Posts Tagged ‘used book’

Used Bookstore Finds: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Yes, I read a 400-page book in a day. What’s your point?

(The smaller, mobile one is virtual again and it sounds like the bigger, mobile one will be soon, so my productivity has taken a nose dive again. Right in the middle of Nano. But reading generally is easy to stop and start again, so it’s easier to do around helping them than, say, writing.)

This book actually comes with a bit of a story.

Back in 2006, when the Spork Room was founded (which was a spin-off of the Nano thread with a side stop in another writing challenge), I noticed a lot of the other people in the community wrote romance. I suspect I’m down at the ace end of the spectrum, plus I grew up on scifi (which, for some weird reason, is apparently the natural enemy of romance), so I’d never read any romance, and decided I should give it a try, since so many of my friends were working on it.

So I asked for recommendations, and my dear friend Jules recommended Bet Me to me. I read it at the time, loved it, and have gone on to read more romance novels because of it.

(Agnes and the Hitman, co-written by Jennie Crusie and Bob Mayer, is my favorite.)

That time I just got it out from the library, but I did come across it at a used bookstore, and then it was mine. This is the first time I’ve read my own copy.

Title: Bet Me
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Genre: Romance
Publication Year: 2004

Pros: Great dialogue, characters you care about
Cons: A bit dated

I think what I generally like about Crusie’s work is that her characters exist in a fleshed out world, with friends and families and jobs, and each of them are treated like they are real and important rather than cardboard backdrops to the main characters. So not only do you get main characters to cheer on, but you get a host of great side characters as well.

Bet Me follows Min Dobbs and Cal Morrissey, who give a date a try as a result of a mean-spirited bet, and they both hate it and swear never to see each other again.

But that’s not how things go, of course.

If you haven’t tried a romance novel, I do recommend you give Crusie a try. They’re fun books.

See you next week!

Used Book Store Finds: A Different Light by Elizabeth A. Lynn

Hey-o, squiders! I thought this was one of my library book sale books, but it had a bookmark in it, so it turns out that it was one of the books my spouse bought me on my birthday when he took me to a coffee house/used bookstore.

This book ends up being oddly topical for what we’re dealing with round these parts recently.

Title: A Different Light
Author: Elizabeth A. Lynn
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Year: 1978

Pros: Interesting take on what makes life worth living
Cons: Gets a bit weird at the end, like most ’70s era scifi I’ve read

Our main character here is Jimson Alleca (which, as an aside, is Jimson a real name? Google tells me it’s a type of weed, but all I can think of is that it reads really stereotypically hillybilly-ish.), famous artist, stuck on his home world because of a rare and incurable type of cancer.

(Nobody else has weird names. Also whoever drew the cover is generally quite talented but seems a little confused about human anatomy.)

If he goes into the Hype, which, as far as I can tell, is the medium space travel goes through to get places faster than they would otherwise, it’ll accelerate the rate of growth of the cancer, and he’ll die.

But he’s bored and he’s languishing, and he decides it’s worth it to go out there and see new things, even if it’ll kill him.

(This is, coincidentally, where the title comes from. Each planet has a different star, with different colors and brightness, so he wants to see things under “a different light.”)

So it’s interesting from the standpoint that you go into the adventure sequence of the book knowing he’s going to die from it. (I mean, assuming the adventure doesn’t get him first.) Jimson’s a little fatalistic as a main character, but not annoyingly so. He does occasionally bemoan his early fate but he’s mostly accepted it. And the parts where he’s drawing or otherwise doing artistic things or looking at things through the lens of an artist are quite good, especially in a genre where art is not always explored.

There are three main side characters: Leiko, Ysao, and Russell. I liked both Leiko and Ysao, but am less fond of Russell, whom I felt was overly violent (especially to poor Jim). And there’s a telepathic subplot that’s pretty cool too.

So, end thoughts. I enjoyed this book. I haven’t read a ton of ’70s scifi (since it tends to be after the “classics” and before the modern era, whenever that technically starts) but it feels very ’70s in places. Societally, I guess, if I had to try and explain it better. I don’t know. I wasn’t actually alive in the ’70s so I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’d say it’s worth taking a gander at for the different takes on art and telepathy. I’d read other things by Elizabeth A. Lynn.

What do you think, squiders? Read A Different Light? Other things by Elizabeth A. Lynn? Thoughts on ’70s scifi in general?

(I Googled Elizabeth A. Lynn after writing this up, and have discovered she was one of the first SFF authors to include gay/lesbian characters in a positive light, and also that there’s a LGBT bookstore chain called A Different Light after this book, so that’s pretty neat.)