Self Indulgent Saturday

I had to put myself on a bit of a reading diet–I was spending WAY too much time reading, as a way to avoid everything that gives me anxiety. But I really LOVE reading, it’s always been my favorite pastime, and I’m not about self-deprivation these days. My compromise is that I can read for a while after dinner during the week, and I can spend all day Saturday reading if I want to. In short, Saturday is for self-indulgence, in whatever form I desire most. Usually that means sitting in bed with a book for most of the day.

Yesterday I finished a book I’d been reading in bits all week (Magic or Madnessby Justine Larbalestier), and then picked up Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich, which I grabbed on a whim at the library on Friday. (Oh public library, how I love you; for you save me from spending all my money on  mediocre books.)

So. Magic or Madness. First, the things that didn’t really work for me. None of the point of view characters really captured my interest. I didn’t dislike them . . . I just didn’t care about them particularly. To be fair, I’m a 35 year old, not a 15 year old, and am, therefore, not a member of Larbalestier’s target audience. Maybe teenagers would get these characters and really identify with them and really love the books.

Second, the author indulged in one of my biggest pet peeves; switching within the narrative from first person to third person. She had three different point of view characters; she wrote one of them in first person, and the other two in third person. For no reason that I could tell. If there is going to be voice switching in a book, there had better be a damn good reason.

Still, it has witches! Magic! A female protagonist who is smart, strong, biracial, and really good at math(s). A male protagonist who is not only magic, but also really in to fashion.  It’s well written. The dialogue didn’t make me cringe. The plot is interesting and original. So yeah, worth checking out, especially for the young adult readers.

This book is, apparently, the first in a series. I haven’t read any of the others yet.

Now. Dogs and Goddesses? I devoured it. It’s a Very Silly Book. Seriously goofy, not very emotionally charged, really unbelievable relationships . . . and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say I loved it, and I don’t know that I’d recommend it to anyone else. But I had so. much. fun. reading it.

I have to pause a moment here to tell you why I picked it up. It was in the New Books section at the library, and the cover said:

“Dangerous men, dark powers, dog biscuits. They have it all . . .”

How could I not read it? It’s chick lit, with goddesses. Not just any goddesses–goddesses of desire, sex, orgasm, fertility, and birth. Also talking dogs, aphrodisiac cookies, supernatural sex, a psychotic college aged death with an evil black chihuahua, and a Mesopotamian temple transplanted to a small town in Ohio. This novel was the ultimate mythic romance fluff. It had one of those ridiculous Disney endings with all the ends neatly tied up, the baddies on the receiving end of quirky poetic justice, and all the good ladies paired up with hunky, sensitive-but-strong men who are insanely good in bed. The kind of ending that one of my writing buddies totally hates, and that I like even though I probably should get some wine and crackers to go with the cheese. Like I said; a Very Silly Book, but I love Very Silly Books, if they make me feel cheerful when I’m done reading them.

The authors freely admit to making up the majority of the mythology in the book. They use the names of some well-known goddesses, but the deities directly involved in the story are all fake. I personally think this was a smart move on the part of the authors. I figure if you’re going to be invoking a destructive, jealous, powerful deity, it might be wise to make it a fake one. You don’t want to risk incurring the wrath of a vengeful deity–or an affronted mythologist.

Not one I would read over and over, but I’m glad I read it once. Thank you library, I love you!


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