2013 book challenge of 30 books is well under way and I am doing pretty good – a little over halfway there. Three more books since my last update.
The Night Circus – by Erin Morgenstern
There were a lot of things I liked about this book: the imagery being the biggest. Most of the characters were developed well, although the 2 main characters (Celia and Marco) were probably the least developed, which is odd.
This is a story about a circus where the magic is real, not an illusion. There is the understanding that anyone can develop true magic talent, but most choose not to (or don’t know that it is possible). I know the real story is supposed to be about a competition between the 2 magicians, but honestly – there was no competition, or it was lukewarm at best with absolutely no sense of urgency. Probably the big downfall of the book is the touting of this fierce competition which just… wasn’t.
I found some of the timeline jumping to be a bit confusing as well. Not quite sure of the purpose of that.
This was a debut novel from Erin Morgenstern and I think she did a really good job. There were some times when the romantic dialogue between Celia and Marco dipped into YA territory, but otherwise I enjoyed her style of writing.
Definitely a read, but do a library loan.
A historical mystery. I do love period novels. This one was quite interesting involving solving a mystery of murdered children with a midwife being suspected as a witch. The town’s hangman believed the midwife and the story was about him and a physician trying to solve the mystery. I am not sure why the title is the Hangman’s Daughter, though. She is in the book and one of the main characters, but not *the* main character.
I enjoyed the authentic period feel of this novel. It turns out that the author’s family lineage is from the hangmen, so he did a lot of research in the writing of this novel and it shows.
My Antonia – by Willa Cather
What can I say about a classic novel? Whenever I read a classic, I am reminded once again why they are classics. They stand head and shoulders above everything else. The writing is just so captivating in this book. It’s funny, there really isn’t a plot per se, but the book just draws you in with life in rural Nebraska.
It’s the story of Antonia, an immigrant, told through the eyes of a childhood friend. There are quite a few themes in this book like life as an immigrant, the power of the land, the power of the past to connect people. It’s just such a good book.
Here is a snippet of the beautiful writing
There were no clouds, the sun was going down in a limpid, gold-washed sky. Just as the lower edge of the red disk rested on the high fields against the horizon, a great black figure suddenly appeared on the face of the sun. We sprang to our feet, straining our eyes toward it. In a moment we realized what it was. On some upland farm, a plough had been left standing in the field. The sun was sinking just behind it. Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disk; the handles, the tongue, the share—black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun.
You can get a free copy of this book here for digital media, so go do that now!
What are you reading?