Aight, let’s do dis.
Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire — Satisfying ending to the series, except that I wanted Rain and Ozma to be definitively together at the end. Great themes about what defines you and what you are to yourself and to the rest of the world.
The rest of The Chronicles of Narnia — I’m surprised people complain about the Susan bit at the end and not the sexism throughout the rest of the books. Her drifting away from Narnia is a very natural conclusion to everything that’s come before. The Horse and His Boy is still about the most boring book I’ve ever read; I think I had it at 220% speed or something this time around. The Christianity isn’t an allegory, but literally it doesn’t entirely work either. I still enjoy this series pretty well.
The rest of Harry Potter — Oh, man, I wanted to have so much more time and space to discuss this. I love Harry Potter forever. I like Cursed Child.
Henry V by William Shakespeare — I loved this play every bit as much as the last time I saw it, like, twenty years ago. Geez, his histories were so much better than his other stuff. Super interesting. Of course a lot of the stuff with the peasants made no sense, and I wonder if I would have understood it better if I’d been watching as well as listening.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman — I still enjoy this book very much, but this time not nearly as much as all previous times. It’s really offensive in a lot of places. The “first chapter” of the “sequel” is hella boring, too.
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare — Same as Henry V, except I pretty well understood all of this one.
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens — Here’s another woman written by Dickens that exists entirely in relation to the men around her, but at least this time 1) we actually got to hear a lot of the book from her perspective, and 2) half the point of the book was how she’s so thoughtlessly used by those men and it’s hella wrong. I enjoyed this one very much.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare — This is the most pointless story evar. Like, it was kinda fun, but mostly… pointless? You get down to the end and it’s like, Not mad anymore OK bye!
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis — Hadn’t read this in over two decades, and was not disappointed to come back to it. It’s badass and interesting and funny and sweet and sad all at once. One thing that bugged me, though, is that Kivrin’s and Dunworthy’s crises of faith weren’t addressed to my satisfaction.
King Lear by William Shakespeare — Um, wot. I read this in high school and have never seen it performed, and now listening to it I’m like, WTF is this. Everyone makes stupid and terrible choices, I hate everyone, and the one good character dies at the end.
The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams — Still no wonder that guy’s one of my favorite authors. Really remarkable book. Parts of it were so distressing, but the characters were delightful and their interactions were highly reminiscent of Watership Down. I loved the author insert/mention, and I loved the deus ex machina that he’d originally not intended to write. It was wonderful to see the dogs get a happy ending, and fuck that research facility.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens — OK, I loved this book all the way up to the end when he suddenly hit me in the face by making the main character a tradeable commodity. I’m sorry, you don’t just decide your fiancee would be better off married to someone else and hand her over to the other guy without fucking talking to her about it first!! What the actual, Dickens??
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux — Reread this real quick for an NQF story, and now it’s halfway through January and that story isn’t finished XD Anyway, I still love it, and all the thoughts I wrote down about it before still stand. Also I wish there were a real translation and an audiobook of it, though I don’t give up Ralph Cosham lightly.
The Screwtape Letters (and Screwtape Proposes a Toast) by C.S. Lewis — Even for a non-Christian, this book is hella inspiring. Every time I reread it, I’m prompted to try to become a better person. It’s pretty funny in places, too. What a clever idea that was, Mr. Lewis!
The Silmarillion (English and German) and The Children of Húrin by J.R.R./Christopher Tolkien — Oops, sorry, got sidetracked in the middle of typing those titles by looking at Nasmith art. OK, so, unlike some other books I could name (and possibly already have in this truncated AEL), I love The Silmarillion more every freaking time I read it. It’s so gripping and interesting. There are a few parts when he’s describing the land when I really feel, listening to the audiobook version, the want of a map; and one of these times I’m really going to pull out the maps and look at them during those segments. But whatevs. This was only my second time through The Children of Húrin, but my first time through since I started listening to audiobooks at increased speed. At 2x, even Christopher Lee’s unforgivably bad narration is tolerable, and I found I liked that book better too.
Then I listened to The Silmarillion in German, and, OH MAN, did I ever come out of that with a ton of questions. Did Tolkien leave any notes about how he would prefer his works to be translated? What did he think about formal/informal voice? Could he possibly have approved the use of “Mädchen” for “maiden?” What a wonderful experience it was to hear it in German; I’m soOoOo excited to hear the translations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that are coming up on my list.
BTW, Mostle got me a French translation of The Hobbit while she was in France last year, and when she visited for Christmas, she read me some of it and pointed out some interesting French usages. It was intensely delightful; offhand, I can’t think of a Christmas present I’ve ever liked more.
Richard III by William Shakespeare — This is on my reading list at this point, and I know I listened to it, but… what actually happened in it? I remember liking this one a lot in high school, but now I remember… very little of it. Just that Richard was an asshole and that was interesting, and he married a couple of ladies, I think? Huh.
Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley — My two issues with Robin McKinley are that I can’t handle her surrealism and she writes the same protagonist over and over again, usually in first person. But this book broke both those trends, and I loved it. It had a very Rick Riodan feel to it, with better prose, but that might just have been because the audiobook narrator also did something(s) in the Riordanverse (though I don’t remember which). Anyway, super interesting and touching, and I really loved how the main character (a dude for a change) seemed really in touch with his feminine side and not ashamed of it.
The Snow Spider and Emlyn’s Moon by Jenny Nimmo — Arianwen is best spider!! I love her. The first book is charming and interesting. The second book is kindof all over the place, and it’s a little disappointing how the same alien children turn out to be involved again, but I love Nia’s project so so much. And Arianwen is still best spider.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells — OK, like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall whenever that was, this audiobook was narrated by a woman, so I pictured this wonderful lesbian scholar doing all the things in the book. That may have made me like it better than I otherwise would have. Actually I thought it was pretty good, even if, rather than a sci-fi survival story it was more a showcase of all the cool stuff the author thought up about Martians. The one thing that bugged the crap out of me, though, was how the defeat of the Martians wasn’t allowed to be a mystery for more than about two seconds. The main character happens upon them all dead, and immediately states, “oh, yeah, they died of germs, as I found out later.” And I’m like WHY CAN’T I FIND OUT LATER TOO!! It ruined such a tense and baffling scene; I was so disappointed in Mr. Wells at that moment.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare — I think no story about people treating each other unkindly and inappropriately in a forest has ever been so cute and fun. I really enjoyed this one, though I have to admit my favorite parts were those with the players. Still, the guy performing Puck had an awesome laugh.
OK THAT’S IT FOR NOW SEE HOW SUCCESSFUL I HAVE BEEN