Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What I read this year (October)

48. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien (finished October 9). In which the history of the Eldar in Middle Earth is told, from before the formation of the world to the end of the Third Age. Granted, it's like reading the sagas of the Icelanders for fun. Tolkien, of course, translated the sagas from Icelandic for fun...which figures, somehow. I find this book easier to get through with each reread; it was a real slog the first couple of times I tried it, but this time it flowed away quite easily at the gym.

49. The King's Curse, by Philippa Gregory (October 10). In which Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, lives carefully in the shadow of her family name, as merely to be a Plantagenet is unsafe in the age of the Tudors. I wasn't previously much familiar with the life of Lady Pole, who became the oldest person executed by Henry VIII. I always like it when I can learn something from a historical novel.

50. Watership Down, by Richard Adams (October 12). In which a small number of rabbits, prompted by a vision of coming disaster, search for a safe place to establish a new warren. Another old favorite that I just felt like rereading. I remember being intimidated by the size of it when I first read it at age 12, but this time it went really quickly.

51. Tortall and Other Lands, by Tamora Pierce (October 16). In which we visit some old friends, and fill in some background. I'm not usually a fan of short stories, but on the other hand I'm inclined to be a completist when it comes to authors I really like, and I've been a fan of Pierce for a long, long time.

52. Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace, by Kate Summerscale (October 17). In which Isabella Robinson's private diary becomes a court document. Another e-book that I read mostly in half-hour increments at the gym. This one goes to show that tawdry divorce cases playing out in the popular press are nothing new.

53. Meet--the Tiger! by Leslie Charteris (October 27). In which Simon Templar meets Patricia Holm, and the rest is swashbuckling history. And yes, both the em dash and the exclamation point are essential components of the title. This was a triumph of interlibrary loan: they found it for me at a university in Connecticut, when I'd long since come to the conclusion I was never going to get my hands on a copy of the very first book to feature the Saint.

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