I finished A Suitable Boy early in March. Immense and sprawling, this book meandered from storyline to storyline, rich in detail, at some points suffocatingly so. While the descriptions of Hindu rituals and customs were fascinating to me, the pages devoted to political speeches and legalese were not and I had no qualms about skimming those (skipping about 50 of them altogether, not too much of a dent in this 1300-page monster!). This is not a tightly-focused book, but I didn’t mind too much. I normally shy away from books such as this one, but something–nostalgia? literary quality? the strange blend of familiar and alien?–kept me turning pages till late several nights. It’s definitely one of those novels that I had to brace myself to plunge into, but once I did, I had no problems getting back into it (barring the yawn-inducing speeches!).
So that was my literary read of the month.
I tore through Lady Friday and Superior Saturday, which (argh!) ended on a cliff hanger. The stakes are high, secrets are being uncovered, and the mysterious Lord Sunday and the end of the series are just within reach. Ohmigoodness, when is the last book coming out again??
Tamara Siler Jones’ Threads of Malice and Valley of the Soul were my Florida vacation reading. They’re grislier than what I’m normally comfortable with, but I’m such a sucker for crosses between fantasy and other genres. Forensic murder mysteries in fantasy settings? I’m all over them, in spite of my internal squick-o-meter going off at an alarming rate.
Besides, I read these for the character arcs. Really.
I also picked up The Cipher by Diana Pharoah Francis on a whim on my last visit to the bookstore (40% off coupon in hand). And, wow, it reminded me a lot of my own Season of Rains. Not as in, “Argh, someone else already wrote the book I’m writing!” but as in, hey, I see a lot of themes and plot devices that I like to use in here. Now I have to get her other books to see if its a one-time thing or what.
(Also, can I just say how nice it is that the main character in a fantasy has a real job? Not Princess, not Mage, not Warrior, but Customs Inspector. I love it!)
Next up, my non-fiction read of the month: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, a quick, engaging read. Some of his findings were fascinating (like the strong correlation between athletic success and birth dates); others common sense (wonderful musicians practice a lot more than mediocre musicians–who woulda thunk??). Many of his findings could be distilled down to the luck of the right people being in the right place at the right time–interesting to analyze for common traits from the vanatage point of the future, but not something one can duplicate.
And that brings my book count up to 22. Somehow I get the feeling that hitting 52 books this year will not be a problem.