Saturday, June 26

Summer reading

I haven't had much to say about the munchkins for a few days, because same old same old gets kind of ...samey.

But I have been reading a lot, and recently my to-read stack has expanded. So I thought I'd write about one of my favorite topics: books!

Bleak House (Signet Classics)

First off, I've been reading Bleak House for about three weeks now. My mom gave it to me and told me that it was her favorite Dickens ever. My only contact with Charles Dickens has been A Christmas Carol, which I read once in my youth and then watched the various movie incarnations (Muppets being a particular favorite).

Bleak House is wonderful. It's such a neat story about main characters who are quirky and oddball and yet so sweet. And the villains are despicable and strange and sometimes unnerving (Smallweed, I mean you).

But what really made me read it was Dickens's introduction. First, he talked about how the lawsuit in this book was based on an actual one that had gone on for years and years and cost the public thousands of pounds.

Second, he talked about how human Spontaneous Combustion was not a myth, and here were all his sources to prove it.

I snickered. Spontaneous Combustion? Now I had to read this book. And so far, it has not disappointed. I'm about 3/4ths of the way done at the moment.

Because I took time out to read Dragon Avenger.

Dragon Avenger (Age of Fire, Book 2)

Dragon Avenger is the second book in an oddball series with dragons as the protagonists. A friend loaned me the first book, and eh, it was okay. Three dragon siblings go off and lead different lives, and each book is about the adventures of one of them. The first book was Dragon Champion, and the dragon was interesting, but kind of, you know, brutal.

When you read wolf books (anything by Walt Morey or Jack London and others of that ilk), the wolves don't talk, and you learn about how they live and stuff. Well, these dragon books are trying to be wolf books, except that the dragons are sentient. So we learn a lot about their made-up physiognomy and the made-up reason they breathe fire and the made-up ways they live. Which is interesting, but ... you keep realizing that it's made up.

Then this sentient dragon-person you're reading about goes and butchers people and other dragons, and you're left wondering if you should be rooting for the animal or be repulsed by the person.

So much for the first book. The second book is about a girl dragon, and so far she's much nicer. She solves problems and helps people. I haven't got very far in it yet (Bleak House keeps interrupting me), but so far I like it much better than the first book. Even though it's made up.

Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody Mysteries)The same friends have also got me reading the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. Romance/action/adventure set in the early 1900s as Egypt is being excavated. So it's kind of like Indiana Jones, except the protagonist is a spunky lady, Amelia, who doesn't care much for men and fears nothing (except her eight year old son).

She's married to a romance-novel archeologist, with sun-bronzed skin and rippling muscles. Except he bellows and gets mad, and they have fights and compete about figuring out the various murders and thefts. So that's all good and fun.

The Last Camel Died at Noon

Lion in the Valley just about finished me off, though. The ending was so over-the-top crazy, with topless men dueling with sword, shield and broken bottle, it was like one of the recent Mummy movies. You just totally don't take it seriously. But my friends have assured me that The Last Camel Died At Noon isn't quite as nuts.

It's just about the main characters finding a lost civilization in the desert somewhere.

Because, like, that's not sensational or over-the-top.

Now I want to go re-read King Solomon's Mines again.

King Solomon's Mines (Penguin Classics)

You know, the story about the guys following the old tattered map across Africa and finding a civilization that still guards the diamonds.

And they shoot elephants and giraffes.

It's so delightfully politically-incorrect. I love old books.

Anyway, that's my summer reading at the moment. Maybe I should work Harry Potter in there, too.


Farm Girl said...

I really think you should do book reviews for a living. You write really good ones. I am glad you like Bleak House. I think with my Bible and Bleak house I could get rid of every book I own. :) Maybe.
I read every single one of the Amelia Peabody series. All I can figure out is that it was WOW years and I was terrible lonely, because I don't think I could sit and read them now. You describe them very well.
Good Job!

Meg said...

Wow, you're reading all those books at once? I would have a terrible time deciding which one to read at any given moment!

NetRaptor said...

Meg: Well, I'm reading Bleak House and the dragon one, but the others in waiting in queue. I'll probably try to finish Bleak House first.

Hannah said...

Me and mom have a theory that Emerson is actually fairly normal looking (in terms of handsomeness at least) but that Amelia SEES him as the gorgeous tanned muscle rippling hero of a romance novel. So much of what we read in the books is filtered through her perspective after all. We crack up every time she dozes off in the nerrative and goes on for paragraphs about how hot her husband is.


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