Recently read and currently reading

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake is the first novel in a trilogy, the follow-ups being Gormenghast and Titus Alone. The trilogy is nominally an epic, which tells the story of the 77th Earl of Gormenghast, Titus Groan. In the first book, Titus is born to Lady Gertrude and Lord Sepulchrave to the initial dismay of his older sister, Fuchsia. The first book basically tells how Titus becomes the 77th Earl of Gormenghast before he’s even two-years-old. The world of Gormenghast is dark, quite gothic in feel. Fuchsia has the temperament you would expect of any fifteen-year-old girl – she does whatever she wants and rebels against even her childhood nursemaid, who she professes to love with all her heart. The book is well-written and leaves a remarkably fantastical world imprinted on your mind. Although I initially wasn’t planning on reading the whole trilogy and despite criticism that the next two novels aren’t as impressive on the imagination as the first, I’m intrigued enough to want to find out what happens to Titus Groan in his later years. The next two books will be on my reading list.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley written in 1932 still scarily reflects on modern society, even in this new millenium. What can I say about it that hasn’t already been said? Obviously, there’s a strangely polarized danger to trusting in either science or religion too much. Yet, in many ways science seems to be the new religion of the modern world, as it seems to be in Brave New World.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season eight) by Joss Whedon et al. is the comic/graphic novel version of Buffy. It continues the story after Sunnydale is blown up at the end of season seven. Volume one collecting issues one to five in graphic novel format is now available. There is also a continuation of the Angel serial. Look for Angel: After the Fall – it should be in graphic novel format once the comic gets to issue five.

I mentioned Fables before, I’m sure. I have pretty much caught up with the series I’m up to volume nine now, but I’ve taken a break from it to finish up some other books on my reading list.

If you’re interested in manga, some interesting ones are Blame!, Tsubasa, xxxholic, and Chobits.

I’ve been plodding my way through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Quite an amusing read! It’s 1006 pages so it will take me awhile to finish it, especially since I tend to change books every so often for variety. Unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to finish a 1000-page book in five hours like a certain person I know.

I haven’t gone back to Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time yet. I find his serial quite absorbing and there are many plot lines to follow, so it’s best for me to read it when I have a good block of time available and I don’t have to think about doing anything else. I’m thinking I will get back to The Wheel of Time (book seven, A Crown of Swords) when I’ve knocked down my reading list a bit.

I’ve currently gone back to reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It’s been a few weeks and I want to know how Strange is doing overseas as a magic advisor. 😉 I think the novel is wonderfully written.

I also started reading the much shorter novel Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler. It’s listed as science fiction and like Brave New World is a commentary on modern society and where it may lead. Well written in the first person narrative, it’s easy to get drawn into the story. It’s told through the eyes of an empath who must learn to control her abilities.

Other fiction books on my reading list are:

The Ghatti’s Tale – Book One: Finders-Seekers by Gayle Greeno
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lady of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (I didn’t think I would read the rest of Bradley’s novels in this series, but something keeps drawing me back to them. Having read Mists of Avalon and The Forest House already, the next in the series are Lady of Avalon, Priestess of Avalon, Ancestors of Avalon, Ravens of Avalon, and Sword of Avalon (to be published in 2009). The last three books in this series are written by Diana L. Paxson rather than the late Ms. Bradley. I’m thinking if I like Ancestors of Avalon, I’ll continue reading the rest of the novels written by Paxson, but I’m sure I’m going to read up to Ancestors of Avalon.)
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (a recommendation by Nathan (see his blog))
Artemis Fowl (books two and three) by Eoin Colfer (This is such an amusing children’s fiction series. You can’t not like it. 😀 )
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Yes, I’m a little slow. Haha. Actually, it’s more that I’m not overly excited about the rest of the serial and I also don’t like reading hardcover books if I can avoid it. It’s an amusing children’s fiction serial and since I started it I thought I’d finish reading it. When the last book in the serial is available in paperback, I’ll read this one.)
Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi (Ever since I read Battle Royale, I have no hesitation about reading another Japanese novel, especially one that Nathan’s picked up. 😉 This book should be amusing.)
The Diamond Throne and The Ruby Knight (books one and two of The Elenium) by David Eddings (I found these down in our laundry room where people recycle books. Thought I’d read these sometime. I read David Eddings’ other serial before and thought they were amusing, although Nathan doesn’t like Eddings’ writing so much.)
The Tower on the Rift (book two of The View from the Mirror) by Ian Irvine (Nathan read both books one and two and lost interest because Irvine’s writing isn’t the greatest. I have to agree. The story sounds interesting, but I found it hard to finish the first book. I may read this book at some point, but I’m in no rush too. Maybe if I really, really want to know what happens to the main characters…)
Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee (I don’t have this book yet, but it actually does sound interesting and the writing I’m assured is pretty good. The book is the first in a series.)

Aside from reading fiction, I’ve been studying various subjects still and still have a pretty hefty list of non-fiction books to read. For the most part, I’ve been studying astrology (Western and Chinese astrology) and topics related to reiki and healing. I’ve also finally gotten a chance to delve into human rights like I wanted (gee, that wasn’t obvious with the last few posts). I’m more interested in international human rights, which is why I’ve been researching Amnesty International. There is a new human rights book that will be published and released later this month (International Human Rights: A Comprehensive Introduction by Michael Haas) that I want to read. I’m in the middle of writing a few pages on human rights for my website. It’s a work in progress and won’t be available until I get through a few source materials.

~~~CJ

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