45 - Watership Down by Richard Adams
Watership Down comes highly recommended, and won a fair number of prizes on the last 40 years. A story where the main (well, almost all) characters are bunnies. Actual rabbits hopping about the English countryside.
Despite the fact that it is clearly stated that these are rabbits (with one in the cover), not a human version with bunny ears, I kept having trouble picturing them as animals (I kept seeing them as Hobbits, go figure! - except for General Woundwort, that I imagined as a tiny Napoleon).
The rabbits were likeable and funny, and a bit stupid most of the time (seriously, did it take them that long to realise they were all males!?), but they were still able to come up with some inventive plans.
What I liked the most on this book were the stories of El-ahrairah, the ultimate trickster, of how he always managed to (cunningly) get his way.
It was an enjoyable book, but not as much as all the recommendations lead me to believe it would be.
46 - The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I've sat around pretending to be writing this review for a long time, when all I really want to say is: “This book is awesome! Go read it!” - There it is, I've said it.
47 - Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Set in a Japan-but-not-Japan land, i.e., a heavily Japanese inspired land, full with its most traditional costumes, and samurais and ninjas, but not bound by the need to be totally accurate, because it's fantasy. But even the term fantasy is used very loosely here. There are hints of some things that may be magical. A term that I rarely use, but which I like, and fits this book is Speculative Fiction – a what if? kind of book.
This is the first book in the series, but can easily be read as a standalone. I will read the next ones because I loved this one.
48 - The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Beginning Place in a coming-of-age story, but different from usual. Although the two main characters, Hugh and Irena, are young, they are not in the usual age group for these stories, they are not teenagers, they are past the age when people become adults. Yet they are not fully there.
They both find the Beginning Place while running away, and so, it becomes their safe haven, their hiding place. But they don't find it together, first it is Irena, who has time to get to know Tembreabrezi and their language. But when she discovers Hugh in “her place”, trespassing, tainting what she thought was pure, she can only hate him.
The Beginning Place is a fantastical place, where time goes in a much different fashion than the outside world. They can spend a day there and only a few hours would have gone by outside. They can have adventures there. It's a bit like Narnia, but more barren, eerier, darker.
I can describe this book as being quiet and subdued, but deep and memorable. I enjoyed it a lot, slowly seeing the characters grow, become adults and free themselves from what was holding them back.
49 - Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
Touched by an Alien is the story of Katherine “Kitty” Katt, who goes from being a marketing manager in Pueblo Caliente to helping an Alien Agency protect the Earth from nasty things from Space. The thing is, all the aliens in this agency are drop dead gorgeous (the author turned a major flaw in romance fiction into a feature!), and the hunk (Armani-clad!) that first appears to help her is ready to make his moves on her.
If you're a big romance fan, and don't care much about getting the science right, this book is probably for you. If you, like me, like your science fiction to be more about science, you can still enjoy this book as light reading, for the romance and the chuckles.