August was yet another low-volume reading month. Writing, planning school, doing school, looking after my brood and occasionally doing a load of laundry and sweeping a floor or two should leave me hours and hours to devote to pleasure reading, right? Right?
Okay, so I did read three books. Ta-da! Here they are:
Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb: I tore through most of this in a day or two, then lost interest in it for a while. I think I immerse myself in a book for far too long, and need to come up for air and get some distance before diving back in. I get like this over movies and such, too, *cough*BSG*cough*.
This book, like the Assassin trilogy, has the detailed worldbuilding I’ve come to associate with Robin Hobb. Her settings, which include a lot of cultural, historical and political detail, feel very real to me. Unlike the Assassin trilogy, this book follows the storylines of four or five characters as they intersect and weave in with each other. The plot follows the fortunes of the Vestrit family, as their newly-wakened liveship Vivacia is taken from Althea Vestrit, who expected to inherit it, and given over to Kyle Haven, Althea’s brother-in-law. While Kyle coerces his son Wintrow to stay on board as a blood member of Vivacia’s family, Althea works to win back the ship. On land, Althea’s mother and sister try to keep the family afloat while reining in Malta, Kyle’s headstrong daughter. And the pirate Kennit cruises the waters in search of a liveship to capture and call his own…
The plot is nice and twisty and I liked the characters, even though there were times I wanted to shake them by the shoulders. It ended on a cliffhanger (of course!), so I need to head to the library to pick up Mad Ship.
Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear: Oh, this is the book that was giving me an inferiority complex a while ago *grin*. Gorgeous writing and intriguing premise, but I felt like I was viewing the story from behind a thick glass window. All this emotional intense drama happened, but it came at me as if from underwater, all muffled and robbed of impact. I felt the same way about All the Windwracked Stars but I cannot resist Bear’s writing. I’ll be back for Whiskey and Water.
Reclaiming Childhood by William Crain: A timely reminder to enjoy children for who they are instead of pushing them to learn adult skills, and always looking forward to the next (parent-determined) developmental leap. It’s a call to meet children’s needs where they are right now, and to trust them to know what skills they’re ready to practise. He paints a rather rosy picture of childhood though. For instance, in his “Child as Naturalist” chapter, he talks about how their experience in nature makes children connected to the earth, and desire to protect and nurture and live peaceably with it. He obviously hasn’t seen my children –both whom love being outside–“kill” a maple sapling by whacking it with the largest sticks they could find. 😛
What books did you read in August?