sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Yep, continues to be a lovely feel-good re-read. Nothing new to say about it this time. Except that I'd REALLY like to get an audiobook version of this someday so that I can make myself actually pay attention during the purpley nature descriptions, because I inevitably find myself skimming over those even when I don't intend to.

The Blue Castle is published three years too late for me to be able to find it on Librivox though, which would ordinarily be where I'd go to look for a book like this. And I can't find any evidence of a professional audiobook existing. There is a fan reading posted on youtube that I found? But that's such an inconvenient format, since I'd usually listen to audiobooks when I'm going for walks or things like that. SIGH. Dear United States: fix your messed-up copyright issues, please.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
my goodness it's been like five million years since I've posted a book review. I've read books in the meantime! But somehow not posted about them. Let me start working through the backlog. I'll start with some very brief reviews of a few old favourites.

The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery

As always a total delight to read. However, I had a new thought this time about an aspect that has always vaguely frustrated me but have never been able to articulate before. spoilers for the end )

First Test, by Tamora Pierce

Yeah okay I've got nothing to say about this one. I LOVE IT the end.

Page, by Tamora Pierce

I've come to realize that structurally this book actually isn't super well put together. It's pretty episodic, covering a lot of time without a lot of important events going on. HOWEVER, the important overarching emotional through-line is spoilers I guess )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

Okay like did you take a look at my blog at all last year? Aaaand this year too though to a lesser extent? OH DUDE LES MIS. Like: a) pardon me while I cry about everything in this book, b) omg the in-your-face commitment to social justice, c) the optimism that WE CAN DO THIS, we can make the world better, humanity can be good, and d) AUGH I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK. And it's one of those books that as you delve deeper there's always more to notice (and have feels over). Where has it been all my life? Why did I never think to try reading it earlier?

Terry Pratchett's entire oeuvre

I can't specify any one Terry Pratchett book. I grew up on Terry Pratchett. Terry Pratchett's books are in my soul. Cut me apart and I will bleed Terry Pratchett. TERRY PRATCHETT YOU GUYS. His books (and I read ALLLLLL of them; yes, even Dark Side Of The Sun and Strata, unfortunately) were just so deeply formative for me.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

The first time I read this book I accidentally read the entire thing, all ~1,000 pages, in two days flat. I have tried in the past to explain why this book means so much to me and why I am so flipping gone on it and I can never quite get there. But. THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK. I JUST.

Trapped, by James Alan Gardner

Okay so picture me and Essie at like 14 years old or something like that. I was staying over at Essie's place for a sleepover and Essie's parents had a hot tub. While we were sitting in the hot tub that evening, Essie began telling me about this really amazing book she'd read recently. I was fascinated, so she recounted for me the entire plot of the book from beginning to end over the course of the whole evening. It was awesome.

I later read the book myself (later that year, maybe?), and it was super great - and it remains super great, though there are other James Alan Gardner books I would say are even better. But I have an inexpressible additional fondness remaining for this book because of Essie's impassioned teenage explanation for why and how this book was just so brilliant.

Swallows & Amazons, by Arthur Ransome

Children going camping by themselves on an island using a sailboat and having adventures! Hell yeah! Swallows and Amazons forever!

Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook for Africa, by David Werner

This book was directly relevant to my family's life when I was a wee kidlet - doing what it says in the title, giving information on how to deal with health challenges when you're in a situation with no doctor or a poor health care system, speaking specifically to an African context.

But the way it has really affected me was the fact that it continued to sit on my parents' bookshelves after we moved back to North America. And here's the thing about being the parent of a book-loving child: she WILL go through your bookshelves and find everything of interest on it.

And this book is illustrated throughout with very matter-of-fact illustrations about a wide range of dire (and not so dire) health problems and treatments, and it was EXTREMELY COMPELLING. I spent a lot of time as a kid sitting on the floor by the bookshelves just paging through this, reading or skimming or looking at the illustrations as I felt moved.

When I flip through it today, everything about it looks so, so familiar.

And it was educational too! I remember clearly that it was from this book that I first learned about the placebo effect, for example. And I'm quite sure that lots of the other information seeped in as well, even if I don't remember various bits of information or ways of looking at the world as coming from this book specifically.

Anyways: god I love this book. It is REALLY GREAT.

Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, by Orson Scott Card

Oh dear I am kind of embarrassed about this because Orson Scott Card. But this was my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE book back in my high school days. I reread it approximately a million times and it never got old. I loved Pastwatch, this organization that was all about studying history, the reality of history instead of what history books said. I loved Tagiri, watching her family history backwards, back and back and back through the Pastwatch machines to see the causes of everything. I kind of identified with her, actually, and dearly wished that more people knew this book to so that I could use Tagiri as a reference for explaining why it was NOT cheating for me to read the last chapter of a book first so I would know how it ended going in.

I loved that all these deeply caring people came together to change the past and make it better, I loved that Columbus was a good man underneath the influences of his culture and society, I loved that the main characters were a whole mix of races and that there were plenty of women as well as men, I loved that it was ultimately such a hopeful book. I loved all of the characters. I loved how the book thought about history. I loved EVERYTHING, OKAY?

But I haven't reread this book in maaaany years at this point and I kind of don't ever want to reread it again. Because these days I know Orson Scott Card holds a lot of opinions about a lot of things that I REALLY don't agree with and I'm pretty sure a bunch of that stuff pervades this book as I'm told it does with his other books. (eg: racism, gender essentialism, homophobia, and probably more.) I've always been rather too good at being oblivious and I'm quite sure my younger self wouldn't have noticed any of that sort of crap. And I don't trust that I could reread this book without getting angry at it and at Card and ruining it. So I would much rather just let my teenage self enjoy the book in my memory and not discover the ways in which it is actually terrible.

I really really love the book in my memory.

The Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones

Gosh this is a powerful book. And pretty dark, for a younger-end-of-YA novel. I don't remember how old I was when I first read it, but it really stuck with me - especially the end, the life that Jamie has given himself to.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia C Wrede

Awww, charming and (mostly) feminist approach to fairy-tale-land! Everything I ever loved when I was younger! Rereading these days I definitely notice the flaws, but there's still a lot the series does right. And I just love Cimorene and Kazul and Morwen. And the whole world of the Enchanted Forest and so forth!

The Blue Castle, by LM Montgomery

The ultimate comfort read for me. It's a story about deserving nice things no matter how much people tell you that you don't matter, and a story where those nice things are BOOKS and NATURE and GOOD PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU. *happy sigh* I generally end up rereading this at least every year and sometimes more often.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I've always really loved this book, because JANE IS THE AMAZINGEST, so last night when I was feeling unreasonably anxious for no good reason I decided to reread it. Turns out this was a bad life choice Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I have read this book SO MANY TIMES. But it will never get old. And I had food poisoning on the weekend and needed to read something nice and comforting. WHICH THIS IS.

The funny thing, though, is that I still keep finding things to comment on. Not, like, groundbreaking things or anything, but.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Writing up extensive thoughts about every book I read was much easier when I read fewer books. Around the beginning of May I switched to reading published books during my lunch hour at work instead of spending it on the computer and all of a sudden my rate of bookreading has SKYROCKETED -- and not just because of the extra hour of reading a day, but because the reading-every-day puts my brain in the mindset of reading profic and so I read more of it at home as well. In the month of May I completed 14 books, which is just shy of a book every other day. Like hell I had enough time/energy to write lengthy reactions to each of those books! Especially since usually these books are completed at lunch (when I'm not at a computer to write my thoughts down immediately) or at bedtime (when my computer has been turned off for the evening already).

But I MISS it, I really do. So I am going to keep trying my best. HERE:

Squire, and Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce

I realized while reading these that there are two different modes of rereading I do. One is rereading a book that I've read infrequently enough or long enough ago that I don't remember everything that happens, so I am experiencing some or most (or all) of the contents anew. And one is rereading a book that I have already read a million times.

The latter makes a reread really fast! Because I don't need any time to digest or comprehend what I am reading -- I just motor on forward at breakneck pace. It's a way of reminding myself in order of everything I like about the book. There's nothing new or surprising, I'm not about to have any sudden insights about the content, I know exactly what is going to happen next and often the words in which it's going to happen. But it's a wonderful experience anyways because it's so comforting and enjoyable to just wallow in something I love and know so well.

I'm quite sure that there are people out there who would find this way of rereading books unfamiliar and/or uninteresting. But WOWWWW NO I LOVE IT.

This is all a very roundabout way to say, I have nothing much to say about these books. I LOVE THEM THE END?

Actually no there is something to say, and that something is this: cut for spoilers )

Jane of Lantern Hill, by LM Montgomery

A comforting reread! I was having a bad evening and this book is a delicious warm hug telling me that everything is okay.


cut for spoilers and for some discussion of unhealthy family relationships )

Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church, by Lauren Drain

You can tell pretty easily from this book what it is about. Lauren Drain was part of the Westboro Baptist Church for seven years, starting when she was a young teen, and this book chronicles her time among them.

cut for spoilers and discussion of unhealthy religious experiences )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I HAVEN'T FALLEN BACK OFF THE POSTING BANDWAGON. Not yet, anyways. Let's see, time for another book post, methinks. Let me post about The Blue Castle, which I most recently reread back in July but never actually posted the thoughts I wrote down. SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN.

Okay so The Blue Castle is SUCH A GOOD COMFORT READ OMG. Ugh I love practically everything about it. ALL THE FEELS, ALWAYS AND FOREVER. Spoilers follow! But really imo spoilers don't matter because the joy of this book is in the JOURNEY not the plot twists. (but then that's always my opinion so maybe don't listen to me. :P) )

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