Susan’s Book Talk: WAY overdue!


I can’t believe I haven’t done a Book Talk since August, when I raved about The Kommandant’s Girl. Granted, my reading’s (regrettably) slowed since then, as I’ve had other things in the works and all of us adjusting to the new school year.

I’ve been reading great books, though. In fact, of the 14 I’ve read, there have been only 2 that I haven’t finished. That’s a pretty good ratio.

I’m not going to go through all 12 that I finished. I don’t want to bore you — I want to point you to the great reads. There have been plenty.

Let’s start with George and the Virgin. This was my first romance written by Lisa Cach, and it’s easy to see what everyone is raving about when they talk about Ms. Cach. I really liked the heroine, but even more, it’s a good reminder of what can happen when our lives are ruled by fears.

Sweet Man is Gone is Peggy Ehrhart‘s fiction debut and a definite don’t miss. I reviewed it over at Front Street Reviews — look under mysteries. I’ve also swapped a few e-mails with Ms. Ehrhart and she’s wonderful.

For a long time now, I’d heard mixed reviews of both War for the Oaks (Emma Bull‘s classic) and Parable of the Sower (Octavia E. Butler‘s classic), and had been dragging my heels about reading both of them. It was time to suck it up (see my comment about George and the Virgin for that lesson on being ruled by fear). I’m glad I did. Both books are incredible. Both have very dark visions of society, which is fine. I like a good dystopic society. Parable is perhaps the darkest book I’ve ever read. Oaks shows the power of music.

I reviewed Parable for Breeni. Check it out.

Time to change gears and finally take the plunge and read a book by Lauren Dane! I’ve been reading her blog for years and I like her. I won a copy of Making Chase in a contest held at her blog and while it took me a little bit longer than I’d intended to get around to reading it, it was worth the wait. Ms. Dane creates wonderfully real, complex characters. She’s about to have a few new books released by a major publisher; look for them.

To tie the romance and the alternate society together, I finally picked up my very-badly-treated copy of Stray (really, the person who sent it shouldn’t have, despite the vague rules at PaperbackSwap. This poor book can’t be sent back out again — and before you suggest it might be ME who treated it so badly, I challenge you to ask Bridget, who borrows all my books. She’ll tell you how gentle I am with a book. She’s been known to ask if the copy I’m handing her is the one I read.). Rachel Vincent‘s debut is another book I’ve heard negative things about. With one minor exception, I disagree. Read what I thought over at Breeni’s. (It made me feel good to see the comments, where someone says they’d steered away because of the negative talk, but I’d changed their mind.)

And last night, I finished a humdinger. I’ve read Anita Diamant‘s The Red Tent. I’ve read Good Harbor (a book which continues to resonate with me, years later). I’ve even read some of her nonfiction books “about contemporary Jewish practice,” as her bio describes them. The Last Days of Dogtown trumps them all.

The friend who’d handed me her copy said “Eh,” as she handed it to me, but I loved this series of interlocking stories that collectively tell the tale of a small New England town (that actually existed, according to the back cover) as it breathes its last. Well-drawn characters it’s impossible not to care for make this another book that’ll stay with me a long time.

So there you go. Seven books — that’s half of what I’ve read in the past two months. I’m on a roll. I hope it continues; it’s much easier to tear myself away from the screen (and impending burn out) when there’s a good novel waiting on the couch for me.



  1. Lex Valentine

    October 29, 2008 2:31 am

    I’ve actually gone back into a reading mode, which one reason I stayed in hibernation so long. The other was that I’ve now got 4 manuscripts subbed. Funny how the reading seemed to push me harder with the writing though. I feel less stressed now that I’ve caught up on blogs though. I missed ya. 🙂

  2. samulli

    October 29, 2008 8:14 am

    That reminds me: I didn’t have a bookish post in ages either. ;)BR/Normally our tastes in books seem to differ wildly, but I find it interesting that you read dystopian fiction. Which happens to be my favorite genre. 🙂 BR/I discovered Octavia Butler only recently and am right now reading “Wildseed”. But “Parable of the sower” is on my list as well (as soon as I get my hands on a copy). It’s a damn shame she died so young. I would have loved to read a lot more of her.BR/And you made me curious to give “Last days of Dogtown” a try sometime. It does sound pretty interesting.

  3. Bridget

    October 29, 2008 1:01 pm

    I just have to pipe in and say that Susan’s right — her books don’t even look like they’ve been read, they are that clean! I’ve read The Red Tent and enjoyed it immensely. I’ll have to pick up some others now.

  4. Shelley Munro

    October 29, 2008 2:31 pm

    I have to agree about Lauren’s books. She writes wonderful characters. I’m looking forward to her new ones.

  5. Thomma Lyn

    October 29, 2008 4:37 pm

    IThe Red Tent/I is on my (very long) TBR list, and based on your recommendations, I’m adding more books! 🙂 Oh, so many books, so few hours in the day!

  6. confused

    October 29, 2008 7:07 pm

    thankyou for the kind words young lady..:)

  7. Susan Helene Gottfried

    October 29, 2008 7:18 pm

    You’re welcome, confused.BR/BR/And if any of you feel confused about why I’m being thanked, go read confused’s poetry. It makes me sigh.

  8. spyscribbler

    October 30, 2008 12:07 pm

    I do hate the DRM, but what I love about the Kindle is I can just click, click, and a sample is downloaded to my Kindle. Next time I’m looking for something to read, I can click, click and get it!BR/BR/I just downloaded Kommandant’s Girl. I forgot I wanted to read that!

  9. PurrPrints

    October 31, 2008 3:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing your book suggestions–I’m always on the lookout for other good reads…

  10. Bethanie

    November 7, 2008 9:36 pm

    Oh, I loved IThe Red Tent/I (except for the end…). The book club I used to belong to (before children) actually took our name from that book – we called ourselves the Three Corner Book Club. 😀

  11. West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » Susan’s Book Talk: 2008 Roundup (Part one)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *