Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What I would really like for Christmas is a book with no flaws.

Vagabond, by Bernard Cornwell. The writing style changed slightly from the previous book-- again, nothing specific enough to put a finger on, but noticeable. The story is good, but not where I would have like the plot to go. I hate when my favorite characters have to die to further a plot twist I wouldn't endorse. (That is not a spoiler, technically, since there are several characters to pick off. Ha!) In both books, I think the battle scenes are a tad on the long and gory side. This book ends in a rather odd place, and I didn't like where it started either-- there was a bit of a gap between the end of the first book and the start of this one, and I kept forgetting where the characters were and who they were supposed to be fighting.

Colloquial Scottish Gaelic: The Complete Course for Beginners, by Katherine M. Spadar and Katie Graham. I thought it would be fun to learn Gaelic a bit over the holiday, as I don't have much else to occupy my brain. But this is a terribly written and terribly organized book (or, at least the first two chapters are). The pronunciation guides are utter crap: apparently "get" and "lend" have completely different vowel sounds, but I pronounce them exactly the same. The consonant pronunciation guide doesn't give English examples, just uses "hard" and "soft" and talks about the soft palette and various ridges, and the letters aren't in any kind of order, so you have to skim the whole thing to find any single letter. There is no pronunciation guide to the dialogue in the chapters, because you can also buy tapes that have the dialogue on them, but these don't actually come with the book. The book is terribly arranged, with traveling things as lessons (money, buying a ticket, introducing oneself), but the vocabulary lists are at the very back of the chapter with no translations when the words are first introduced. Word order in a sentence, a pretty important thing, follows the uses of the different forms of "you," and "to be" isn't conjugated until the end of the first chapter. How could people learn like this?  

On the Bright Side, I am now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, by Louise Rennison. This books is very similar to the first, but not as good: the author employed made-up words, just to be funny, when the pre-existing words would have worked fine, and I disapprove of the whole thing. Also, the main character/narrator seemed shallower, crueler, and more self-centered, which isn't, I hope, what the author was going for.  

Undead and Unwed, by MaryJanice Davidson. I saw there was a new book in the series, so I am having to read them all again of course, because it's been a while. It's pretty much like I remember. I would call it good beach reading, except I am huddled inside away from the snow, and still freezing.  

Undead and Underappreciated, by MaryJanice Davidson. Just about the same-- the main character seems a bit thicker and more vain, probably a result of the author trying not to let her grow at all. In the absence of a beach, this would be good curled-up-on-the-couch-in-front-of-the-fire reading. I will light my two candles if someone will bring me a couch. The journal entries by the priest character were quite terrible; he seemed like a pretty normal guy, so there is no way he would write like that (by "that," I mean like a crappy romance author who thinks more clauses make sentences fancier and thus better, and trying to be sentimental the entire time). It was annoying in its total unrealisticness.

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