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TCC Books of the Month: March and April 2014

By Thecurlycasualista @curlycasualista
TCC Books of the Month: March and April 2014
March was a slow month in the book world, because I chose to start The Dying Earth trilogy by Jack Vance. I made it through the prequel and first installment and gave up. It took almost all of March just to get that far...
Currently Reading: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Dying Earth - Jack Vance - A group of novellas that, together, equal the prequel to Vance's The Dying Earth trilogy. Set on earth, many years in the future as the sun is about to die, it chronicles some wizards and other folks going about their magic-filled lives. It wasn't terrible, but I really have no idea how it set up the future three books (granted, I've only made it through the first one). 
The Eyes of the Overworld - Jack Vance - The first in the trilogy, this book tells the tale of Cugel who is flung halfway around the world by a magician out of revenge for trespassing. To be forgiven, he must bring the magician the eyes of the overworld. This book was a snoozefest. I used to be really into fantasy (and still am, in a lot of ways), but I was expecting something much different than this. Based on my cover of the book, I was expecting an advanced, scientific society of humans, but instead they seem to have reverted back to the dark ages (literally - the sun is close to exploding, sending the planet into darkness). Cugel was despicable, and there were zero likable characters. The prose was also tedious. Maybe I'll get to the next two installments someday...
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple - This is a great satire of just how strange the rich can be. Funny, sweet, and a really quick read, I recommend this to everyone. It's hilarious. From Bernadette's neuroses to the (presumed, I assume) inner workings of Microsoft, it's modern lit at it's best!
Finding Emilie - Laurel Corona - I love a good historical fiction novel, and enjoy even more one based on a true character, provided it's well researched. This was all of that. Finding Emilie tells the story of the daughter of Emilie du Chatelet, the 18th c. French mathematician and physicist. Dying soon after giving birth (her daughter actually also died soon after birth in reality, but not in this book - which is fine by me), Emilie was an enigma to her incredibly intelligent daughter, Lili. The story chronicles Lili's coming of age, realization of how much a novelty her mother was - and how important to the advancement of science she was - and how, while we can strive to be just like someone else, we must be our own person, first. It was a good read. 
Flight Behavior - Barbara Kingsolver - I read The Poisonwood Bible last summer and determined that Kingsolver is one of the most talented writers I've ever met. Flight Behavior just further proves that. It tells the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, who stumbles on a colony of monarch butterflies strangely roosting the winter on the mountain behind her husband's family's Tennessee farm. The story has religion, prejudice, science, finding oneself, everything. I highly recommend you read it (and everything else she's ever written). 
The Bellwether Revivals - Benjamin Wood - A dark, Gothic modern novel, this tells the tale of Eden Bellwether and his sister, Iris. Eden believes that he has the power to cure through his music, but his narcissistic personality and ego lead to his downfall. Creepy, but incredibly intriguing, the book highlights the fine line between madness and genius. 
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - I tried to like this fable-esque story of one boy's journey to find his "personal legend" but I just couldn't. The idea that, if you want something badly enough, the universe will contrive to get you it just doesn't resonate with me (it seems a bit trivial and unrealistic - shouldn't you have to work?). But I know a lot of people really love this story. 

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