For the first time in awhile, I’m making some reasonable time to read most every day. This means that instead of reading almost wholly in the short fiction field, I’m getting into longer works. January, then, found me finish three novels, and a long novella (in addition to, of course, several short stories–I expect I’ll always read short stories. I mean, when a short story is done well it will just take your breath away). I figure I’ll do my best to post what I’ve read, and what I’ve thought about them, ranking them on a 5-star basis.
Here are what my stars will mean:
1 Star – Not my bag. Didn’t like it enough to finish it
2 Stars – Finished it, but really didn’t like it.
3 Stars – Good book
4 Stars – Very enjoyable, (if in a series, I’ll probably read more)
5 Stars – Absolutely loved this book
Here are the longer works I’ve gotten through this month:
Libriomancer, Jim C. Hines (3.5 stars)
Totally enjoyable read. I enjoyed the whole librarian as magician thing, and as a SF writer the inside references are a lot of fun.
Of Ants and Dinosaurs, Cixin Liu (Translated by Holger Nahm) (2.5 stars)
This is the novella length work (though it might actually be a novelette, I’m not sure). The story uses the ants and dinosaurs to represent different social entities who need each other, but seem to have considerable problems with communication and the distribution of power. Sound in any way familiar? I found the end to be a shade predicatble, but it was still an interesting read.
Freedom, Jonathan Franzen (3.5 Stars)
Someone gave me this book a year or two ago, and I just got around to reading it. The essentials of the plot revolve around a love triangle, and is stuffed with the politics of the past 30 years, parent/child relationships, and a flavoring of gender stereotypes. Since it’s a big ‘ole book, I started it with the idea that I may not finish it, but Franzen kept me reading–mostly because I found pretty much every character to be interesting. I wanted to know what they were going to do next. I walked away happy, though I can see where some may not share my thoughts here.
Uglies, Scott Westerfeld (4 Stars)
Yes, I’m slow to the party on this one, too.
“Uglies” is a YA story set in a world where all kids undergo an operation at age 16 tha makes them physically attractive (based on the norms of the day). There’s more here than meets the eye, though, and our lead character is a young woman who learns more and more about the world as she finds herself caught up in the political machinations of the “Pretty” overseers, the mainstream “Uglies,” and a group of revolutionary folks who are a throwback to a different time. Like most YA’s, it’s a quick read. I just finished this yesterday, so assume I’ll read book two here real soon now.