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I haven’t been writing about books much lately, so here’s a run-down of September in books:

  • The High King by Lloyd Alexander.  I wrapped up my re-reading of the Prydain Chronicles by listening to this.  When I read the series as a kid, I enjoyed the adventure and magic and humor.  As an adult, I can appreciate how Alexander takes Taran from an inexperienced boy, ready to take on the world, to someone who has matured and grown and is ready for his biggest responsibility yet – while still being a little  youthful and foolish.  I’d forgotten how the book ends, so I had the delicious fun of experiencing it along with the characters, with a little surprise even though it felt right.  And I can’t recommend the audio versions highly enough for getting the correct pronunciations finally stuck in my head.
  • Westmark and The Kestrel, by Lloyd Alexander.  It was a little bit of a Lloyd Alexander month – I read the first two in this trilogy after I noticed them languishing on the library shelves.  They have a very different feel than the Prydain books, although you still know you’re in the hands of a master storyteller.  The first is more of an adventure story, with schemes and deceptions and surprises, with political issues simmering in the background.  In the second, those political issues change a little and come to the forefront, and the depictions of what happen to a person in war were no less powerful than those in Mockingjay or The Ask and the Answer, although a little less intense (more on those later).  Characters in each book have to face the question of who they will choose to be and how violent they will become – an odd theme to have pop up in so many books in one month.
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (follow the link for my review).
  • Crunch by Leslie Connor (ditto).
  • Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis.  Curtis is always good for a laugh, and he doesn’t disappoint here, even though the subject matter is a little darker, in a gritty, realistic way, than his historical fiction.  Actually, I’m not sure if that’s true – his historical fiction can be a little dark and gritty, even when your sides are splitting from laughing, but I think the modern setting and the Sarge herself make this one feel heavier than the others.
  • The Hunger Games (audio) and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  I wanted to reread The Hunger Games before diving into Mockingjay, and once I started listening to the audio version, I almost waited until I could listen to Catching Fire, too, and then Mockingjay, but I got the print version of the 3rd one in first and went straight to that.  I definitely recommend the audio versions, though, because they’re definitely engaging, and listening to the story (instead of speed-reading) forces you to pay attention to detail in a way that comes in handy when you’re trying to discuss the series articulately.  Like I said before, the series forces characters into awful situations that reveal how they act under pressure.  In the 3rd book, I was more interested in how Gale and Peeta both coped with the pressures of war, although Katniss also had to make some interesting choices.  The ending was partially satisfying – but I won’t get into spoilers here.

Part 2 to follow!

October 2010

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