I'm wrapping up this quarter's reads a few days early to take advantage of Boxing Day downtime. Here's my view of my best and worst reads of the quarter.
Best Read Of The Quarter
The best read of the quarter goes to: "My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry" by Fredrik Backman
The story is told through the eyes of Elsa, an almost eight-year-old girl, who is given a mission by her grandmother that causes her to discover the truth about who live in her building and, through them, to learn about her grandmother and, ultimately, herself.
This is a Must Read book. Everything about it works beautifully. This is one of those rare books that is both accessible and profound.
Best New Find of the Quarter
This goes to "The Aeronaut's Windlass" the first book in Jim Butcher's new steampunkish fantasy series, “The Cinder Spires”.
Packed with new ideas and fascinating characters this swashbuckling fantasy is a kind of Captain Hornblower with flying boats, magic battles and a far distant future society on the edge of collapse.
It is fresh, complex, exciting and very very easy to get into. If you want to take a break from reality and go somewhere more exciting, then this is the book to take you there.
Yet, as always with Jim Butcher, this is more than escapism. It is about how we understand honour, power, and loyalty and what it really means to be brave.
Best Series of the Quarter
I've read twenty books since the beginning of October. Ten of those were in series that I've been following for a while.
Kate Shugak dominated my reading this quarter. I read books eighteen through twenty in the series: "Though Not Dead", "Restless In The Grave" and "Bad Blood". It's hard for me to take in that the series is over. I've had tremendous pleasure from this series. I shall miss it. I'll also be searching out the rest of Dana Stabenows books and hoping to lose myself in her imagination.
This quarter I finally got my long-awaited fix of Angel Crawford time in "White Trash Zombie Gone Wild". This is the fifth book in the series and probably the most serious, although it is still spiked with wit through out and has some scenes that made me laugh out loud. Diana Rowland continues to deliver highly addictive fantasy that gets under my skin and stays there. I'm already jonesing for the next one.
Biggest Disappointment of the Quarter
This isn't the worst book I've read this quarter, that dubious honor has to go to "The Christmas Train" by David Baldacci.
I've selected "Wolf In White Van" because it is a well written, cleverly structured, very original book that I left me feeling as if I'd had a great ride to a dull destination.
The writing is hypnotic. The structure is ingenious and satisfying. Yet, at the heart of all that energy and creativity is a reveal that is neither shocking nor redemptive.