Blog Hops and Other Memes

Happy First Monday of 2012: What are You Reading?

“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what you’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

Happy Monday and hope you’re all enjoying this extension of the New Year’s Weekend.  I don’t know why the day off today feels like something extra – we get a day off for New Year’s every year, at least most of us do.  But with the 31st falling on a Saturday, today feels like a bonus, and I’m glad to have one more day before I go back to work.  I’ve had the last 10 or so days off, which has been glorious and much-needed.  Most of that time was spent in Southern California celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family, and a few days spent in Healdsburg in Northern California.

As you can imagine, the vacation provided me with lots of reading time but limited writing time, so I have a lot to catch up on. Here’s what I’ve read the last two weeks:

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (book three in the Tiffany Aching series, and a part of the larger Discworld series).  I love, love, love this series.  Can’t say enough good things.  If you like fantasy mixed with humor, Terry Pratchett has to be one of the best.  This is a series aimed at young adults but it’s easily clever enough to entertain at any age.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.  I really enjoy classic science fiction and this one didn’t disappoint, although it was definitely not what I expected.  My husband laughed at the glossy cover of Will Smith in black leather jacket storming away from thousands of angry robots-gone-wild.   Once more, Hollywood gets it wrong.  The book tells the story of Dr. Susan Calvin, the preeminent robot psychology expert in the late 21st century.  She tells a reporter about her experiences with robots over the years, good and bad.  I don’t have to tell you that I loved that this book, written around 1950, features a woman as the world’s top robot scientist (even though her expertise is psychology rather than engineering, and even though her one professional failure in the book is using a robot to advance her love life – ack).  Robots in this book all have a positronic brain, which means they can think, but their actions are limited by the Three Laws: First, no robot can injure a human being (or cause injury through failure to act); Second, robots must obey orders given by humans unless the order would conflict with the First Law; and Third, robots must protect themselves unless their actions would conflict with the First and Second Laws.  The result is a fascinating set of loosely connected stories describing humans struggling to deal with the consequences of creating robots that act and think very like humans but are in many ways much smarter and stronger than we are.

The Adults by Allison Espach.  I was interested in this book, which is Espach’s first novel, because of its subject, which is a 14-year old girl experiencing her parents’ divorce.  If I was expecting something similar to my own experience, I didn’t get that at all – and in some ways that was a relief.  It’s beautifully written, with quote-worthy lines on nearly every page.  The main character has a very strong voice and isn’t always likeable, but always seems credible given her age and experience.  Review coming soon; this book gave me plenty to think about.

The Truth about Us by Dalene Flannigan.  This will be my first review upon request.  Ms. Flannigan is the author of two novels, including this one.  She lives in Toronto but as her website explains, was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  Since I have a soft spot for all things Scottish (and the book itself sounded interesting) I decided to accept her request.  This novel, the story of three college friends who have to come to terms with a secret many years later, was a fairly short read but surprisingly hard to put down.  More to come.

So that’s the scoop for this Monday.  What were your holiday reads?  Please share if you read something good!

6 thoughts on “Happy First Monday of 2012: What are You Reading?

  1. the book I Robot is nothing at all like the movie, so Will Smith on the cover of the book is hilarious! I’ll be starting to read Asimov’s Foundation for the Foundation group read at Stainless Steel Droppings. I just finished Cordwainer Smith’s Space Lords, both also count towards Vintage SciFi Month.

  2. I think I saw iRobot but never read the book. It’s the kind of thing I would enjoy though.

    Nice to get your first author request! And a good thing you liked the book (it’s awkward when you have to report back that you didn’t like it, as I can testify).

    Happy reading!

  3. You did get in lots of reading during the holiday week! Good for you! You mentioned at my blog that you are now reading ROOM by Emma Donoghue – that was one of my favorite reads of last year!! Hope you are enjoying it.

    Sue

    Book By Book

  4. Some excellent-looking books here! I would like to work more classic SF into my reading diet this year. I teach a SF/Fantasy class occasionally here at the college where I work, and it’s mostly focused on short stories. Would most definitely like to read more novels and/or collections in 2012.

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