What I Read This February

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane
Wizard’s Dilemma by Diane Duane
The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear
Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia by Mary J Shomon
Fibromyalgia for Dummies (2nd ed.) by Roland Staud and Christine Adamec
The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
White Night by Jim Butcher
Marie, Dancing by Caroline Meyer
How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen (reread)
Striding Folly by Dorothy L Sayers
A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald: It’s unfortunate that this is the book I read last of all this month, all in one sitting and to help me relax. It ended very unhappily. It wasn’t a bad book, or a bad read; I just timed the reading of it very badly. If I’d been in a different headspace I would have been very impressed by how the book set the protagonist up to fail, and the reader, conditioned by society’s love of stories about people who seem doomed to failure who triumph anyhow, expects the protagonist to prevail.. and, true to the reality of the plot, she doesn’t.

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson: My imagination works perfectly well, and so I didn’t need to know what happened to Anne before she was adopted by Matthew and Marilla. But I was curious to see how Budge Wilson imagined it, so I picked it up. Lovely design of the book itself. The story, well, it was all right. Nothing spectacular. An interesting snapshot of what life was really like at the time for the region, more than anything else. And when a book is about Anne, you expect her to be the most interesting character, but she wasn’t. I did enjoy the fully imagined parts about Anne’s parents, and watching Budge explore and develop the characters Anne refers to only once or twice in the Montgomery books. A mildly interesting experiment, nothing more. Certainly not crucial for Anne fans.

Marie, Dancing by Caroline Meyer: Yawn. I wish I’d remembered that Cymry read this one; I ran into her single-sentence review after I’d read it and thought, yes, that’s pretty much it: I wanted a book about dancing, and I didn’t get it.

A Wizard Alone etc. by Diane Duane: These are just excellent, solid YA books that walk the line dividing fantasy and science fiction. I have one more to read, and I’m saving it.

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon: I;ve been off Gabaldon since I read Drums of Autumn; I just wasn’t as interested in reading about settlers’ lives in North Carolina. Except I was in the mood for some historical fiction the other week and I picked up the newest one on the Outlander series, seeing only the four I already owned on the bookstore shelf. When I got home I realized they’d been out of stock on The Fiery Cross, which I also hadn’t read, so I picked it up. I read it in about three days and deliberately gave myself a couple of weeks off before starting the next volume. Evidently I really needed those eleven years away from the characters to really enjoy them again.

5 thoughts on “What I Read This February

  1. paze

    The Chains That You Refuse sounds nteresting. I think I’m mixing up Elizabeth Bear with Elizabeth Hand . . ? What has Bear written?

    Reply
  2. Ceri

    I saw that they got Budge Wilson to write an earlier Anne book and wondered about it, but I figured it would be one of those ‘Well, that’s one way it could of happened, but I’m not convinced that’s how it DID happen” things. But I was curious, so I’m glad to have your review. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. lu

    Had seen an interview with Wilson about the Anne book and apparently the relatives had last say on whether the book would go on and they liked it, so I was curious about what it contained. Can I borrow it?

    In other news, you should pick up Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. They’re a little young, but they are supposed to be for YA, as they’ve got a really interesting story going about the ancient Greek gods up and about in modern times.

    I also read the new(ish) Spiderwick book when I was at Chapters on Friday and thought it was super cute. I thought the (slightly) different take on Jared was interesting.

    Reply
  4. Owldaughter Post author

    Paze: here’s her bibliography page; I own all her books except Carnival, so if you and/or Jeff want to borrow anything you’re welcome to. She writes in so many different genres so capably that I jump to buy anything she publishes, just to see how she does it this time. It helps that I really enjoy her style! (Why do I not own Carnival? I’m saving it for when I really want a new Bear book but no new ones are imminent. Also, the cover turns me off for some reason.)

    Lu: Sure you can borrow it! And I agree; the different take on Jared was very well done. It was one of the things that I really liked about it.

    Ceri: The book contradicts nothing, but at times it feels like things are being included because Anne’s mentioned them as part of the backstory (I’m thinking of the Katie Maurice thing in particular; it comes off as a plot device for exposition. Clunky but possibly necessary; off the top of my head I can’t think of a better way it could have been done, unless Wilson had Anne talking to her dead parents about her experiences). As I said, it’s more interesting to see how Wilson makes names Anne’s dropped into real people, with real crises and emotions of their own. Lives of their own, I suppose, as opposed to ‘people Anne knew’.

    Reply
  5. cymry

    yeah, i picked up “Marie, Dancing” on a whim and was left thoroughly unimpressed. *shrug* well, you can’t win ’em all. though “The Bookshop” sounds interesting. perhaps i’ll give it a try.

    Reply

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