December 4, 2006

A Month of Reading: November

Best reads of the past month:

Terrier by Tamora Pierce
New Tamora Pierce. Set in the wonderful Tortall (of the Alanna books fame), 200 years before Alanna was born. Beka Cooper is a great addition to Pierce's female heroes because she is so very different from the others. Beka is just as stubborn as Alanna, Daine, and Kel, but she is also shy and common born. She grew up in the slums of Corus and fights to survive each day. This hefty tome is Pierce's longest volume to date, and I was so sad to finish it. As usual, a host of quirky, wonderful supporting characters surround Beka and I have both high hopes and sneaking suspicions for several of them...

Beguilement: The Sharing Knife, Vol. 1 by Lois McMaster Bujold
My first Bujold, I'm embarassed to admit. The folks on Readerville have extolled the virtues of Bujold enough you'd think I'd have delved right in. But I was waiting. As I often do. For a sign. This time it came in the form of a blessedly spoiler-free review of her newest work--the first in a quartet. She wrote the first two as one book and then split it. The cool thing? The cover artist followed suit and split the original cover in two. So when Legacy, the 2nd volume, comes out in July, I can set both books side by side to make the full cover. Beguilement, by the way, is excellent. I went in with no idea what to expect and I loved it. She has a feather-light touch with words, somewhere in the vicinity of Robin McKinley meets Sharon Shinn. In other words, irresistable.

The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando
This one was on the Cybils nomination list for YA fiction this year. A rather moving story about a girl whose mother passes away while she's working a summer job at a colonial village in New Jersey. Sounded offbeat enough to attract my interest and read well enough to keep it.

Best rereads of the past month:

Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey
These two were the nostalgia reads of the month. They took me right back to being 13 again and yearning for something, anything that would take me away from my depressing middle school life. I found the Arrows of the Queen trilogy at the base library in San Antonio, fell into Lackey's world of heralds, healers, harpers, and companions, and (within minutes it seemed) completely forgot about puberty, bullies, band practice, and the lot. Though not quite the balm for the soul that it was then, I cried at all the same parts just the same.

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
Fall always brings a longing to read McKinley with it. Usually I reread Sunshine in November. But this year Outlaws was calling my name. This is my favorite novelization of the legend and, as always, it's her understated characters and their wonderful conversations that do it for me. These characters are so familiar to me now, they feel like friends. Like comrades.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
I began the month with a Pierce, so it seemed fitting to end with one. The first adventure.