24 February 2020

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: I'm Reading Again

Book thoughts from Beth Fish ReadsOkay, I admit it. I need a total reset, not a weekly reset. If you're a regular or semi-regular reader of Beth Fish Reads, then you know that I'm primarily about two things. I write about the books I've read and I write about the books coming out in the current month that caught my attention or that I think you all would be interested in.

Because of various family issues, I have hardly touched let alone written about January or February books. I've decided to cut my losses and shed the nagging sense of responsibility. March is going to be a new beginning, a clean slate. And I'm going to pretend that March starts today.

Of course, I still need to catch up with work and take care of duties related to my mother's estate, but I'm also going to remember the things that bring me joy and nourish my soul. That means reading, cooking, and textile arts. It also means getting back to my daily walks and paying attention to what I eat. Here's to fresh start!

Review of Age of Death by Michael J. SullivanI finished the fifth book in Michael J. Sullivan's Legends of the First Empire series. Age of Death (Grim Oak Press, Feb. 11) continues the story of the battle between the elves and the humans and takes place in two planes: the earthly and the land of the dead. I've written about all three of Sullivan's series and really can't stop praising his ability to create believable characters and a complex universe. Some of the things I love about his books: characters grow and change, characters make mistakes, it isn't always clear who is good and who is evil, people can die, the rules are consistent, and the balance of action and character study or history is spot-on. If you like epic fantasy, you'll love these books. Did I mention that Sullivan doesn't start publishing a series until the whole thing is written? Yes! No more waiting years between installments. Another thing: if you're audiobook fan, you must listen to Tim Gerard Reynolds's performances. I truly can't say enough good things about his characterizations, pacing, expression, and consistency across dozens of books. Go forth and read or listen. (audio and print editions from my personal collection)

Review of Greenwood by Michael ChristieI'm halfway through the very long but totally absorbing Greenwood by Michael Christie. (I wrote about the book earlier this month). I started out reading the book in print but have now switched to audio, which is read by Kimberly Farr (Penguin Audio; 18 hr, 37 min). I love this book! Although it has dystopian elements (the story starts in 2038 after climate change has clearly taken hold), Greenwood is mostly a family saga that stretches back to the early 20th century, complete with secrets and complex family relationships. It's also a commentary on environmental issues, especially forests and trees. I love the structure of the book, which mimics the rings of a tree as you move across the diameter: modern times, back through time, and then a return to today. This novel should appeal to a wide range of readers, especially because the dystopian elements are small yet absolutely believable (and a bit scary). Farr's performance is absorbing, and she handles the needed accents well. She hasn't created hugely divergent voices for the characters, but the differences are enough to keep us listeners on track. (Thanks to the publisher for the print ARC; audio provided for a freelance assignment)


rhapsodyinbooks 2/24/20, 7:11 AM  

I think that aspect - no publishing a series until the whole thing is written - is beyond wonderful!

bermudaonion 2/24/20, 8:20 AM  

It's unsettling when you lose a parent. I've been thinking about you and am glad to see you're finding your way back to caring for yourself. Greenwood sounds really good.

Susie | Novel Visits 2/24/20, 8:43 AM  

May March bring you everything you need to get back on track. I think it's a good idea to just let all the January and February books go. Sometimes we just need to do what we know is best for our souls. The Greenwood book sounds interesting, but I'm not up for anything really long right now. I like to save those for summer.

Debbie Rodgers 2/24/20, 10:55 AM  

After my mom died, I found it very difficult for the first couple of months to still my mind to concentrate enough to read. I'm glad that comfort is returning to you.

And I'm glad that you're enjoying Greenwood! After I read Christie's collection of short stories, The Beggar's Garden, a couple of years ago I thought he could easily become one of my "must read everything"" authors.

Bookfool 2/24/20, 1:41 PM  

I've had to do that a few times, due to grief and (most recently) health issues. Wishing you strength.

Vicki 2/24/20, 5:20 PM  

For the first time ever, I didn't write reviews for a few (5) books I read last year. I struggled with that and decided I'd still review them and add them to my 2019 "Books Read". But then I decided not to and I just let it go. I'm ok with that.

Losing a parent is very emotional. Sending you lots of hugs!

Yvonne 2/24/20, 8:13 PM  

Many hugs to you. Losing a parent is difficult. I do hope March will be a good month for you. Take care.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 2/24/20, 9:05 PM  

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. I hope you are able to move forward, always thinking of your mom in the happiest of ways.

Family Caregivers 2/24/20, 10:01 PM  

Better to read the books you love again than buying same books genre.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 2/25/20, 4:35 AM  

I’m glad to hear you are ready to move forward, continue to take care of yourself x

Harvee 2/25/20, 7:42 AM  

The novel on climate change looks good.

R's Rue 2/26/20, 11:06 AM  

I'm so sorry. Ma heartfelt condolences.

Marg 2/27/20, 5:07 AM  

Interesting decision not to publish until the series is finished!

Daryl 2/27/20, 7:10 AM  

i need to start the Legends series, i loved the Riyia Revelations and Chronicles series .. did you know Sullivan continued the series because his wife had a crush on Hadrian ..

Laurie C 3/1/20, 11:52 AM  

I'm very sorry for your loss. It's good to let go of the guilt -- your mom needed you and you were there for her. *hugs*

(Diane) bookchickdi 3/7/20, 7:51 AM  

I had a really good reading January, finishing 12 books. I only got to 8 for February and I have to pick up my March pace.

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