June 4, 2007

A Month of Reading: May


Best reads of the past month:

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
There's nothing like a new Sookie to cheer you up. And this one (#7) is the best one since #5. Harris skillfully weaves in threads from each of the previous books in complex, riveting ways. It becomes very clear that the events of the past six books have changed Sookie. Her life is not what it was when she met her first vampire (who shall remain nameless here) in a bar in Bon Temps. This theme dovetailed particularly well with the focus on how Louisiana itself was altered by Hurricane Katrina. I like the direction Harris is taking with Sookie and Eric's relationship. I like that she's given her a friend in Amelia. I like where this series is going.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Sandell
When I heard about a retelling of Tennyson's Lady of Shallott, I was so in. I mean, I'm nothing if not up for a good Camelot tale. When I heard that, like Tennyson's version, it was entirely in verse, I wasn't so sure. I mean, I tend to like my modern poetry short and to the point. So I went to the bookstore and read the first page. Then I read the second page. And on through the tenth, at which point I accepted the inevitable and bought the book. And it was so good. I loved Sandell's revisionist version of Elaine of Ascolat. I knew there was more to her than her magic web and her love for Lancelot. I'm so glad this Elaine chose to fight instead of die. I loved the way Sandell wove in Tristan and his horrible past and I loved beautiful Gwynivere and the choice she makes. Truly a breathtaking read.

All American Girl, Ready or Not, and Shadowland by Meg Cabot
It was time for some more Cabot. The All American Girl books were very fun and only leave you wishing for more and in the mood to rewatch Hellboy. Love that movie. I followed it up with the first in Cabot's paranormal series--The Mediator. Suze "I See Dead People" Simon is a fun narrator, a nice change from Princess Mia. And it's on to the other five books in the series, just as soon as I get online and find out what querida means. "And there's a word in Spanish I don't understand/But I heard it in a film one time spoken by the leading man..."

Austenland by Shannon Hale
This bittersweet, funny slim little novel is first and foremost a love letter to Jane Austen, despite its well-deserved (and hilarious) dedication to Colin Firth. For those of us who, like the novel's heroine Jane Hayes, have happily reread all of Austen's novels over the years (except, as Hale points out, Northanger Abbey, which only got that one read), this story is a pleasant romp in Austenland. I was pleased with the way Jane questioned what in the world she was doing at what amounts to a Regency period fun park, with the way she alternately resists giving in to the fantasy and longs to dive in with reckless abandon. And I loved the romantic comedy finish line ending.

Best rereads of the past month:

Archangel by Sharon Shinn
Because sometimes only Sharon Shinn says it just the way I want to hear it.

Twilight and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Because it's only 63 days until Eclipse is out and I felt the need to prepare. Also the special edition of New Moon came out this month with the first chapter of Eclipse in the back and I just didn't feel right about reading it out of context. So I contexted myself up rereading the first two and then I read the first chapter of Eclipse. Awesome.

Morning is a Long Time Coming by Bette Greene
Reading Summer of my German Soldier kind of wrecked my twelve-year-old self. I loved it, but man did it hurt. Fortunately, this beautiful sequel went a long way toward healing that hurt. Just as it did for Patty. Makes me want to go to sleep and wake up in Paris.