Posted by: Mish | August 13, 2009

Recent Reads

btt2Booking Through Thursday‘s latest questions have been about recent worst, serious, and funny reads. I find it best to end on a good note so in that order…

I’m currently in the middle of being really disappointed by Orson Scott Card’s Treasure Box. It doesn’t help that it comes off preachier than some of his other books. I’m not one to throw in the towel, but last night I came close. I didn’t because it actually got to a point where I want to know what happens next. Its basic premise is that Quentin Fears, a 34-year old virgin and recluse, is obsessed with his sister who died when he was 11, marries a woman who reminds him of his sister, but appearances aren’t what they seem, and he eventually follows the trail to uncover the truth behind Madeleine and a wooden box she refers to as her inheritance. If by the end of this borderline horror-fantasy I’m not completely turned off from Card’s writing, I’ll stick to his science-fiction.

My recent serious read is the Compass Rose by Ursula Le Guin, which I still need to review. The collection of short stories spans from light speculative fiction to the heavily scientific. I prefer my brain intact so read the anthology slowly, maybe two stories in one sitting at the max, if I wasn’t completely mentally fatigued. Some stories were more difficult to comprehend and get through than others, but generally speaking I liked the anthology well-enough. I do not recommend the Compass Rose as an introduction to Le Guin’s writing or sci-fi, the Lathe of Heaven or the Left Hand of Darkness would better serve the purpose. If Compass were a ski trail I’d mark it with an advanced black diamond.

Last month, I chuckled and groaned through Robert Asprin’s punny Myth Conceptions in which after apprentice Skeeve becomes Court Magician he’s told his first trick is to defend Possiltum kingdom from a massive invasion. Odds stack up against Skeeve and his master in disguise, but having tricks up their sleeves like a “talon-ted” dragon provide some assistance and comic relief. The entertaining tail is reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy and is just old-fashioned fun.

What are your recent worst, serious, and funny reads? If you’ve read any of these books mentioned, what did you think of them?

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Responses

  1. I have read either of these authors. Here is mine

  2. I hate Orson Scott Card so much that I can’t even THINK about trying to read one of his books.

  3. Amanda: Because of his views or something else?

    Bluestocking: I wanted to comment on the House of Seven Gables, but the button to do so wouldn’t appear. In short, it’s on my list simply because I’ve visited the house, which is rather interesting in itself.

  4. I have not read any of the authors.

    Booking through recent worst

  5. I like that – an advanced book diamond! I chose The Reader by Bernhard Schlink as my most recent bad book. You can check out my thoughts here.

  6. I have loved and loathed Card’s books. He is a piece of work that is for sure.

  7. Doesn’t sound great – I hate books that come across as patronizing or preachy.

    I also still need to find a copy of Ender’s Game. Oops!

  8. Susan: Those colored signs come in handy for more than going downhill.

    CJZ: That’s one way to put it. Which have you loved and which have you loathed?

    Uncertainprinciples: Me too. I’m a bit conflicted because though I really disagree with Card’s views, I’ve liked his writing up until now partially because his views weren’t so blatant. I could deal. I’ve been thinking about the artists I support and why and he’s not one I can support in good conscience. Good thing I buy his books used.

  9. I loved Lost Boys and the Ender series. As far as loathed, to be honest, I don’t even remember the titles.

  10. Fair enough. I’ve only read Ender and Speaker. One friend suggests reading all of it while another says that aside from the one about Bean I shouldn’t bother. I’ve been pretty set on finishing the blasted series regardless.

  11. Liking the frank style of your commentary. The plot of The Treasure Box actually sounds quite intriguing – what was it specifically that put you off? Heavy going or just prefer his style in other books maybe?

  12. Thank you. It’s a good plot, but is rather slow and Card’s writing falls short of what I’ve come to like and expect from him. His old sci-fi is great! Specific puts offs: a couple anti-homosexuality remarks, the big issue he makes of being chaste until marriage between a man and woman, how Pagans are evil and misled, and there’s a brief scene about how the Mormon faith is a brilliant savior amid the darkness. The book basically comes off as a background for preaching.

  13. I have read the ‘Ender’ and ‘Bean’ sagas. I was bored by ‘Xenocide’ and it took me three goes to finish it. ‘Ender’s Game’ is my desert island book; I read it every year and always find something new in it. I gave copies to my boys when they started high school, because I like its philosophy about bullying. I prefer the Bean saga overall; probably because it is closer to ‘Ender’s Game’. I have never been able to get in to any of OSC’s other books.

    I have just finished Roger McGough’s ‘Selected Poems’ and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I like your blog; I’ll be stopping by again.


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