Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A novel by Miss Manners

Style and Substance, by Judith Martin

Monday, June 19, 2006

Amelia Peabody, Part VIII

The Hippopotamus Pool, by Elizabeth Peters

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A real-life memoir

Geisha, A Life, by Mineko Iwasaki

Monday, June 12, 2006

Books I Hate

There's a wonderful "Books I Hate" thread going on Salon.com. I feel compelled to add to it here.

Walden. This tops the list. Can't say I ever really read it, but large chunks of it were inflicted on me in high school English class discussion. 'Nuff said.

The Mayor of Casterbridge is yet another high-school-English casualty. For all I know, it may be a perfectly good book, but I'll never know. I was in my 20s before I could stand to read Mark Twain again. High school English classes are Evil. I'd like to say high school English teachers are evil, but I remember some (not all!) of them too fondly to say that. They must just be tragically misguided.

Speaking of high school, I really wish I'd encountered The Lord of the Rings then. It looks like a masterful book, with a great story, and I think there are many points in my life when I would've really liked it. But I've met one too many fantasy-obsessed dweebs to enjoy it now; every page reminds me of something (or someone!) annoying.

There's the previously mentioned Alexander the Great book, but it wasn't really bad enough to go on any sort of All-Time-Rotten list.

The Bear and the Dragon, by Tom Clancy. I've read most Clancy books, and will plow through all the horrible bits for the sake of the story, but I couldn't do that with this one. I don't know how it ends, and I don't care.

Tom Clancy inspires the introduction of a subcategory: Authors I'm Ashamed To Read But Read Anyway

Topping this list is Robert A. Heinlein. Authoritarianism, misogony, and a heaping helping of drivel, but somehow there's still an entertaining plot buried inside. So I can't help myself. But I'm really glad I'm not his daughter, or his niece.

Then there's Harry Turtledove and his various pseudonyms, perhaps a successor to Heinlein. Given his other stuff, I'm almost ashamed to admit that I like Over the Wine-Dark Sea and its sequels. They're entertaining historical fiction. But I couldn't stomach his alternative histories, and Household Gods, co-authored with Judith Tarr, has one of the most unlikable main characters I've ever encountered.

And I can't forget Jean Auel. She has such a fascinating idea for a book series. She tells much of her story so well. But I can't recommend her books to anyone - it's too embarassing. Does any book really need that much sex?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Mary Russell Mystery

Locked Rooms, by Laurie R. King

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Amelia Peabody, Part VII

The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog, by Elizabeth Peters

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Amelia, Part VI

The Last Camel Died at Noon, by Elizabeth Peters

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Amelia Peabody

The Deeds of the Disturber, by Elizabeth Peters