Wednesday reading, 8 June 2016

Last book finished: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. As I noted last week, it took me a while to get into it, but then I was sold and the resolution to one of the plots at the end made me do little seal claps of joy because it wasn’t what I expected.

I’ve been trying to figure out why it took me a while to get into it, and this is what I’ve come up with: it’s a first person male POV, written by a straight man, and it took me a long time to accept and go with the flow on that. There were thought patterns and observances that kept pulling me up short, which was distracting, and I think it’s because this isn’t a POV I read much. Yeah, the straight white male POV took me a long time to get accustomed to, which I suspect says a lot about my reading fare. It was the first person aspect that did it. Right now, I’m reading a Wheel of Time book so there’s lots of Rand POV (straight white male) but none of it is first person, and the extra degree of intimacy in the first person POV kept throwing me. The last book that I read with a first person male POV was Sutphin Boulevard by Sanito Hassell, who is neither straight or white, and I’m pretty sure every other first person story I’ve read over the last year was a woman narrating.

That’s not to say that Hines is bad or did anything that put my back up. It was just a different experience from all my other reading, and it took me a while to get used to. I enjoyed the book a lot and will probably read the rest of the series, because he’s got me intrigued.

Current read: Still working on Russian History: A Very Short Introduction. This will always be my status. Bribes did not work. Need to find better bribes to get pages read.

I’m around a third of the way into An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear, which is fun enough, but not brilliant. I’ve loved Maisie Dobbs and her friends since the first book and I’m here for them, but I’m feeling a bit wary about some of the plot elements.

And as noted, I’m still reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan. The more I read, the more I’m remembering that Rand wasn’t the character I was in these books for. He’s the POV character for a large chunk of the first book, until everyone had to split up, and I think the books work best when his POV is interspersed with everyone else. He’s not an easy character to like, and the books would be hard going if we only got his view. Out of the three male MCs, it’s really Perrin that I like. He’s good to the core without ever being dull, and his struggle with his nature as a wolf brother appeals more than Rand’s struggle with his destiny.

But really, it’s the women I’m continuing to enjoy. For all of its flaws, Wheel of Time has some great women and they’re all complex with different motivations. Now that we’re getting more sections from their viewpoints, they’re getting more fleshed out and I love it. You know what happens when you get multiple women with complicated motivations and relationships? You get the Bechdel and Mako Mori test passes with flying colours!

Next read: I still probably won’t need another Kindle read for a while, thanks to Robert Jordan, but I’ve accidentally ended up with a bunch of library books that need reading. Oops. Mount TBR isn’t shrinking at the rate I’d hoped for, particularly now that it’s June and some preorders are coming in.

What are you reading this week, and would you recommend it?