Lavondyss, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Death Troopers, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Happiness Project
Robert Holdstock, Lavondyss
I liked this one much better than Mythago Wood, which is saying something, because I absorbed that book in the course of a couple of days. Lavondyss is the story of the little sister of one of the secondary characters in Mythago Wood, Harry, who was shot down over a mythago forest in France during the Second World War and came home with a horrible burn scar over half his face. In the first book, he accompanies the main character into the forest for reasons of his own; in this book, his little sister Talis (feminine of Taliesin) goes out to find him. Mythology happens. Very awesome.
Kate Summerisle, The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
Historical true crime, about a country house murder in Victorian England, but also about the history of detectives and detective stories. Real-life detectives were phenomenally popular for a while, but after this case — and due to other factors, I’m sure, but this case was huge — became much more looked-down upon, partly because it was one of those “only a member of the household could have done it” things and Detective Whicher was sure it was one of the daughters of the house. Gasp! Shock! Working-class people accusing upper-class daughters of murder! And all that.
Joe Schrieber, Death Troopers
I sat down to read this one night before I went to bed, thinking, It’s a Star Wars novel, how scary can it really be? AAAAAH. It’s not a Star Wars novel, it’s a horror novel that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. And it kicks ass. Although, I have to say, I was expecting zombie Stormtroopers — that’s practically in the title — but I was not expecting ZOMBIE WOOKIES. CREEPYASS ZOMBIE WOOKIES. NOT OKAY.
Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories
What Rushdie said was probably his only really happy ending ever, in a novel he wrote for his twelve-year-old son (at the time, the novel for the currently twelve-year-old son is coming out in November). I really, really liked it — a great older children’s novel, lots of wordplay and good mythological structure, and a good excuse for the kid to save the day even though there are plenty of adults involved.
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
I’ve been reading the blog for a while now, so I finally decided to try the book. I like the book better, I think; there’s more structure to the system, which makes it make more sense. Basically, Rubin sat down one day and said, I have a good life, why aren’t I happier? So she did a lot of research on the things that are supposed to make people happy, and made some guesses of her own, and set out a twelve-month intensive plan to do things to make herself happier. And some of it’s that really obnoxious advice that you never want to hear — act happy and you’ll be happy, for instance — but she’s good about pointing out that that’s not the easiest thing in the world and it’s work to be happy. I enjoyed it and found it inspirational, although I don’t think I’ll be having an epic Happiness Project any time soon.