justchris eyes the horse and puts foot in stirrup in 2013
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1. Silence by Michelle Sagara*
2. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
3. Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler*
4. Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy*
5. Kris Longknife: Furious by Mike Shepherd*
6. The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis
7, Miles, Mutants and Microbes by Lois McMaster Bujold*
8. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
9. The Year of the Unicorn by Andre Norton*
10. The Jargoon Pard by Andre Norton*
11. Betrayer by C. J. Cherryh*
12. Telzey Amberdon by James H. Schmitz*
13. T'nT Telzey Amberdon and Trigger Argee Together by James H. Schmitz*
14. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
15. Intruder by C. J. Cherryh
16. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs*
17. T'ai Chi Classics translated by Waysun Liao NF
18. Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel NF
19. On the Prowl (4 novellas by Briggs, Wilks, Chance, Sunny)
20. Lord Peter by Dorothy Sayers
21. To those who see by Gwen Frostic P
22. Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis
23. Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold*
24. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs*
25. Venus in Copper by Lindsey Davis
26. The Iron Hand of Mars by Lindsey Davis
June (in rough order, as I fell behind)
27. Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers
28. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer*
29. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs*
30. The Substitute Bridegroom by Charlotte Louise Dolan*
31. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers
32. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
33. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
34. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
35. Intruder C. J. Cherryh*
36. Push-Hands by Herman Kauz NF
37. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers (part of 4-book the omnibus)
38. Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy*
39. Applied Tai Chi Chuan, 2nd ed. by Nigel Sutton NF
40. Yang Family Secret Transmissions compiled and translated by Douglas Wile NF
41. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold*
42. The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
43. The Stars Are Ours! by Andre Norton*
44. Star Born by Andre Norton*
45. Silence by Michelle Sagara*
46. Unless It Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt NF
47. Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey NF
48. Edible Estates by Fritz Haeg NF
49. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
50. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers*
51. T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Meditation by Da Liu NF
52. The Dragon Rises by Adrienne Martine-Barnes*
53. Cheng Man-Ch'ing's Advanced T'ai-Chi Form Instructions compiled and translated by Douglas Wile NF
(*) I know I read it before, but I sure as hell don't remember much if anything
+ not in English (such ambition!)
NF nonfiction (going to try harder this year)
P poetry (definitely need to expand)
~P text contains significant chunks of poetry
My previous 75 Book Challenge threads:
Stopping by to star you so I can keep track of how life is treating you. Hope the New Year is starting out to be a good one.
6: Tina, thanks for checking in. Life is going okay. Last year was the summer of drama that didn't quit. Now drama has moved in with us. It was supposed to be a very short-term crisis intervention, but it's turning into something longer. The goal is to get the friend stabilized and independent before the year is half over. Plus my querido has finally stopped jumping at the familial dramameister's behest. Again, we're hoping that situation stabilizes, but it is ongoing, though thankfully long distance, which limits how much it can directly impact us. Other than that, life is pretty good. Love my job, my querido, my cat, my home, my friends, all that. Still tired, but in good health except for the cold that's going around right now.
7: Thank you for stopping by my thread, Julia, and running with my metaphor. I certainly hope to follow through.
The protagonist is Emma, a high school student who is drifting through her life trying to cope with profound grief after the death of her boyfriend (following the death of her father several years before). Her nightly routine is to walk her dog to the cemetery to hang out at the grave of her boyfriend in solitude where she doesn't have to pretend to be okay. In the opening chapter, this routine is shattered by an encounter with the new boy in school and a mysterious old woman. Events unfold rapidly from there in a compelling dark urban fantasy adventure.
The story reminds me very much of the Buffy TV series, a heroine with special powers forced to confront supernatural threats aided by her friends, except involving ghosts and necromancers instead of vampires. And with Buffy being the presumed evil target who needs to be destroyed before wreaking havoc on the world.
Like a lot of stories in a high school setting, there are the requisite archetypes: the affluent and popular queen bee, the bookish and shy sidekick, the nerdboys, the over-the-top house party when the parents are out of town, etc. But this book manages to subvert them, because instead of these archetypes in conflict due to irreconcilable differences, leading to cruelty and pettiness, they form a network of support that converges around Emma. And when shit gets weird, what with ghosts and necromancers and all that, their complementary strengths allow a bunch of teenagers to confront challenges relatively realistically without venturing into the absurd.
Emma's strong moral compass drives the story. In fact, it confounds the new boy in school, Eric, who turns out to be a necromancer hunter sent to kill her when her powers begin to awaken. Again, the story subverting notions of good and evil. For example, the "good" guys preemptively strike before developing necromancers can become powerfully destructive, but this presupposes that every person who can interact with the dead is predestined to evil and the abuse of power. Yet Emma displays unfailing compassion and kindness to the dead and living alike.
It's one of the best novels I've read in a long while, with believable characters who aren't simply stereotypes. The closest to a Mary Sue is not the protagonist, but Amy, the high school queen bee who is rich, and beautiful, and athletic, and smart, and not mean or thoughtless from all the privilege. In effect, she's there to provide the setting for dramatic events as the plot unfolds and the resources for the teenagers to act independently without involving adults. Allison, the trusty best friend, is a means to share some of Emma's backstory and inner thoughts and deputized to handle some of the action because Emma can't be in 2 places at once. Michael is the autistic friend who by his very nature ensured that Emma has some stability in her daily life despite the losses that have overwhelmed her. Michael especially, is amazingly well characterized as a person rather than a caricature of exaggerated, sensationalized behaviors that can be displayed by people on the autism spectrum. Again, a very humane, compassionate portrayal, much like all of the characters in this story.
Frankly, the only drawback is that it's a pretty homogeneous cast--all white and presumably straight and middle to upper class except for one minor character mentioned in passing a couple of times who is Chinese American. It's a well-told story about human relationships and serious themes with sufficient humor and drama and fast pacing and fantasy elements to make it a fun, interesting read. It's a keeper.
* For some reason, I can't find the correct touchstone for the work in question. Very annoying.