Friday, January 13, 2012

Reading Through 2012-1

Completed This Week:

Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst
This is a surprising read, a bit fantastic and urban fantasy-esque, but centered around the (local for me) very real town of Colma, CA. Colma is a massive graveyard town where the rich of San Francisco have historically buried their dead (since space is at a premium in the City). Enter our protagonist, a new cop who patrols the town on the night shift. But the graveyards of Colma aren't so quiet, and the dead are in need of a hero.
You were probably expeccting a ghost story. But it's not, it's a police/life story with failed romances, friendships, injuries, self-doubts, and lingering mysteries about past officers. Really the ghost story is only concluded implicitly, through a typed up incident report.
Dorst writes an interesting story, and I rather liked how under-emphasized the unusual (ghosts) was...but it did leave me with questions (someone give me the details on Root, please, I know what it does...but want to know more). I would recommend if you are looking for a spiced up police story or a subtle ghost story.

Oh, I've also read that they may be making this into a film?

March by Geraldine Brooks
If you've read Little Women you may remember the absence of the March father, as he was away bringing God to the Yanks during the Civil War. Geraldine Brooks has provided us with a rather breathtaking story for this largely fictional character.
I was very impressed with the research evident in the writing of this novel. The Marches were an idealized form of Louisa May Alcott's real family, and so researching her family seemed to be a starting point. Brooks also researched the Civil War as well as the customs and thoughts of the day. She paints such an interesting picture of the times that the novel sucked me right in and didn't let me go until I finished the last page.
While I loved the atmosphere and world, I rather despised Mr. March...such an idealistic, pompous, naive person. This book definitely hasn't encouraged me to reread Little Women! I love a flawed protaganist, but I found him rather insufferable. I also struggled with the portrayal of the Civil War being solely centered around slavery/'s a lovely and simplistic way to characterize it, but not an accurate portrayal of why the South succeeded. So it was painful to read a book about an intellectual who only focuses on that one aspect of the war.
Nit-picking aside, I highly recommend this novel! Though be warned, there are bloody battle scenes and I cried at least once in the reading.

Currently Reading:

God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson

I'm only one hundred pages in, but I've loving it so far!

Amazon says: "A network of complex currents flowed across Jacobean England. This was the England of Shakespeare, Jonson, and Bacon; the era of the Gunpowder Plot and the worst outbreak of the plague. Jacobean England was both more godly and less godly than the country had ever been, and the entire culture was drawn taut between these polarities. This was the world that created the King James Bible. It is the greatest work of English prose ever written, and it is no coincidence that the translation was made at the moment "Englishness," specifically the English language itself, had come into its first passionate maturity. The English of Jacobean England has a more encompassing idea of its own scope than any form of the language before or since. It drips with potency and sensitivity. The age, with all its conflicts, explains the book."

Everlost by Neal Shusterman

I'm having a hard time getting into this one, has anyone else read it? What do you think?

Amazon says: "Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident, but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to go either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost kids run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost souls, Nick feels like he’s found a home, but Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between."

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