Monday, March 02, 2009

February's Reading List

With only 28 days, how was February so read-y?

Bray, Libba: A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • This is an engaging Gothic novel set in a girls' boarding school in Victorian England. I just discovered that A Great and Terrible Beauty is the first novel in a trilogy -- I'll definitely read the next two -- and that there seems to be a film version in the works.

Chevalier, Tracy: Falling Angels

  • Wow. Tracy Chevalier's first novel is the story of two girls growing up in early 20th-century London. I'm a reluctant reader of first person narrators, but I found Chevalier's use of the first-person -- she gives every character a chance to speak in his or her own chapters -- very effective.

Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

  • Umm. I thought that I had read this before, but now that I've "re-read" it, I'm thinking that I had only read the Great Illustrated Classic version. Anyway, I re-re-read it because one of my students was assigned it. I'm pretty such I enjoyed Jekyll and Hyde more than my student did.

Le Carré, John: Our Game

  • Well, I liked this one by Le Carré, but I wouldn't recommend it for a first-time Le Carré reader. I think that the author was struggling to write about the early-post Cold War.

Pratchett, Terry: Wyrd Sisters

  • Terry Pratchett's books are so enjoyable that I have to keep myself from reading lots of them in succession. For me, it's better to read one every few months. Wyrd Sisters was especially fun because of all the allusions to Shakespeare, especially to Hamlet and Macbeth.

Atkinson, Kate: When Will There Be Good News?

  • Okay. So now I've read all three of the Jackson Brodie mysteries, and since it's now March, I can read one of the other Atkinson novels I have in my bookcase. Yippee!

Vickers, Salley: Instances of the Number 3

  • This is the third novel I've read by Salley Vickers, and I can't say which one I liked most. Instances of the Number 3 centers on two women, one a recent widow and the other the mistress of the deceased husband, and how they develop a friendship and move on with their lives after the death of their husband/lover. If that's not enough for you, what if I say there are also ghosts?

Davidson, Andrew: The Gargoyle

  • Though this is definitely a post-Da Vinci Code novel, it doesn't suck. It is, however, a challenging novel for the squeamish. I didn't really need to know so much about the treatment of burn victims. But I was thoroughly absorbed by this (supposedly) supernatural story. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I chose it, in part, because of its spooky black-edged pages. By the way, this is NOT reading for young adults! (Mom, you're not old enough to read it either.)

Shaffer, Mary Ann & Annie Barrows: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  • No, I don't like the title either, and -- though this novel threatens to turn cutesy -- somehow it doesn't. I read this short book in about two days, even putting off eating dinner to finish it. For me, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society also redeems the epistolary novel. (I hadn't quite recovered from reading -- well, being assigned --Richardson's Pamela in college.)

Heyer, Georgette: No Wind of Blame

  • I had read a couple of Heyer's historical novels, so when I saw one of her mysteries at a used book sale in Liverpool, I decided to give it a go. Though I giggled at Heyer's witty prose and mostly enjoyed the plot, I prefer the historical novels which have a bit more depth.