Saturday, March 06, 2010


I read 13 books in February from various times and genres.

The Small Rain is Madeleine L'Engle's first novel. Beautiful, coming-of-age story about a young pianist raised by music and theatre people.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman is the equally exciting sequel to The Golden Compass. It ends with the cliffhanger of all time. I must read the final volume of the trilogy this month.

Another sequel: Greg Bear's Darwin's Children is his follow-up to Darwin's Radio. So good. Greg Bear is now on my list of authors to read through. I love his outlook on humanity and science.

On the Beach, by Nevil Shute is from my list of books to read from 1957 ( the longest list so far in my Big Fat Reading Project; I am about half way through it.) This was one of the scariest books I have ever read. After a nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, the fall out is blowing southward and everyone in Australia knows they are going to die.

A Dram of Poison, by Charlotte Armstrong won the Edgar Award in 1957. Very suspenseful mystery with psychological underpinnings.

The Field of Vision, by Morris Wright, was the NBA winner in 1957. I did not like this one much. Philosophical musings during a bullfight? I don't think so.

However, for a philosophical novel, it doesn't get much better than Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's new book, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. She is alarmingly intelligent and can also write extremely well. I reviewed this one for BookBrowse.

The Assistant is Bernard Malamud's second novel, on the list from 1957 and not as good as his first: The Natural.

A Citizen of the Galaxy  is another of Robert Heinlein's YA novels. A young kid, captured and sold into slavery on a Galactic level, grows up looking for his original family. Also from 1957 and like most Heinlein books, entertaining and deep at the same time.

Best book I read all month: Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong. I had never read a novel written by a North Vietnamese writer, let alone female writer. It is powerful and sad and gives the side of the story not often told: what it was like for the actual people of the country to achieve independence from the French and survive communism.

Susan Hill has had success in the past several years with mystery novels such as The Various Haunts of Men. But a reading group member who grew up in England recommended an early novel of Hill's, The Woman in Black. It is a ghost story, skillfully done. The group had mixed reactions but I liked her atmospheric writing.

Back to 1957 for Muriel Spark's The Comforters. This was her very first novel. She is clever right off the bat.

I wrapped up the month with one of my favorite authors: Neil Gaiman. I both read the book and saw the movie. Coraline the book is a classic Gaiman story about a girl who must save her parents from evil. The movie is even better and knocked me out!

Thanks for reading my thumbnails. What have you been reading?

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