cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

Reading Round Up: May


I’m still seven books behind my Goodreads goal. Drat and double drat. I had hopes of finding an engaging series and get involved in some serie-ous reading. My hopes were dashed *sniffle*.

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Feeling a bit snookered after investing some time in the first two Mary Russell books by Laurie King. After avoiding The Beekeeper’s Apprentice for several years,(Sherlock mentors a teenage girl?!?) I relented and read it and begrudgingly liked it. Moving on to book two, the title should have warned me off.
What a disappointment. Hardly any Holmes, Mary is some kind of savant who is six feet tall, can best Sherlock at chess (not often), solve mysteries, and is an heiress attending Oxford for theological studies yet is a burgeoning feminist in the days of Victoria. She wears pants and has has martial arts skills. This girl is busy. Oh, she does wear glasses–I guess she is a sort of Wonder Woman/Clark Kent,

While the first book held my attention when Mary was merely Sherlock’s protegee, I lost interest through major parts of book two as she came into her own at 21. Way too much speech making about feminism–it was monstrous, indeed. The ending nearly had me throwing the book across the room. Sherlockian purists be warned.

I would definitely appreciate a series that is Sherlock and not schlock. A mystery-solving detective not focused on blood, broads, and bad language. Or is that too tall an order? Open to suggestions…

 

187977An overlooked book that combines several genres: fantasy, science, adventure, maybe even a smudge of magic. A group of genius teens are awarded the privilege of spending their summer at a science camp with an esteemed scientist. They discover his true reason for selecting them is they each possess a talent that will help unravel the mystery of lost mammoths.
Lots of adventure contained in a well-crafted book, published by Perceval Press. The reader audience is difficult to suggest as it’s sporadically illustrated, something elementary students like, yet the vocabulary tends toward YA; however, the plot is so engaging I didn’t feel like I was reading a kid’s book.

BtW–Perceval Press was founded by Viggo Mortensen, who is said to oversee each of the twelve books that the company publishes each year. The book I read had been donated to our high school by Viggo. In fact, it’s one of two books that were given to the graduating class of 2006. Here’s the why:

One day, in a small barbershop, in a small town, Viggo Mortensen struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to him, who didn’t have a clue who he was talking to. The guy was the outgoing high school principal. Interested, Viggo asked him what he thought was the biggest problem facing the school. The principal said, “reading.”
It’s not clear what aspect of reading the principal thought to be the problem, but out of that conversation the principal received a phone call from Walter Mortensen, who represented Perceval Press. He said Viggo wanted to donate two books to each of the 350 graduating seniors. Each senior received two books written by Mike Davis: Land of the Mammoths and Pirates, Bats and Dragons. In addition, they received two bookmarks and a handwritten copy of a note from Viggo wishing the students well.

One of those seniors was my son, and I thought it time to read at least one of those books.

Some day I’ll relate the part two of the story, in which my sons met Viggo at one of his art shows and discussed books, if only briefly.

 

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