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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's June Reads 1/3

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message 1: by Shomeret (last edited Jun 30, 2010 03:52PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1383 comments This month had a disappointing total considering that I'm on vacation from school. But I still had volunteer work which is now over until the elementary schools re-open. I also got together with friends who hadn't seen during the library school semester, went on a museum tour, saw three movies in the theatre and went to a concert. All of those things took time away from reading, but they were worth it.

Here are the books:

1)The Last Jewby Noah Gordon (historical fiction) 345 pages. Source: PBS Started: 6/1 Finished: 6/5

Why Read: I normally get turned off by titles that are "The Last..." It sounds so final and makes me wince. But I was doing a search for fiction dealing with medieval Spain on GR and discovered this one. It deals with a teenage Jew who is stuck in Spain after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. That's quite a dilemma.

Comments: This book changed its nature three times like its chameleon MC who survived as a Jew in post-expulsion Spain. It started off looking like a mystery, but we find out whodunit early on. Then it becomes a picaresque novel. This means a novel about wanderings. The best known classic picaresque novel is Don Quixote. Finally, it seemed like a Greek tragedy because the Fates took a major role in the narrative. I was impressed by the intelligence and resourcefulness of the MC. I was also pleased by the Christians that he encountered who were opposed to the Inquisition and intolerance because they had lived in a Spain where Christians, Jews and Moslems have lived together peacefully and co-operatively. That was Islamic ruled Spain. Spain changed as radically as the entire world did after 9/11. It wasn't utopia, but it was definitely a better place to live in than Inquisition Spain. That's an important historical lesson that we all need to consider. I gave this a B+.

2)Disco for the Departedby Colin Cotterrell (mystery) 247 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/5 Finished: 6/6

Why Read: This is the third in the Dr. Siri series about a coroner in Laos that started with The Coroner's Lunchwhich is still the best mystery I've read so far in 2010. I hoped that this one would be as good. It's a wonderful title. Apparently Dr. Siri starts hearing disco music in his head during this case.

Comments: The shamanism element was a highlight and so was the sub-plot about Geung, the morgue technician, who is one of the continuing characters. Unfortunately for me, the case involved Palo Mayombe, an Afro-Cuban religion, and I didn't like the way it was portrayed. So I'm giving it a B-

3) The Sons of Liberty #1by Alexander Lagos and Joseph Lagos (historical fantasy graphic novel) 172 pages. Source: Supermarket Started: 6/6
Finished: 6/6

Why Read: I saw it on Amazon before it was released and it sounded fascinating. It deals with two runaway slaves with paranormal powers just before the American Revolution.

Comments: This is the introduction to a series and just sets up the situation. It's an interesting situation and I liked the role of Benjamin Franklin in it. Rating B

4)Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrell (historical/contemporary mystery) 406 pages.
Source: Library Started: 6/7 Finished: 6/9

Why Read: The facilitator of the F2F mystery group I attended read and really liked this book. It sounded interesting because it's Shakespearean and has a paranormal element.

Comments: The plot held promise initially. There were interesting directions in which I thought it might go, but it wasn't a choose your own adventure book. The direction in which it did go turned out to be both predictable and unenjoyable for me. I felt that the book was rather pointless. Rating C- This is the lowest rated book of the month.

5)Blood Crossby Faith Hunter (urban fantasy) 321 pages. Source: Amazon Started: 6/9 Finished: 6/11

Why Read: I really liked the first book in this series about Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee who shifts into a mountain lion. She's got a license to kill rogue vampires and lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It's like a cross between Anita Blake and Anne Rice's vampires. There were flashes of originality in the first book. I hoped for the same in this one.

Comments: What I liked--The MC, the Cherokee cultural content and some of the vampire history which included the 18th century revolution in Haiti. I would love to know the witch perspective on those events in this universe. I did not like the concept of the origin of vampires and I had problems with the portrayal of magic. She occasionally throws around terms that I don't think she really understands. This makes me feel that Faith Hunter's research into magical lore was superficial. Rating B-

To Be Continued...


message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14733 comments Shomeret:
Balance in life and books is a good thing! I was lucky to watch some movies, visit museums and spend time with my DD on vacation and it was great to talk books too! of course now my already overflowing TBR is at flood stage.. ;)
Just curious, for your volunteer work, do you read to kids at an elementary school, or work in the library?

Shomeret wrote: "This month had a disappointing total considering that I'm on vacation from school. But I still had volunteer work which is now over until the elementary schools re-open. I also got together with with friends who hadn't seen during the library school semester, went on a museum tour, saw three movies in the theatre and went to a concert. All of those things took time away from reading, but they were worth it...."


message 3: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1383 comments Ann wrote: "Shomeret:
Balance in life and books is a good thing! I was lucky to watch some movies, visit museums and spend time with my DD on vacation and it was great to talk books too! of course now my alrea..."


I am cataloging the entire collection of an elementary school library--getting them all online so they can be scanned when the books are taken out.


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14733 comments Shomeret:
That sounds like a big job and one that will be widely appreciated!
Shomeret wrote: I am cataloging the entire collection of an elementary school library--getting them all online so they can be scanned when the books are taken out."


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