Reading wrap-up - August 2021

After my now-traditional re-read of a novel by Robin Hobb, Royal Assassin in August (you can find my Instagram posts with the hashtag #OneHobbAMonth), I started a month of diverse reading since as usual from France, the UK and the USA, but also Chile and Russia. I ended up with a potential new favourite, lovely discoveries, a disappointment and a not-so-puzzling experience...

Royal Assassin, by Robin Hobb · 1996

"Here we are, and here is always the place we must start from."

Each time I read this book, and it's been 4 or 5 times, I wonder why I make myself go through all that pain again. Robin Hobb isn't gentle with her characters. She pushes them to their limits, and then beyond, while keeping a firm grip on her story. Because she's also a master storyteller, and a queen of character writing. I go back to her books because there are no others I can immerse myself as much into. I know Fitz, and I know the Fool, by some deeper knowledge than just words. I live for the conversations they have in this particular volume. Yes, there's one the characters I hate the most in all literature, but there's also fabulous friendships between people of all genders. It's a truth universally acknowledged that found family is my favourite trope, and I have an inkling that I first experienced its thrill with this series. 

TW: child death, suicide, ptsd, torture, violence.

(Pic from volume 1 to limit spoilers.)

the book is open to show the illustration of a woman in a grey dress, next to a few branches of dried white flowers.

Tilly and the Bookwanderers, Pages & Co. Vol. 1, by Anna James · 2018

Tilly is a bright girl of 11 living with her grand-parents, the owners of Pages & Co, the family bookshop. Tilly is used to spending her time reading, less so of meeting her favourite characters in the flesh. But Tilly is a bookwanderer - she can travel inside books and invite characters into her world. Can a book hold the answer to her mother's disappearance?

I read this sweet, sweet book as research for a creative project and it was really lovely. A heart-warming story for middle-grade children celebrating the love of books in all their forms - there's a second character with dyslexia who prefers books in audio format and I thought that was a welcome detail.

a white hand holds a copy of the book in front of a bookcase.

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card · 1990

This writing textbook is a mixture of very vague ideas and very specific advice on writing speculative fiction. I haven't read anything by this author, I just knew he was famous, but upon finishing this book I did some research and will not be reading anything by him considering his views. Don't fear to be missing out : the most helpful pieces of advice from the book can be found elsewhere. For instance, I was introduced to the MICE quotient by Ma