Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Reading Round-up

Friends, I'm here to tell you that as reading months go, February 2012 was not very good.  I was going to say it was a total bust, but then I remembered the one really, really, I mean really good book that I actually started at the end of January but finished in the beginning of February, and I decided that based on that one book alone, I could raise February up from a total bust to just not very good -- or maybe even not that bad.

But before I tell you about that book (I know, the anticipation is killing you), let me tell you about the books that were SO horribly, horribly, bad that I couldn't even FINISH the darn things.  And I HATE not finishing books. I thought about telling you why each one was so bad, but really?  Why waste the time?  I'll just list 'em for you, and if you have an uncontrollable urge to read one, send me a message and I'll talk you you out of it, okay?

Our Lady of the Forest, The Ghost Rider, Ghost:  A Novel, Angel Time, Alias Grace.    Sucky, sucky books, every one of them.

Now, the category of decent books.  The Diviner's Tale was a mystery about a woman whose family legacy is "divining" water with one of those stick thingys.  I liked it.  The mystery is more about whether a crime actually happened than it is about who did the crime.  It had some surprisingly sad and touching moments.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon was just such a pleasant, entertaining little book -- a small town story with some magical elements thrown in -- and I enjoyed it so much, that I immediately read another book by the same author, Garden Spells.  And I enjoyed it immensely, too.  You wanna know why?  Because they're the SAME DAMN BOOK.  Seriously, such a disappointment, because she's written others, and I was looking forward to reading them.  But not if they're all the same book.

Ready Player One is hard to describe.  Let me just say this:  if you grew up in the 80s, and you played any video games at all, you should probably read it.  You'll like it.  It won't change your life, and I recommend reading it FAST, because otherwise you'll get bored near the end, but go ahead and read it.  Just for fun. (I especially loved the description of how schools are run in the dystopian near-future.)

And finally, if anyone is still reading this oh-so-long post -- the one book that nearly redeems the entire month:  Doc.

Mary Doria Russell, who wrote my veryfavoritestwonderfulbookofalltime, The Sparrow, is the writer I would most like to have dinner with. I'd like to have her for my bestie, my BFF, or whatever the cool kids say these days.  Granted, she also has written some notveryfavoritebooks, but  Doc brings her back up to idol status for me.  It's a novel based on the life of Doc Holliday and the summer he spent with the Earp brothers leading up to the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral.

I am not a fan of westerns, usually, but you guys, this book was just marvelous.  Russell is so fantastic at characterization -- you will feel like you know Doc Holliday, and if you're into guys, you're going to wish you could have dated him.  And you'll be mad as hell that nobody found a cure for tuberculosis for him.   This book has everything -- humor, historical insight, sadness, exciting moments -- trust me, even if you don't think it sounds like your kind of thing, you need to give it a try. 

I spent at least two full weeks after reading Doc obsessively looking him up on the internet, finding out everything I could about him.  I even watched Tombstone, and I can tell you, Val Kilmer NAILED Doc Holliday.  (In an ACTING way, get your mind out of the gutter.)  And I can tell you that nearly a month after finishing it, I still find myself daydreaming about Doc and the Earps and all their adventures.

The best news?  There's going to be a sequel.

So.  The take-away from February is this:  read Doc.  Even if it's the only book you read in a whole month, it will still be a decent month.

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