Originally posted at mmarques.vox.com on Jul 23, 2006
This weekend, I finished reading Reading Lolita in Tehran. This book was beautiful, poignant, and fascinating. Azar Nafisi was a professor of English literature in Tehran, eventually leaving the universities to teach a private class to a group of women students. This book combines literary analysis with a personal history of Iran through and since the revolution from the perspective of intellectual Iranian women. I strongly recommend this book.
Originally posted to mmarques.vox.com on Aug 7, 2006. Note: Vox made it easy to include book covers in my reviews, so I didn't always mention the titles in the reviews.
This book [Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, by Cory Doctorow] is about someone with the weirdest family ever. Seriously - his father is a mountain, his mother is a washing machine, one of his brothers is an island, and another is a set of 3 nesting dolls.
When I started this book, I couldn't get into it and thought I might not finish it. I couldn't relate to the story of Allen's family, and I wasn't overly enthusiastic about his plans to create free internet access throughout Toronto.
But I stuck with the book, as it wasn't bad and eventually I started liking it. It really clicked for me when it got into his attempts to be normal and fit in with normal society. At that point I could put up with the super-weird family, because I felt they existed to make his background weirder than anyone real ever.
Originally posted at mmarques.vox.com on Sep 11, 2006
I expected to love Blood and Iron. I loved Elizabeth Bear's science fiction trillogy (</i>Hammered</i>, Scardown, Worldwired) so much that I gave it as a gift to several people. And I love urban fantasy.
Unfortunately, I didn't love Blood and Iron. The story was interesting, and the characters intriguing. But somehow they just didn't grip me. Only in a few places (mostly in the final 25%) did I care so much that I couldn't stop reading.
Blood and Iron is about the ongoing war between fairy and humankind, and about key emotionally damaged people involved in this war. Part urban fantasy, part twisted Arthurian legend, it twists everything fairy into it's own story.
I think the problem was that I didn't care much about the main character (Elaine Andraste) until far into the book. For much of the book, I didn't see her as having a goal or a specific problem to overcome.
But it is quite cool what Elizabeth Bear does with fairy tales, especially with the Arthurian legend. I might check out the next book in this series, Whiskey and Water, because the implied main character of that book already intrigues me. And I'll definitely pick up her next science fiction - Carnival.
[Update on September 2, 2010: I ended up enjoying Whiskey and Water, although not so much the Whiskey character for most of the book. I adored Carnival.]