Whew-so I 'officially' finished my second book this hour (to see my full thoughts on it, check out Hour Five). Then, I decided I was in the mood for an Agatha Christie. I had just grabbed it randomly off my library's shelves, and it turned out to be one of the Ariadna Oliver mysteries (although she's more a bit player). It has a great opening paragraph:
The Espresso machine behind my shoulder hissed like an angry snake. The noise it made had a sinister, not to say deveilish, suggestion about it. Perhaps, I reflected, most of our contemporary noises carry that implication. The intimidating angry scream of jet planes as they flash across the sky, the slow menacing rumble of a tube train approaching through its tunnel; the heavy road transport that shakes the very foundations of your house...even the minor domestic noises of today, beneficial in action though they may be, yet carry a kind of alert. The dishwashers, the refrigerators, the pressure cookers, the whining vacuum cleaners. "Be careful," they all seem to say. "I am a genie harnessed to your service, but if your control of me fails..."The mini-challenge for this hour is to do 'reader advisory.' I'll go with the three books I've spent time with today.
Tithe by Holly Black: I think teens who likes faeries/fantasy would eat this book up, and adults who aren't phased by the more obvious YA aspects to the book will probably enjoy it as well. It reminds me a little bit of I Once Was a Teenage Fairy, since they're both YA and fantasy oriented, with main characters who experience rather troubled homelifes. The urban fantasy aspect of the book is reminiscent of Charles de Lint, but it's not on the same level. Urban fantasy and YA are both genres new to me, so I can't think of any more connections (maybe Stephanie Meyer's vampire series, which sounds YA and urban fantasy-ish, but I haven't read any).
The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander: people who enjoy historical fiction should jump all over this one, as well as those interested in pre-USSR Russia (you can tell the author put a lot of research into it). It's pretty bare-bones at 226 pages, so don't expect a lush romance (a la Diana Gabaldon) or a decades-spanning epic (a la The Crimson and the White). At heart, this is a story about people, the choices they make, and how they deal with those choices. Readers who enjoyed Atonment by Ian McEwan will probably really like this one, and vice versa.
The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie: I'm not too far into this one, but it seems to me that mystery readers in general have their 'type.' My type happens to my British mysteries; if readers like Agatha Christie and are looking for similar authors, I'd highly recommend Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers. If they're looking for well-written, tightly-plotted mysteries in general, I'd toss in Ellis Peters. But if they find Christie a little too plot-driven, and want more focus on characters and why people do the things they do, I'd happily send them towards Laurie King's Mary Russell series or P.D. James. (Told you I was a British mystery buff; although King is American, her series is mostly set in England)
I leave you with that, and I may not be around for the next couple hours. I'd like to go to Barnes & Noble and read there for a little change of scenery, and it'd be too much of a hassle to bring my laptop. On the other hand, it's Saturday, so it might just be crazy crowded there. But don't worry about me if you don't hear from me for two or three hours; after that, I'll definitely be back with even more reading to report!
Books Read (this hour): The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander, The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
Pages Read (cum.): 612
Books Completed: 2 (Tithe by Holly Black, The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander)
Mini-Challenges Participated In: 4