Here’s a quick look at the books I read this month.
The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente: This book is stunning. It’s full of gorgeous stories that weave in and out of Japanese mythology. I love everything of Valente’s that I’ve read, and this is no exception, the stories are just lovely, for lack of a better word. There’s a floatingness to them, that’s the only way I can describe it.
Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger: This is the second in the Finishing School series, and it was lots of fun. I love everything Carriger writes too, and this installment definitely progressed some interesting aspects of the story. If you don’t know anything about the story- Sophronia has been sent to Finishing School- an institution her parents think will turn her into a fine young society lady, but which is really the cover for a school where they teach you to “finish” things- delicate situations, people… Basically she’s learning espionage, poison, etc. It’s set in an alternate Victorian England and is marvelous.
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan : I read this for book club and really enjoyed it. It’s a biography of a woman who supplemented the income that her husband drank away by entering contests – the “write the end of this jingle” kind of things- and she was simply amazing at it.
S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst: I wrote a bit about this one in this post, but I’ve since finished it, and can report that it’s really quite good. It does suffer from the same issue I had with Lost- mainly that JJ Abrams sets up this crazy situation and then puts people in and sees what happens, and his emphasis is on the people, while I want to know more about the crazy situation. I wanted to know WAY more about Dharma while watching Lost, and I will simply say that there are parallels in reading this book. But it really is a great read, and the logistics of writing it are completely mind bending.
Ancient Japanese Ghost Stories by Toyo Hashi : This is what it looks like, a collection of ghost stories that have been passed down in Japan. A lot of them were similar to stories I read in the Hearn book, but there were some new great ones. There were no really “scary” stories, more had to do with kami (divine spirits) than yurei (ghosts out for revenge). There were definitely some yurei stories though.
That’s it for this month, only five books, which is the least I’ve read in a month all year. But my yearly total so far is 104, which isn’t too bad. I’m toying with the idea of reading really long books next year, Don Quixote, 1Q89, The Goldfinch, 11/22/63 by Stephen King… I don’t know. I’m thinking about it. I am also toying with the goal of buying no new books next year, only reading the hundreds of unread books on the Haunted Kindle. That’s a harder decision to make.
Anyway, what are you reading? What should I buy before my self-imposed fast? (Brandy, Casual Vacancy is already on the list. )