To be honest, I'm not writing much right now. When I write, I get so wrapped up in the world of the book that I have trouble focusing on other things in my life, and right now I have some decisions that need making, so I've put The Chocolate Smuggler's Notebook on hold for awhile.
However, NOTHING, not even the death-defying week of the loathéd parent-teacher conferences can stop me from reading. Nothing.
So, here's what I'm reading right now:
In non-fiction, it's all about Elizabethan England and Jane Austen (which is NOT Elizabethan England, for those of you not up on your history):
(I actually bought the hardback, not the kindle version.)
This is really a great history tome, but it's disguised as a travel guide. Great fun! I'm learning many details to help as I teach Shakespeare.
(I bought a paperback, not the kindle version.)
Bob Irvine was my professor at the University of Edinburgh, and this dude KNOWS his Austen. So very many women readers claim to love Austen's books, but they know nothing more than the plots. This book gives so much insight into her world and her books. Anyone who enjoys Austen should read it.
In fiction, I'm reading Cress:
This is a YA sci-fi fairy tale.
I really loved Cinder, the first book in the series, but I was disappointed by Scarlet, which is book 2, as it glorified an abusive relationship in true twi-tard style. I had great hopes for this third volume, but I am wary now, as Meyer continues to glorify Wolf and Scarlet as romantic, when, in fact, the relationship is based on violence, fear, and submission. Also, Meyer seems to have no clue what it's like to have long hair, as Cress does not behave the way a girl with long hair does, but rather like a short-haired girl wearing a wig. This is a minor point, but it annoys me.
I just finished Brigid Kemmerer's Secret last night.
This is a YA paranormal book, for older YA (I'd say 16+).
It's very tense and very good.
One thing about Kemmerer is that she can really suck me into a story, even when I don't like a lot of the characters. That's really amazing. However, this book is Nick's story, and Nick is the least violent of the Merrick brothers, so it's much easier for me to like him.
Fair warning: this book ends on a MAJOR cliff hanger. Oh, Kemmerer doesn't cheat and leave problems unsolved. No, there is resolution. It's just that, right in the middle of that resolution, a new problem walks in. Literally. Boom! End of book. Wait for next volume. Ugh!
If you like the series but really hate that kind of ending, you might want to hold off reading this book until the last book in the series, Sacrifice, is released. Then you won't care so much about the cliff hanger ending. :)
You have been warned.
A couple of days ago, I finished Standing in Another Man's Grave:
(I bought the paperback.)
This is not YA.
OK, it's no secret that I LOVE Ian Rankin's tartan noir crime fiction. I own ALL the Rebus books -- except for the one that just came out -- and several of his other books as well. I was so thrilled he brought Rebus out of retirement, rather the way Doyle once had to do the same with Holmes. :) John Rebus is simply too good a character to leave to the dust.
Note: Rankin writes the books in such a way that a reader can just drop in to any one of them without having read the whole series. This book is about a retired detective working a cold case, a VERY cold case. It's fascinating.
Last weekend I read Gated:
(I borrowed it from the school library.)
This is a pre-apocalyptic dystopia and is YA.
This book is about a girl who's family joined a cult when she was very young. She's the narrator (and it's in that ever-annoying present tense -- ugh), so the reader gets to figure things about before she does. Parker cleverly shows the dangers of how charismatic cult leaders convince weak people to follow them, then brainwash, and -- usually -- destroy them. Woven in to the story are real quotes from Jim Jones, Charles Manson, and the guy from Waco, Texas, whose name I forget.
My only problem with this book is spotty characterization. The protagonist, her mother, her BFF, and the evil cult leader are pretty well-developed and multi-layered. However, her father and the requisite two love interests are cardboard. Seriously, the two boys are nearly interchangeable, except that one live in the commune and the other doesn't.
Overall, though, this is a great dystopian read for YA.
And, I'm waiting for Saints of the Shadow Bible:
I'll buy this one once it's out in paperback, but right now, I've got my name on the public library waiting list. I should have a copy within the month. Can't wait!
That's it for my most current books.
What are you reading?