Home : Ex Libris : 1 March 1997

ex libris reviews

1 March 1997

The reviews contained in this page originally appeared in a precursor of ex libris reviews called Will & Jane's Book Page. It did not have a monthly format, being just a set of steadily lengthening pages on what we'd been reading. It was split into monthly sections for convenience when ex libris was launched in August of 1997.


Contents


What's New

2/21/97 A miracle! I've actually updated the Suggested Books page with the suggestions I've received in the last month. Also, I added James Herriot to the Recommended Books.

2/18/97 Unpacked the last box of books. Soon I'll be able to resume work on the Recommended Books page, since I'll actually be able to find the books I want to recommend. Except, of course, that they are on the shelves in no particular order....sigh.

Added Lois McMaster Bujold to the Recommended Books page.

2/12/97 Today, David was born! (Pictures will be made available on this page once they've been developed and scanned). Somehow, I think I might not have as much time for reading in future.....

2/8/97 Finally got the bookcases positioned, and started unpacking the books.

2/1/97 We moved to a new house, despite Jane's being 38 weeks pregnant. Was it worth it? Yes. Were we crazy? Quite possibly. But it seemed worth it for our new baby to grow up in the same house Will did.


Books to Read Aloud

by Will Duquette

Skylar
By Gregory McDonald

We've read a number of McDonald's Fletch books aloud, with mixed success. Some have worked quite well, others not so well. This is the first book about a new character, Skylar Whitfield, a young Tennesee gentleman whose main talents seem to be sin, sweet-talk, seduction, and exasperating those around him. It starts out rather steamier than MacDonald's books have been in the past, but he gets past that and on with the plot. After a slow start, there's a satisfying finish, with some nifty surprises and plot twists along the way. This one took us forever to read, mostly because we moved and had a baby right in the middle. Started: 1/11/97; 2/28/97


Will's Recent Reading

by Will Duquette

One for the Morning Glory
By John Barnes

This is a gem. It's a rather oddball fantasy/fairy tale, of which the hero is one Amatus, who is half a Prince. Or, rather, he's all Prince, the only Prince in the Kingdom, but, he's only half there. You see, "a child who tastes the Wine of the Gods too early is only half a person afterwards." In Prince Amatus' case, the right half. Barnes has great fun with language in the story as well, taking interesting English words, changing their meanings completely. In a battle, the Prince might down an enemy with a shot from his pismire, then draw his escree; or, for closer combat, his festoon. At one point, the Prince and his arms teacher square off on a log and do battle with trebleclefs. The Kingdom in which the Prince lives is no stranger to fairy tales; they are something that happens to the Kingdom from time to time, and the residents are used to it. Started: 1/30/97; finished 2/2/97.

God Bless John Wayne
By Kinky Friedman

Yet another Kinky Friedman mystery; it's as good as any of the rest, and suitably light reading during a move. You can judge how busy I've been by how long it's taking me to finish it. Started: 2/2/97; finished 2/8/97.

Daggerspell
Darkspell
By Katherine Kerr

These were re-reads; I wanted something familiar to hand while Jane was in labor. These are the first two books in a series of (at present) eight books, which I suspect I will be reading through again over the next months. They take place mostly in the country of Deverry, home of Celts who somehow managed to find their way to a new world from Europe when the Romans moved in. These aren't your run-of-the-mill Celtic fantasies; Kerr can writes well, and she isn't simply rehashing Celtic myth one more time. These are novels about Celts, not about Celtic gods. In addition, it's been 1,000 years, more or less, since they arrived in Deverry, so naturally they've changed a bit. What she adds to Celtic lore is reincarnation and karma (or, in her words, "wyrd"). Toward the beginning of Daggerspell, Prince Galrion screws up royally, not only his own life, but also several other people's. The books track the working out of each souls's wyrds as they are reborn over the next four hundred years. Started: 2/10/97; finished: 2/13/97.

The Bristling Wood
By Katherine Kerr

This book follows Darkspell. Started: 2/13/97; finished 2/17/97.

The Dragon Revenent
By Katherine Kerr

This book follows The Bristling Wood. Started 2/18/97; finished 2/20/97.

The Player of Games
By Iain M. Banks

This is one of Banks' earliest novels about the Culture, and differs from his other Culture novels (Excession, Use of Weapons) by being considerably more linear. It's recently been reissued as a trade paperback; I'd have read it before, but I only just found a copy a couple of days ago. It concerns a man named Gurgeh who is one of the Culture's most-renowned game players. Strategy games, that is. He is one of the foremost authorities in the field of game theory, as well as remarkably difficult to defeat. But the Culture's Contact section has encountered an alien empire based on a remarkably difficult strategy game..... Started: 2/18/97; finished 2/19/97.

A Time of Exile
By Katherine Kerr

The fifth book in Kerr's Deverry series, it follows The Dragon Revenent, after a lapse of thirty years or so, though most of it is flashback. It's a bit of a downer, but serves to establish how Rhodry Maelwaedd's wyrd got mixed up with the elves. Started 2/20/97; Finished 2/22/97.

A Time of Omens
By Katherine Kerr

The sixth book in Kerr's Deverry series, it follows A Time of Exile. In flashbacks, we see how King Maryn gains his throne, and meet his queen, Bellyra; also, Elessario is finally conceived. Sounds like a soap opera, doesn't it. Started 2/23/97; finished 2/24/97.

Days of Blood and Fire
By Katherine Kerr

The seventh book in Kerr's Deverry series, it follows A Time of Omens. I originally read this before any of Kerr's other novels, and it worked OK. Started: 2/24/97; finished: 2/26/97.

Days of Air and Darkness
By Katherine Kerr

The eighth (and so far, last) book in Kerr's Deverry series, it follows Days of Blood and Fire. Like most of Kerr's novels, it has a satisfying conclusion while still being part of a linear series. It's pretty clear that there is more to come, but I haven't seen hide nor hair of any sequels to date. In short, having re-read .the whole series, I can now get on with other things. Started: 2/26/97; finished: 2/27/97.


Have any comments? Want to recommend a book or two? Think Will's seriously missed the point and needs to be corrected? Like to correspond with one of the reviewers? Write to us and let us know what you think! You can find the e-mail addresses of most of our reviewers on our Ex Libris Staff page.


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