Sunday, April 6, 2008

what I'm reading (today)

Right now (I mean while I write) I'm listening to the last in the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Natural Born Charmer. This is my 4th (or 5th?) time through it. I just love the narrator, Kate Fleming aka Anna Fields - a woman who died tragically in December 2006 in a flash flood in Seattle. Jeez, what an incredible talent this woman was.

Anyway, I just did a full re-listen starting with It Had To Be You - managing to get through about 1 per day. The first time through, I didn't like some of them - but now that I've listened more than once, I'm appreciating all the different characters and situations. After all - it's fiction. How can I judge a character who doesn't actually exist?

Listening to them all in a row does emphasize how this author has some themes that she uses over and over - characters who lost one parent (in a car accident) young, and were raised (poorly) by the other parent; characters who don't want to admit who their real parent is (usually famous) until the end; a rich hero and an impoverished heroine who doesn't want the hero's money. I don't find myself identifying with the heroines in that way - yeah, I would definitely take the hero's money. The worst was Gracie in Heaven, Texas - what was up with her? I'd have let Bobby Tom pay for everything, with no qualms whatsoever.

I like how Phillips incorporates a secondary story, often with an older hero/heroine, in the books. And I love to see the characters from earlier books pop into the newer stories.

I'm about 1/2 way through Ceremony in Death/JD Robb, in hard copy. I have the first 10 books in the series ready to read - I've found it's frustrating to start a series, and not have the next book waiting. But I'm not as drawn into this series as I had hoped, as I have been with other series. I'm not sure if it's because it's the same hero/heroine in every book, or because I'm getting tired of Eve being so - uh - dismissive of Roarke and his feelings for her. Or maybe I'm just not buying Roarke's unflagging love for Eve regardless of how dismissive Eve is - it ain't realistic. Yeah, yeah, it's fiction and it's in the future - maybe men are different 50 years from now. I just keep waiting for Roarke to give up and say, fine - get out. She's so mean to him! And he just "chuckles" and grabs her and ravishes her. As if.

Or maybe I'm not getting into this series because it's a graphic murder-a-day. With the Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockman, there were a number of different characters as well as a variety of plotlines even if there was always some scary/dangerous/violent situation; with Chicago Stars, no murders - and the plotlines were varied; with Outlander, it's mainly Jamie and Claire but so much variety. Well, I'll give Eve and Roarke another chance, but Roarke better show some real emotion, or else!

I'm also several pages into book 2 in Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, but somehow I can't bring myself to get back into it. I really liked King Hereafter - and I have read so many good things about Lymond. I found it pretty hard to get into book 1, but by the end was starting to come around. Her writing (Dunnett) takes more concentration than my 1-a-day romance novels do, and I'm just so obsessed with them I can't stop. Sorta like, uh, brownies with cream cheese frosting. Like I made this evening (brownies I mean).

I've just downloaded all 44 hours of the 4th book in the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon). I have already read all 6 books more than once, and have listened to the first 3 audio books 3 times. So - do I start with book 1 on audio, or just jump into book 4? Since I can't decide, it just sits on the ipod, waiting. I'm thinking I'll finish NBC and then... Kiss An Angel, Ain't She Sweet, and maybe Just Imagine (all for the 3rd time, or maybe 4th).

All this reading is pretty incredible for me, really, considering before I moved here, I barely had the attention span for anything longer than a 1-page magazine article. Now my magazines sit, unread, while I read - and re-read - a book a day. My paperbackswap Books I've Read list is 185 today (I did include some books I read years ago, so it's not an accurate count since October 07.) Of course when you count the re-reads, it's a lotta reading.

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