Books are like good friends

Fellow book lovers, a terrible thing happened last month. My Kindle died. It fell on the floor and died. Luckily, Amazon replaced it for free, but there were still 2 terrible days when I was without my reading material. (Aside from the paper books we own, of course, but I’ve already read all of those at least twice.) Anyway, now it’s back, and it’s time to blog.

#72 – #74 The remainder of the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, by Michael Scott
When I last wrote, I had just finished The Alchemyst, the first book in this series. This was followed by The Magician, The Sorceress, and The Necromancer. While I started out pretty excited about this series, by book four, I was feeling a little less so. The books add too many new characters and really start delving more into the metaphysical. I felt like the themes became overcomplicated and at times a bit confusing. According to the author’s website, a fifth and sixth book are planned. I feel like when they come out I’ll have to re-read at least book four, and I’m honestly not sure if I want to.

Grade for the series: B

#75 – #76 Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Story and Thereby Hangs a Tail: A Chet and Bernie Story, by Spencer Quinn
I loved these books. Told from the perspective of Chet, a dog, it follows the adventures of his owner, Bernie, who is a PI. I loved Chet’s personality and that while Bernie can intuit some of Chet’s feelings, he is clueless to a lot of them. In both books, Chet solves the crime long before Bernie (Bernie eventually catches up), and it’s fun to see how Bernie misreads Chet’s cues. Chet also loves food, as any dog does, and his discussions of food and napping make up some of the funniest parts of the book. A third book is coming out in September and it’s already pre-ordered. Great for mystery lovers, dog lovers, and even for people like me, who don’t really love dogs.

Grade for both: A

#77 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is an AMAZING book. Told from the perspective of Death, it revolves around the lives of German villagers during the first few years of WWII. Primarily, the book follows the story of Leisl, the titular character. She is, in fact, a book thief, but also a de facto orphan, a child who has lost her sibling, a reader, a fighter, and a friend. She’s a beautiful developed character and as time passes in the book, it’s marvelous to see her grow. All the characters in The Book Thief  are richly developed. Some you despise, and some you love (some more than others). Another key part of this novel is Death’s narration. Death is removed from the human experience and yet intimately involved in it. As a carrier of souls, he/she (Death seems male to me) sees firsthand the atrocities of WWII. Death gives an unflinching look at the horrors of the human condition, but also the amazing, beautiful things we are capable of. This book is classified as young adult by Amazon, but in no way do I think that’s accurate (though certainly a good read for young adults). This is a book that I savored – often not reading it just to make it last longer. Probably one of the best books I’ve read since beginning my count.

Grade: A+

And now for the Pratchett’s. Lately, I’ve really been getting into the Discworld books. While initially, I didn’t like them, the more I read, the more I like them. My favorite characters are the witches, but the Wizards are growing on me as well. Michael has a bunch of them on his Kindle, so I’ve been sneaking my reading in while he is doing other things.

#78 Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett
Like all Pratchett books, part of the fun is figuring out what he is satirizing. In this case, it’s The Phantom of the Opera. Nancy Ogg and Granny Weatherwax make a repeat appearance, along with Agnes Nitt, who is trying to become an opera star. Agnes has the voice of an opera star  but Christine has the face. Agnes also seems to have some talent in the witching arena, and Nanny and Granny want to recruit her. I read this out of order – reading it before Lords and Ladies, which came first. Now having read Lords and Ladies, some of it makes more sense. Anyway, it was a fun read and seemed to flow faster than some of the other Pratchett’s.

Grade: B+

#79 Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett
Lords and Ladies satirizes A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Again the witches are featured, along with some wizards. Magrat, who was the third of the coven, is planning her wedding to the new king (which is why in Maskerade the witches are recruiting Agnes – who makes her debut in this book). I enjoyed this book – it was fast paced and funny, and Pratchett’s scathing commentary on society almost always hits the mark. There are a few more books with the witches as the main players and I am looking forward to reading them.

Grade: B+

#80 Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett
This book, with its loosely veiled references to Santa Claus, features the Wizards, Assassins, Death, and Death’s grand-daughter, Susan. (Death in the Discworld is very different from Death in The Book Thief).  Basic plot: The Hogfather is missing, hope and belief are waning, and the world might end. Or it might not. Hard to say.  This book was a bit more involved than the previous two and a little harder to follow. I enjoy the appearances by Death and will read some of the other books where he is the main character.

Grade: B

All right, finally, I re-read both Flavia De Luce books and loved them just as much as the first time. This takes me up to #82 in the count, which means I only have 20 left (and 3 more months to do it in).

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