It's all that time spent reading....
10. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
I loved this at the beginning and the end, but the middle dragged a bit. It didn't end the way I thought it would, which is always a good thing. I liked the way the book used people in the past and the near future/present to demonstrate that even at our most advanced, people have prejudices and biases that they are not aware of--bits of knowledge that we think are already decided, so we do not investigate any further. Very interesting book.
11. The Lighthouse by P.D. James
I have two problems with this book: the description on the back tries to make it sound more lurid than it is, for no real reason (what is with these descriptions that have little to do with the actual book?), and it is the last book out there by James. She is 88, I am very afraid there won't be more, but I hope that isn't the case. (Update: apparently she has a book due out this year!)
The book itself, though, was really excellent, as usual. The characters were wonderfully drawn, as usual. The mystery was satisfying, and the personal quirks of all the detectives were interesting as well. In the hands of a skilled and disciplined writer, having a series with ongoing characters allows for gradual character development and growth without spending a lot of time away from the main story (as an aside, ihat's one of the reasons I keeping reading those J.D. Robb books--she does that well).
12. Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh
Nothing earth-shattering in here, but it is a good reminder. I like the way Walsh adresses the underlying issues for both clutter in our homes and on our bodies. It's a good reminder.
13. The James Tiptree Award Anthology 3
Great stories, wonderful essays about Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin that made me tear up, and a Tiptree story. Just wonderful.
14. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
This book was about religion as much as it was about first contact with an alien species. It was also about how difficult first contact situations are, and how much information you need to absorb very quickly, and how easy it is to get everything tragically wrong. I really enjoyed this book, although it was very difficult. I will probably read the second book at some point, but not for a while. I found it hard to believe that this was Russell's first novel--the writing was very mature.
15. The Sculptress by Minette Walters
Very good book. The mystery was intriguing, but also, the commentary on the people's lives was fascinating. Did Olive commit the crime she confessed to (killing her mother and sister and chopping them into pieces)? If she did, how much culpability does she really bear? Rosalind Leigh, the author who undertakes to write a book about Olive against her will, is an intriguing character as well, who convincingly works through her demons at the same time that she investigates Olive's. I will definitely be reading more of Walters' books.
16. Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent
Excellent book. I liked the way that Vincent confronted her pre-conceived notions with an open mind and was really willing to learn. It was a very difficult process for her, obviously, which was interesting to read.
17. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Wonderful. I loved this book so much, I read it very quickly. I loved the characters, and the end was fantastic. I am so glad I got this book, based on many recommendations from the 50 Book Challenge board on LibraryThing.
I am working on You: On a Diet, and then I am tackling War and Peace. I have read long books before, but this one is intimidating me a bit. And, it's not going to good things to my pace! It will do wonderful things to my average page count statistic, though, so I should not complain.