Thursday, August 29, 2013

Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

When old African and West Indies tales of the beginning of the world start to entertwine with the life of an ordinary man about to get married in London, things become a bit surreal.

Fat Charlie was born in America but when he was 10, his mother left his father in Florida and took him with her to live in London near her aunt.  Fat Charlie was happy to leave his father behind.  His father caused him a great deal of embarrassment and grief.  Just before he is to get married, Fat Charlie gets a call from his old next door neighbor in Florida who tells him that his father has died (in a rather embarrassing way of course).

Fat Charlie's trip back to Florida to bury his father and say goodbye is the beginning of a long strange trip into a world he had no idea actually existed.  He learns about the beginnings of the world, his father and he finds himself.

This was a really fun book that kept me engaged and entertained.  I loved the symbolism as well as the use of folk tales woven into the story of today's world.  I highly recommend this book and I am interested in ready more of Neil Gaiman's work in the future.

World War Z

World War Z : An Oral History by Max Brooks

So the zombie apocalypse has come and gone and our narrator was given the job by world leaders to compile information about the event and write a report.  Once the report, full of facts, numbers and statistics is published, the narrator decides to publish the interviews as a book so that the world can read about the different personal experiences of those up-close to the action.

This book is sort of written in documentary form.  There is a reason the movie version differed from the book, it would have been a boring movie if it was done just like the book.  The book isn't boring though.  The book paints a big picture by giving you small glimpses into the lives and experiences of different individuals.

I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone interested in this type of novel.

The Darwath Trilogy

The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly

More specifically, the books are, The Time of the Dark, The Walls of Air, The Armies of Daylight.

The Time of the Dark I bought on my kindle for $2.99 or something like that and when I read it, I was hooked and had to get the rest.

Gil is a young woman who is entirely focused on getting her PhD in History.  She teaches and tutors as part of the process.  She begins to have dreams about some other place and time where the people run in terror from something unfathomable.  These dreams have a very realistic and un-dreamlike quality except that she knows she is asleep and the people around her cannot see her.  And then one night, they can.  She appears and is questioned by an elderly man.  When she answers that she was sleeping but now she's not, she falls back asleep and awakes in her own bed.

Gil and a biker artist named Rudy soon find themselves inadvertently pulled across the void into another world.  A world where people run in terror from The Dark.  Using their knowledge and experiences to help them cope and deal in a pre-industrial world not their own, Gil and Rudy must find a place in society and wait until it is safe for them to return to their own world.

Barbara Hambly draws from her own education in Medieval History to create a rich world for this series.  Her characters are believable and full of life.  The trilogy takes us through the battles with The Dark and delves into the long history of the world in which Gil and Rudy now reside.

There are two companion books that follow this series.  One, The Mother of Winter, tells us of the world 5 years after the end of the trilogy.  The other, Icefalcon's Quest, is the tale of a single character from the trilogy.  I am currently ready Mother of Winter but I've had to stop a few times because it is creepy and I need a break at times.

I highly recommend this series for people who enjoy sci-fi fantasy fiction.