Wisp of a Thing, by Alex Bledsoe.
Alex Bledsoe is one of my favorite relatively new authors. His books are well written, smart, easy reads and just a ton of fun. I've especially like his Eddie LaCrosse novels. Swords & Sorcery noir. I recently found his first Tufa novel, The Hum and the Shiver. A cool take on urban fantasy, only not so much urban as back woods redneck. He is an author that when I see a book of his at the library that I have not yet read, I will always check it out.
So when I heard Alex Bledsoe would be at the Brown County library, I had to go. I bought the second Tufa novel, Wisp of a Thing and he signed it for me. Mr. Bledsoe was a really nice guy. It was cool to meet him.
He assures me the Tufa novels can be read in any order (like the Eddie LaCrosse novels). After reading Wisp of a Thing, I'm glad I read The Hum and the Shiver first, just because the tension in Hum & Shiver is built around a mystery of who the Tufa are. Some of that mystery might have been lost had I read Wisp first.
But I definitely recommend reading Wisp of a Thing. After a personal tragedy, a young man named Rob Quillen is led by a vision of sorts to Cloud County Tennessee. There he is swept up into a tragedy precipitated by Rockhouse Hicks, leader of one Tufa clan, upon a poor wisp of a thing. The story is replete with interesting insights into right and wrong and the nature of fate. And it's also just a really neat story with rich characters and exciting conflicts that you don't have to think too deeply about to enjoy.
Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett.
It's been a while since I've read a Terry Pratchett novel. But I found one at the library the other day that I hadn't read yet so I grabbed it. It reminded me again why I absolutely adore Terry Pratchett so much. Easy read, thought provoking, well written and incredibly funny.
I have to admit, though, this one is not so overtly hilarious as some of his other books. It actually tackles a somber topic. Death. Death is a somewhat recurrant theme in several of his books. DEATH being a recurring character, there are plenty of opportunities to see death through a variety of perspectives. This book differs in that it is actually about the subject.
The Fates (or somebody) decides that DEATH has done a great job, but it's time for him to retire. They gift him his own gold retirement pocket hourglass and let him go. So DEATH learns what it means to have time, spend time, waste time, borrow time and ultimately gains a deeper appreciation for what it means when your time is up.
Meanwhile, while the new DEATH anthropomorphizes (or whatever) there is an awful lot of life force hanging around not dying. It all gets channelled into something preying on the city of Ankh-Morpork, which finds itself quickly running out of time.
Or maybe the book is not so much about death as it is about how the spectre of death helps us (or should help) to appreciate our time in life while we have it. There are some really touching moments in the book, made all the more poignant given Terry Pratchett's own death just over a year ago.
So there it is. I've had a lucky streak picking books to read.
4 weeks ago