Reading has been a little slow over the last week, which is to say I am no longer reading at quite the impressive manic pace. The last book I put to bed was Kristin Bailey’s Rise of the Arcane Fire. While my affections for sci-fi/fantasy have certainly grown deeper over the past few years… I am still steampunk skeptical. Maybe I need to read some really good, canonical steampunk? Anyway, Bailey’s book was the second in a kind of light, romantic steampunk series – I read the first installment last year. This sequel mostly takes place in sort of a Hogwarts-y Steampunk Academy, complete with rogue professors, evil intruders, and class wars. Quick fluff. Also: I really wanted our steampunk heroine to get with the obviously-wrong point of her obligatory love triangle. This isn’t unusual (I am, for the record, Team Peeta 4 Lyfe), but there really just wasn’t anything wrong with this other dude. He was the smarmy rich kid, sure, but of course he was a nice guy underneath! And she seemed to be digging him… Why can’t these YA ladies ever just go for the supposedly dark side? Maybe I’m not reading the right paranormal romances…
That’s a sentence I wish I hadn’t written.
The last audiobook I finished was Harriet the Spy, which I just freaking loved. I think I read it as a kid, but I must have been a hair too young because I’m sure I would have remembered Harriet. Good grief, what a protagonist. She has to be one of the least likeable little girls in literature, but oh, that just made me like her more. I have a thing for misunderstood characters. Harriet. Peeta. Literary underdogs! But I digress – this book was just amazing/ahead of its time/timeless, etc. Harriet M. Welsch, we will meet again.
The last few months have been all about the audiobook for me. Audiobooks are my “fun reading” right now, and Overdrive is damn addictive. I’ve largely forsaken podcasts because I just can’t pry myself away from whatever it is I am listening to. Anyway, I finished Harriet and slid almost immediately into Meg Wolitzer’s The Uncoupling. I did finally read The Interestings earlier this year. I dug it, so before Harriet I listened to her 2008 book The Ten Year Nap. Dug that one too! The Uncoupling is about a suburban community of high school teachers and their children and their students – while putting on the school play, Lysistrata, all of the women and girls stop wanting to have sex. Relationship chaos ensues.
In terms of print books, I am trying mightily to whip through a stack of Required Reads before my vacation begins on Friday. It may be an impossible task, but there’s nothing I like more than breaking my back in the pursuit of torturously unreasonable self-imposed goals! Today I am reading Killer Instinct by S.E. Green. I completely remember when this book was purchased – “It’s Dexter the YA novel! With a teen girl sociopath!” This was years and years ago, and now here it is, on my desk to read. I think the power behind a Dexter comparison has faded over the years, but the pitch is pretty much spot on – stonehearted girl goes after evil people, also investigates a serial killer called The Decapitator. Good times. I am going to finish it tonight! Just watch me!!
My next Required Reading book is Jennifer Brown’s Torn Away. The Hate List got decent reviews and buzz, but I didn’t read it. Books about school shootings don’t really do too much for me (except for Todd Strasser’s Give a Boy a Gun, which I read when I was 17, wrote a paper on it, and then won a college scholarship. Bam.) So I’m diving in completely blind. It’s what I like to do with my Required Reading books. I don’t read reviews. I don’t usually even read the back cover copy. I’m just going to read it next, that’s all I know.
I have a number of choices for my next audiobook selection. I started listening to A Brief History of Montmaray before being waylaid by The Uncoupling. Historical fic set in Europe is noooootttt really my thing, though. Also not really my thing: British narrators who don’t answer to the name Jim Dale. I’m not sure the audio will be able to hold my attention.
Don’t worry – I have back-ups. One audiobook I have on deck is B. J. Novak’s short story collection, One More Thing. I’ve heard mixed reviews (aka, a lot of of “eh”), but maybe it will be quick and fun on audio.
This small TBR is NOT to be confused with my Official Vacation Reading stack. I’ll be back later this week to answer all of your burning questions about EXACTLY what books I will be carting down to the beach. Excitement, excitement!