corrielle: (Book and Key)
[personal profile] corrielle
I got quite a bit behind on my "books read" post this past year, and I'm trying to do a little to catch up.  So, for each book (or series), I'm simply said why I picked it up and commented briefly on if it was worth it. 

Included in this post are:

5. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

6-8. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

9. Sex With Kings by Eleanor Herman

10. Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary


5. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

 

Why I picked it up: It's Neil Gaiman. It was already on our Kindle.

 

Was it worth it? It really was.  Several of these stories kept me up long after they were over.  Not because of anything I could put my finger on, but because of a lingering sense of unease.  "Closing Time" did this, and it has this odd, genius bookending that Gaiman is SO good at where the story is something someon heard somewhere, and who knows if it's true, or even really a ghost story at all… "Bitter Grounds" did that too.  There were also some that were just plain fun, like "Forbidden Brides of the faceless Slav es in the Secrest House of the Night of the Dread Desire," aside from having the best Gothic title ever, is a really funny inversion of writerly angst, and "A Study in Emerald" is Holmes meshed with Lovecraft, and it's perfect.  Finally, "The Problem of Susan" is… Narnia fanficiton. And it's stunning and heartbreaking and just right for an adult who read the Narnia chronicles as a child and always wondered why Susan got left behind.

 

6-8. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

 

Why I picked them up: The movie.  I'll be honest. I saw the movie before I bought the books.

 

Was it worth it? Sure it was, if you like pain.  Seriously, though. I blazed through these in about a week.  They're worth the hype, and I don't think I've ever gotten so attached to characters so quickly.  I have… issues with some character deaths and with Katniss' eventual romantic resolution, but all in all highly worth the read.  I'd say more, but it would mostly be me crying. I don't have a lot of meta thoughts about this series.  Mostly I have feelings about Finnick and Annie, and I'm going to go wallow around in them.

 

9. Sex With Kings by Eleanor Herman

 

Why I picked it up: It was on Rae's shelf, and I'm always interested in books about the history of sexuality.

 

Was it worth it? Well… kind of. The best parts of the book were where the author let the mistresses, their royal lovers, and their observers speak for themselves.  The excerpts from diaries and letters were fascinating.  I found myself shocked over and over again that they put that (whatever "that" was) into writing. 

 

However, while I appreciate the fact that this book is trying to shed light on the lives of women who are usually neglected in history class, reading this frustrated me somewhat.  First of all, after reading the descriptions of how women went to extravagant lengths to attract and keep a king's interest… and then looking out and seeing women still doing the same thing, often not for themselves but to "look good for a man…" I threw my hands up in frustrated feminist rage. Also, I wish I could put my finger on why, but as I read, I detected an ever so subtle tone of slut-shaming from the author that really rubbed me the wrong way.  Sexual appetite, sometimes, but not always, is lumped in with other character flaws.  Sure, some of these women were Not Nice People, but linking their open desire for sex to other completely unrelated undesirable actions smacks of deeply ingrained sexism.

 

10. Twilight Zone: 19 Original Stories on the 50th Anniversary

 

Why I picked it up: I was at the Tower of Terror gift shop in Disney's California Adventure waiting for a friend because I will NEVER go on that ride, and I saw it. It looked good, so I downloaded it through kindle on my iPhone. Technology is amazing.

 

Was it worth it? Sure! It's one of those books that I'm glad I read it, but I'm also glad I don't have a physical copy taking up space in my house. The stories are very much in the style of the original episodes, and one of them is a script treatment for an actual episode that never got made, so that was fun. Stories I really liked include: "Benchwarmer" because it's like The Giving Tree, in a way, "Truth or Consequences" because it's like an Old Western version of "The Appointment in Samara," "Vampin Down the Avenue" because it's Timothy Zahn and it's about vampires and paparazzi, which is hilarious, and "The Wrong Room" by RL Stine because it's super creepy until it's normal… and then it's just plain wrong. I think one of my favorites, though, was "Puowania," which was a really sweet time travel/ghost story with a bit of Hawaiian mythology thrown in.

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