i) Agatha Christie, Sleeping Murder. I'd read this before; I'm pretty sure I read all of the Miss Marples when I went on a giant kick when I was eleven. I hadn't picked any of them up since then, but it was still pretty familiar. This all started with a discussion with mrissa a few weeks ago about Grimdark, and eventually post-Grimdark, and I'm not sure quite how I got to the point of expressing confidence that there was rom for cozy mysteries in Grimdark universes, but I thought that was a very appealing idea, and like most of those that I get I wandered off never expecting to think about it again. But then we spent a long weekend at a lodge in northern Minnesota with moiread, chinders, tiger_spot, brooksmoses, suzanne, and andres_s_p_b, and Sleeping Murder was right there on the bookshelf in my bedroom. (Along with Kindred and Zodiac, among other strange selections.) So I read it, and I had thinky thoughts, and now I've embarked on reading A Game of Thrones for the first time to see if anything sparks. So far I'm hating the prose style enough that I doubt I will even get through it, but we'll see.
The book itself wasn't really all that worth mentioning. This was Christie's last novel, and fairly off from the Miss Marple forumla; she hardly gets to do any detecting, and doesn't get to speechify at all about how obviously she knows so much because of her small-town observations of human nature. She wasn't especially necessary to the book.
ii) Lois McMaster Bujold, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. This was the book I wanted, much like Captain Vorpatril's Alliance was, and I wonder if it will be as much less the book anyone else wanted as that one. We've got these two influential series, the Miles books and the Vlad books, which are all about learning how to grow up well, which is great as far as they go. But I've been poking around for a bit for a few years now, looking for the books which are the equivalent to that for already being a grownup, without a lot of success. Janet Kagan's Mirabile is great for that, but there's only one of it. The secondary plot in Growing Up Weightless speaks to me on that level, but that's kind of creepy. papersky's My Real Children is close, but that's not really what Jo was doing there; similarly the better Colin Cotterills. So I'm pretty happy that Lois went and wrote one. Like most of her books I'll probably have to go through it more than once before it really soaks in.
As a book itself it ( spoilersCollapse )