What a strange little book. The Beautiful Ones is the story of three people: Antonina “Nina” Beaulieu, her cousin Valerie, and the telekinetic performer Hector Auvray. Hector and Valerie have a tragic romantic history, and when their paths cross again during Nina’s first Grand Season in the big city, she is drawn, unwittingly, into a romantic triangle with the two of them. At its heart, The Beautiful Ones is pretty standard romance. It has some noteworthy trappings, however. It appears to take place during La Belle Epoque, although the places in the novel don’t actually exist in real life (I think). Everyone […]
I’m of two minds on Underground Airlines. On the one hand, judging it strictly on its own merits, it’s an thought-provoking and interesting book. The basic premise is that the Civil War never happened, and slavery was never abolished. It still exists in the United States in four southern states (the “Hard Four”). The story centers around Victor, an escaped slave who was caught by the government and now works for them as a sort of bounty hunter, tracking down other escaped slaves. In Underground Airlines, Victor is searching for an escaped slave named Jackdaw, and this search (in a […]
Deborah Harkness knows a lot about a lot of things. Her depth and breadth of knowledge on things ranging from wine to Elizabethan England to brewing tea is certainly impressive, but the amount of detail crammed into these books sure does make for some slow going. The All Souls Trilogy is about a world in which witches, vampires, and daemons (in this case, daemons are humans who are more than us regular folk–musical prodigies, artistic savants, financial wizards, scientific geniuses–or sometimes drug addicts or mentally ill) exist and walk among us. Humans don’t know about them. Trying to write a […]
Alexis made my day–TWICE! I got two beautiful packages from her on two different days: one with The Night Circus and In the Night Garden, and the other with Lonesome Dove and a beautiful card. I’m so excited to have THREE books to get me started on CBR10! Lonesome Dove has languished on my TBR list for years. Thank you, Alexis!
Cannonball! Reading the Harry Potter series this time felt different than past times. I’m several years older than I was last time I read them, and this time I was reading them not just for fun, but to review for CBR (it makes a difference, I’ve found. . .). It’s also a time in American history when reading about the fight against the Death Eaters and their focus on purebloods is a little more uncomfortable than it has been in the past (I am not the only person seeing similarities between Voldemort’s grandiosity, vanity, and short-sightedness and a certain someone […]
I’m an introvert, and if there’s one thing I hate it’s interacting with people I don’t know. So when I finished reading Born a Crime while on an airplane, and found myself fighting the urge to wake up the woman next to me and tell her how great it was, I knew this book must be pretty special. Born a Crime is the story of Trevor Noah’s childhood growing up in South Africa. Trevor’s father is white, and his mother black. Since he was born under apartheid, their relationship was illegal (hence the title of the book). Growing up, Noah […]
Digging to America is the story of two Baltimore families who meet each other in an airport, pre-9/11, when they come to pick up their infant daughters they have adopted from South Korea. It’s similar to other Tyler novels, in that it’s an intimate examination of family dynamics, but it’s different than all the others, too–it’s bigger, as it also examines what it means to be an American. I know that makes it sound terrible and tiresome, but trust me, it is anything but. It’s one of my favorite Tyler novels, because it is such a skillful look at belonging, […]
I had no idea until about 2 minutes ago that “it was a dark and stormy night” is considered a cliched, unoriginal way of starting a story. I associate it so closely with A Wrinkle in Time–one of the most magical books from my childhood–that to me it’s the perfect way to start a book, and it’s too bad there aren’t more that start this way. I can’t read A Wrinkle in Time without thinking back to my own childhood. I don’t remember for sure, but my guess is that my first introduction to this book was through my dad, […]