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Castlelake

Happy St. Patrick's Day and book recs

Posted on 2009.03.17 at 23:41
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Tags: ,
Hi friends,
No, didn't have green beer or anything to drink today and although I bought corned beef and cabbage, I didn't make any because all the family is out of the house. Tomorrow night.   Anyway, here's a virtual erin go bragh to ye.

I finished the Diana Gabaldon book I mentioned last post called Lord John and the Private Matter and I heartily recommend it. Amusing narrative voice, great characters, a mystery so convoluted you'll never figure it out. The main character, Lord John Grey, is quite sexy in that repressed 18th century British manner, all civility and duty on the surface, seething with secret desires underneath. And how can you resist a story that starts with the main character getting an eyeful of another man's "privy member" and being shocked at what he sees: "It was the sort of thing one hopes momentarily that one has not really seen-- because life would be so much more convenient if one hadn't." The Honorable Joseph is engaged to Lord John's cousin and now Lord John has to figure out how to deal with the revelation that her fiance is "poxed." Almost immediately this embarrassing domestic matter becomes tied with another of the disappearance of sensitive military documents. Lord John turns out to be the "man on the spot" who has to figure it out. The period has been meticulously researched and you really feel transported back to the time with all the sights and smells from the houses of the wealthy to the seedy underbelly of London. I loved all the scenes at the molly house. So nice to see a gay character as a hero in a mainstream book. Plus, I admire her fresh use of language. The pacing is strong too throughout most of the book. There are even some sex scenes, non-explicit but there. Fun read. I'm already starting on the second Lord John book in the series. .

Also read another book a couple days ago by Ursula K. LeGuin which reminded me of why she is one of my favorite all-time authors.  It's a young adult novel about a young man named Gavir who sees visions of the future. He is a slave who was kidnapped from his country and sold at a young age, raised in a relatively benevolent household where he is taught to read and write. Then the son of the owner kills his sister for pleasure and in grief Gavir walks away and goes on a journey to discover his roots. In the process he examines what freedom means for both men and women in his society. The writing is so elegant, deceptively simple and yet so many lines resonate with truth. And LeGuin's ability to depict a completely different culture in all its complexity is unsurpassed among fantasy writers.
This book is third in a series that takes place in the same fictional universe, but the characters are different in each one so that the stories stand alone.


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Comments:


Nienna
nienna_weeper at 2009-03-18 07:08 (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to look for that Ursula Le Guin. She's one of my faves... I am reading The Shack by William P. Young. I'm not too far into it yet but hubber loved it...

Hubber brought corned beef and cabbage home from one of our favorite restaurants because we were both too lazy to make it, LOL. We had 1 beer each, not green. I'm so old anymore, heh.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2009-03-18 14:47 (UTC) (Link)
I know, everything pleasurable seems to be too much trouble these days. LOL.

The book by LeGuin is part of a series. I think the stories are unrelated but part of the same universe.
Illyria
illyria_novia at 2009-03-18 13:34 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you tempt me with Lord John and the Private Matter. Gabaldon is highly recommended and I really want to read her stuff. Maybe I can begin with that book instead.

Is Powers the sequel to Gift?

Thank you for recs. :)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2009-03-18 16:01 (UTC) (Link)
The Lord John character was first introduced, I believe, in her Outlander book, which I'll have to read at some point. There was a fair amount of reference to it in this first Lord John book, which was intriguing and also somewhat irritating because it kind of assumed the reader would know the background. In her talk, Gabaldon said she intended her first Lord John book to be a short story and her editor teased her saying, "Diana, this isn't a short story. This is what most writers call a normal sized novel." Her books are huge. Scary.

Yeah, Powers is part of a series Annals of the Western Shore. First one is Gifts and second is Voices. I haven't read the first two. But I think it's different characters each time, so they don't need to be read in sequence.

Edited at 2009-03-18 04:02 pm (UTC)
lilith_lessfair
lilith_lessfair at 2009-03-18 17:18 (UTC) (Link)
No corned beef and cabbage for me; a little Bushmill's, but I had a lot of writing to do and then watched the revelers outside my house (I live down the street from a bar that has a huge St. Paddy's day party).
Thanks for the recs. I love your description of the Lord John novels, and I'm definitely going to have to check those out. I'd also agree with you. I do think the young adult novels are becoming closer to adult.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2009-03-19 06:42 (UTC) (Link)
I guess it's a real trend to have young adult novels be "edgy."
I really enjoyed the first of the Lord John series and have just started on the second one which is already promising.
erfan_starled
erfan_starled at 2009-03-18 21:08 (UTC) (Link)
Your reviews make me want to read. I have Voices on my to read shelf, but Powers sounds like a must add. Your account of Diana Gabaldon made her stories also sound appealing. Only when I came across Bujold and Cherryh did I become interested in actual authors, and then I found how Janny Wurts went about her research, which was by doing everything that her characters were going to have to do. Thanks for these reviews. They sound like good books to read.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2009-03-19 06:43 (UTC) (Link)
You have Voices. I'd like to read the other two in the series. I do love Ursula K. LeGuin. Would love to be able to write like her. And yes, so far I've really enjoyed the Lord John series.
Good to hear from you.
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