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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Book Round-Up: Librarian Edition

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman: Of course I was intrigued buy a book centering around a woman who works for a magical library that connects to multiple worlds. Irene, who collects books for the library, was an enjoyable heroine, and I liked the peeks into alternate Earths and alternate literatures. My only quibble is with the purpose of the library itself -- why, exactly, are the librarians collecting books, if no one but librarians are allowed in the library? Cogman all too briefly explains that the books are important for the stability of the worlds they come from, but how and why? I think this element of the world-building needs more work.

The Masked City: The sequel to the above.  I found the writing to be a little strained in its cleverness, and the politics and red tape Irene was dealing with -- her assistant has been kidnapped, and it's her fault because reasons, and if she doesn't rescue him she'll be in trouble and if she does rescue him she'll still be in trouble because more reasons -- seemed forced and unnecessary.  The actual rescue provided plenty of drama and tension, and was fun to read.

The Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr: on a librarian kick, I decided to re-read this book I first read over a decade ago, during the height of "chick lit."  To call this an example of that genre, however, would do it a disservice; unlike the utterly conventional characters of other novels, these ones are deeply weird.  It makes for a refreshing, if odd, read.

Falling for Trouble by Sarah Title: A romance novel about a librarian and a punk rocker, but in a twist on expectations, the librarian is a man and the rocker a woman. This book was absolutely delightful, the best romance I've read in a long time. Title's writing is skillful and clever, her characters are genuinely interesting, and the love story progressed without the usual "I hate you!/I love you!" nonsense.  Apparently this is part of a series, and I will absolutely check the others out.

What the Librarian Did by Karina Bliss: The flip side to the above (or, I guess, the A-side to Title's B-side?), where the librarian is a woman and the guitarist a man.  This novel was far more conventional, even cliched, in just about every aspect, and it didn't really hold my attention; I ended up skimming it. It didn't help that I read it right after Falling for Trouble.

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