What to Read #9
This is also a bit in the nature of a year in review post.
2013 has been a year, much like others. The biggest news I’ve got is that I have a new job! I’ll still be at the bookstore, but starting January 6 I will also be the new librarian at Creative Montessori here in Homewood. I’m so excited about it. I went out and joined the ALA the day I got hired. Some kids played house when they were little, I played library, so it works out pretty well for me.
In sad news, Stephanie Daniel, the audiobook narrator for the Phryne Fisher books has passed away. I’ve spent countless hours with her telling me those delightful stories. She will be missed.
According to Goodreads I have read 140 books this year. Not all of those were new to me, but I did complete my goal of 110, so yay for that! The last book I finished this year was Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton. I think I listened to it twice this year. It’s like comfort food for me.
The last new book I finished is also this week’s recommendation: A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent which was actually written by Marie Brennan.
The book is set in an alternate world, which is heavily based on Victorian Europe. Isabella, our heroine, starts off as a young girl with a burning interest in natural history, especially as it pertains to dragons. She risks censure and punishment from her parents in order to learn such unladylike subjects.
The bulk of the novel takes place after her marriage to a fellow scholar. Isabella, now Mrs. Camhurst, travels with her husband and a scientific expedition to the mountainous region of Vystrana (analogous to Hungary perhaps) in search of the local dragon breed. Once there, she discovers that dragons may not be the most dangerous thing she’ll have to face.
I listened to the audio version, but I also bought the hardcover. I tend to do that anyway, but this particular book comes with Isabella’s illustrations and those are not something that can be conveyed through a recording. The paperback version comes out fairly soon (February 4), as does the next volume, titled The Tropic of Serpents (March 4).
Isabella is not always likeable, but she is understandable. She is a woman, albeit a privileged one, in a restrictive time and she has an overarching passion she is not free to fully explore. Isabella’s need to understand dragons will lead her much further from home and convention than Vystrana. And I, for one, will be right there to read about her adventures.