Reading Challenge Update

As usual, it has been several months since my last update. If I was catholic and these were my confessions… Okay, let’s just leave that analogy right there. In good news, I have actually read some of the books from my TBR Challenge list.

Sundiver by David Brin

Sundiver was a disappointment. I had been wanting to read this book and all the Uplift books for years. Awesome concepts and more than competent prose. Where Sundiver lost me was in the pacing. So many of the chapters felt pointless. I listened to half on audio, then ditched that for the paperback copy I had on the shelf. The narrator was extremely bland and spoke very, very slowly, drawing out some of the extraneous scenes to a ridiculous degree, which might account for my boredom in several places.

I seem to remember I had the same difficulty with Earth and The Postman. I enjoyed these books but they both required extreme patience. Kiln People was an exception. The plot felt more episodic. I’d really love to read more books set in that world.

Despite being disappointed, there is some satisfaction in having finally read this book and being able to remove it from my list.

..

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

These stories were quiet and thoughtful. The two standouts for me were “A Temporary Matter” and “This Blessed House.” These stories were about marriage—the events that shape a good partnership and what love actually means. What commitment means. Both explored a moment were perceptions changed, where a character—in both instances, the husband—had an epiphany and made a choice.

Many of the stories in the short anthology explored similar themes; partnership and familial relationships, as viewed from inside a marriage or family, or sometimes from outside. A lot of the characters were unexpected, which I found pleasing. I also enjoyed the Indian culture woven throughout every story. In some instances, the differences were obvious—and meant to be. In others, the clash of cultures was more subtle.

Interpreter of Maladies was also one of my selections for Diversity on the Shelf.

..

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Ship of Magic  has been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for about seven years. Its eight-hundred or so pages turned my eye a few times, as did the knowledge that ‘The Liveship Traders’ trilogy wouldn’t be revisiting Fitz from ‘The Farseer’ trilogy. I still wanted to read it, though, which is why I chose it for this challenge.

I’m so glad I kept this book and that I finally got to it. Ship of Magic could be this year’s favourite. I found the world utterly engrossing and the plot compelling. I loved the characters, even those I’d have preferred not to love. Reading over some of the posted reviews, I noted a lot of backlash against the length of the book, and the slower pace, but unlike Sundiver, the pacing didn’t defeat me here. Rather than feel tedious, the extra pages of character and plot were a necessary indulgence—in my opinion.

My full review is available here. I’ve already ordered Mad Ship, the second book in the series, and I will not be waiting another seven years to read it. I really want to get to the new Fitz and Fool books, so I’ve got a bit of reading ahead of me.

Next up? Nope, not going to choose. I’m going to be very busy editing the first two books of the ‘Chaos’ series over the next two months, so my reading time might be limited to what I read for review. Thankfully, I have some really awesome titles on that list, books I can’t wait to read. So, until my next update, happy reading!

 

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