Posts for April 2005

2005-04-09: March haul

It had been a while since I made a book order, and I wanted to get the rest of the Anne Bishop Black Jewels books.

Elizabeth Bear -- Hammered (sff)
Anne Bishop -- Dreams Made Flesh (sff)
Anne Bishop -- The Invisible Ring (sff)
Chris Claremont, et al. -- X-Men: Days of Future Past (gn)
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -- Flow (nf)
David G. Hartwell (ed.) -- Year's Best SF 6 (sff)
Christopher Priest -- The Extremes (sff)
Michael Marshall Smith -- Only Forward (sff)

The Year's Best anthology I got to pick up the Hugo-winning short story by David Langford.

2005-04-26: Bagthorpes V. the World

Review: Bagthorpes V. the World, by Helen Cresswell

Publisher: Hodder
Copyright: 1979
ISBN: 0-340-72246-0
Pages: 230

This is the third book of the Bagthorpe children's series by Helen Cresswell. While you don't have to read the prior books first, you'll miss various references to previous events.

An overdraft statement sends Mr. Bagthorpe into a full-out obsession with Survival and Self-Sufficiency. At the same time, their great aunt arrives for a visit, subjecting them to both her dog and her obsession with Time. It doesn't exist, you see, and she's determined to fool it at every opportunity so that it never finds her to demonstrate its existence.

This is, alas, the weakest of the first four Bagthorpe books. It's hard to put a finger on why, but part of the trouble is that Cresswell's recapping of the personalities, motivations, and quirks of the various characters feel a bit more repetative, as do some of the events. There's still enough new happening to make the book enjoyable and well worth reading, but some tropes (like the catastrophic party) get reused a bit too often. The Bagthorpes really need a change of scenery (some that they will get in the next book).

Daisy's phase (funerals) is, unfortunately, also not as interesting as some previous ones, particularly the brilliant Reconciling the Seemingly Disparate. Grandpa does show up a little more in this book, at last, but there too one must wait for the next book for Grandpa to really develop as a character. The best part of the book, I think, is the goat and the burgeoning goat and Daisy partnership, which also plays a significant role in later books.

Incidentally, I'm embarassed to admit that, after having read all these books multiple times as a child, having previously read the first three, and knowing the definition of the term, it was only in this book that I finally connected Aunt Celia throwing pots with something other than pottery shards all over the floor. I had such a strong image as a child of Aunt Celia writing a few lines of poetry, throwing a pot against the wall, and then writing more lines of poetry about the broken pot that the right definition never even occurred to me. The correct reading certainly makes more sense, but it's going to take me a while to dig out my childhood association between mad poets and shattered pottery.

Rating: 7 out of 10

2005-04-27: Vacation haul

Back to the used book store. What an excellent store; every time I go in there, I find more things that I've really been looking for.

Poul Anderson -- A Midsummer Tempest (sff)
Eleanor Arnason -- In the Light of Sigma Draconis (sff)
Stephen Baxter -- The Time Ships (sff)
Greg Bear -- Queen of Angels (sff)
Charles de Lint -- Jack, the Giant-Killer (sff)
Charles de Lint -- The Riddle of the Wren (sff)
Alan Garner -- The Owl Service (sff)
Robert Merle -- Malevil (sff)
Lyda Morehouse -- Apocalypse Array (sff)
Lyda Morehouse -- Messiah Node (sff)
Terry Pratchet -- Equal Rites (sff)
Eric Schlesser -- Fast Food Nation (nf)
Martin Scott -- Thraxis (sff)
Sharon Shinn -- Wrapt in Crystal (sff)
Evangeline Walton -- The Children of Llyr (sff)

With all the Morehouse I now have, it looks like I still don't have the first book of that series. Sigh. Must go do some more research on that.

Last spun 2024-01-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04