#109 ~ Immortal

October 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm | Posted in Books, Culture, Historical Fiction | 7 Comments
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Immortal by Traci L. Slatton

Immortal is a novel that sweeps through 150 years of Florentine history from Giotto to Leonardo da Vinci through the eyes of Luca Bastardo, whose first memories are of living in the street seemingly as an orphan.  What makes Luca different is that he does not perceptively age.  His long life did not start out pleasantly.  While living on the streets, he made a couple of friends.  His best friend ultimately sold him to a brothel owner who specialized in pedaling the flesh of young children.  The only way he survived over twenty years of sexual abuse was by traveling to the gorgeous churches around Florence and through his friendship with Gioto.  When Luca won his freedom from prostitution created a generations long family long vendetta against him.  The discovery of alchemy, his talent for medicine and the search for his true love are what give him purpose as he keeps one step ahead of the those who want to destroy him.

This is not an easy novel to read.  The scenes at the brothel and with Luca dealing with the plague were grueling.  For me, the hardest parts weren’t the most emotionally difficult, but were those dealing heavily with alchemy and with Leonardo da Vinci. Alchemy most definitely had its place in this novel.  Without it, Luca would never have foreseen and chose love over immortality.  Luca’s dream of creating gold, however, felt hollow to me.  I liked the way that played out, but that didn’t change my opinion that his interest in it was half-hearted.  I also found Leonardo a difficult character to enjoy.  He was much more than a precociuos child.  I found his questions much too pointed and advanced for his age, even if he was a genious.  Because of this, his character felt like a tool needed to move Luca along.

I finished this book over two weeks ago, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  It was a book that felt as long as its 528 pages.  The ending was amazing.  It was a tremendous payoff.  This wouldn’t have been dampened at all had the novel been pared down.  At the same time, I was left wanting more information about the time Luca spent exiled from Florence.  Despite my own ambivilence, this novel would be interesting to those who enjoy reading about Florence, art, and the Medici family.  Luca’s view of the city as it changed so drastically over his lifetime and certainly provides a unique view of the city.

The best part about reading this novel was discussing it with those of you who joined The Literate Housewive’s Book Club!  I enjoyed reading your posts and your reviews.  If you haven’t been back in a while, please post your review there so I can compile all of the reviews for the newsletter.  I’ve also posted a call for suggestions for the next book.  I’m really looking forward to doing this again.

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To buy this book, click here.

300th Post and August Recap

September 1, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, My Life with Books | 13 Comments
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I couldn’t believe it, but my WordPress stats indicate that my post yesterday about Maw Books’ Darfur fund raiser was my 299th post.  That makes my August Recap my 300th official post!!!  Whoo Hoo!  Thanks to each and every one of you who have read this blog.  It’s really been an anchor for me.

Non-Reading Reading-Related Activities

This month I created my first challenge: Expand Your Horizons.  No one has joined Mark and me, but I’m hopeful that there are others out there who might find it fun to share books with a friend.

My first guest post was published on Saturday at The Friendly Book Nook and I was really excited about that.  Thanks to everyone who responded with comments.  It really meant a lot to me.  A special thanks to The Friendly Book Nook for honoring me this way.

I’ve been hard at work organizing the relaunch of The Literate Housewives’ Book Club.  I’ve been sprucing up the blog site and adding the forum.  I’ve also been hard at work on the bookmarks for everyone.  Unfortunately I was not able to get to the post office at all this past week.  I met Emma when she got off of the bus all last week.  Without a lunch break, I just didn’t have time.  Rest assured that everyone will get their bookmarks this week.  The club will officially open on the 15th of September.  I’m hoping to get invitations to the forum sent out tomorrow.

Reading Activity for the Month

Now for the downer…  I read only 6 books in August.  Actually, it’s closer to 5.75 because I read half of Surviving Ben’s Suicide in July and I read the last 6th of The Seamstress today (since I read over 500 of the pages of this book in August, it’s counting in August).  Here’s how that all broke down:

Non-Fiction:

Surviving Ben’s Suicide by C. Comfort Shields
The Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell

Expand Your Horizons Challenge:

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Fiction:

Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin
No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
The Seamstress by Frances De Pontes Peebles (review coming soon)

I shouldn’t be too hard on myself because of the numbers.  It took me a week to read the 250 I finished of Melmoth the Wanderer and it took me another week to read The Seamstress and Pattern Recognition.

August Favorite

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