Put aside for now: The Element of Fire by Martha Wells (of Murderbot fame, which I’m not sure I want to read). It’s interesting to read fantasy with such a Baroque (as in “the eighteenth century”, not “extravagant and bizarre”, though it’s got a bit of the latter too) flavour. It’s a slow and fussy book, and I don’t know if I’ll want to read the other Ile-Rien books after it (or even if I want to finish it).
At Amberleaf Fair by Phyllis Ann Karr. Just started so I can’t say much yet but it starts interestingly enough and I have it on good authority that it’s very gentle and low-conflict. At 5%: (a) fairly hard to read because of the medias-resness of the setting, as if we’re supposed to know all the social background; and (b) from reviews I gather that it’s actually postapocalyptic, set in the far future of our own world. If either (a) or (b) turns out to annoy me I may just stop trying.
DNF: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I joined a slap-up IRC book club that’s reading it for February. I tried! And tried! I thought it only needed perseverance but it became more and more of a chore. Is this what reading is like for people who feel that reading is virtuous so they should do it, but don’t really like it?
Next up: I might pick up some more of the new things I bought on recommendation, unless there’s something I badly want to reread. And I have a free download of an Augustine Lang book; she writes beautifully but I do wish those characters were in a novel by her other self, E.M. Epps.
February 24: 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie. I thought we had it on paper but couldn’t find it, but it seems to have come into the public domain so it was easily downloadable. There’s also a Joan Hickson film of it; I’ll see if it’s in the Joan Hickson Miss Marple collection we’ve got. I wish Agatha Christie had written a whole series about Lucy Eyelesbarrow! She’s better than Miss Marple.
February 22: The Lacquer Screen by Robert van Gulik. I started The Willow Pattern first but it’s set in an epidemic and that wasn’t what I wanted. It scratched my Judge Dee itch (no idea why I had it) but it’s not one of the most memorable.