magic and technology sweep across the world, and that the protagonist, Kate Daniels, has abilities only partially known to her friends and allies. The plot keeps developing, the back story keeps filling out and I become more interested and invested in the characters each book.
  3. Past the Size of Dreaming by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: This author was suggested to me (was it Amazon, was it someone's list?) as being similar in thought and flavour to Zenna Henderson, whose work I love (and which has been "copied" by others such as Alexander Keys). This novel- not so much (another I picked up more so), but I liked it very much. The background is of a world where magic lives, where it can be awakened, and where it operates in a hidden parallel with mundanity while also being "mundane" in itself, or natural. I like her writing and I like her "voice. I am sorry to see that most of her current work is short stories because they are so much harder to track down than novels. I will try to pick up the rest of her work while I am in the US next month. (I just popped over to Amazon, where I see she has a new novel out in a few months and I have ordered it.)
  4. The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: This is much more in the style of Henderson. YA, as most of Hoffman's work is. The protagonist helps his dad run a general store in a recreational area and gets his kicks watching the summer people and renters, but this time the family he watches is quite extraordinary: they have Magic and they don't enjoy his watching. But Nick is not ordinary either. This book is why I jave ordered the rest of Hoffman's work.
  5. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman: I saw Stardust recently and loved it and some others of Gaiman's works are sitting on my TBR pile, so I thought I would start with this, a collection of short stories primarily in the YA accessible range. In the preface, Gaiman mentions that Ray Bradbury chose his more YA stories to put into collections called R is for Rocket and S is for Space and that he asked permission to call this collection M is for Magic. I don't think the permission was required, but the conceit is lovely and brings back memories.
  6. Nation by Terry Pratchett: I love Pratchett. A really good book. The protagonist is on his manhood journey when a tsunami destroys his entire homeland. He is the last. As others float up on his Island, the interactions are wonderful. A parallel world, with a few familiar faces. A good read. (This just won a Globe/Hornbook award and will debut as a play this year.)
  7. Why we read what we read by John Heath and Lisa Adams: Interesting discussion of what Americans have been reading in the last decades. A bit frightening to see the change, which seems to actually be similar to the degradation of the national psyche as seen through the rise of Fox News and the declination of CNN.
  8. Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi: A look at Scalz's last book through the parallel story of Perry's daughter Chloe. Well-done, was nominated for the Hugo this year. (edit: lost to Neal Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.)
  9. Cyteen by CJ Cherryh: After reading Regenesis, I went to Cherryh's blog and have added her to my reader. I enjoyed rereading Cyteen and will probably reread Regenesis in a few months (to have read it after rereading Cyteen): I am glad to see that Cherryh thinks she might write another (without the 20 year wait). Cyteen was as good as I remembered it, but I think Cherry's writing now is even better and smoother.
  10. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett:
  11. tales of a fourth grade nothing by Judy Blume: While wandering around the Interwebs some time ago, I wandered through circuitous paths to Judy Blume's website. I really loved her work when I was young and I am looking forward to starting to share it with Things 1 and 2 soon. I picked this up and felt as if I had fallen into my childhood, Freaky Friday, Disney movie, Bewitched. I loved it and will pick up the rest of the (re-issued) series in the matching covers when I am in the US.
  12. The Language of Bees by Laurie R King: Since King's last Martinelli book (her other, contemporary detective/police series) used the Baker Street Irregulars as a primary plot ingredient, it was like a warm-up to this, the next in her Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes series. I always enjoy them and this was interesting and brought in what will be interesting new series characters. For this first time ever, King has closed this with, really, a cliffhanger and I hope that I don't have long to wait for the sequel and to really get to meet the new characters.


Joyce said...

I'm glad you liked Regenesis. I preferred it to Cyteen myself. Is that sacrilege?
I also got Graceling so I could see how the world in Ash got started. Yes, you should try to read it.

honeypiehorse said...

I loved Regenesis, it was very satisfying closure to Cyteen.