Nov. 27th, 2010

wilderthan: ((Books) Open book)
Time for my readathon! 10am to 10pm, GMT, as planned. I'll be updating on this post, every half hour to an hour, and might spread into two posts if it gets too long. Feel free to comment and chat with me, or if you have my MSN/AIM/gtalk names, grab me on there. Or ask for them if you don't have them.

This is the stack I'll be reading from -- slightly supplemented from last time, heh. Sort of in order of how much I expect to get round to reading them. I'm going to try not to go outside the stack, this time, which is why I've chosen plenty.

-The Boy Who Was Buried Yesterday, by Joseph Hansen. The eleventh in the series of Brandstetter books, featuring an openly gay detective.
-A Country of Old Men, by Joseph Hansen. The twelfth book in the Brandstetter series, and the final one.
-The Roman de Brut, by Wace. A medieval Arthurian text, based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia. Trivia: it was the first text to mention the Round Table.
-The Brut, by Layamon. A medieval Arthurian text based on Wace's Brut!
-King Arthur's Bones, by the Medieval Murderers, a group of mystery writers who collaborate. I think you can guess what this is about.
-Tooth & Claw, by Jo Walton. Austenesque society... if real dragons were the characters and the society were that of dragons.
-Snowball in Hell, by Josh Lanyon. Detective story. Since this is Josh Lanyon, the detective and the guy he's currently eyeing suspiciously will probably get together.
-The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge. A children's fantasy novel one of my friends reaaaally wants me to read.
-The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides. A story in an interesting POV about a family of girls who all apparently committed suicide.
-Diu Crône (The Crown), by Heinrich von dem Türlin. In translation. It's a version of the Arthurian grail story in which Sir Gawain achieves the grail. I'll only be able to read this if it arrives in the mail in good time, though. It's supposed to be arriving today, but...

Anyway, it's now five past ten, and my readathon should begin!

10:08: Just as I reached for a book, there was a knock on the door. Some Christmas presents for people arrived, and my translation of Diu Crône! I still don't know if I'll get round to reading it today -- it's quite hefty, both size-wise and in tone.

11:11: Started with The Boy Who Was Buried Yesterday, since I especially want to finish reading the Brandstetter series. I'm about halfway through. Didn't really get reading until 10:30 -- distractions abound. Getting on with it now, though.

12:03: Finished The Boy Who Was Buried Yesterday, review here. Stopping to write reviews slows me up, but I prefer to keep a record of my thoughts just after I finished a book. Not sure what's next -- might read a section or two of King Arthur's Bones, and then carry on with Snowball in Hell, or start the final Brandstetter book, A Country of Old Men.

13:09: Oh, dear, I don't seem to have read much in the last hour. I've been reading King Arthur's Bones. It's really funny: from the amount of research I've done on this subject, I can point out the accuracy of the most minute little details. It's kind of fun.

13:51: Just finished reading the first section of King Arthur's Bones. The narrative could've been better done -- it started in one POV and then transitioned to the next for the vast majority of the story. It didn't switch more than that once, which made it feel more awkward. Oh well. I think I'm going to read something else for a bit now -- a toss-up between Snowball in Hell and the last Brandstetter book.

15:45: Huh, a long time since I checked in. Working on the last Brandstetter book, since I most want to finish that. It's kinda sad, Dave's slowing up so much.

16:58: Finished A Country of Old Men, and posted an overview of the volume with links to separate reviews, here. I'm a little sad now. I'll miss Brandstetter. Back to King Arthur's Bones, now.

18:35: Just finished the second 'act' of King Arthur's Bones. Making dinner, too. I'm going slower than I'd hoped. Oh, well.

20:49: Still working on King Arthur's Bones. Near the end now, though. Just read the section with William Shakespeare in it.

22:20: And it's over. I'd really hoped to read more, but oh well. Three books isn't bad going, at all.
wilderthan: ((Books) Stack)
I Spy Something Bloody (Josh Lanyon)

Josh Lanyon's work is all, I'm finding, pretty enjoyable. This is different again to the ones I've read before, this time involving an ex-spy. It was interesting to read this, having read the Adrien English books: the voice of the one who did the hurting, rather than the one who was hurt.

I'm not sure how much I liked Mark. He'd say that he didn't expect much from Stephen, and yet he'd be surprised when Stephen pulled away. He didn't seem to have any idea of the boundaries that I think most people internalise. I think, without much personal experience, that the PTSD Mark has to deal with is reasonably well dealt with, anyway. I liked Stephen, though sometimes he was too perfect.

One thing that bothered me was how very stereotypical the brief portrayal of Lena was. "Motherly black woman" who works as a servant to a white man -- really?

The tension between Mark and Stephen is well done, though, and the action scenes are pretty good.

I Spy Something Wicked (Josh Lanyon)

I Spy Something Wicked is shorter than the first story, and focuses almost entirely on Mark and Stephen's relationship -- yes, it's under stress, and Mark still seems to have PTSD, but they're trying to work things out. Some parts of it are incredibly sweet, and it feels quite real.

I was immensely glad at the end. I was rather worried that Mark hadn't learnt anything last time round.

The Complete Brandstetter (Joseph Hansen)

Although I didn't rate any of the books higher than four stars, as a collection they deserve five stars. There's a whole variety of stories and characters within these pages, all of them well worth spending some time with -- most notably, Brandstetter himself. He's an openly gay detective, and the novels all engage with the issues gay people face, but also with racial issues. It's not always perfect, but it's an honest attempt.

Unlike Chandler's Marlowe, who you may think of at first when you read this, Dave's got a life and a family and friends outside of his life as a private investigator. After a while, you'll probably find yourself reading for that, more than anything else. I certainly did.

Separate reviews of each book )


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