Apparently my internal clock spurs me to write these posts every three months. It’s not intentional.
Anyway, there aren’t as many books this time. I’ll talk more about this later on in the post, but during July and August I was reading some chunky epic fantasy novels: The Name of the Wind (around 700 pages) and Mistborn: The Final Empire (around 650 pages) and the first half of Mistborn: Well of Ascension (around 800 pages). But we’ll go through the list in order:
Smiles to Go, by Jerry Spinelli. Pretty good. I can’t remember anything about it, though, so maybe it wasn’t that good after all. Not memorable, anyway. (Or maybe my memory is just shot. It has been three months since I read it.)
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, by Orson Scott Card. A second reading. I liked it more this time (the first was over ten years ago when I was a whippersnapper). The older I get, the more I like the way Card incorporates politics and sociology into his fiction. (I loved the Ender’s Shadow series for that reason, actually.) And time travel is pretty much always awesome. (Except in the movie version of A Sound of Thunder.) Anyway, I think I read that Card is writing a second book in the Pastwatch series, about Noah and the Flood. Hopefully that’s still in the works.
A Lion and a Lamb, by Rand Packer. A Church history sort of book, about a missionary couple (Willard and Rebecca Bean) called to serve in Palmyra. The writing is a little clunky in places but it’s a good read.
Sean Griswold’s Head, by Lindsey Leavitt. Realistic YA. Really fun book, great voice. I think I may have teared up at a couple parts, too.
An Abundance of the Heart, by Arthur Henry King. A collection of essays by AHK about all sorts of things. I particularly love anything he writes that has to do with literature (and thankfully most of the essays do). Reading AHK makes me want to read more classics. You’d think that I’d act on that desire, but no — instead, my next book was…
The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey. It’s about monsters. And it’s icky and gross and dark (but with a sense of humor). Don’t read it if you’re queasy. That said, I liked it. I’ve been meaning to get around to reading the sequel (The Curse of the Wendigo) but haven’t yet.
Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury. Great book on writing. I read it in an hour or two and loved it. I think I’ll be rereading this one every few years.
Half Magic, by Edward Eager. A delightful book ala E. Nesbit’s stories. (The children in them reference Nesbit’s stories, actually.) I intended to read more of Eager but got carried away with the next couple of books on my list. I do plan to go back and read the rest of his books, though. They’re fun and charming.
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. This book is brilliant. One of the best tales I’ve read. It’s long but oh man, it’s worth it — the story is gripping (the man’s a genius) and the language is beautiful and poetic and eminently readable. I want to write like Pat Rothfuss. Name of the Wind is easily on the same level of Lord of the Rings (but easier to read). For years I’ve avoided epic fantasy, mainly because I see books like the Wheel of Time series and they’re insanely long and you could fit a whole family of YA books inside one of those monsters, but I kept hearing rave reviews of Name of the Wind and I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. I love The Name of the Wind. It’s a keeper. (Content-wise, there’s occasional profanity and innuendo, and there’s a PG-13 scene near the end.)
Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson. My stint with Name of the Wind got me thinking I ought to try more epic fantasy, so I picked up Mistborn (which I’ve owned for years but hadn’t ever read). And I got sucked in. I’m now halfway through the sequel, Well of Ascension, and I’ve already checked out Hero of Ages so I can start it as soon as I finish Well. So yes, I’m liking it. A lot. Epic fantasy (at least as exemplified by Rothfuss and Sanderson) is way cooler than I thought it was. I stand corrected. (I was more into urban fantasy and science fiction the past several years.)
After I finish the Mistborn series, I’m planning to finally get to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (which I’ve also owned for years but have never read) and read some Ursula K. LeGuin (ditto). And The Wise Man’s Fear (sequel to Name of the Wind), once it comes in on hold for me.