Saturday, September 10, 2016

Books Finished on Vacation

When I travel, I like to read books related to travel. And, I finally did use my ereader on vacation---after I finished reading the two physical books I brought.

40. Better Than Fiction 2

This is a collection of nonfiction stories by celebrity writers. I found it an interesting read, but nothing was a huge standout. One story has nuns chasing Italian boys away from American girls.

41. Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It

I wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it, and I found it in the store right before I left for my trip. It's a collection of stories about people inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love. Now, before reading Eat Pray Love, I would have thought this was hokey, but now, I can sympathize with the "bathroom floor club," as one writer here puts it. These are more like vignettes, about the moment that changed everything, which at first was disappointing, since each story is only a few pages, but, I realized that each story packs more punch in that smaller serving. Recommended to fellow members of the bathroom floor club.

42. The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

I had this on my ereader for quite a while, and finally read it. At first, it reminded me of Elizabeth Bear's writing, the way she drops you into a heavily detailed world with no context. Hurley was a little better about quickly developing the context and the story wasn't quite as convoluted as some of Bear's, but otherwise, I think the comparison mostly bears out. This is one or more highly developed fantasy worlds, at least two of which are "mirrors" of each other, that is, they have people that are the 'same' in different life situations--everyone seems to have the same parents and family line in general, but the history of which groups are in charge is different. And, of course, one world is trying to take over the other. Recommended to fans of "deep" fantasy (those that really want to take the disorientation plunge).

43. Cress by Marissa Meyer

44. Winter by Marissa Meyer

I loved Cinder, and found the Lunar chronicles so addictive that I downloaded the last two on my ereader. However, I may have rushed through them a little too quickly, since I didn't feel like I appreciated the later books quite as much. Of the final two, Cress was my favorite. Meyer did a brilliant job of translating Rapunzel into scifi, and I loved that she explicitly and tacitly acknowledged the darker aspects of that fairy tale. Cress and Captain Throne are also my favorite couple from the series. That said, while most of Winter's arc wasn't related to the Snow White story, when it does come up, Meyer has a clever twist on that too. The "scifi-a-fairy-tale" is a theme I find especially compelling. Lunar Chronicles highly recommended for a fun can't-stop-reading whirl.

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