Mini Book Reviews!

Books galore!

I've been reading a lot in the last week or so. Here are a few of the books and stories:

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

I tweeted about this yesterday and today. I'm always impressed by writers who can take real life and distill it into a lesson, a moral, a story. I tend to find it hard to connect the dots of real life events. Amanda does it brilliantly.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman

A brilliant retelling of the classic fairy tale. Isn't it sad that when, in the middle of the tale, he writes "Gretel and Hansel" it jumps out at you? Why does the boy's name tend to come first?

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Another retelling, of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty's stories. I love what he did with Snow White's character. I do wish dwarfs had been pluralised dwarves, but I guess they're not the same creatures as Tolkien's dwarves. Really intriguing spin on Sleeping Beauty's tale. And the illustrations are beautiful.

Married by Midnight by Talli Roland

I read this in one sitting! I was drawn into the world of the characters almost from the first sentence. And oh! it's full of Christmas spirit. I wish it was out in a slim, large size paperback or hardcover so I could give out lots of copies as gifts. Or am I the only one that still finds it hard to read on screen? This is only the third book I've done that with!

The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny

It's always dangerous reading the first book in a series. This is the third and I've got nine books to go! If you've ever wanted to visit the Eastern Townships neighbourhood or anywhere in rural southern Quebec (south of Montreal, that is, and north of the US border), reading this series will transport you there instantly. And the mystery aspects of the books are intriguing too. This review from the Charlotte Observor, by Salem Macknee, says it all:
"If I thought for one minute this place really existed, I would be packing the car. As it was, on finishing "The Cruelest Month," I grabbed the first two books, "Still Life" and "A Fatal Grace," and spent a lovely weekend in the village. The mouthwatering food, the beautiful gardens, the quirky and literate villagers -- Three Pines is a charming oasis for the's more about the journey than the destination in these wonderful books full of poetry, and weather, and a brooding manor house, and people who read and think and laugh and eat a lot of really excellent food."

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil Revised and Expanded Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien

I've read these lovely poems before, but the commentary was new to me. The best part, of course, is the language; all those intriguing words, some invented, some ancient. And the delicious thrill of "The Mewlips".

And then there's NaNoWriMo!

I've been writing steadily (ROW80 check in!), which is the positive way to look at things. Some days I fall behind. What I need to do more of is think of the story during non-writing times, so that when I set paper to pen, there are definite scenes to be explored and some forward movement.

Plotters out there must be shaking their heads. But as a pantster, that's how I plot, by seeing my way forward a little at a time, towards the distant horizon I know is there. That is, the limited amount of plotting I do is to know what my characters want, and the end-point they're headed for. The path they'll take is uncertain until written.

How do you feel your way into a story?

What good books have you been reading lately?


Hi Deniz - you're always so forward thinking .. or busy! i.e. always reading and finding interesting books to write about ... Neil Gaiman, I know is a big author-love in your life ... while the new Talli book does sound a great read ...

Amanda's book looks to be a good purchase .. while I love the artwork in Neil's books ... amazing ...

Cheers and good luck with NaNo - obviously moving forward .. cheers Hilary
Chrys Fey said…
Those Neil Gaiman books sound good. I really love Sleeping Beauty so The Sleeper and the Spindle really interests me. Thanks for the reviews!

Best of luck with NaNo! I'm a plotter, and that's how I'm able to write and stay focused, but do what is right for you and don't let anyone ever tell you different. :)
I've only read one chick lit book in my life - and it was one of Talli's. It was cute.
I didn't know Gaiman did retellings.

You're not the only one who has problems with ereaders. I haven't opened mine up in ages for the same reason. They've done a study and found out people comprehend less when reading an ebook.

Don't be too hard on yourself about NaNo. You have a little one at home. I'm impressed you're doing it!
Lara Lacombe said…
The artwork for the Gaiman books looks amazing! Will have to check them out!
klahanie said…
Greetings Deniz,

Yes, it really is me actually visiting after being out of action for the last three months.

A retelling of old classics always gets my interest. I particularly like the collaboration between Dr. Seuss and Willie Shakespeare, "Green Eggs and Hamlet."

Lovely to see you, Deniz.

Gary :)
Zan Marie said…
I *love* mini book reviews! But you knew that. ;-)
You're a writer? Cool shoes. Me, too (kinda, sorta). I know for a fact, however, you gotta whole lotta intelligence behind those two ears, girl; thus, I wanna give you my finite existence: to intrinsically value the Great Beyond which I’ve learned to appreciate, to visualize the fundamental reality of infinity is why I‘m here for a teeny-weeny amount of time. Looky here...

Precisely why I had our ‘philanthropic + epiphany’ (=so much to give + vision): wanna see a perfectly cognizant, fully-spectacular, Son-ripened-Heaven?? … yet, I’m not sure if we're on the same page if you saw what I saw. Greetings, earthling. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like: meet this advanced, bombastic, ex-mortal Upstairs for the most extra-groovy-paradox, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Yummy-Reality-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué-passion you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-smmmokin’-hot-deal enveloping, engulfing us. Cya soon, girl…
John Holton said…
I looked quickly at that first book, and somehow my brain told me it was written by Arnold Palmer. I was like, huh? :)

Great that you're halfway done with your NaNoNovel ahead of schedule. (I'm assuming you've written more since you wrote this).
Jack said…
I love little reviews, they give a nice peak into the books. Fairy tale retellings! Those are fun sometimes! I will have to look them up.
DMS said…
I cannot wait to read The Sleeper and the Spindle. It looks amazing, and Neil's fairytales are always spectacular! :) ~ Jess
I've read quite a lot of books lately.
I read my first Neil Gaiman book, Neverwhere, and was blown away! He is such an amazing writer.
Deniz Bevan said…
Glad you all enjoyed them!

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