Well, it was an interesting month for reading. I read a variety of books.
From the 100 best non-fiction list, I read Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson. I thought it was an interesting book, but I am not quite sure why it is on that list. Stevenson traveled on a donkey through that part of France, and the book recounts the highs and lows of that trip. He had discussions with villagers about religion and other topics, but the main focus of the book is the difficulties traveling with the donkey. It is humorous in that regard. I enjoyed the book, but I guess I missed something.
The novel I read from the 100 best list was The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe. It was an interesting book. A few years ago I read Verne’s An Antarctic Mystery, which is supposed to be like a sequel to Poe’s book, and I really enjoyed that. This one was good, too, but I think having read Verne’s book first, it took away some of the value of this book. I already knew something of the story and so it wasn’t as captivating as it might have been. It was good, though, and I am glad I read it.
I read two mysteries:
- Hollywood Crazy by MZ Kelly is the third book in this series. I had read the first two and the fourth one, and this filled in a few blanks for me. The main character, Kate Sexton, is a good one. Her friends and roommates are a little too crazy for me and take away some from the story. But the story is a good one, and I was able to read past those crazy characters.
- Blue Baby by Carolyn Arnold is, I think, the third book in this series that I have read. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the others. Not sure why. Brandon Fisher seems whinier here, I think. But in general, the story was a fairly good one. I will keep reading this series.
I only read one piece of speculative fiction: Echo by Alicia Wright Brewster . I remember liking it, but I have to admit I don’t remember much about the book. Time gets rewound in an effort to avoid disaster. The characters were good ones, and that was probably more important to me than the story. As I think more about it, I can remember that the main character was only born in the last rewind, so she is more powerful. That makes her both dangerous to and the salvation of the the existing power struggle. I know this isn’t a very good review of this book, but I hope you will read it anyway.
I read a book that didn’t fall into any of my categories, Above the Bridge by Deborah Garner. I guess I could have classified it as mystery or as speculative fiction, but it was too much a mix for me to feel comfortable with either of those labels. It was a fairly good book involving some time travel. The time travel was not explained well enough for me to really buy into it, though. Paige finds a key that takes her back in time. It shows up some times and not others. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. I think I would have liked it better without that element. Paige could have found the information some other way, I think, but it might have been just as tacked on as the time travel was. There are three books in the series, and I might try to read at least one more of them before I make a final decision.
The non-fiction book I read was Hurting Your Characters: A Writer’s Guide to Describing Injuries and Pain from the Charater’s Point of View by Michael J. Carlson. It was an important book for me to read. It gives a broad overview of human anatomy and problems that can occur. It talks about how different injuries might hurt. While I have already injured my characters some, it reminded me of the long-term effects of those injuries. It helped me think about that and bring it into the books. The author says it isn’t meant to be read straight through, but I did and it was readable. It is, however, basically a reference book, though. The author is a physician.
So that was it! April may not be as good as, in addition to the face-to-face class I am currently teaching, I will be starting an online class this coming week. But I’ll give it my best shot!