wahlee: (Bad eggs)
[personal profile] wahlee
I'm already behind on reviewing my Reading Challenge books, but I plead sickness-- last Saturday night I was on my way to bed when I slipped and fell down the last couple of stairs and twisted my ankle. It's doing much better than I would have expected that first night-- I felt like I was going to faint in the immediate aftermath, and my ankle was swollen and throbbing and really, really, hurting-- but it's made life a lot more difficult than I was hoping for this week. Getting to and from work, and not sleeping well at night, has been exhausting, leaving me without much mental capacity for writing. And then, on Friday night, I realized I was coming down with a cold, which hit me full force today especially. So I've done a good bit of reading, both Challenge books and otherwise. After all, I'm trying only to read what I haven't read before for the Challenge, and it's really hard for me to read new books at night when I'm trying to get to bed because I get interested and stay up all night. So I read the Challenge books during the day, and switch to something I've already read at night. Unless I have a cold and the Challenge book I'm currently reading is kind of depressing, and then I switch to Georgette Heyer and Robin McKinley during the day, too. Anyway.

So the first book I read for the Reading Challenge was a book over 500 pages. I chose:

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (796 pages)

This is the second book in the Mistborn series, which is currently only a trilogy, but will have two more books released within the next year (If you are the kind of fan who likes new books from your favorite author regularly, even if they're not the series you're hoping for, Brandon Sanderson is your guy. Dude writes 87 books a year, I swear). I read the first one ages ago, but got distracted and never finished the series (even though I had both sequels on my Nook). I admit that Sanderson has fascinating magical systems (in the world of Mistborn, magic is performed by ingesting and then "burning" certain metals in a process called Allomancy--those who can burn only one are called Mistings, while those who can burn all the magical metals are called Mistborn--or by storing things in metals in a process called feruchemy--memories, strength, weight, health, speed, etc., which can be drawn on at need) and his choice of hero-- a young Mistborn girl named Vin-- is interesting and compelling. But for some reason, I find the Mistborn books slow going. Maybe the fight scenes get too detailed for me, maybe the details of overthrowing a corrupt government and trying to establish a new one just isn't interesting to me. Or maybe they're just not funny enough (Brandon Sanderson can be quite funny in other books I've read by him). I'm sure I'll read the last book eventually, but I'm not in a hurry.

For the second book, I realized that I had been approved for an eArc on NetGalley for a book that'd work great for the mystery/thriller category, so I skipped ahead on the list:

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King (352 pages)

The next book in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series will be released on February 17, but I got to read it early. This one starts out after the events of Garment of Shadows as Holmes and Russell return to England after their adventures in Portugal and Morrocco, but quickly jumps back in time to fill us in on what happened in Japan between their leaving India at the end of The Game and arriving in San Francisco in Locked Rooms before returning to Oxford to continue the story. Not quite as frivolous as Pirate King (not that there's anything wrong with frivolous) or as weighty as The Language of Bees and The God of the Hive, the latest adventures of Russell and Holmes is highly entertaining. It does mark a departure from the usual Russell/Holmes story, in a way that I can't explain without spoilers, but it's none the worse for that. It made me want to explore Oxford and eat Japanese food, not necessarily in that order. I got some Japanese food last night. Oxford will have to wait. :P

The next category on the Challenge is a classic romance-- which puts me in a bit of a pickle. As I said above, I want to read books I haven't read before for this challenge. I also want to read a nice, happy, story. But most of the lists of "classic romance" I've found while googling for ideas are populated with Jane Austen novels (all of which, of course, I have read multiple times), various Brontes (which I've either read or refuse to read *coughwutheringheightscough*), or are the star-crossed-lovers or depressing types (like Gone With the Wind). I actually started reading The Age of Innocence with the intention of using it for this category, but it's obvious it's going to be one of the depressing kinds-- so I'm using it for the Pulitzer Prize category instead. Which leaves me a dilemma.

Do I change my definition of "classic romance" to include books in the classic romance mode, but more modern? Do I decide to apply it to the Gothic Romance category instead (although they do usually have a love story)? Do I find a Fanny Burney or Sir Walter Scott or Maria Edgeworth that no one reads anymore and call it "classic"? Do I just decide to read Pride and Prejudice for the 287th time and call it good?

Or I could ask my flist for suggestions for a good, happy, classic romance that I might not have read yet. Help?

Date: 2015-01-20 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] divinemum.livejournal.com
I defined "classic romance" in the classic mode but modern. I had a bunch in my TBR pile anyway. ;)

Date: 2015-01-21 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wahlee-98.livejournal.com
I'm totally willing to do that, but-- I need recommendations! I'd like to keep it at a PG level if possible, but no more than PG-13. :P

Date: 2015-01-21 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] divinemum.livejournal.com
Any of the Smythe-Smith Quartet (starting with Just Like Heaven) by Julia Quinn would fit the bill. Her Bevelstoke series is also very funny. Caveat- I haven;t read the first Bevelstoke book (but I loved 2 and 3, especially 3. Ten Things I Love About You)

Date: 2015-01-20 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs-bombadil.livejournal.com
Could another approach be to choose a classic this isn't categorized as a romance but has a significant romantic subplot?

Date: 2015-01-21 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wahlee-98.livejournal.com
That would also work, but I've read so many classics (with an MA in English, I couldn't help it), it's hard to find one I haven't read that would qualify. Any suggestions?

Date: 2015-01-21 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs-bombadil.livejournal.com
That is the hard part. I know you have read so much more than I have :P

Ummmm have you read Don Quixote? E.M. Forster?

January 2015


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