Sunday, January 15, 2012

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

Meh.  The easiest way to retain a reader is to set your story in an already rich, beloved, and iconic world.  Maguire's Wicked Years books are most interesting in that they re-imagine Oz from the perspective of an adult who understands politics.  I enjoy going back to a world that I loved as child and being reminded that there must have been some nastiness going on below the surface, so I read this and Wicked.  I think I'm done now.

Plot-wise and character-wise Son of a Witch does absolutely nothing of real value.  All the characters feel stock, even though only a small handfull appeared in L. Frank Baum's novels.  The plot was meandering and largely pointless, each event acting to drive a dull protagonist with an overly fractured personality.  It feels like Liir is the center of the universe, though the universe can't seem to flow around him in any one direction for long.  The sequence in the Emerald City prison would have made a hell of a short story, but the rest is largely fluff.  I get that teenagers feel buffeted about and without direction, but Maguire overdoes it by miles.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut rejects suspense.  I'm okay with that.  His books are good practice for being an old man resigned to the insignificance of one human life on a grand scale and the insignificance of all else on a local scale.  I'm okay with that, too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

In This Way I Was Saved by Brian DeLeeuw

What a twisted little book! DeLeeuw starts out with the tried and true practice of horrifying his readers with innocent children experiencing deeply disturbing events (something very common in most of our experiences) and moves on from there. I expected very few of the plot twists (except for the big reveal at the end, but it didn't lose much of the impact just because I saw it coming) and thoroughly enjoyed the unsettling mood. Good stuff!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Guess I'm Supposed to Do This Yearly

I'm now sitting on a small backlog of books that I'd like to review and some topics I'd like to discuss on this here blog thing.  Today will probably not be the day that I get to them.  I have many times resolved to pay more attention to my blog (not because I believe that I have many avid readers, but just as a journalling exercise) and it, like most New Year's resolutions, has never quite panned out.

This year I'm not resolving to blog more.  I'll work on that gradually and create better habits as I go.  With sustained effort and intrinsic motivation I'll make better writing practices a more constant part of my life.

Back to resolutions, this year I'm resolving to let the water run while I brush my teeth and leave the lights on when I leave the room.  When the resolution practice fails to encourage me to do these things, I will have kicked two bad habits and made the world a slightly more energy-efficient place to be.

Happy living, folks.