• bookshelf books

    The Books I Read: July – August 2017

    Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman I expected this to be like Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. And I got what I wanted. It’s a tightly paced retelling of the old Norse creation myths. Problem is, there aren’t many of them. I suspect that’s more to do with lack of surviving source material, given what Neil Gaiman says in the foreword. Maybe a long time ago there were scrolls and scrolls of Loki and Thor stories. Now all we’ve got are comic books. And if you’re any fan of Marvel’s interpretations, this is required reading. The nice thing is that the re-tellings are up to date. I expected something Shakespearean or textbook-dry, like…

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    The Books I Read: July – August 2016

    Far Far Away by Tom McNeal Fans of Neil Gaiman will love this book. The closest I can call it is a modern fairy tale, but that word gets thrown around so much it’s become meaningless. I’ve never used it until now (I think). It felt like a combination of Stardust and Holes. Jacob Grimm has become a ghost and, after traveling the ethereal plane, attaches to the only boy who can hear him. A lonely boy struggling with a single Dad with a failing business. The thing keeping this good book from being a great book is that nothing happens until about 66% through. The first fifteen percent, the…

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    The Books I Read: November – December 2015

    My Little Brony by K.M. Hayes I found this book at the library and only grabbed it on a whim. I used to be into My Little Pony:FiM (until Lauren Faust left, but that’s another entry). I didn’t expect much of it. The idea reeked of self-publication and the fan art cover didn’t help. I was expecting sappy, amateur Dawson’s Creek drama with a cheap gimmick to draw in readers. But it turned out to be a great little novel. The teens speak realistically. They have plausible problems, not bulimia/my gay mother/sexually confused/vegetarian/alcoholism/pregnancy scare stuff you see in other teen drama books. Adults play a part — they’re not absent…

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    The Books I Read: September – October 2014

    I Shall Wear Midnight (Tiffany Aching #4) by Terry Pratchett The last of the Tiffany Aching books and an excellent ending to the series. Besides the first, I think this might be my favorite book of the four. Tiffany has finished her “apprenticeship” and is now the resident witch of her hometown. This means she’s taking care of the community the way true witches do — helping the sick who have no one to take care of them, easing the elderly to the next stage of life, fixing domestic disputes so no one knows she’s really doing it. She’s confronting anti-witches and land-grabbers and old fundamentalist ladies who simply don’t…

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    The Books I Read: March – April 2014

    Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanDerMeer It took me a looooong time to read this. It’s built like a textbook, but I don’t think I’d ever see this is in a classroom. The illustrations are pretty, but all the same style, and a lot of them aren’t relevant. I was hoping for more charts, but there’s more “weird art” (which makes some sense, since the author’s wife was the editor for Weird Tales). It’s definitely comprehensive. Does it say anything new? Here and there. The exercises in the back look smart, but complex. The best part of the book are the essays from other writers…

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    The Books I Read: November – December 2013 (Part 2)

    A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett The second in the “Tiffany Aching” series. I read and really enjoyed “The Wee Free Men”. But I have to be honest: this one is not as good. Maybe because there’s not as much wee free men. No Granny Aching. Maybe because it suffers from “sequel syndrome” where, since her first goal was already accomplished, now the story struggles with achievements. It’s about Tiffany living with the witches, and now she has to go to “witch school”. She meets colorful characters, but suffers from annoyances and problems. Rather than something to achieve, to reach for. On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner(unfinished)…