Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. Summary BPL
Filled with historical and literary allusions, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES succeeds in raising the bar for supernatural and paranormal fiction. After reading this, you will want to research her characters to find out which ones really lived and, were some of them as awful as Ms Harkness seems to think. I enjoyed the Old French and Latin bits, also the information on alchemy. Haven’t checked whether Ms Harkness’ supernaturology (my word) jibes with anyone else’s, novelized or not, but it seems cohesive. Of particular note is that—to me anyway—the author implies a connection between the rules forbidding intermarriage among witches, vampires and daemons and current societal regulations on who may marry whom.
Although at times Ms Harkness strayed into Stephanie Meyer territory via a heroine that needs protecting/saving, I tip my hat to the author for shaping her tale in the style of historical rather than supernatural fiction.
7.5 out of 10 HIghly recommended to readers of supernatural fiction. Historical fiction fans will also enjoy the many references to events and people of the past.
ONE BOOK, ONE NIGHT
From an article in Saturday’s NY Times….
In communist times [1960s], we had this system where you would receive a book for one day, so you had to read it overnight…Now I can buy my books and put them around me.
Rev. Tomas Halik
This blew me away! Access to books is something I’ve always taken for granted, a sort of legal right. But to governments and religious institutions, reading is a privilege, a privilege that can be granted or denied. This gives new meaning to the title THE BOOK THIEF!
I am rebloggig this quote from RAGGED COMPANY by First Nations author Richard Wagamese because I had completely forgotten it! And because not a day goes by that these true words wouldn’t inspire or support or….encourage us (okay, me) to have confidence in experience, in life.
There are times when you have to keep a deep knowing to yourself so others around you can find the teachings in a thing. Those of us who can see know that, but the hard part is letting others go through it.
While it hurts to watch them deal with hurt, you know that you still have to let them, that it’s a gift, that it’s a teaching way.
Twenty-one-year-old Shandi Pierce, who is juggling college and raising her three-year-old genius son, falls head over heels in love with a brilliant geneticist who, in the middle of a stick-up at a gas station mini-mart, willingly steps between the armed robber and her son. A charming, and poignant novel about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem or what we hope they will be. Summary BPL
A character in THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY remarks (I’m going from memory) on book jackets that “[they] are the red-headed stepchildren of publishing. We blame everything on them.” In the case of SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY, the book jacket leads the reader (me) to expect chick lit, a beach read. I read it anyway because Librarything’s “will you like it” predictor told me, with high confidence, that I would. Still, each time I picked the up the book to continue with the story, the ocean blue cover seemed to spill onto the text, hiding Joshilynn Jackson’s talent and depth.
I guess I am saying that if the book cover looked something like this:
(in black and white with a grainy texture), I would have anticipated an intense read about a life-changing event. Which is what SOMEONE ELSE’S LOVE STORY is. Joshilynn Jackson’s “voice” has been compared to Flannery O’Connor’s. I get it, but the comparison can be misleading. Ms Jackson’s is a 21st century upper middle-class American South expression, decidedly non-gothic and less satirical than Ms O’Connor’s but with a nostalgic feel (not a lot of plot development via cell phones or IM). The author has a gift for rendering human foibles with humour and accuracy. Rich storytelling! (I’m not too sure about Ms Jackson throwing in the nun trope….but I can say no more. Spoilers!)
8 out of 10 Recommended to readers of literary fiction and (mostly) realistic characterization.
To escape his haunting loneliness, Declan O Donnell sets out on the high seas with no intention of returning to his Oregon home. In fact, he has no intentions at all, except to wander “west and then west” to distance himself from his troubling past. With little company besides a copy of conservative orator Edmund Burke’s speeches and the occasional gull, Declan drifts into the Pacific void to discover not solitude but unlikely companionship. Reluctantly agreeing to aid his recently widowed friend, Piko, and his disabled daughter, Declan finds himself extemporizing fatherhood and pursuing pirates when Piko gets kidnapped. As the adventure escalates, so does the number of his shipmates, humans and sea creatures alike. In stylized prose with frequent nods to Coleridge, Melville, and Stevenson, Doyle’s surreal world is alive with vivid characters, mysterious birds, and lyrical philosophy about contentment. A joyous journey of discovery. Booklist Review
I received this ARC from Librarything. I had chosen it somehow confusing Brian Doyle with Brian Moore. THE PLOVER is a stand-alone sequel to MINK RIVER, which I have not yet read.
THE PLOVER’S reviews have been uniformly positive. I really thought about it, trying to figure out what I missed. Australian film director Peter Weir was once described as making beautiful movies about (intelligent) manly men doing manly things. Brian Doyle strikes me as a literary heir to that genre. It’s as if he channelled Jack London and Yann Martel, imagining exotic scenarios with wonderfully lyric run on, stream of consciousness passages. Personally, I would have preferred the author to choose from one of the following—magical realism or nautical odyssey —to craft a tighter, more compelling tale. Another reviewer summed it up like this:
“When the novel focuses on Declan and the elements, the results are gripping, but when it strives to be a modern-day South Seas yarn, the results quickly go adrift.” PW Reviews
7 out of 10 If you liked THE LIFE OF PI, this one is for you!