What I read this month

Another bit of a stop-and-start month for reading, largely thanks to stopping a book I was enjoying but was on the cusp of not enjoying, then finding an unexpected gem at a thrift store, then having to put that one on pause when a library book I’d put on hold showed up.

Here’s how it all shook out:

The Dreaming Place – Charles De Lint

Started and stopped
The Golem and the Jinni – Helen Wecker
Monsters Born and Made – Tanvi Berwah

The Savage Sword of Conan compendium
Triggers – Robert J. Sawyer

The Golem and the Jinni started strong and had real promise, but while I mentioned previously that I was enjoying it, it got to a point where there seemed to be increasing lulls between parts of interest. Not needless material, it was all part of the story and relevant, but maybe it was just the steam and interest it was rolling with early petered out a bit much for me in the longer haul of the full story. And then there was a moment half way in when something significant occurred that was so out of character that it totally kicked me from the story. (Last year I wrote about some of what it can take to make me stop reading a book. Among them is a character doing something that seems to, without justification, run completely against what we know they would normally do. So it was here…)

Monsters Born and Made just wasn’t done in an appealing style. There was something about series of descriptions ending in adjective-noun formats — ‘In the fading light the siblings worked their way toward the dark water, stopping at the jagged shore’ — that kept jarring me early and often from getting at all into the story.

And as I was half-way into Triggers, my first Robert J. Sawyer novel (and assuming this book’s style and intrigue doesn’t ease up, it won’t be my last), when The Dreaming Place arrived at the library. I reently had an urge to read more Charles De Lint, the exceptional writer who lives in Ottawa. And I wanted to start with the first book of his that introduces us to characters in his fictional, yet somehow familiar, small town of Newford… a place where reality and magic overlap in strange, weird and wonderful ways. Highly recommended if you like stories of urban magic (a unique blend and twisting of worldwide mythologies and tales, including that of First Nations traditions) spun via really good writing.

I already know new material in August will be a bit wanting, because I’m introducing my daughter to the Discworld series of Terry Pratchett and will be reading the first few books aloud to the family for all of us to enjoy. There’s plenty of stuff I want to get to, but exceptions must be made, and I absolutely want to be a part of her first experience with Pratchett.