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Recently read

This is a little something new, and different. One of the problems with constantly reviewing recently read books is, well the act of actually writing the review. Sometimes, I just don't know what to say about it. So here then, I've decided to just list them for you... Poke around, and enjoy.

November
American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
A tale of What If the Norse Gods were bored. Sorta. Good idea, but I have to disagree with the rave reviews. I was thoroughly disappointed with this book. Oh, well...maybe next time. To each his/her own.

Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf.
Another in Virginia Woolf's oeuvre. It's a lttle deceiving this one, and I'm afraid to tell you too much about it, but it's is about the life of one very interesting character from his childhood to young adulthood. And also, about war. It was her first attempt at stream of consciousness writing and very, very good. :) Being stream of consciousness, it's a little confusing--even I didn't get what was going on unil the very end, and I've been reading through her works like water for years--but it is definitely a new favorite of mine. But then, I have yet to read a VW novel or non-fiction work I haven't loved.

Prince Caspian by CS Lewis.
Another in the Chronicles of Narnia. This time, the Pevensie children are pulled back to Narnia, a thousand ears or so after their reign to help Prince Caspian and the banished magical creatures of Narnia regain his right to the throne, and their rightful place in Narnia. Quite different in feel from the others, but still extremely lovable. :)

October
Odhroerir: Nine Devotional Tales of Odin's Journeys by Laure Gunnod Lynch. (available through Lulu.com) http://www.lulu.com/content/200302
Odhroerir is an excellent and touching collection of short stories based on Norse Mythology and the author's own finely-tuned, and inspired imagination, informed by her intense study and love for the Norse God Odin. I highly, highly recommend it. (And for those of you wondering, no this book is not by me, but by a fine friend who happens to share the name with me. :))

Worldly Goods by Lisa Jardine.
An examination of the Renaissance as a commodity-driven time similar to modern day society. Ms. Jardine seemed most particularly interested in the Germans and their part in the Renaissance, but it was otherwise rather thorough. If you can find it, it's worth a read.

The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis
This is a non-fiction, scholarly examination of the evidence we have concerning the Druids and their place in Celtic society. Very clearly written, and, in my opinion, an excellent treatise on the subject. It's been recently released in a new edition, under a slightly different title. But do check it out, if you're so inclined. Highly recommended!

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
The second offering by Ms. Kidd, concerning a woman, Jessie, who is reluctantly drawn back to the family homestead, to take care of her mother, who has developed a very strange compulsion for self-mutilation. Here, Jessie will find an forbidden love and forbidden knowledge with the help of a very confused novice monk. (Well, that's the story in a very bad nutshell--LOL) You will have to read to see how Jessie's story unfolds. It well worth it; yet another title to add to the highly recommended list. :)

Once a Wolf by Susan Krinard.
The next installment in the Forster family saga. This one concerns Rowena and her new life as an expatriot in New York City. Kidnapped and taken to the New Mexico desert, she has to learn to accept herself, and her werewolf nature; she must also decide between the outlaw who has kidnapped her, and stolen her heart, and the New Yorker who she had planned to marry, before their abrupt separation. Who will she choose, and what will that mean to what and who she is? You'll have to read to find out. Again, this is another to add to the list of reads we'd call highly recommended, if you can find it.(We hear it's out of print(?))

July/August/September:
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.
A YA novel all about a 14 year old California girl as she struggles to keep her sanity, when she finds out she's the only heir to the Genovian throne. Hillarious. And yes, there is a movie. Highly recommended.

Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts.
Second in her Three Sisters Island Trilogy; this time we follow Ripley as she confronts her part in the astrally linked sisters, and the arrival of a particularly yummy PHD. Mac Booke.

"Daisy Miller" by Henry James
This is actually more of a novella, than a novel, and one of Mr. James' most popular works. It's all about Miss Daisy Miller, an American girl, and her jaunt through Europe, and the tragedy of the journey through the eyes of a young man curious to know more about Miss Miller. Recommended.

Adam Bede by George Eliot.
Her first novel, lyrical in some ways, vastly difficult in others. There's a love story in here, and a mystery, I think--the whole thing's a huge mystery. If you can muddle the gist of this book out of the mire of colloquial, our hats are off to you. :( Nothing like Daniel Deronda.

May/June:
The Song of Homana by Jennifer Roberson
The continuing story of Prince Carillion and the Cheysuli. Carillion endeavors to regain his throne, and defend himself and his companion Cheysuli, Finn from the evil Ilhini sorcerers. :) Another highly recommended read.

Treausres from the Deep by Jolene Dawe.
A collection of wonderfully written, deeply touching short stories, based on or flavored by the author's love of Ancient Greek myth and religion, and especially the Sea God Poseidon. Available from Lulu.com. :) Extremely highly recommended!

April/May:
Moon Shadows by Nora Roberts, et al.
Romance, and Fantasy, and a little Gothic flavor. Love stories populated by princesses, witches, faery folk, and werewolves. A fun little light read for those times when such things are called for. :)

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot.(Re-read)
One of my favorites--even 15 years after having first read it.. A 19th Century socialite and a young English Gentleman meet, sparks fly, even as they try to make their separate ways in the world, she in marriage, he delving into the life of the contemporary and historical Jews. An extremely complex, yet lyrical, and intriguing tale and well-worth the effort it may take to read. Highly recommended!

Greek Folk Religion by Martin P. Nilsson
A 1940s lecture/essay concerning the Greek's of the countryside and how they revered their gods. Very interesting.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis.
Another in the adorable, classic Chronicles of Narnia. Lucy, Peter, and Edmund, accompanied by their arrogant, spoiled cousin Eustace return to Narnia, landing on the deck of Prince Caspian's ship, en route to the Lone Islands, and points south, crossing paths with some interesting (and sometimes incredibly mean!) characters. :) We loved this one, but if for nothing else, it was fun to pick out the hints, here and there, to our beloved The Voyage of Bran, upon which Lewis based this book. Highly recommended.:)

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. Part three in the Chronicles of Narnia.
A boy rescues a talking horse and takes off on a wild adventure, to Narnia, and the North! only to find his true identiy, along the way. :) Susan, Peter and Lucy make a brief appearance here, but the story is all Bree's and Shasta's. like the others, this one is absolutely adorable, and highly recommended.

February/March:
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.
This is the story of a young teenage girl, and her decision to finally find the truth about her mother. That decision leads her to Tiburon, South Carolina and a interesting summer in 1964 with three black sisters, beekeepers, devotees of the Black Madonna, and the surrounding unrest of the first days of the Civil Rights Movement. A very very compelling story. Highly recommended.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Amy Tan's first novel. The story of a group of Chinese mothers and their American born daughters. It tells of their struggles with each other, and their struggles to simply understand each other, as they try to build or hang on to their own uniqueness. This is an excellent novel, that I really loved. Again, like The Bonesetter's Daughter (though given this was her first novel) The Joy Luck Club has a little mythological feel to it that I loved. Again, this too is highly recommended.

January/February:
Once Upon a Midnight by Nora Roberts.
Again, a fine collection of Romantic tales. I enjoyed these too.

The Mabinogion.
My current, #1 favorite book. The tales here are just lovely; the heroes valiant and true. In my opinion, literature has yet to live up to the classics. :)

December/January:
The Bacchae and other Plays by Euripides
A reintroduction to the Greeks. Very good plays. Some interesting finds, in these pages. Highly Recommended.

Once Upon a Castle by Nora Roberts.
Not too bad. I've never really read much Romance, but I liked the stories here, very much.

Ethan Frome and other Tales by Edith Wharton.
The classic Edith Wharton piece. I have my ideas about EF. I won't bore you with them... it's a good read, nonetheless.

Echoes by Maeve Binchy.
I may still review this novel; bit of mystery, bit of romance. I really liked this one.

Fruits Basket #11.... Yes, a Manga, yes, way far into the series. Came from the library, so it was the best I could do. It seemed, other than a little confusing, coming into it so late, rather good.

November/December:
Celtic Lore by Ward Rutherford.
An intriguing examination of the beloved tales of the Celts, from the Tain to the Mabinogion to Camelot and beyond.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Yes, in preparation for the movie, I dug this old tome out. Very good... quite different from the movie, and quite sparse, but very good.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis.
The Follow-up/prequel to Lion. Very good, though.

October/November:
Touch of the Wolf by Susan Krinard.
Very good... I never have liked Romance novels; Touch of the Wolf changed my mind. I really loved Braden and family very much. Highly recommended.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
A wonderful story of love, courage, and determination, set during the Civil War. I absolutely adored this book, and the movie that goes with it. Highly Recommended.

More to come...


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Updated January 1, 2007