Jul. 31st, 2011

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Back from vacation! I spent the last week in Bonaire. It was absolutely wonderful, an island that caters to Scuba Divers--totally amazing.

pictures )
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When I wasn't diving last week, I was reading. Oh, vacation is SO good.

Anyway, this is a quick review of the ones I read.

How to Survive in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Wu

Recommended by [livejournal.com profile] ignipes. I'm not gonna lie, I don't know that I entirely understood everything that was going on in this one. It's a story about a guy and his father, about science and fiction, about time travel and exploration and getting to know yourself. I could call it Douglas Adams with daddy issues, but it's really so much more. There's some brilliant meta and some confusing meta and wrapped up in all, I think there might be the meaning of life.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

This one I couldn't put down and finished in less than 24 hours. I was hoping the scheme at the end would be a little... cleverer? But the world was so well crafted and richly imagined, I couldn't get enough. It's fun and raucous, violent and honestly, pretty clever. And if we're NOT supposed to be slashing Jean and Locke (cohabitating, codependent guys who always have each others' back), then I must not be reading what I think I am. *g*

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

This was beautiful, evocative prose to a well-researched, unique story. It's about a British Army medic who uses music to negotiate peace amongst various factions in Burma and Siam (parts of India and Thailand as far as I can tell) and convinces the army to send him first a grand piano, then a tuner to the rain forest to facilitate his work. At least that's how it begins. It's told from the POV of the tuner, and the journey changes everyone's lives involved.

A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Were

Okay, I only actually read the first 150 pages of this one. So far it's about a hollywood divorcee who goes to get away from the tabloids to a remote cottage in Cornwall where there's a handsome landed widower who's fallen on hard times. And their budding relationship conjures the ghosts of their ancestors' (did I mention that they're distant cousins?) It was a Possession ripoff, but not as well written. Um. Lame romance. I gave up.

The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum

So this book is the second in the Necromancer chronicles. The first (The Drowning city) was pretty cool, which is why I picked this up. This one was a hell of a lot better. Especially (and I don't usually weigh in on the gender-bias-in-science-fiction debate because I usually miss a the point most of the time anyway but) in its portrayal of women. So the main character (same from the last) is a crown Investigator, Spymaster in training, and also a necromancer. She's always been handled as a capable woman, but in the first book she was surrounded by men. In this one, I was struck (pleasantly) by the plethora of strong female (and androgynous) secondary characters. The world building and story are also pretty good, but it was the characters that interested me more.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Where do I even begin? This story is beyond amazing. I love the world, the imagery, the magic, the richness of place and culture and character. This was another recommendation by [livejournal.com profile] ignipes. It's a different world than I've ever known or imagined, and it's realized so completely I really felt every page.

Anyway, I'm also about 5000 words into my Hank/Alex plotty story that basically begins with the idea I want Hank guarding Alex like a big, blue, furry Doberman and about 3000 words into my Charles/Erik, reconciliation/time-travel fic wherein Erik has cause to be somewhat jealous of the relationship between Charles and his own, older self. Only in X-men fic, I swear.

I ALSO missed a VERY important birthday when I couldn't get internet last week. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY [livejournal.com profile] deirdre_c! You're one in a million. Can I take requests for gift?

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