Posts Tagged ‘Gail Carriger’

When I sat down a few days ago to catch up on my favorite book blogs I realized how much I miss this book blogging world.  I miss reading reviews, chatting with fellow book lovers, and planning and writing my own reviews and bookish thoughts.  I miss having a tiny corner of my life separate from work and school.  At first I was a little caught-off guard by this feeling, and then I felt a little sad, because unfortunately this is just the beginning. 

Sigh.  Drat being a responsible adult.

I want to apologize for my absence here, my delayed (or completely lack of) comments on your blogs, and all current and future whining about the intrusion of my thesis and work on my book blogging life.  I’m a little bundle of stress these days, but I’m trying really hard not to inflict that on anyone.  (I think I would be a little more successful at that if I moved to Antarctica.  But I hear it’s kinda cold there.)

Even though work, school and being sick (yes, I’ve been sick, too, which is just not fair, if you ask me) have kept me from blogging, I’ve managed to squeeze in quite a bit of “fun” reading.  (Mostly because I read while at work, but don’t tell on me!)  I don’t really have a review in me right now, so here’s a brief recap of some recent reads:

I did read one more Isabel Allende book last month – Daughter of Fortune.  Most of the novel takes place in California during the Gold Rush, and it was interesting to read an Allende novel about a time and place I’m familiar with.  She is such a vivid writer, though, that even if I wasn’t a native Californian I would still have felt like I was there.  I’ve never been to Chile, and yet after reading House of the Spirits I feel like I have.

Hmmm, what else . . . I finished up the Stieg Larsson Millennium series a few weeks ago.  Not the all-time greatest books I’ve ever read, but still very good.  A coworker loaned me Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen last week, and I feel a little ho-hum about it.  I’ve definitely read better memoirs (A Girl Named Zippy comes to mind; wow, do I love that book!). 

I’ve had a good reading streak since then: I finished Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman last night and lovedlovedloved it.  When I have available time and brain space I’m definitely going to review it here.  (In the meantime, check out Jenny’s review.  Wonderful.)  I’m on a mini Diana Wynne Jones kick, too.  I read Charmed Life the other day (good times, big fun) and am in the middle of Dogsbody, which is just fantastic.  I’m also in the middle of Among the Shadows by L. M. Montgomery, (recommended by Chandra), because frankly I could not resist reading a collection of spooky stories written by the author of Anne of Green Gables.

And on a totally unrelated note, autumn is finally getting rolling here, which just thrills me to pieces.  The leaves are blowing everywhere, there’s a chill in the air . . . I would be totally okay with it staying like this until spring 🙂

What are you up to?  Any great reads?  How’s autumn treating you?

P.S. In more unrelated news, I just discovered that Gail Carriger (author of Soulless, which I reviewed back in July) quoted my review on her blog!  A real, live author quoted me!  Wow.  I’m getting all giddy and starry-eyed over here.

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by Gail Carriger
Orbit, 2009
Source: e-book purchased from Barnes & Noble
Pre-Twilight mania (yes, folks, we did live in a Twilight-free world once; ahhh, those were the days) I viewed the vampire genre with polite disinterest.  In fact, I could count on one hand the number of vampires I’d ever had any interest in: two – the Count from Sesame Street (who doesn’t love the Count??) and Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit from James Howe’s hilarious books.  (Because, you see, I am powerless in the face of titles like The Celery Stalks at Midnight.  Get it?  Get it?  Celery stalks??  Bwahahahahaha!)  Anyway.
But it is a post-Twilight world we live in now and times have changed.  Now whenever I see or hear anything even remotely vampire-related instead of feeling polite disinterest I want to poke myself in the eye.  A little drastic, I know, but seriously.  I realize I’m in the minority here, but the madness has to stop.
But.  I have found an exception to the rule.  Not only did Soulless not make me want to poke myself in the eye, it’s even brought my list of favorite vampires up to the three: Lord Akeldama, a very flamboyant vampire who speaks in italics constantly and who, underneath the flamboyance and italics, seems to need a hug.  Which I would totally give him, except, well, he’s fictional.  And a vampire.  A nice vampire, yes, but still.  Those sharp teeth make me a little nervous.
I came to Soulless entirely by accident.  I spent the last couple of weeks bouncing from blog to blog reading post submissions for BBAW, and in the course of this bouncing stumbled across a review for Soulless.  (I really wish I could remember where I read it, but my mind has gone totally blank.)  Much to my shock, the book actually sounded good, so I downloaded a sample onto my Nook.  After reading the sample I immediately downloaded the entire book, which I proceeded to read in one day.
This book was a complete and utter delight.  Set in Victorian England, it’s not the Victorian England we’re familiar with.  Here vampires and werewolves are part of every day life and have been for centuries.  I thought Gail Carriger handled this beautifully.  She doesn’t spend pages and pages trying to convince her reader of the validity of this world she’s created; she simply inserts bits of explanation here and there without disrupting the flow of the story.  She’s convincing, too.  I was so completely pulled into the story that when I came to one of the sex scenes I was totally shocked by how graphic it was.  I mean, really!  For a woman to write such things – how improper!  And then I came back to earth and remembered this was published a year ago, not over 100 years ago.  Oops.
I got a huge kick out of the lead character, too.  It’s hard not to like a woman who, in the first chapter, retreats to the library to escape a boring ball, where she scolds a rude vampire for his lack of manners, whacks him with her parasol, and then is more upset that said vampire knocked over the treacle tart than by the fact that he tried to bite her.  And that’s just the beginning.  Wait until you read the exchanges between her and her friend Ivy – hilarious!
So.  I can’t believe I’m saying this about a book filled with vampires and werewolves, but go read this.  It’s no Bunnicula, but it’s great fun nonetheless.
Other reviews:
Did I miss your review?  Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

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