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Sun Dancing, A Morbid Taste for Bones, The Dead-Tossed Waves, I Shall Wear Midnight

Geoffrey Moorhouse, Sun Dancing
I was a little disappointed in this book — it was advertised as an imaginative retelling of the history of one of the white martyr monasteries in early medieval Ireland, with documentation to back up the retelling. Most of the documentation was pretty vague stuff about the history of the Celtic Church, though, rather than anything in support of the actual events he was talking about in the retelling section. Which was interesting, but not awesome. I’m not sorry I read it, but I don’t think I’ll run out and read it again.

Ellis Peters, A Morbid Taste for Bones
After watching Derek Jacobi be awesome all over the TV series, I figured I ought to actually read the Cadfael series. I’d brought one of them home from the epic weeding project I did last spring, but it turned out to be not only very late in the series but actually a direct sequel to the first book, so I didn’t actually read it. severa lent me her copy of the first book, and I enjoyed it immensely. Pretty good medieval setting, excellent main characters, and a murder mystery that is supported almost entirely by characterization rather than by some kind of elaborate double-bluff. I am now plowing through as many of the rest as I can get my hands on.

Carrie Ryan, The Dead-Tossed Waves
The sequel to the amazing Forest of Hands and Teeth, almost immediately after I bought this I read a review that said it was terrible, so I took forever to get around to reading it. It wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t as good as the first one. It covers roughly the same kind of territory — growing up, and becoming an actual person, in a post-zombie-apocalypse society — but with a very different main character and a very different part of that society. It was a little slow to get going, but it really picked up in the second third and I enjoyed it very much by the end.

Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight
The latest Tiffany Aching book. I love Tiffany. Best witch ever. Yes, even better than Granny Weatherwax — especially for narration, because when she makes mistakes, she doesn’t always know they’re mistakes right off, the way Granny does. This was also great fun because pretty much everyone had a cameo: Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Nobby Nobbs, Magrat, Carrot, even Esk… I was just sad that Tiffany didn’t get to meet the Patrician. Now that would have been entertaining.

30 Days of Books: Day Nineteen

Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)

I follow book blogs and book news pretty closely, which means that when I’m out in a bookstore or a library looking for something really new to me to read, I have to look pretty hard to find something I haven’t heard of. I also tend to prefer stand-alone science fiction or fantasy to series or trilogies, which means I have to look twice as hard. Which means that when I’m out there judging books by their covers, I actually tend not to look at the covers at all, but at the spines. Really good spine design is even more impressive, to me, than really good cover design — after all, there’s less space to do it in.

Here’s a shot of one of my bookshelves, for instance. (Click on it for a bigger picture.) I picked up The Devil’s Alphabet on the strength of the spine. I love that font, and the color scheme is evocative. I like series that match, like the lovely structural similarities of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves. The contrasts between the Steven Brust novels, Brokedown Palace and To Reign in Hell, do a good job of getting across their differences. And for classics, I really like a nice old-fashioned clothbound book, like my Jane Austen set or the wee Yale Shakespeare editions.

I can show you a picture of my least-favorite book cover of all time, though.

I love this book. Shadow Magic is the central book in Patricia C. Wrede’s Lyra series — I don’t know if it was the first one, but it is the one that all the other plots tie into or lead up to. Parts of it aren’t bad, for a fantasy novel cover. The sea-dwelling Neira and the foresty Wyrd both look pretty much like their races are described in the novel. And then… and then… *sigh*

I used to wrap this novel in brown paper when I brought it to school to read. It was slightly less embarassing than the cover.

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