Monday, October 29, 2012

Book #23 - Bless Me, Ultima

I was looking for a book to read the other week, and saw Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya.  I knew that the book had been through at least 2 cross country moves, and it seemed to be one that had been on our bookshelves forever, but I never picked it up.  I'd assumed it was one of my husband's from college, and shelved it accordingly.  I asked him if it was any good, and he looked at me as if I were crazy, and said he'd never read it.  He thought it was one of my books.

The receipt in the front cover proved him right.  I, or someone in my family, purchased it for $12 at the Barnes & Noble in my hometown, in 1995.  It was right before the school year started, what would have been my sophomore year in high school.  I don't think it was assigned in either of my English classes for that year (Banned Books*, and Great Villains), I didn't take Spanish, and I can't think of any other class where it would have been assigned.  And the book had never been cracked open, best I could tell.

So I did finally read it, and enjoyed it.  The day after I started it, I saw a newspaper article about the upcoming movie based on the novel.  It's strange how that seems to happen; as soon as you learn about something, it pops up in all sorts of places.  I am interested in seeing the movie, but will probably wait until it comes out on demand.  Our movie nights are limited here, given the lack of a babysitter!

*Ok, I went and looked at the trailer for the movie, and apparently the book was banned in several areas when it was published.  So I guess the book could have been on the list for my Banned Books class.  I know we never did read it though.  Perhaps we just ran out of time.  Anyway, the trailer for the movie looks awesome, and I may try and drag my husband to see it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book #22

Book #22 was Gallows View, by Peter Robinson.  It was ok, but I'm not going to go out of my way to find anything else by the same author.  The writing felt very heavy handed, and the final chapter seemed to exist for the sole purpose of beating the reader over the head with the Great Moral Lessons from the story.

I used to read a lot more mystery novels than I do now.  This book made me miss those previous books.  I think the only mystery-type books I've read recently are from the Dresden Files series, but those have morphed from mystery novels in an urban fantasy setting to urban fantasy with a side of mystery.  Great series though.  I'm looking forward to the newest installment in November.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Reading Challenge Books 19-21

Books 19-21 were from the Liveship Traders trilogy, by Robin Hobb.  My father-in-law had lent me the first book years ago, after I finished the Farseer trilogy from the same author.  I read about a chapter, excited to have another book from the same world, but put it down after that, disappointed that there did not appear to be any overlap in characters.  I returned to the series after starting the Rain Wild Chronicles.  It is sort of funny reading ostensibly stand-alone trilogies/series out of order.  You don't need to have read the Liveship Traders trilogy to understand the Tawny Man trilogy, but there are things that remain mysteries the latter series if you haven't read the former!  Likewise, I have enjoyed the Rain Wild Chronicles very much so far, but those books took some of the mystery out of the Liveship Traders trilogy.

One thing I think Hobb did an excellent job on in the Liveship Traders trilogy was keeping the characters complicated (I was going to say balanced, but that isn't quite right).  I tend to dislike when characters are wholly good or wholly evil, and the character's in Hobb's other series often suffer that weakness.  The characters in the Liveship Trader's are more nuanced, and I appreciated that.