A Reader’s Update

I’m a bit behind on posting books reviews. I had initially thought I wouldn’t have enough content to keep up a blog and that a primary topic would be writing thoughts on books I was reading. Clearly, that’s not quite how things have gone.

I also had thought I would include “Reading Corner” sections at the end of posts when I’ve finished a book to include my two cents on whatever I’ve recently finished. This doesn’t seem to be as practical as I thought it might be. I haven’t wanted to extend the length of posts (and make them too long) by doing this so I’ve just been skipping it and in the process have finished a couple of books without posting about them.

So, what I’m thinking now is that maybe I will just periodically post an update like this one, with comments on the books I’ve read since my last reader update.

Maybe I’m trying too hard to impose a structure.

Well, getting on with the reviews.

The Alchemist’s Code, by Dave Duncan is an enjoyable historical-fantasy fiction novel. It is the second in a series, although Duncan writes in such a way that you can easily read this book and not be lost or lacking information if you have not read the first novel.

This book has a bit of fantasy, history, and humor and it’s done well. The story is set in an alternate 16th century Venice. A young noble is apprenticed to Nostradamus. Both are tangled in the web of a murder mystery and political espionage. If you enjoy historical fiction, even if you don’t fancy yourself a fan of fantasy, give this series a try. I will be picking up the third book in this trilogy myself soon.

Sacred Hearts, by Sarah Dunant is another historical fiction novel, set in 16th century Italy. The story centers around a young woman, Serafina, who is given over to a convent by her family because it was more profitable to marry off her sister – who had initially been trained and expected to become the nun of the family. The author explores the daily life within a convent, during a time of change in church politics, while Serafina spends most of her time attempting or plotting escape.

The history and the period interested me but I had trouble getting through parts. It was written well but at times there was too much description and not enough action for me. I did read the whole thing, but I have to admit towards the latter half I started skimming sections. I wanted to know what happened to Serafina, but it seemed like I was never going to get there. If you’re a lover of this period and you’re interested in the intrigue and inner workings of convent life, this book will not disappoint. If you like a little more action, it might not be for you.

A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it. 
~ William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958


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