Calling off work to read a book should be a thing too.
Title: Death and Relaxation (Ordinary Magic #1)
Author: Devon Monk
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL
Plot Basics: Delaney Reed is the police chief of Ordinary, Oregon, which is anything but. The quaint town is really home to vampires, werewolves and the like and serves as the vacation hub for the gods, who in return for some R&R, give up their powers while they are there. Delaney and her police officer sisters (it’s a family biz) are among the only ones who know. But when things start getting blown up right before the town’s Rhubarb Festival AND Norse-god Heimdall seems to have been murdered, Delaney’s got more weird on her hands than she might be able to handle.
Banter Points: This book was a lot of fun. I’ve read a bit of Devon Monk in the past and I just happened on this one in the Wowbrary list and I’m glad I read it.
I really liked how she balanced the supernatural elements. I could see how she was using the characters and their interactions to convey information, but it never felt heavy-handed or like an info-dump.
Bummer Points: The end felt a tad disjointed from the rest. I will keep reading the series because I’m curious what she does in books 2 and 3 with what she seemed to be trying to set up.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Fun start to a series; worth reading if you like lighter-hearted urban fantasy.
The hubz and I are both introverted and this is verbatim our conversations some evening. The answers are usually, “no” and “yes” (if reading left to right). We’re just quiet.
Title: Different Class
Author: Joanne Harris
Length: 403 pages
Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL
Plot Basics: Latin Master Roy Straitley of St. Oswald’s boys school is back for yet another year. The school has a new headmaster who is determined to drag the school — and Straitley — into the 21st century. The headmaster used to be Straitley’s pupil and a man with past secrets. Straitley isn’t willing to go down and does all he can to keep the school from going down to, dragged under by past ghosts.
Banter Points: When I learned that Joanne Harris’ new book was a sequel (sort of) to “Gentlemen & Players,” I was thrilled. I love that book and the twisted mystery tied up in it. Straitley is so curmudgeonly loveable in his adherence to the past. Just like in “Gentlemen & Players,” the story weaves between Straitley and a mysterious second narrator, the reveal of whom it truly is, is one of the pivotal plot points. Harris is sneaky good at misdirection.
She also, a decade later, manages to catch the zeitgeist of 2005. A good chunk of the plot revolves around homosexuality and the fear of being found out. As I thought back to my education reporter career in the same time period, that was all spot on. Ditto with the focus on how technology could change everything.
Bummer Points: While Different Class is good, it’s just not quite as sharp as “Gentlemen & Players.”
Word Nerd Recommendation: Read Harris’ “Gentlemen & Players” and then follow it up with this second one in a welcome return to that world.
Clearly, I know what snack I’m making tonight.
My love of popcorn goes back to my childhood. Popcorn was a treat I’d get sometimes (most often served with orange juice) while watching The Muppet Show. We didn’t get the popcorn maker out all that often, so it was special when we did.
I also read Tomie dePaola’s “The Popcorn Book” (a 1978 classic) many times over as a kid. When I was home for the holidays, I was sorting through some of my things left in the attic and I found my copy. It’s beat up from the multiple readings and the 20 years (at least) boxed up and hidden away in the attic, suffering through the heat/cold changes of that space.
As I flipped through the book, I was amazed at how much of it I remembered.
The book also taught (re-taught) me that I’m storing my popcorn kernels all wrong, as I don’t have them in an airtight container. My solution for that, currently, is just to eat up what I’ve got.
P.S. Tomorrow is National Cheese Day. I’ll celebrate that one too.
I’m having one of those moments where I really want to re-read the Potter books because they are old friends that I miss.
But I also want to find another book series that sticks with me in the same way, becomes real, offering both entertainment and insight for years to come.
This is equally the best and worst parts about being a reader.
My 2016 reading year resulted in some fun stats:
In 2017, I want to branch out and read more “new to me” type books, which was part of the development for January’s Challenge to read a life changing book. I firmly believe that when one reads (or listens) to stories that are different than our own, we change our lives too. I don’t have a number of books goal, but I do want the books to be thoughtful choices that will help me get outside my comfort zone of reading.
Bethany’s 2016 review is something to check out too, in case you missed it during the holidays.