September Reading Roundup
Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
An intriguing setup. An heir to the throne who was raised in exile, with very little information about the kingdom she is to rule, is suddenly thrust into the position of Queen when she comes of age. Her uncle, the current Regent, wants her dead and she will have to prove herself to her people, who have never seen her. The story is action packed, the heroine stubborn, plain, and down to earth, and there are some supernatural elements that keep things interesting. It has a satisfying girl-raised-to-be-humble-given-power-and-does-right-by-her-people storyline and ending. A good fantasy read. I don’t know if I’ll read the next book in the series, but I enjoyed the first.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
After reading Big Magic I am completely hooked on Elizabeth Gilbert. I love her voice! Having never read the book that made her famous I thought it was time. I can see why so many people have connected with it. I felt as if she was speaking directly to me, addressing my struggles and fears. It made me want to hop on a plane and run away to exotic locations for some serious self-reflection. But it also reminded me that that type of thing is not necessarily for everyone and that’s ok. Everyone’s path is different. All I need to do is walk mine.
Transit by Rachel Cusk
After loving Outline, the first book in the series, I was sure I was going to be disappointed by Transit. And I was. Cusk’s writing is still excellent. The way she expresses things blows my mind. But the thing that worked so well in Outline seems more like a gimmick in Transit. The main character continues to act as observer, rarely letting the reader into her thoughts or feelings. The theme of the book is in the name – people who are in transit, or transition – which creates a melancholy tone. Not bad, but kind of depressing. The other issue I had was the last chapter. Without spoiling anything I didn’t feel any sense of resolution. It was like there was another chapter missing that would bring everything together. Instead it just, ends. There will be a third book in this series published next year. I like Cusk’s writing enough to read it, but I’m not sure what to expect.
The Furthest Station (Peter Grant #5.7) by Ben Aaronovitch
I was hoarding this book, not wanting to read it because it is so short and would be over soon. I’ve had it since the end of June, but couldn’t hold out any longer. I love the Peter Grant books and this is a fantastic addition to the series. Short, but sweet. Even though I wanted more it was the perfect length for this particular story. Ghosts appear on the Metropolitan Line. But what do they want or mean? Peter Grant’s nosy, sarcastic cousin Abigail who wants to be a wizard joins the investigation. The absence of Leslie and the Faceless Man give this story a lighter tone which is a nice change. This is one of my favorites of the series. I can’t wait for the next book!
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
I love the concept of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. Ask a bunch of veteran authors to write adaptations of Shakespeare plays in book form. Vinegar Girl is the adaptation of Taming of the Shrew. It took a while for me to get into. I didn’t particularly like it, until Pyotr (the Petruchio character) showed up. In this version he is a brilliant immuno-biologist from Russia working as a research assistant for Kate’s father (a professor at Johns Hopkins) who is having visa issues. As an outsider struggling to fit in, he and Kate find common ground. Taming of the Shrew is probably my favorite Shakespeare play, but it doesn’t work very well when told from a modern view point. In this adaptation, however, the whole thing gels surprisingly well.