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Showing posts from April, 2013

Turning Thirty

I turned thirty this month and, not surprisingly, it's given me pause. Last month I picked up a book on the importance of your twenties, and for the most part it was reassuring because I never approached my twenties with the mindset that they weren't important. In fact, I spent most of my twenties worrying that I had taken them too seriously. I married my college sweetheart and went straight to library school and found jobs in libraries or related fields to pay the bills until I landed my first professional librarian gig. I was conventional, responsible, and hard-working.

But then what started as a few bumps in the road quickly became something much more serious. My husband started having health problems, which we finally realized were due to a toxic work environment. We decided not only on a job change, but a move to the city we'd been visiting nearly every month anyway. In the process of moving he managed to injure himself so badly that he was unable to work for months,…

Granny Reads: Embrace the Flame by Diana Haviland

At this point this is the winner by far for Granny Reads. Haviland's novel covers all the major tropes of a historical bodice ripper. Our heroine's name is Desire, and she was tragically orphaned during the latest plague. Despite her gentle upbringing, Desire finds herself at the mercy of a brothel owner who orders her to either become a whore or earn her keep as a thief. Obviously our virtuous heroine can't become a whore, so she tries to steal from a man who turns out to be a highwayman with a mysterious past, whom we eventually discover is the wrongly disinherited son of a late country gentleman. It all sounds so ridiculous, and yet the relationship between Desire and Morgan feels so real.

As far as any old school conventions of the genre, Desire is nearly raped about a billion times in this book, typifying the (hopefully) outdated notion that attempted rape should be seen as a compliment and confirmation of your good looks. There's also a homely spinster who is, o…

Playing with Point of View

Over the winter, I read Redshirts by John Scalzi, which was a really fun meta spoof on sci-fi TV shows, where the ensigns on board the ship theorize that the reason they have such a high mortality rate is because they're Redshirts on Start Trek-like show. The story was entertaining, but I only liked it, while my husband loved it.

On the other hand, the story's three codas, which initially struck me as strange, eventually became my favorite part of the book. Normally this would just be a comment in a Goodreads review, but I thought the structure of the three codas - the first is told in first person, the second is told in second, the third in third - is a good excuse to have a conversation about point of view in fiction. Also, these codas were an excuse for a mostly comic novel to have a soul, and I love humor with a bit of heart.

 If you want to read on, there will be broad spoilers since I'll be talking about where characters are at the end of the story. However, most of …