Friday, March 26, 2010

I just finished True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass: Jimmy Martin by Tom Piazza.

This is a very short book, essentially a reprint of a magazine article from Oxford American with an introduction and some essays added at the end.

But for all it's brevity, it is a must have for Jimmy Martin fans.  Martin has a reputation as being a trouble maker, and this book has some great examples from a trip the author and Jimmy made to the Grand Ole Opry.  Jimmy starts out drunk, berates Ricky Skaggs, and nearly fights another musician.  At the same time, he exchanges warm greetings with many others.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I just finished Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb.

Dragon Keeper is set in the same world as her previous FarSeer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies.  It follows the events at the end of the last two trilogies but none of the main characters of those series are main characters here.  Instead, it follows a few new characters - a disgruntled wife of a trader who is also a dragon scholar, the captain of a barge, and a young girl who is an outcast.  All three get involved in helping some dragons move from where they were born to a more suitable location.

Hobb is still an excellent writer and in fact this book is better than her previous Soldier's Son trilogy.  A lot of it feels like setup for the journey up river that starts in the second half, and will continue in the second book in the series.  While her characters seem generic from a high level description, her writing makes them feel well rounded and unique, even while being familiar.

The only flaw I found in this book was that unlike her others, this one is not a self contained story.  It ends abruptly without resolving anything or making a complete story.  In contrast, the books in her other trilogies all stand alone as novels while working as parts of a larger story.