Before I Go | Colleen Oakley

What I’m Reading Now:

Before I Go, the debut novel of Colleen Oakley.  I went into this one prepared not to like it.  But the honest dialog and take-no-prisoners narrative, told from the perspective of Daisy, who has been recently diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, has made that difficult to do.

Before I Go | Colleen Oakley

Sepulchre | Kate Mosse

What I’m Reading Now:

Sepulchre, by Kate Mosse, is in the style of her first novel Labyrinth, featuring the same Languedoc region of France, but taking place in a more recent time period.  I suppose my favorite aspect of the novel so far is Mosse’s use of language and dialect to develop her characters.  Each character speaks in their own distinct voice.  Of course the historical research that has gone into the novel is intriguing and impressive, though to be honest it sometimes comes across as a bit encyclopedic.

Sepulchre | Kate Mosse

Epiphany 2.0 | The Broken Kingdoms

What I’m Reading Now:

The Broken Kingdoms is the second book in N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.  I fully enjoyed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first book in the series.  Now I’m quite taken by the contrast she’s developed–between the closed-off, stiff, claustrophobic world of Sky and the Arameri, and the astoundingly open world of The Broken Kingdoms, which takes place ten years later.  It is a world in which almost literally anything can happen, and thinking about it nearly gives me a sense of vertigo.

Epiphany 2.0 | The Broken Kingdoms

What I’m reading now: Valley of Amazement

I just started this last night.  I decided not to read the description on the back, or anything about it when I started, so I had nothing to base my first impressions on except the writing.  About 25 pages in and I’m once again awed by the way that Tan gets her characters.  As expected, the novel is very woman-focused.  She’s set up the initial chapters as West vs. Chinese, with the main character, 7 yrs old, talking about how she’s different as an American, how the Chinese men and women are different from the Westerners who come to Shanghai to trade.  Tan cuts through the romanticizing of differences that a lot of people seem to use in order to avoid talking about an uncomfortable subject, and uses these stereotypes and assumptions as a catalyst for her story.  She allows her characters–as much as I’ve seen of them so far–to be both flawed and admirable.

I look forward to the next 500 pages.

What I’m reading now: Valley of Amazement