Ah, I’m still alive. February passed like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on** and I was still rushing through my deadlines when suddenly March comes rolling in with its new set of target dates and challenges and frivolities. The last month has been an arduous struggle in getting my groove back. I have become Andy Dwyer:
… except that reading still interests me, though not as ardently as it did a few months ago. People have suggested a serious case of post-travel blues but I got back home from the great Malaysian mountain adventure on the 28th of January and a month of post-travel blues is simply ridiculous. I blame the sluggishness on fairly recent tragedies which has made February a traumatic calendar event – it is my dead mother’s birthday month which coincides with my nephew’s death and THEN my uncle died. The meanest month my life ever did see. I hope March is gentler.
Oh well, regardless. I’m here and I’m still reading. Here are some of the books I finished last month:
Maus I : A Survivor’s Tale : My Father Bleeds History
Maus, Vol. 2: And Here My Troubles Began, both by Art Spiegelman
The Maus books is “a story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father’s story and history itself.”
The books were riveting and brutal, and savage and heartbreaking.Probably not the best companion books for an already-disheartening month but I was glad I read this important work. It was an excellent visual way of learning and understanding the terrible chapter of Jewish and world history.
I borrowed this from Shiela. Thanks!
The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I’ve heard so much about this book and being a sucker for historical romances, I just cannot miss it (especially when it presented itself to me during one of my last hunting sprees at La Belle Aurore, which is now sadly closed :(). It is a fun book, much drama, such 15th century, many romance. Wow. It was a WHALE of a book though but the intricacies of Highlander politics and the culture and everydayness of Scotland in the 1700’s were well presented, well thought-out.
And hey, there’s a series from Starz to be premiered this year.
Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsale
My first Laura Kinsale, also a bargain find. It was fun – the lady was a clumsy inventress, and the Duke was…well, a Duke and it was romantic and fun and light-hearted and yeah… I am not very good at reviewing books, why do I have a book blog.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Ocean… feels like a Pratchett novel without much of the typical Pratchettian silliness. Specifically, it feels like a Tiffany Aching book with a quirky witch girl and two elder witches. It’s been a long time since I read a Gaiman novel (probably because it HAS been a long time since he wrote a non-YA novel), but there’s always something so lukewarm about his works to me. Apart from the excellent Sandman series, his novels have always felt so trite and just okay.
Just to clarify: this was a fun read and very entertaining towards the end, but it was just… fine. It was nowhere near as good as the standard I have for Gaiman. I remember feeling the same way about his other works; whenever I’m about to read one of his new novels, I wanted so much to like it. The certain hype that follows him around lends a gravitas to the expectations I have for him, and I (sadly) find myself repeatedly disappointed.
Oh wells, this has been a good read but not what I would recommend for someone looking to read their first Neil Gaiman.
* Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
** Jonathan Safran Foer