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February booklist

1. Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare

I (rather surprisingly) LOVED this book. A clever mix of supernatural and steampunk, hilarious characters, enthralling plot. I make no claims that it is well-written, but something about it really caught my fancy and I flew right through it. In contrast, I'm currently struggling through the author's City of Bones, without making much headway. I just can't get into the story... so maybe it was the steampunk-ness of Clockwork Angel that I liked. 

2. Dilemma: a priest's struggle with faith and love, Fr. Albert Cutie

I approached this with a good deal of skepticism; I've generally not been impressed with religious figures who seem to court the media, so the fact that Fr. Cutie used to be called "Father Oprah" for his tv talk show didn't win him any points with me. I sympathetic with his struggle and am truly glad he's found both love and new home in the Episcopal church as a married priest, but I was not impressed  by what seemed his attempts to justify and excuse his actions...and I had to laugh when he described his (at the time future) wife as someone who would "never tempt a priest" when in practically the next paragraph he says, after they realized they were attracted to each other, she sent him a letter asking to become better friends, whereupon they went out to dinner in a secluded restaurant and generally acted as if he wasn't a priest who had taken vows of celibacy!  Also troubling was his obvious bitterness towards the Catholic Church - understandable, given that he was treated more harshly than some priests who had committed illegal acts, like child abuse, but still... not a very Christian attitude to display to the world.

All in all, very interesting.

3. Real Life Journals: designing and using handmade books, Gwen Diehn

Gorgeous ideas for handmade books. I'm not sure if I'll ever attempt any of the more ambitious projects, but they sure are pretty.

4. Year of Disappearances: an ethical vampire novel, Susan Hibbard
I would describe this book as vague: vague writing, vague plotting, vague characters. There's a lot left unexplained, little character development, and a plot that drifts about without reaching any real resolution. The thing that annoyed me most was the vampires-are-better-than-thou tone, liberally sprinkled with environmentalism, as evidenced by the last paragraph:

"Meanwhile, I dedicate this book to mortals, and I leave them these questions: Are you comfortable with the values your society holds dear? When's the last time you looked deep into your own eyes? Do you know the limitations of your vision?"

Poor little book. It's trying so hard to be intelligent, Serious Literature, and just ... isn't quite there.

5. The End of the Affair, Graham Greene

Many years ago formerly-of-LJ Alissa W. (anyone remember her?) recommended this one. In book #9, Susan Hill made a comment to the effect that Graham Greene is one of the few writers who can write convincingly about all forms of love, and this book has it all - lust turned to love turned to revenge. I wouldn't say I enjoyed reading it so much as I just marveled at the craftsmanship of a true wordsmith.

6. Coptic Egypt: Christians of the Nile

Just a little book but informative. I didn't know much about the Copts, but now I do.

7. Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskell

I had the opportunity to watch the miniseries again, which made me want to read the book again ... so I did. The Squire = <3. He's precious! Forget Roger. ;)

8. The Unidentified, Rae Mariz

I liked this dystopian tale of education turned into a giant corporation-sponsored Game. My attempts to describe this have all been made of FAIL, so do yourself a favor and check out the blurbs on goodreads or amazon - it was unique, fast-paced, and used jargon well. The ending seemed a little rushed and unclear ... but then again, maybe I read it too quickly, since I couldn't seem to put it down.

9. Howards End is on the Landing, Susan Hill

Really, what do book-lovers love to read about more than books about books? Susan Hill decided to spend a year reading books she already owned rather than buying or borrowing new ones, and this book grew out of what she encountered that year.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
Really glad to read that about Clockwork Angel. I'd been hesitant about picking it up, because I was really rather unimpressed by City of Bones. Now I know not to worry about that :D
Mar. 4th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
Okay, I am SO glad I'm not the only one not impressed with City of Bones. Everyone else I know has raved about it!
Mar. 7th, 2011 10:55 am (UTC)
Likewise!!! It's good to know I'm not alone :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )