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Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Round-Up

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman:This is yet another collection by the prolific author.  What I like about his works is that they vary wildly in form and content -- novels, comics, short stories, poems, photo captions, storybooks, interviews, fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction, horror, comedy, hagiography, children's -- and yet there is an overriding sensibility that is unmistakably his.  That said, this collection was a little weaker than others.  I loved many of the stories: "Lunar Labyrinth" and "Black Dog" (wonderfully English and pagan), "The Thing about Cassandra" (I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it), Sherlock Holmes's final case, "A Calendar of Tales" (12 very short stories inspired by the months), and "The Sleeper and the Spindle" (a mash-up of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty).  Others left me cold, particularly the ones inspired by his relationship with his second wife and the Doctor Who story (the Doctor is just not my thing).

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen:I hate to say this, but I did not love this book as much as I loved Allen's other works.  The characters and plot were interesting enough, but the magic realism was almost absent, the secondary story set in the past (and with a fascinating antagonist) was far more interesting than the main story set in the present, and the resolution was a bit anti-climactic.

Father Brown: The Essential Tales
The Scandal of Father Brown
Watching the BBC's Father Brown series made me want to seek out G.K. Chesterton's short stories, which are nothing like the TV show.  Father Brown is somewhat of an enigma, and we learn very little about him (not even his first name) except that he is continually underestimated.  He does solve some mysteries, as one would expect, but in many of the stories it's not so much that he figures out what happened as he is simply witness to a bizarre crime, the motives of which only he can fully understand, even though the identity of the perpetrator is not in doubt.  What ultimately makes these stories interesting is not the puzzles and solutions themselves, but the remarkable insight Father Brown (and Chesterton) have into human behavior.

Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z. by Debra Weinstein:One of the upsides to Beadboy3's penchant for taking all the books off my bookshelves is that I'm rediscovering books I loved and want to read again.  One of those is Weinstein's academic and literary satire, set in the New York City poetry scene.  Annabelle is the titular apprentice, both too talented and too naive for the world she finds herself in, and while I was cringing at her acts of unwitting self-sabotage I was also rooting for her to escape and find her own way.  Weinstein herself is a poet, which means we are treated to a number of actual poems in the novel, some very good and some really not good (on purpose).


  1. If you enjoyed The Sleeper and The Spindle, you must look out for the illustrated version with Chris Riddell's beautiful work. The cover is like tracing paper so you

    1. can see through it to the drawings on the hard cover underneath.

    2. Ooh, I didn't know there was an illustrated version; thanks, Jo!