Monday, January 17, 2011

Book number 2 for the year is The Sword of Albion by Mark Chadbourn. It's a fun historical fantasy set in the Elizabethan years (well, 1588 to be exact) and concerns the exploits of England's most famous spy, Will Swyfte. And yes, that is rather odd, for one would think that by being well known to the world at large as being a spy, that you wouldn't actually be very good at your job, but in this world, as with Will Swyfte, what you see isn't what you get. Swyfte and his comrades are not the main source of information against the mundane enemies of England such as France and Spain, no, they are employed against a far more fearful, nefarious and older Enemy; the Unseelie Court.

Chadbourn builds a nice world, familiar but with overtones of the unfamiliar, his characters are good (Swyfte is a bit too much out of the James Bond mold, but hey, it kinda works) and he does dread and excitement well. I could've done with a little less sea warfare, but given the context of when this novel is taking place, I guess there's not much way around it.

If there's more Will Swyfte books, I'll continue on.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Brand new year, brand new page. Book number 1 of 2011 is Sleepwalk With Me by Mike Birbiglia. This was tossed to me by my husband, as Birbiglia is one of those stand up comics that Graig knows about but whom I've never heard of before. Sleepwalk With Me is the book-version of Birbiglia's one man show of the same name. It's a funny look at his life, and the main thread in it is that he suffers from sleepwalking (or the more clinical REM sleep disorder), to such an extent that he actually endangers his life during it. I liked Birgibglia's style, very self-depricating but funny.

On a personal note, I think I found this book kinda scary-funny from the point of view that my dear husband has some of the same sleepwalking type episodes. Fortunately they've not escalated to the point of Birbiglia's, but still... a lot of it sounded mighty familiar.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

It's January 2nd now, so time for our 2010 Year End post. In a lot of ways, it wasn't a very diverse year as I read quite a few things by the same authors. And of course, there were my usual tomes about Shakespeare in there. So what did I read this year? The list is as follows:

The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill
Shakespeare's Wife - Germaine Greer
Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
Fool - Christopher Moore
Under Heaven - Guy Gavriel Kay
Privilege of the Sword - Ellen Kushner
Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
Mythago Wood - Robert Holdstock
The Torontonians - Phyllis Bret Young
A Gentleman's Game - Greg Rucka
The White Queen - Phillipa Gregory
The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt
The Court of the Air - Stephen Hunt
Contested Will - James Shapiro
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Elfland - Freda Warrington
A Cure for All Diseases - Reginald Hill
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thakeray
The Wordy Shipmates - Sarah Vowell
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Steig Larsson
The Red Queen - Phillipa Gregory
You Suck - Christopher Moore
Of Human Bondage - W. Somerset Maughm
Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind
Let the Right One In - John Alvide Lindqvist
Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffeneger
Dead to the World
Dead As A Doornail
All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead And Gone

Grand total? 32. Damn, one shy of my best record so far. Of course, part of the problem was in November I got completely sidetracked and did a slew of re-reads, but oh well.

Favourite book this year? Of course we have to go with Guy Kay's latest, Under Heaven. A truly gorgeous book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also right up there was A.S Byatt's The Children's Book. And for best non-fiction, I'm going to go with Contested Will because I like any book that shoots down the 'Shakespeare didn't author his plays' conspiracy as well as this one did.

I read a freaking lot of vampire books this year, 10 all together. The best one being, by far, Let the Right One In. You Suck was rather... toothless (disappointing for a Christopher Moore novel) and the Sookie Stackhouse extravaganza is just light fare that's easy to burn through.

Tried to get into an author two of my cousins adore, but found myself disagreeing with their worship of Terry Goodkind.

Overall, I am pleased with my tally. Library plus starting to take the subway again in the latter part of the year helped bump the totals up.

I've already started my first book of 2011.