Saturday, October 28, 2006

For the kid in you

I'm reading Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure. I love children's books, and I enjoyed the first two Molly Moon books quite a bit. The first is Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism. Molly is raised in an orphanage and ends up finding a book on hypnotism. When she turns out to have a natural talent for it, she ends up thwarting an evil plot. If you love Harry Potter and are looking for something in a similar vein to read before Book 7 comes out, these are very cute, and at around 400 pages each, pretty substantial (though they're grades 4-6, I think, so they go fast). Molly is a likeable heroine, and the other orphanage characters are a nice supporting cast.

A Little Fun

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this series here before, but I just finished Owl's Well That Ends Well by Donna Andrews, and I think some of you might enjoy her series about Meg Langslow. Meg is a blacksmith, but there's not much technical blacksmith stuff in the books. They mostly center on Meg, her actor/professor boyfriend, and her crazy family. The first is Murder With Peacocks, which is a very enjoyable read. The premise is that single Meg is involved in the planning of three separate weddings. Each bride has her own specific quirks. Oh, and there's a murder :) The investigation is entertaining, partly due to the enthusiasm of Meg's father, a doctor, who is just tickled to be in the midst of all the excitement. Occasionally, I'll look around on amazon for new (to me) mystery series, and I found this one based on their recommendations and really enjoyed it. The subsequent books have been fun as well.

My book club is reading The Alchemist, and I just got my copy, so I'll start that soon. I've also decided to start the Darcy mystery series (the first is Pride and Prescience, I think) by Carrie Bebris and the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron. I'll post reviews as I finish them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

From Harry Potter to Encyclopedia Brittanica

I haven't posted lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been reading. I recently finished the latest in the Harry Potter series, The Half Blood Prince. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but I feel like an idiot for not figuring out who was the Half Blood Prince sooner.

On a slightly more highbrow level, I also just finished The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs. It is exactly what the title says it is, a recounting of A.J. Jacobs' quest to read the Encyclopedia Brittanica from A to Z. The book is organized in encyclopedia fashion with alphabetical entries of varying lengths. This makes it a good book to read in spurts, because you always have a convenient stopping point. Jacobs shares with the reader the knowledge he acquires about each topic as he reads it, in particular, the weird and strange facts buried within the Brittanica. It was a surprisingly funny read.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Book review - An Assembly Such As This

I finished An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aiden. This is the first in a trilogy that tells the Pride & Prejudice story from Mr. Darcy's point-of-view. I thought this would be really interesting since P&P doesn't give you much insight into how Mr. Darcy goes from completely dismissive of all country society (including Lizzy) to saving her family from ruin and falling in love with her. But as it turns out, I think she gives you all you really need. I enjoyed this book, although it was much too long. This should be one book, not a trilogy. Ms. Aiden isn't a great writer. I would describe this as above-average fanfiction, honestly. Ms. Aiden adds some elements to show Mr. Darcy's character and circumstances. Some of these work, and some are clunky. His conversations with Bingley are interesting, and some of the P&P scenes she shows are cool to see with his thoughts revealed. The clunkiest ones are when he talks to his horse and dog and this whole ridiculous thing where his valet ties his cravat in a new way and this other guy is really jealous, which just seemed stupid. And she went on and on about the dang cravat for like two chapters. The political stuff that's alluded to could have been really interesting, but I don't think it's handled all that well.

Do I recommend this book? Hmmm. Die-hard Jane Austen fans like me may enjoy it despite it's shortcomings. I am interested enough to want to read the other two books. Definitely buy it used, though, or get it from the library. This is not a full-price from B&N book :)

Other Jane Austen related series to check out: Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries, in which Jane Austen solves mysteries (these sound really fun) and Carrie Bebris's Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries. Both series sound like lots of fun, and maybe the genre change to mystery negates some of the issues I had with the Aiden book.

Ha! See, Holly, I read a new book :)