You can find the first part of my May reads here. On to the last four books;
- The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith: I love this series. These are comfort books for me; a chance to experience a slower simpler lifestyle, to immerse myself in the deep calm still thoughts of a middle-aged African woman. I love being transported to a land of dry and wet seasons, of red bush tea and charming store names, a land both exotic and familiar.
- The Ruling Sea by Robert V.S. Redick: The sequel to The Red Wolf Conspiracy finds our young heroes, tarboy Pazel and ambassador’s daughter Thasha, still very much in danger. The machinations of the Arquali empire to provoke war and theambitions of dark mage Arunis only suffered a setback at the end of the previous book. In this sequel, as the enormous Chathrand sets off into the Ruling Sea for her date with destiny, the youngsters try to find allies to help stop the conspiracy. It’s hard to compress the various convoluted subplots into this short review, but if you like sprawling multi-layered plots, you’ll like this series. My biggest complaint about this book is that the main characters didn’t do much more than react for a large part of the book (after Thasha’s spectacular deception at the very beginnning). I also have conceived a passionate loathing of Sander Ott and at this point mere death is too good for him. Grrr. Horrible man.
- Smith by Leon Garfield: Backstory on how I came to acquire this book in the first place: When I was a kid one of my favorite books was this fat volume full of excerpts from somebody’s list of great (Bristish) children’s literature. Since the Internet was unheard of at the time, and the state of libraries in Pakistan is dismal (ie: there are no public libraries—I had access to the meager collections at my school and the British Council libraries, and my mom had a membership to a privately owned library that mostly had romance books), this volume was my ticket to books I wanted to read. It introduced me to Joan Aikin’s Midnight is a Place, Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow and Margaret Mahy’s The Haunting (“Barnaby’s dead, Barnaby’s dead. I’m going to be very lonely”–never fails to send a shiver down my back). It also included the first chapter-ish of Smith, in which a child pickpocket in eighteenth century London witnesses the murder and search of a man who he has just divested of an important document—that he can’t read. I never forgot that excerpt, nor my desire to know what happened next, even though I was never able to find the book. Fast forward to a couple months ago and I was reminiscing to my husband about the books I read as a child and mentioned Smith as the one that got away. He was obviously taking notes, because he tracked a copy of the book (it’s out of print) for my birthday (he is so wonderful!). It was weird reading this book, because it kept tugging me back to my childhood memories of poring over that volume, but cool, too! Hang in there, my ten-year-old self–you will get to read this book when you’re 30!
- Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson: This, along with Warbreaker, was another one of my birthday presents. David obviously feels that we need to own and read every book Sanderson has written (with the exception of the Wheel of Time ones). Very different from his adult fantasy, like Lemony Snicket, but more upbeat. It certainly makes me giggle to think that ninja Librarians secretly run the world, but I suppose I have been deluded and brainwashed like the rest of the Hushlanders. I’ll have fun sharing this one with the kids when they’re older.