Monday, April 26, 2010

Oh, the books I've read ... Part I

I can't believe it's been since St. Patrick's Day since I've written about books. No wonder there are so many to share. And no wonder this will be in two parts.

March to the Sea by David Weber and John Ringo
A favorite of mine, this continues to follow Bravo Company and the royal heir they are charged to protect, Prince Roger MacClintock, as they battle their way around Marduk where they were marooned. Hostile natives and planetary conditions add to the interest in this retelling of Xenophon's journey as they gradually work their way through the increasingly sophisticated sorts of government and warfare as they go. Additionally, Prince Roger is now shaking off his former spoiled brat attitude and becoming a true leader. Second of a series of four books, this might be my favorite. Might. It's a coin toss between that and the first one, March Upcountry. (#27)

My Love Affair with England: A Traveler's Memoir by Susan Allen Toth
Rather a "forgotten classic" on my own shelves. Casting around for something light to read I came across this book which is truly a love letter to England. A very enjoyable travelogue/memoir, although I do wonder how she manages to find the money, not to mention the time, to do so much traveling abroad. Must be nice. (#28)

The Fathers of the Church by Mike Aquilina
My second time through this fantastic book which makes the Church Fathers so accessible and understandable. Our Catholic women's book club read it and this was one of the most eagerly anticipated books of recent months. Having now finished rereading I can say that twice through is probably not enough. Highly recommended. (#29)

Decider by Dick Francis
I love Dick Francis and picked this up from the library, realizing that I hadn't read anything by him in a while. Although his protagonist's character is always the same as is some proximity to horse racing, despite the many different jobs these plots always remain enjoyable. In this one, as of the first few chapters, the protagonist is emotionally estranged from his wife (although they live under the same roof), has six young sons (five of which seem to be on this adventure with him as of this moment), and holds a few shares in a racetrack that is the center of an entitled family's infighting after the patriarch has died. (#30)

Wild Horses by Dick Francis
Interesting profession this time for the protagonist as a movie maker who is, of course, making a film about horse racing. It opens intriguingly with him visiting a dying friend who was long associated with horseracing (what else?) and who mistakes him for a priest. Wanting to give his last confession, surprising in someone who isn't Catholic, he admits to a terrible crime that is not really able to be understood at the time. Of course they do intertwine very interestingly. (#31)

Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
First in a series about French-American Aimee Leduc who is a private investigator in Paris. Specializing in computer investigation she is displeased to be asked by a local synagogue's representative to investigate something from the ancient Nazi years in Paris. It quickly turns into a murder investigation and then the dead bodies begin to pile up.

This is an interesting first novel. It has realistic views of living in Paris and the Parisians' view of politics (for all I know) while the story takes on different points of view as key players are introduced. However, we mainly see Aimee who must look into a 50-year-old mystery while simultaneously investigating the mayhem it has generated in the present day. All this while dealing with neo-Nazis and occasionally agonizing over her dead father and mother who went AWOL. Rather gritty but interesting enough that I stuck with it, despite the Nazis (which I find tiring), and wound up as a page turner late into the night.

The Forest of Time and Other Stories by Michael F. Flynn
Needed some relief from all that gritty mystery reading I've been doing. Flynn is one of my favorite science fiction writers, using hard science fiction (generally) while exploring the human element. Recently heard a story of his on StarShipSofa and it made me realize that I was missing a big element of his work by never reading any of his short stories. Most of these I found very interesting and well written. There were a few (the Western, the butterfly wings) where they went on too long. I'd gotten the point. However overall very pleasing. (#33)

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
Reread and thoroughly enjoyed this romp with my favorite witches through the world of opera. Anyone who likes Pratchett will like this. (#34)


  1. Some of the Ringo stuff is great.
    His first three Legacy of Aldenata were great. Exciting and different take on alien invasion where, for once, we were losing (should have left the plot hanging in #3). For the most part, when he co-authored in same universe they were not so good.

    Another one of his series is so over the top porn that I stopped.

  2. Love to have your take on David Weber's Safehold series. I like reading sci-fi that takes religion seriously (although I thought his solution to a dilemma in the Honor Harrington series was a cop-out), but I also pause periodically to yell at these books "But that's not how it happened."

  3. notjustlaura: you won't be sorry. His books are gems.

    I have tried John Ringo and David Weber separately and, except for the first few of the Honor Harrington books, I found them so one-dimensional. Anon-you are right; then he copped out and it started to look like a 1970's hippie explosion of free-love,etc. I don't think I tried Safehold. I'll look for the first one.