sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Okay so I watched [personal profile] skygiants's recent Howl's Moving Castle vid which uses the movie source material to make a vid about the book, and I was immediately like I NEED TO REREAD THAT BOOK and so I did and it was obviously great as always. I'm just endlessly charmed by this ridiculous delightful book. And uh I don't know what else to say about it because I am having trouble convincing my brain that there's anyone out there who HASN'T read this book (and been subsequently charmed by it) even though I know there are probably plenty such people.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
At any rate the world doesn't stop having good books in it just because everything else is horrible.

Here's a collection of short book thoughts about some books I liked, that aren't substantive or spoilery enough thoughts to get their own posts.

The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex

A reread. Still an impressively successful and delightful book! A kid's book about alien invasion(s), told from the point of view of a young biracial girl, with the conceit that it was written by her for a school project with a goal of it ending up in a time capsule. Tip is a really engaging narrator, and the themes the book is addressing are all well handled, and it's just all SO GOOD. I have a lot of feelings.

Also is pretty much exactly right for what happens after the book imo. I love this fic. (though really I ought to read the ACTUAL Smek sequel at some point I think. There is one now!)

Quilting: Poems 1987-1990, by Lucille Clifton

An interesting collection of poems written by an African-American woman. Worth reading, though I have nothing to say about it because I'm not comfortable enough yet with poetry to have the words to describe it.

Dogsbody, by Diana Wynne Jones

A well written and charming book, as is to be expected from DWJ. I'm not the right audience for it, since I don't particularly care one way or another about dogs, and our main character is fairly thoroughly a dog for much of the book. But DWJ is a good enough writer to keep me invested despite this, and I did care an awful lot about Kathleen!

The Emperor's Soul, by Brandon Sanderson

A reread. I still love this book. But do I have anything else to say about it that I didn't say last time? No.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now, by Ryan North, art by Erica Henderson

A total delight, just like the last two Squirrel Girl tpbs! I love Ryan North's sense of humour, and Erica Henderson's art is perfect for the story. Doreen and her friends are all amazing, and I love just about everything about this book.

However. The last two issues in this collection are a two-part crossover with Howard Duck. The first part (done by the Squirrel Girl team) was just about as good as the rest of the series but the second part (done by the Howard Duck team) I just wasn't as into. It wasn't as funny or as charming, and I didn't like the art as much, and I just didn't care as much. It's too bad that this is the note the book ended on, because the rest of the book had me gleeful all the way through.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Sorry, today's book post is boring because I think I'm really rather out of things to say on the topic of this book, an old favourite I have reread countless times. Except that I noticed one minor detail this time through that never really struck me before: Read more... )
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)
Today's book post has a THEME, because I started rereading Chrestomanci and then couldn't stop. Enjoy!

The Lives of Christopher Chant, by Diana Wynne Jones )

Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones )

Mixed Magics, by Diana Wynne Jones )

Witch Week, by Diana Wynne Jones )

The Magicians of Caprona, by Diana Wynne Jones )

And then I'm not bothering to reread Conrad's Fate or The Pinhoe Egg because they came out a little too late for them to be part of My Childhood, and so to me they read as noncanonical to the series and I can't quite get into them in the same way.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
WOW GOOD GOING SOPHIA. Apparently I need to CHECK MY PAST BOOK LISTS before assuming I have not finished a book before, because apparently I did note down that I finished The Fortune Of War last year on December 7. And I wrote a post about it and everything! It is clear I was not operating on much brain yesterday.

Anyways! I have since finished another book, so let me post about it! And...respond to comments to my last post (POSTS PLURAL I mean....) at some hypothetical future time that will totally come. I AM SORRY ALL, I AM JUST SUCH A FAIL SOMETIMES AT COMMENTING/RESPONDING, IT DOES NOT MEAN I DON'T LOVE GETTING COMMENTS

Homeward Bounders, by Diana Wynne Jones

This book, lo these many years ago, was the first DWJ I ever read. I read it at a time when I hadn't a clue DWJ was even a thing or anything; I just read this book and loved it, and paid zero attention to the author's name. Imagine my surprise, years later, to be browsing the DWJ shelf at my local library and noticing Homeward Bounders sitting right there!

Spoilers to follow. )

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