I'm having a fabulous streak right now with the books I'm reading. It's been a long time since I've had this much trouble deciding which book to pick up when I have a minute to read, but what an embarrassment of riches!
Fool, by Christopher Moore. I will admit to never having read King Lear. I guess for a lot of people this wouldn't be something to be ashamed of, but I did take a Shakespeare class in college, and I was assigned to read it, and didn't. Knowing me, I probably read the first scene, but never got any further. So while I know the story pretty well--crazy old king asks his daughters to earn their inheritance with flattery, Cordelia refuses, madness and death ensues--I'm a little foggy on the details. I read A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley, which is based around the Lear story, but it ends very differently. I should watch Kurosawa's Ran sometime, too, and I could become the world's foremost expert on Lear who's never read nor seen Lear.
Am I babbling? Anyway, Fool is a novelization of the events of Lear as told by his fool, Pocket, who (if I recall rightly from class discussion) is a major character in the play. It's bawdy and funny and authentic and modern and really ripping good stuff, and I'm having a blast with it. I would not have expected it to be my wavelength, but it totally is.
A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett, is the second Tiffany Aching book, the sequel to The Wee Free Men. I would say it's not quite as good as the first one, but by that I mean I LOVED the first one, and merely love this one, so I don't think it's much of an indictment. It's definitely a step scarier than the other, and there's a little less time spent with the Nac Mac Feegle themselves, but I've never been let down by Terry Pratchett yet. It's so nice to have a go-to author who can be relied upon for humor AND story.
The Safe-Keeper's Secret, by Sharon Shinn, was something I picked up after getting a recommendation for another book by the same author, set in the same world, called The Truth-Teller's Tale. Since I began writing this entry, I've neared the end of this book, and I'm worried about the direction it's headed in. But since I'm not sure what's going on exactly, and I don't want to spoil it, I won't say anything except that I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the story of a woman who is a Safe-Keeper, someone to whom you can tell your secrets and know they'll never be told out of turn, and her children--one by birth, one adopted, and the mysteries of their parentage. It's a domestic story, about growing up and growing old how people live together, and it's just so interesting and lovely and well-written, and I can't wait to read the rest.
So, high marks all three. I'll let you know if The Safe-Keeper's Secret goes totally off the rails, but I probably won't tell you why. Anyone who's read it, though, is welcome to let me know what they think.