Sweet Trouble

Rants, raves, book reviews and one girl's thoughts on life, the universe and everything.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Books that Stand the Test of Time

I'm inspired by Charlaine Harris' latest blog (see link to the right) to list, not my latest finds from the library, but those books that I return to year after year.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis: I read these fabulous books for the first time in sixth grade, and I've been reading them almost once a year since then. Oh, not all seven, but certainly the first three. They've renumbered the books in the past few years, but for me the first three will always be "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian," and "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." I was in high school before I caught the Christian allegories in the first and last books, and now at an even more advanced age I still find something new in those slim volumes with every reading.

  • Alanna and other books by Tamora Pierce: I discovered these gems while working in the children's section of the Seminole County library some ten years ago. Love at first sight ensued. At that time Ms Pierce only had six books in print, now there are over 23! I don't read all twenty plus each year, but I do come back to them again and again and again.

  • Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Series: This one was on Charlaine's list, too. Glad we have that much in common. The Anita Series is a grown up Buffy the Vampire Slayer (well, that was for grown ups, too) but with so much more. Holding true to the adage that the best science fiction changes just one thing LKH gives us a world where vampires are made legal and everything that goes bump in the night is real. For all of the creepy crawlies involved, these stories are at their best as fantastical serial killer/mystery novels. My favorite scene in all of them is when the main character recites bible verses to ward off a demon and finds a sort of spiritual comfort in her unusual place in the world. Don't let that fool you, though, the later novels in this series have as much in common with the Kama Sutra as they do anything of Chrisitan spiritual origin.

  • The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley: A stand alone novel of these epic proportions is a rare thing these days, much less a slim volume that conveys so much so succinctly. In an era of more is more, this little book is a refreshing adventure. One of the most memorable descriptive passages that created such a strong visual it stayed with me for years is actually only one sentence. Writing finesse aside, McKinley created a protagonist who is readily identifiable to anyone who has felt that they have never quite fit in, and this feeling of empathy makes the path she treads a personal one.

I am sure I will think of other book to add to this list, but these are the ones that were right at the top of my head. Other books that I keep handy, the ones that are the first to be unpacked after each move, include: Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series, Rowling's Harry Potter novels, Anne McCaffrey's Rowen and it's sequels, Toni Ringo Helfer's Gentle Jungle and James Herriot's lovely novels of a vet's life in Scotland.

Monday, November 07, 2005


My apologies to any readers who want to make a REAL comment, and there have been a few of you. There seems to be a steady stream of shmucks who are spamming the comments section with porn and advertising. Sadly I have turned on word verification, if this is not enough I will be doing away with the comments entirely.

I guess I should be flattered that these spammers think I get enough traffic to be worth hitting, but I find it more bothersome than anything.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Suggested books for November

This month's book recommendations are up. Halloween has come and gone and Christmas decorations are officialy up everywhere one looks. Personally I think Thanksgiving is getting the short end of the stick! Jan Karon's Light from Heaven may not be about the Thanksgiving holiday specifically, but every trip I've taken to Mitford reminds me just how much I have to be thankful for.

Red Lily is the third novel in a delightful trilogy by Nora Roberts. Since it comes out at the end of the month you have plenty of time to catch up on the first two books. Blue Dahlia is the first instalment followed by Black Rose. Black Rose is set during the holidays, too, so it's appropriate for the season.

In case you missed the October and September lists, they included:

  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
  • Young Warriors by Tamora Pierce
  • Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
  • The Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce
  • Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Okay, you caught me out on that last one. It wasn't actually on the list...but it would have been if I had read it when it came out. Enjoy.