It’s fair to say I like to read a lot. It’s fair also to say it might be an addiction. OK, there’s worse things, right? I recently met my 2016 Reading Challenge at Goodreads of 25 books (woohoo!) and wanted to share a few of the books I’ve delved into recently. Here are my reflections on three of these novels.
The Viking and the Courtesan
When I read The Viking and The Courtesan by Scottish author Shehanne Moore, I knew I was heading into new territory as I do not typically read historical romance books. Well this was quite the read to get my feet wet!
The main character Lady Malice Mallender was quite the character, a woman who felt she was not quite good enough to get the attention of her husband (who never had so much as kissed her before!).
Malice is in the business of breaking up marriages and doing quite well at it (depending what angle you take) until she finds herself traveling back in time to 898 AD in Viking, Norway, and meets Sin Gudrunsson, who is a Viking. Wowa and she may just be falling for him, only there are a few big questions, including how he feels about her and what is causing her to travel in time?
The book is fast-paced, and the characters are both witty and animated. I almost felt Malice blush a few times, and know I did, as I read it, given some of the steamy love scenes. While I wasn’t so in love with the phrase “bed slave,” I realize the author used it to create authenticity in language for the time back then in Norway. On a side note, if you adore shoes then you will enjoy Malice’s penchant for buying high heels.
A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms, I knew little about it aside from the fairly well-known attribute that the ending is sudden and seemingly unfair. I won’t write spoilers here, but it’s fair to say that’s correct! The book is set during World War I and focuses on the Italian campaign of one soldier, an American named Frederic Henry, who is a Lieutenant in the Italian army.
A large chunk of the book could be called a love story between Frederic and a nurse named Catherine Barkley. The story is told through Frederic’s eyes, and he certainly has the upper hand in the relationship. While that was the way back then (male dominance in a relationship), I can’t say I was happy when Catherine always wanted to do as Frederic wanted, rather than expressing her own opinions.
In reading the book, I learned more about what it might have been like to live during WWI, including the way many men turned to alcohol to get through tough days and forget memories from the battlefield. It is obvious, at least to me, from reading A Farewell to Arms that Ernest Hemingway was cynical about war. I got this sense from conversations between characters.
As for Hemingway’s writing style, it took some adjusting to it at first. His sentences are long and very detailed. However, I think the detail is important to the plot as it shows how things change during war, both in terms of the physical landscape and the hearts of the characters in the book.
Masterworks (The Painterly #4)
Masterworks is the fourth book in “The Painterly” series and does not disappoint. I’ve read the short books by James Johnson in sequence; they take only about a half hour to read, and this fourth one is just 11 pages. I consider this one the best in the series!
The primary characters John and Lana continue their adventures, having survived the tragic event at Kina. As authoritative (and increasingly mean) Jesla tells them, their survival was not an accident. Now John and Lana learn that there is a replacement bot all set up for Lana and “it” is not emotional or caring in the least.
When this bot focuses its sights on John and removing him from existence, John takes a leap of face – literally – that is more dangerous than anything he has likely done before.
I like the way author James Johnson mixes action sequences with creative passages in Masterworks. As for the whole concept of the gallery (you’ll have to read it to know what that is), it is very cool. For that ingenious idea alone, I applaud Johnson.
Current Reads and a Few Questions
OK, there you have it, some of the books I’ve read recently. Right now I’m reading Ancient Ways: The Roots of Religion by Diane Mulberger Olsen and Former.ly: The Rise and Fall of a Social Network by Dane Cobain.
What are you reading? Also, have you ever read Ernest Hemingway?