December 31st, 2007


And the last bunch of books for '07

68, 69, 70. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman)
I decided it was important to re-read these before I saw the movie, so as to have one last "clean" read-through before the movie infected my brain. The books were even better than I remembered them. They are a lovely read. The first one is my absolute favourite, hands down: the other two get a little more complex, and a little less "fun". Also Lyra is way more fun to read about than Will. *****
(short movie review: awfully pretty, but a bit of a disappointment otherwise)

71. Darker Jewels (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro)
This felt much more like a single cohesive story than many of the other St-Germain books I've read, and it worked well. It still ended rather abruptly, as though a predetermined date or page-count or something had been reached, but at least it was at the end of one story. The excessive research issue that I noticed in earlier books seems to be receding as well. ****

72. Strangers in Paradise: Pocket Book vol. 1 (Terry Moore)
WTF? I picked this up at the library expecting a love triangle, character-driven little story. Instead I got an increasingly bizarre soap opera on steroids. It started out as a perfectly nice story about people who were all in love with the wrong person, and then all of a sudden there were assassins and call girls and quasi-ninjas. It was... not what I was expecting. Pretty art, though. **

73. 100 Bullets, vol. 1: First Shot, Last Call (Brian Azzarello)
Now this is an interesting graphic novel. It's gritty and realistic, and there's clearly more going on than is yet apparent. The possibility of getting away with (justified?) murder is a fascinating one, and the way the various characters approach it is appropriately varied. This isn't my usual kind of thing, but I'm definitely intrigued. ****

74. Blindsight (Peter Watts)
Wow. This is an amazing, and incredibly unsettling book. It's about first contact with an alien species, but it's also about the nature of humanity and consciousness. The characters are a collection of completely messed up individuals (and one multiple-personality collective), and yet Watts manages to make them sympathetic and accessible. I almost can't say anything for fear of giving something away, but this is one not to finish just before bed. *****

75. Magic for Beginners (Kelly Link)
This is a collection of bizarre, absorbing, semi-nonsensical, inconclusive short stories. They're fantasy stories, but not that far from the magic-realism border. Impossible things happen -- or maybe they don't -- but everything comes from the characters and their perspectives. The stories don't generally resolve themselves, leaving themselves open to further interpretation. This is probably the most 'literary' fantasy I've read in a while, but it's very readable and enjoyable. Recommended. *****

76. Fun Home (Alison Bechdel)
I am not the first reviewer to say that this is a great book. In fact, anything I could say would be redundant. Read it! *****

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Phew. That's a lot of reading.
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