Search This Blog

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What I've Downloaded

Ah, the joys of having immediate access to iBooks! I read or hear about a book and if it's on iBooks I can go straight there and download it! Just this morning, I finally downloaded Anita Heiss's memoir, Am I Black Enough For You? Just started reading it, but it's a delight so far. I might check out her chick lit novels later. For some time I knew her only as a bigwig in the Australian Society of Authors, of which I'm a member, but we've been following each other on Twitter and I feel I know her, even if we've never met.

The other day I bought David Levithan's Every Day, a fantasy novel in which the hero, A, finds (him)self in a different body and different life every day, sometimes male, sometimes female, and read it in a couple of hours. A very strange theme, if not unusual. The entity A falls in love with a girl who has a horrible boyfriend and what then? I don't think it's his best book, but interesting. A does tell the girl, Rhiannon, what it has been like from babyhood onwards, but surely he/she/it was born in their  own body? Who is occupying it now? We do find out that there are other entities out there with the same situation, but only meet one. The book ends with questions unanswered. It could lead to a sequel, but this author tends to write stand-alone books.

I have bought Angela Carter's American Ghosts And Old World Wonders, as I already have a print copy of The Bloody Chamber. I've read so far her thoughts on Cinderella and boy, does she make some good points on the nasty ideas in this story! And this is without even mentioning the gruesome Italian version in which the heroine murders her first stepmother, only to find herself with an even worse one.

From Project Gutenberg I've downloaded an early translation of Beowulf which has a handy blurb about the characters and a very nice glossary before the poem begins. One of these days I'm going to have a go at the Old English version. I did bits from it in second year uni, when we had units on both Old and Middle English, but the fourth year OE unit was mostly religious poetry. It did feature Beowulf, but I was doing my thesis on Middle English Arthurian romances and Malory was on the menu for fourth year ME, so I reluctantly gave up my OE, as I couldn't do both. I have also found something called Early English Meals And Manners, which is a compilation of early books on cooking and etiquette, something I can use in my research - I do write mediaeval fantasy, after all. I was looking for Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories, but it wasn't available, so I picked up one of his SF pieces instead, Time Fuze.

I have picked up Harry Harrison's The Ethical Engineer, his second Deathworld book, Rebecca Stead's Liar And Spy, which I heard about at the CYL's last Booktalkers and downloaded while they were talking about it. I wanted to read Marianne De Pierres'  Shine Light, the third in her Night Creatures trilogy and ended up buying the whole trilogy as I had donated my first two to the school library. I have a feeling RH tried to deliver my review copy by courier and I couldn't get in touch with the courier company while at work, so will have to ask again. I know the kids will want to read it and someone has borrowed the second book for the holidays.

I got Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen because there was a discussion about it on a blog I was following, but found myself a little disappointed with it due to some jarring anachronisms. I don't mind the odd anachronism as long as the author admits to it and explains why, but I just don't think this author had done her research well enough. There were some interesting ideas in it and goodness knows, there are a LOT of Robin Hood novels out there, all different,so I guess this one just isn't my favourite. That would have to be Parke Godwin's Sherwood, in case you're wondering, but there are other terrific ones.

I picked up Volume 6 of the Paston Letters from PG, because I am reading two books, Helen Castor's She-Wolves, about strong English queens from Matilda to Margaret of Anjou, and Sarah Gristwood's   book about the women behind the Wars Of The Roses, Blood Sisters, alternating chapters. I'm into the
Margaret chapter in She Wolves so have caught up. Helen Castor has also done a book about the Pastons, Blood And Roses, which I have somewhere on my reference shelves.

Lots of good stuff to read over the holidays if I can resist downloading still more!


Lady Diazepam said...

I read the reviews of "Am I Black Enough For You?" Very interesting comments about the author's attacks on free speech in Australia.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Really? Well, I find your own comment interesting given that on a quick check through Amazon I couldn't find any mention of this book at all. There was a book of this name, written by an American, but not this one. Not that I would find, anyway. As for freedom of speech, my own experience has been that the most noise made about this right is by racists - usually racists who make an even bigger noise if anyone has a go at *them*. Perhaps you should buy this book yourself and make up your own mind? :-)