Monday, February 9, 2015

Literary Lundi #12

Books Acquired:

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James-- This was a freebie and although it's written by a dead white guy, I don't read that many older books and this one didn't look terrible.

Persuasion by Jane Austen-- Confession: I've only read one Jane Austen book (P&P), but I liked it, so when I saw this one was free, I figured I'd grab it.*

*I know these books are old enough that they are always free, but I've had trouble with the formatting and stuff on some free editions. These ones are from Open Road Media; they seem to have a classic-type book that's usually .99 for free each day.

I also bought this week's Humble Books Bundle, but those will mostly be for Sadie when she gets a bit older.

Books Finished:

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient CodeThe Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, there are people out there who might not think that a book about decoding an ancient language could be exciting. Those people are wrong! If you think that in itself does sound exciting, then this book will blow your mind. Fox writes in the popular "narrative non-fiction" style to describe the efforts taken to decode the Linear B tablets found at Knossos. I didn't know that much about this subject beforehand, and the book is written like a mystery so I was really excited to read more to find out what happened!

Apparently, one guy gets all the credit for deciphering the language, but this book aims to tell the story of one of the unsung heroes, a woman who laid a lot of the groundwork but died before she could finish solving the puzzle. If you are at all into languages/linguistics, this book will probably be crack to you.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the book wasn't technical enough. It's obviously written for a general audience in a style that assumes no knowledge of the outcome, which is good, but I kinda wish there was more of the nitty-gritty stuff. I guess there are other books for that, though.

View all my reviews The Good GirlThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I imagine that in some ways, this book is trying to capitalize on the success of Gone Girl, as it uses a few of the same tropes: alternating narrators, and a division of events into before/after. One interesting narrative device is the way the novel jumps in time chronologically, so that we see things unfold out of order. I also think the multiple narrators provided a useful way of showing the story through everyone's eyes but the victims.

I listened to this on audio and the narration was fantastic. Each narrator had a different voice actor and they all were superb, their acting showing perfectly how they perceived the events and characters.

My biggest complaint, and the reason this is only a three-star, is just that it wasn't very exciting. Not that a book has to be exciting for me to like it, but when I see something described as a thriller, I expect there to be a bit more mystery. I kinda could see coming what was really going on, but that might just be a side effect of reading a lot of books.

I could see giving this to a mid/older teen, like maybe if they aren't ready for Gone Girl yet? I don't remember anything too objectionable or graphic (there may have been a few curse words but not as pervasively as Gone Girl) and the resolution wouldn't seem too obvious to someone who hasn't read as many books yet.

View all my reviews

I've noticed that I usually post two book reviews per week, which puts me a bit ahead of my reading goal!

Currently Reading:

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield-- Audiobook. I'd wanted to read this for a while. It has a very old-fashioned sort of feel to it, and the narrators' (narratrixes's? narratrice's?) British accents make me wish I could just drink tea the entire time I listen.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown-- I'd heard a lot about this book (it was a Goodreads Choice award winner) and I'm enjoying it. It's a basic dystopia on Mars scenario. Ender's Game meets The Hunger Games, is how the cover blurb wants me to think of it.

Up Next:

Probably The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. I've owned this one for a while and heard a lot of good things about it.

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