Jan. 4th, 2017

osprey_archer: (books)
What I've Just Finished Reading

Edward Eager's Magic or Not?. I was on the fence about the first two Eager books I read, but this one totally charmed me; it's one of my favorite fantasy subgenres, where it's unclear if there really is magic going on or just a whole lot of imagination - but just a little more evidence on the side of magic than against it. (Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Headless Cupid also falls in this category.)

What I'm Reading Now

I've been reading Carl Safina's Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, which I've really been enjoying. Safina doesn't just talk in the abstract about animal cognition: he observes animals in their natural habitat and social context and tells us their stories, and it gives his book an almost novelistic feeling. The first section is about elephants - I love elephants! - and now I'm in the part about wolves, and there's a wolf pack that is in the process of splitting apart and it's full of epic drama.

Like seriously, this stuff would make an amazing novel. Although I think a novelist might almost inevitably end up making the wolves seem like furry four-legged humans? So perhaps it's just as well that it's nonfiction.

I've also started Stefan Zweig's Beware of Pity, my first book for the 2017 Reading Challenge ("a book in translation"). So far, our narrator has been invited to a party at an important local landowner's house, where he committed the faux pas of forgetting to ask the daughter of the house to dance - only to discover, when he tried to correct his mistake, that the daughter of the house has been crippled by an as-yet-undisclosed accident (I'm betting riding accident) and can't dance. She bursts into heart-rending sobs when he asks.

What I Plan to Read Next

I'm almost done with The Count of Monte Cristo! So I've been looking for a new book to read at bedtime, and I have decided it's time to treat myself to the Ivy + Bean series.

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