Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

The Week in Review (4)

This weekly series is inspired by the In My Mailbox series over at The Story Siren (see link in right sidebar) and chronicles the books I purchased, got from the library or received in the mail throughout the week. These books will more than likely be reviewed eventually, so be sure to check back later!

Paperback Swap

This one is so massive the poor sender had to put it in a box. I just hope it is as good as those who have reccomended say it is (I’ve seen on various sites that people either seem to love it or hate it, so I hope I’m among those who love it).

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napolean, and it is hundreds of years since practical magic faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history suddenly discover that one practicing magician still remains: the reclusive Mr. Norrell of Hurtfew Abby. Challenged to demonstrate his powers, Norrell causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and sing, and sends a thrill to the country. The magician proceeds to London, trailed byexcited rumors, where he raises a beautiful young woman from the dead and finally enters the war, summoning an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French.

Yet Norrell is soon challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome, and daring, Strange is the very opposite of the cautious, fussy Norrell. Still, Norrell agrees to take Strange as a pupil, and the young magician joins England’s cause, enduring the rigors of Wellington’s campaign in Portugal to lend the army his supernatural skill on the battlefield.

But as Strange’s powers grow, so do his ambitions. He becomes obsessed with the founder of English magic, a shadowy twelfth century figure known as the Raven King. In his increasingly reckless pursuit of the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, Strange risks sacrificing not only his partnership with Norrell, but everything else that he holds dear.



I bought Thursday Next: First Among Sequels for a dollar while doing some after Christmas shopping. I haven’t yet read the books after The Eyre Affair, but I just couldn’t pass up such a bargain. Yay for some Jasper Fforde in my library.

Fourteen years after she pegged out at the 1988 SuperHoop (in Something Rotten), Thursday Next is grappeling with a host of new problems in the Book World: a recalcitrant new apprentice, the death of Sherlock Holmes and the inexplicable departure of comedy from the once-hilarious Thomas Hardy novels. The Council of Genres is trying to broker a peace deal between certain antagonistic genres: Racy Novel has been recklessly placed between Ecclesiastical and Feminist, and they are all at each other’s throats.

Back in Swindon, the government is reporting a dangerously high stupidity surplus, the Stiltonista Cheese Mafia is causing trouble for Thursday and the literary detective scene isn’t what it used to be. And Thursday shoulders the business for the Acme carpet business, which is both a front for SpecOps and a real business for the underemployed force.

At home, Thursday’s idle sixteen year old son would rather sleep all day than follow his destiny as a member of the ChronoGuard, the force that regulates time travel, and save the world from imminent destruction. And when things get really bad – reality book shows look set to transplant reality TV shows, and Goliath invents a transfictional tourist bus – Thursday must once again have her wits about her as she travels to the very limits of acceptable narrative possibilities to rescue the reading experience from almost certain destruction. She captains the ship Moral Dilemma, fends off vicious Mrs. Danvers clones, dispenses with a so-so Thursday Next novel called The Samuel Pepys Fiasco and faces down her most vicious enemy yet: herself.

The famous literary detective once again makes the world safe for fiction in Jasper Fforde’s gloriously outlandish and clever new installment of the celebrated series.

It’s been how many years since the latest Artemis Fowl installment, The Time Paradox, came out and I am just now getting around to reading it. I was really too cheap to buy the hardcover and my library, of course, does not carry this series beyond maybe the third book, so that wasn’t an option. I did manage to snag it for 40% off at my Walden’s going-out-of-business sale, so I’d say it was worth waiting this long.

When Artemis Fowl’s mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the Silky Sifaka Lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct, thanks to the money-hungry deeds of a younger Artemis.

Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short.

The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all . . . and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.


I also managed to snag a couple two dollar Piccadilly notebooks which will hopefully work well with the new Lamy Safari fountain pen I bought with the remainder of my Christmas money. I’ve never used a fountain pen before, but I’m excited stupid at all the different possiblities of ink colors that can be used with them. You can even mix them together to make a whole rainbow of colors. How cool is that?

What literary loot did you all receive this week?


15 comments on “The Week in Review (4)

  1. Kathy Martin
    January 3, 2010

    Nice selection of books. I’m behind on the Artemis Foul series though I have them in my Media Center. Whenever I want it I find that it is checked out. You’d think the librarian would have some pull! Happy reading and writing with your cool new pen!

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      You’d think there would be some literary benefit to being the librarian – I’d be so tempted to hold back a book or two that I’d been really wanting to read . . .

      It is a popular series among the younger crowd, so you’d hate to keep a book from them that they really want. What age group do you serve in your media center?

  2. Laura of The Bookie Bunch
    January 3, 2010

    Great books! I really want to read the Artemis Foul series, I heard they’re really good. I’ll have to find them at the library.

    Here’s what I got this week:

    Have a great start of the year!

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      It is a good series – a lot of humor, fast paced, fun characters. I definitely recommend checking it out.

  3. Ah Yuan//wingstodust
    January 3, 2010

    Heee I just borrowed Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, hope it’s good.

    Have fun reading~

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      I hope for both our sakes that it’s good. Happy reading to you as well!

  4. Booklover Book Reviews
    January 3, 2010

    Thursday Next: First Among Sequels sounds excellent. I haven’t read any Jasper Fforde but I might put this on my wishlist!

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      I’m hoping it will be as good as it sounds. I think if you enjoy British humor (or Welsh, if you want to get technical), then you’ll like these books.

  5. Booksploring
    January 3, 2010

    Great bargain πŸ˜‰ I’ve been meaning to read the Thursday Next books for awhile now…

    I’ve got The Big Over Easy from the Nursery Crimes series sitting on my shelf…but am yet to read it πŸ™‚

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      I love a good bargain, so I just had to share! The one Thursday Next book I have read was good, though it took a while for me to get into it.

      I hope you enjoy the Nursery Crimes book — I think they actually have one or two of them at my library, so I might have to read them as well.

  6. PolishOutlander
    January 3, 2010

    The Mr. Norrell book has been on my TBR pile for the longest time. And you’re right, it is huge! πŸ™‚ Happy reading.

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      Yes – I think it’s the biggest book I own at the moment. I figure if it doesn’t work out as reading material, then I can at least use it as a door stop. πŸ˜‰

      • PolishOutlander
        January 3, 2010

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one who knows of Loreena McKennitt. I love her music! It was actually while watching the Mists of Avalon that I discovered her music. Lovely lovely!

  7. OfficeSupplyGeek
    January 3, 2010

    Congratulations on the new notebooks and fountain pen. The Lamy Safari is a great pen, I’m sure you will love it. A great place to find info on the different inks is at, and I’ve also done a few ink reviews at my own site here:

    • Jenn
      January 3, 2010

      Your review on the Safari was actually the main reason why I went with that pen. I had seen positive reviews on Amazon, but like a good little (future) librarian, I wanted to do some more research and stumbled upon your site. Thanks for doing those pen (and ink) reviews – they certainly came in handy.

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