Reading Week: March 6-March 12

Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin28173986

This novella was on my list of most anticipated reads of 2016 and I had preordered it in. . .probably December, right after I finished Wolf by Wolf.  Wolf by Wolf is the story of Yael, a shapeshifter impersonating a motorcycle racer in a youth motorcycle race across Eurasia, so that she can get the chance to assassinate Hitler, who won WWII.  Iron to Iron follows racer Luka in the previous year’s race, allowing us to find out what it was that happened between Luka and Adele, which had only been hinted at in Wolf by Wolf.  

I loved this.  It reminded me of why I loved Wolf by Wolf, has got me salivating over Blood for Blood (coming in November!), and has confirmed Graudin as a great writer for me.  At over 100 pages, the story contains enough content to warrant the price, and explains Luka’s behavior in Wolf by Wolf, as well as providing context and background for him.  It made me feel conflicted about whether I wanted Yael and Luka to develop a further relationship, or if I’d rather Luka and Adele sort through their issues (though I certainly would not describe these stories as romantic or romance-driven).

Fans of Wolf by Wolf will get a lot of enjoyment out of this story and I def recommend reading it!

67023031This Book is Overdue by Marilyn Johnson

I was really excited to read this book.  I’m getting my Master’s in Library and Information Science and was excited to read a book that delved into things happening in LIS from a reporter’s view.  Although, I was a little worried the book might have been a bit dated already, as a 2010 release, which means much of the work must have happened close to 10 years ago, and I know first hand how quickly the LIS world moves.  In the end it was too much naval gazing, too many platitudes and bland ‘librarians are awesome’ statements.  Disappointing, and I’m striking Johnson’s Lives in Ruins: Archaeologist and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble (I was an anthropology major in undergrad) from my to-read plans.  Sadness.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch17399160

Here begins the section of the week that I am going to call, “Editors, please stop publishing first-person narrators because most of them seriously don’t work for me.”  Or maybe something a little bit shorter and catchier.

I want to like this book.  I may try it as an ebook, which I already have on my kindle, rather than listening to it.  The world was interesting, but I found it very hard to believe in.  The main character was blah, there was so many cliches used (like on the level of “you’ll never get away with this”), and I was just not drawn into the story.  And I super hate first person narratives.  When I like a book with a first person narrative (like The Hunger Games, which I understand is the reason for the surge in first person), it is in spite of the narration style.  I like the imaginative ideas behind this story, but the execution just did not work for me. 

8088Sunshine by Robin McKinley

For me this week, another first person narrator, another book that just didn’t hook me in.  I didn’t get quite as far in this one as Snow Like Ashes, so I’m planning to give it a little more time (i.e. finish the first section of the Overdrive audiobook).  Maybe once the vampires arrive (the gist of the summary seems to be Sunshine gets kidnapped by vampires), I’ll be in it.  But, overall, it’s not working for me either.

(*Update 3/13: more interesting with vampires, although at 10% still not much has happened.  Aside from the kidnapping.)

A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori10105459

I was starting to worry that I am dead inside for literature after two DNF’s in one week, but this book has let me know that I still have the ability to connect with a story and get that falling in love with a story feeling.  

A Bride’s Story is a manga book that follows Amir, a 20-year-old bride from a nomadic tribe in 19th Century Central Asia along the Silk Road.  It offers a look at how she settles into life with her in-laws, and her new life with her husband. . .who is eight years younger than her.  And then, Amir’s oldest brother comes to demand that she is returned to them.  The art is lovely, the pace of the story is deliberate and peaceful.  I know very little about 19th Century Central Asia, but the details are so carefully done, I trust that Kaoru did a thorough job in her research.  I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the age difference.  I mean, a 20 year old woman having a relationship with a 12 year old boy would not fly today, and I do understand that a different time and a different culture creates a very different set of circumstances.  The story slightly explores the differences their ages create, but they generally are quite companionable.  And, I learned a new word, ‘ultimogeniture’ where the youngest sibling (or son) inherits the family’s estate.

I am a super newbie in manga, and I know there are a whole host of terms that could better explain the style of art, etc.  I have read the manga of Gail Carriger’s Soulless, and a couple of volumes of Kaoru’s Emma about a maid in Victorian England.  However, as a someone essentially from outside the manga sphere, I definitely loved this and placed the next couple of books on hold from my library!

12033364Soulless by Gail Carriger (manga Vol. 1)

I saw all three of these manga books on half price sale and in nearly new condition.  I loved reading these over the summer from the library and snapped them up when I saw them this week.  After finishing A Bride’s Story, I wanted more manga, so I picked up this book straight away. 

Soulless is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series, which follows Alexia Tarabotti, a soulless young spinster living in steampunk Victorian London.  As a soulless person, she is the opposite of the supernaturals, werewolves and vampires, and she can neutralize their supernatural abilities with her touch.  Silliness and mysteries ensue.  I love these stories, I love this world, and I had a lot of fun revisiting it through manga and am definitely considering going straight onto the other two Soulless manga I bought.

One note on DNF’s: I am a DNFer but not usually at the rate I have been at this year so far (currently: seven, two this week).  However, I am trying to go through the books that I have been accumulating on my ereader and on my shelf so that I don’t have unused things sitting around taking up space.  I don’t have enough time to read, so I am not going to force myself to slog through something I just do not enjoy.  And, as I am reading to bring down my TBR, I’m not reading by mood.  Also, plenty of these have been impulse purchases from the Amazon Monthly Deals.  I think my lesson here is that I don’t often really like the books in the Monthly Deals.  Although I have loved a couple of them, like The Woodcutter.  Anyway, don’t judge my DNFing habits from this year.  

Currently reading:

The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente

Sparks Rise by Alexandra Bracken

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