Samantha’s #CBR4 Reviews #17-19
It is with regret, and no small amount of shame that I am throwing in the towel. A toddler takes up WAY more time than an infant, and this year has thrown us some major curve balls: the most notable being that we are moving halfway across the country in two weeks. I’ve been reading slowly, and while I am still reading, I am unable to find the mental focus necessary to write about reading. I’m actually three books behind right now, and I read those three books so long ago at this point that I can’t tell you a whole lot about them. Here’s what I can tell you.
#17: Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie.
This is an excellent read. Knowing nothing about Russian history, I found the book utterly fascinating, and Catherine herself extremely interesting through Massie’s lens. Thanks to an apparent wealth of primary resources, this biography is extremely fleshed out with the thoughts and feelings of the players involved, including Catherine. My only complaint, which I think is just an issue with biographies in general, is that the “action” often jumps time periods a lot while the author follows the arc of a situation, and then turns back to pick up another strain. Still, the best biographies read like novels, and this one is among the best I’ve read. A definite recommendation.
#18: Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishigur0.
Creepy dystopian fiction is a favorite of mine. This particular novel has a fascinating voice and a particularly creepy view of future circumstances. I suppose it’s often termed “science fiction,” but I think it transcends that designation. It’s not about science, really; it’s about humanity. Extremely well-written, if slow-starting.
#19: The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater.
I normally don’t have the patience for YA fiction much anymore, but this one suckered me in by promising ancient magic and Welsh kings. It’s the first of a series, unfortunately, but I enjoyed it enough to consider reading the subsequent novels whenever they show up. The characters are fairly broadly drawn, but they grow on you after a while and ultimately, I found myself concerned about their well-being. The interesting thing about (good) YA is that it manages to place normal teenagers within extraordinary circumstances without their losing their teenage angst. This one largely succeeds in this task, although by using the conceit of extremely wealthy teenagers, Stiefvater can get away with making some of her “Raven Boys” a bit more adult than one might wish. Still, a fun and engaging read.
That’s it for me this year, folks. I’m midway through book 20 (Woolf’s To the Lighthouse), but I don’t anticipate a lot of reading time over the holiday/moving season. It’s been a pleasure to be part of this group, and I applaud those who make it possible, and all of my fellow readers/writers. Cheers, and keep on reading!