Wednesday reading — classics and others

What I've been reading

I read Flying in Place, which was Susan Palwick's first book and the only one my library didn't have so I had to interlibrary loan it. I liked it, in the sense that I found it appropriately wrenching considering the subject matter. Overall The Necessary Beggar is the only book of hers that I would actively recommend to others, though.

I read Love is the Drug, because I loved The Summer Prince. Although this book had a killer hook and I do admire the way it was structured to keep me turning pages, when I actually finished I found myself dissatisfied with it. I guess the main thing was that I never did figure out why Coffee was so profoundly, single-mindedly devoted to Bird, apparently from the moment he first saw her and for no particular reason. On her side the progression of their relationship is a little more realistic, aside from the fact that it can only take place in the context where he is already willing to do anything for her, for, again, no reason that is readily apparent to me.

I read Villette, because mentioning how A Long Fatal Love Chase reminded me of Jane Eyre in turn reminded me that back when I was a kid I noped out of all of Charlotte Brontë's non-Jane Eyre books on the grounds that they were not Jane Eyre, and I figured that it was about time that I actually read and assessed them on their own merits. It's just as well, because back in the day I did not have the French necessary to make it through this book anyway. It is such an odd book, though! I felt like every few hundred pages it completely switched gears, and all of them were fairly peculiar. It continues to very much not be Jane Eyre.

I read El Deafo, which was a Newbery Honor book. It's a graphic memoir about the author's experiences growing up hearing impaired and also everyone is a rabbit for some reason. This actually kind of bugged me because it means that her hearing aids (which are an extremely important part of her story!) are on top of her head in her ears and it looks weird. The art generally wasn't my favorite, but I really liked the way she described her experiences with a lot of detail and liberal use of Calvin-style fantasy sequences to illustrate her inner landscape.

I read Plato's Republic: A Biography, because reading The Just City got me interested in the subject again. This book is actually really entertaining because the author is very open about not starting from a position of Plato fandom and yet somehow having gotten roped into writing the book anyway, and he's not quite hate-reading but definitely seems tobe raising an eyebrow at all times. Since The Republic is absolutely full of things that make you go, wait, what? I think this approach is productive as well as entertaining.

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