July Reads, 2010

ReadingRoundup_dsGood morning, everyone, on this somewhat stormy Sunday.  It’s been rumbling for a couple of hours, but it hasn’t really rained that much.  Just a slow, steady, soaking.  No deluge that we usually get during thunderstorms.  And the thunder is that soft grumble that makes the floors shiver and tremble.

Bookwise, July  has been an interesting month.  My favorites were definitely Water Touching Stone and Tinkers.  I also really enjoyed Baking Cakes in KigaliThe Good Earth was better than I’d thought it would be, though Cuckoo continues to baffle me.

  • Water Touching Stone by Eliot Pattison –  I liked this a lot more than I did The Skull MantraWater Touching Stone is a much smoother read.  It doesn’t drag, and the emotions were so intense.  Wonderfully written characters, sad, but gripping, plot.  A vast improvement.  Rating:  4.5
  • The Secrets of Jin-shei by Alma Alexander – In an imaginary kingdom based on China, a group of women write in woman’s language and swear to be sisters.  This sisterhood, jin-shei, creates a life-long bond of affection and obligation.  I thought that a few elements of this book, involving a mage and couple of Sages, were a little too fantastical to fit with the rest of the story.  But that’s just me.  Rating:  4
  • Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell – Meh.  Not bad, but nothing I can get enthusiastic about.  I’ll admit to doing a lot of skimming.  Rating:  3
  • The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck –  A surprisingly good book.  The Good Earth is all about the characters.  In nearly biblical language, Buck breathes life into the pages.  These people are not caricatures, they are ordinary people.  None wholly good.  None wholly evil.  There are not explanations about religion or culture.  However, Cuckoo annoyed me.  For why, see my more detailed review by clicking the link.  Be warned, it contains spoilers.  Rating:  4.25
  • Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin – I liked this book very much.  Many of the characters were survivors of genocide, and most have been effected by HIV/AIDS in one way or another.  This book is about acceptance, reconciliation, and unity.  Not only of individuals, but of the whole of Africa.  Rating:  4
  • Prince of Twilight by Maggie Shayne – It was okay, and I’m actually rather curious about Damien.  Mostly because of who he was.  Rating:  3
  • Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts –  Not as good as Visions in White or Bed of Roses.  There’s really very little tension.  Little angst.  Especially on the part of the hero.  In many ways, he’s kind of, just, there.  Rating:  3
  • Garrett by Linda Lael Miller –  Blah.  Cardboard characters.  Cartoonish dialogue.  Cut-and-paste plot.  Rating:  2
  • Empires of the Word:  A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler –  An interesting, mostly, study of the rise and fall of the various lingua franca that have that have spread around the world over the millennia since the invention of writing.  A bit dry in place, but fascinating for all that.  Rating:  4
  • Tinkers by Paul Harding – A strange little book filled with surreal imagery and deep thoughts of inner workings of everything from clocks to the universe.  I’m mildly surprised to discover that I really liked it.  Rating:  4.75

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