Sunday, March 01, 2009

February 2009 Book List

Overall, February was a lean month, and I was mostly preoccupied with rereading Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain whenever I got the chance.

1. My Mistress' Sparrow is Dead (edited by Jeffrey Eugenides)
Touted as 'a collection of great love stories from Chekov to Munro'. As an aside, my personal favorite happens to be Kurt Vonnegut's Long Walk to Forever, which isn't in this collection. So what is? An assortment of relationships told in different genres, wrapped in different cultures. If you're looking for heady, giddy chick lit, you're better off looking elsewhere though; after reading this, I reminded myself of its stark title. I was forewarned, and I didn't pay attention. Still, I enjoyed most of the stories here, especially Mary Robison's Yours, Stuart Dybek's We Didn't, and Lorrie Moore's How to be an Other Woman.

2. Night Watch (Sergei Lukyanenko)
I was obsessed with this one. The tale is set in modern-day Russia, where vampires and wizards and other such creatures walk among us. The Light Ones work the Night Watch, the Dark Ones make up the Day Watch, and both parties try to preserve the balance between good and evil. This book is actually made up of three exhilirating stories in one, fast-paced and philosophical. I can't wait to read the other books.

3. Royal Assassin (Robin Hobb)
Second books in a trilogy tend to end with cliffhangers. This was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, making me think I'd have an easy time finishing the last of the series. Turns out I was wrong, but I'll save that complaint for another day.

4. Becoming Bindy McKenzie (Jaclyn Moriarty)
5. Feeling Sorry for Celia (Jaclyn Moriarty)
Two YA books from an Australian author. I was a big fan of her Finding Cassie Crazy, a story told in journal entries and letters, which certainly told me what to expect from these two books. I felt that Bindy was a stronger read compared to Celia (her first in this series, if I remember correctly). I felt that Bindy's strength lies in how craftily it captures its characters. What's even better is that it has a mystery lurking in the background, one that makes you go "Aaaah, that makes sense..." Inventive. Marisha Pessl, take note.

6. The Princess and the Hound (Mette Ivie Harrison)
The attempt to create another realized world reminded me of Shannon Hale's and Sharon Shinn's YA books, but somehow Mette Harrison's didn't do much for me. While I was certainly rooting for her protagonist, there was something here that made me disconnect from it. Okay, maybe disconnection is too strong a word. But in any case, I was always aware that I was READING instead of living the story and in the end, I felt neither here nor there. Is that strange?

7. Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
This book took me by surprise. Highly recommended. No spoilers, no reviews, just one enthusiastic recommendation!