Thursday, February 02, 2012

i saw spring peek out this morning.

This post has taken me forever, because the internet is out at the house again. So I've done this one 10 minutes at a time on my breaks at work. 

Beauty Queens, by Libba Bray.    I saw promo material for this one starting a long time ago, and I wasn't sure.  I feel that the quality of this author's writing has been all over the place in her books I've read in the past, and I wasn't sold on the story line: it could bomb or rock, and I couldn't tell beforehand.  I'm definitely glad I read the book, because it was awesome.  And, in addition to being a fun read and well-written, there are some "issues" in the book that would be good for discussion.  They don't jump out or break up the flow of the story, but are there for anyone who might be paying attention. 

The Preservationist, by David Maine.  This book was pretty well-written.  There were 8 different characters, all of whom had a few chapters told from their points of view-- in first person, no less-- and the author succeeded in giving them each a different voice.  I never forgot who was speaking in any chapter.  What I'm not sure about is the main-main character, while having chapters dedicated to him, was the only character not to speak in first person.  His chapters were told in third person.  It isn't clear to me why.

We have finished the final discs for Hamish Macbeth.  Why, BBC, why?  First, the series finale, while an interesting story, pretty well came out of nowhere.  It wasn't in keeping with either the feel, almost even the genre, or the previous episodes.  It brought up questions it didn't answer.  It focused on character traits that hadn't been important before.  It really came out of left field and wasn't a very good series ender.

The other thing from this season I don't understand is that two new characters, each of whom appeared in 2-4 episodes as minor characters, were voiced over, and poorly done at that.  One of the characters was a young teen boy, maybe 12-14, and the actor didn't seem to bad.  But all his lines were voiced over by a middle-aged woman trying to sound like a child.  It was obvious and horrible.  A character who appeared in the finale was also voiced over, and it wasn't as horrendous, but why would you cast someone and then voice them over?  Surely the directors could have found someone who could walk around and talk at the same time.

Daughter of Joy, by Joann Levy. I go through phases were I focus on other genres, but I think historical fiction is my all-time true love, and my dirty little secret is that 1700s-1800s American historical fiction is truly my favorite.  I think this is due primarily to the fact that I didn't have many books growing up, but I have always been a voracious reader.  There was a period in grade school, as I recall, when the only books I had on my shelves were the Little House on the Praire boxed set, and a smattering of Babysitters Club, and I would read them over and over and over.  My truly dirty horrible secret is that, after Star Trek: Voyager, my favorite TV series is probably Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.  What am I, a 40-year-old housewife?  I know.  It's terrible.
So this is historical fiction, mid-1800s, following Chinese immigrants in California.  The book is extremely well-researched and well-written.  The only thing I feel a little iffy about is, at the beginning of the book, it isn't clear who the main character is going to be.  The way it's presented, I thought the male character would turn out to be more important, or at least equally important, to the female main character, but the book really is her story a lot more than his.  But that ambiguity was pretty minor in the scope of things.

And, I finally found my little notebook of quotes I thought worth writing down.  The quote I wanted to mention in this post is "Truth is female, since truth is beauty rather than handsomeness; this... would certainly explain the saying that a lie could run around the world before Truth has got its, correction, her boots on, since she would have to choose which pair-- the idea that any woman in a position to choose would have just one pair of boots being beyond rational belief.  Indeed, as a goddess she would have lots of shoes, and thus many choices: comfy shoes for home truths, hobnail boots for unpleasant truths, simple clogs for universal truths and possibly some kind of slipper for self-evident truth."  Unseen Academicals, pg. 62-63.

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