So, May has some promising releases, include one where I hopefully get to meet the author.
Queue the screaming, some of the most anticipated books of 2018 have just been released and I for one am super excited.
Circe by Madeline Miller
There needs to be no explanation if you’ve already read Miller’s Achilles.The Greek witch myth is something I am 100% behind, and it is by a woman who has extensive education on the topic of the Ancients. So yes. Give me. Release Date: April 10
I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis
Connie Willis is funny, insightful, and writes great SciFi romances. I’ll read anything she writes so this is one top of my list. Her time travel series are my favorite, but her stand alones are great as well. Release Date: April 30
This is a debut novel that I am looking forward to reading. It’s a novel about a young woman with ambition who is quickly introduced to the idea of love. It seems like she has to pick between the too and I will be interested to see how this plays out. Release Date: April 24
This book just sounds so freaking awesome. Alternative Civil War with Zombies that kids are trained to fight? Lord have mercy. Also, that cover art is beautiful and this book has gotten a lot of hype. Release Date: April 3
Summer is here and so are some of my eagerly awaited books! Below are a few of the books I have been watching (and waiting) for a while.
Dawn O’Porter is one of my favorite YA authors. Her characters and stories are real and not pithy like some other contemporary novels. O’Porter’s novels generally follow female protagonists and their friendship with other girls. A true coming of age story as seen from a young girl, some what of a rarity in any genre. The Goodreads summary:
COW n. /ka?/
A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.
The Cows is a powerful novel about three women. In all the noise of modern life, each needs to find their own voice.
It’s about friendship and being female.
It’s bold and brilliant.
It’s searingly perceptive.
It’s about never following the herd.
And everyone is going to be talking about it.
Buy from Amazon ($15.02), here.
Release Date: June 13, 2017
The author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian packs punch with this memoir about his relationship with his mother. The Goodreads summary:
When his mother passed away at the age of 78, Sherman Alexie responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is this stunning memoir. Featuring 78 poems, 78 essays and intimate family photographs, Alexie shares raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine–growing up dirt-poor on an Indian reservation, one of four children raised by alcoholic parents. Throughout, a portrait emerges of his mother as a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated woman. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me is a powerful account of a complicated relationship, an unflinching and unforgettable remembrance.
Buy from Amazon( 17.98), here.
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Roxane Gay is quickly becoming one of our most crucial voices. Her witty, raw writings in Bad Feminist is what first introduced me to Gay, and I have been a fan ever since. As someone who has never been the ‘normal’ body size (re I’ve always been a healthy weight or a little more), I look forward to reading this one.
In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.
With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.
Buy from Amazon($15.46) , here.
What books are you looking forward to this summer? Let me know in the comments below! Or better yet, have you read any of the above? What did you think?
So March is going to be a busy month reading wise. I’ve made quite a list for myself. Here’s what I’ve got in store:
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey: I’ll be listening to this as an audiobook. It’s a modern classic, so hopefully it’ll better than On the Road.
The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth: This is a Netgalley ARC. It’s a Penguin Classic, so it should be good.
Denton Little’s Deathdate, Lance Rubin: This is also an ARC, but from what I’ve read, it seems to be good.
The Last Flight of Poxl West, Daniel Torday: Again, an ARC about WWII, London, and other stuff I read too much.
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr: I’m listening to this one and it’s an interesting story, but it loops around so much that I don’t always know what’s going on. It’s about WWII, Europe, and radios.
Making History, Stephen Fry: It’s Stephen Fry. There’s time travel. It’s about WWII. England appears a lot in here…so basically you see why I’m reading it.
I’ve got other books on the back burner, so I’d better get to it.
I’m still working my way through my Netgalley ARCs. I’ve got seven books left to review, and the ones below are set to archive soon. So, for March, I’ll be reading:
Denton Little’s Deathdate, Lance Rubin
Pub. Date: April 14th 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
“Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that’s tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. Though he’s not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.
Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.”(Goodreads)
*I’ve read about 65% of this one and I am really enjoying it.
The Last Flight of Poxl West, Daniel Torday
Pub. Date: March 17th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
“All his life, Elijah Goldstein has idolized his charismatic Uncle Poxl. Intensely magnetic, cultured and brilliant, Poxl takes Elijah under his wing, introducing him to opera and art and literature. But when Poxl publishes a memoir of how he was forced to leave his home north of Prague at the start of WWII and then avenged the deaths of his parents by flying RAF bombers over Germany during the war, killing thousands of German citizens, Elijah watches as the carefully constructed world his uncle has created begins to unravel. As Elijah discovers the darker truth of Poxl’s past, he comes to understand that the fearless war hero he always revered is in fact a broken and devastated man who suffered unimaginable losses from which he has never recovered.
The Last Flight of Poxl West beautifully weaves together what it means to be a family in the shadow of war— to love, to lose, and to heal.”(Goodreads)
The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth
Pub. Date:February 24th 2015
Publisher: Penguin Classics
“A rare discovery in the world of fairy tales – now for the first time in English. With this volume, the holy trinity of fairy tales – the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen – becomes a quartet. In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth’s work was lost – until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manuscripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive. Now, for the first time, Schönwerth’s lost fairy tales are available in English. Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre. ‘Schönwerth’s tales have a compositional fierceness and energy rarely seen in stories gathered by the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault’ -The New Yorker ‘Schönwerth’s legacy counts as the most significant collection in the German-speaking world in the nineteenth century’ – Daniel Drascek, University of Regensburg Franz Xanver von Schönwerth (1810-1886) was born in Bavaria and had a successful career in law and the Bavarian royal court before devoting himself to researching the customs of his homeland and preserving its fairy tales and folklore. Maria Tatar chairs the program in folklore and mythology at Harvard, and has edited and translated many collections of fairy tales. Eeika Eichenseer is a historian and preservationist working for the Bavarian government and the director of the Franz Xaver von Schönwerth Society”(Goodreads)
Reviews to come!
It’s a glorious thing to be a reader and book lover. One can never read enough to fill one’s need for adventure, knowledge, love. There’s a whole community of book lovers that write books and here are some books about books that I’ve marked to-read.
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester: Hidden within the rituals of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating mystery. Professor James Murray was the distinguished editor of the OED project. Dr. William Chester Minor, an American surgeon who had served in the Civil War, was one of the most prolific contributors to the dictionary, sending thousands of neat, hand-written quotations from his home. After numerous refusals from Minor to visit his home in Oxford, Murray set out to find him. It was then that Murray would finally learn the truth about Minor – that, in addition to being a masterly wordsmith, he was also an insane murderer locked up in Broadmoor, England’s harshest asylum for criminal lunatics. The Professor and the Madman is the unforgettable story of the madness and genius that contributed to one of the greatest literary achievements in the history of English letters.
Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg: Hilariously imagined text conversations—the passive aggressive, the clever, and the strange—from classic and modern literary figures, from Scarlett O’Hara to Jessica Wakefield.
Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.
How to be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis: While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she’s been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.
With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.
The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell: Every bookshop has a story.
We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.
Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.
And that’s just the beginning.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole).
The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.
The Library Book by Alan Bennett and others: From Alan Bennett’s ‘Baffled at a Bookcase’, to Lucy Mangan’s ‘Ten Library Rules’, here famous writers tell us all about how libraries are used and why they’re important.
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman: Anne Fadiman is–by her own admission–the sort of person who learned about sex from her father’s copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate’s 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment that she had not read at least twice.
This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father’s 22-volume set of Trollope (“My Ancestral Castles”) and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections (“Marrying Libraries”), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony–Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.
A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes: When it was first published, A Gentle Madness astounded and delighted readers with stories about the lengths of passion, expense, and more that collectors will go in pursuit of the book. Written before the emergence of the Internet but newly updated for the twenty-first century reader, A Gentle Madness captures that last moment in time when collectors frequented dusty bookshops, street stalls, and high-stakes auctions, conducting themselves with the subterfuge befitting a true bibliomaniac. A Gentle Madness is vividly anecdotal and thoroughly researched. Nicholas A. Basbanes brings an investigative reporter’s heart and instincts to the task of chronicling collectors past and present in pursuit of bibliomania. Now a classic of collecting, A Gentle Madness is a book lover’s delight.
If you’ve read any of the above books, let me know what you thought!
In January, I set out to plan my reading, and it didn’t go so well. I’m going to try harder in February. So, for February, I’m going to read:
The Ghost Road by Pat Barker: I’ve been watching 14 on Netflix, a documentary about WWI and it’s gotten me back in the mood to read war fiction. The other two books in this series were spectacular, so I’m looking forward to finishing the series.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons: I’m currently reading this one, and it’s hilarious.
Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee: This is a Netgalley ARC I received. Reading the reviews on Goodreads, I don’t know. It sounds a little cheesy, but I’ll give it a try.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I’ve been waiting for this one to become available on my library’s ebook site for a while now. I’m next on the hold list, so fingers crossed I get it this month. Tumblr says it’s amazing. Tumblr is where I heard about Fangirl (I love that book), so I place a lot of value on Tumblr’s recommendation.
Looking forward to reading these and others this month! For more information about any of the above books, click on the picture.
So I may have mentioned this, but I LOVE Victorian England. In fact, if I ever go to grad school, it would be to study Modern Literature and History 1850-Present(or something similar). I’ve been shifting through my to-read list, and I found these gems and thought I would share them.
The Victorians by A.N. Wilson: A.N. Wilson singles out those writers, statesmen, scientists, philosophers and soldiers whose lives illuminated an age on the cusp of modernity. He illuminates, through these signature lives, how Victorian England started a revolution that still hasn’t ended.
Victorian London: The Life of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard: Like her previous books, this book is the product of the author’s passionate interest in the realities of everyday life – and the conditions in which most people lived – so often left out of history books.
This period of mid-Victorian London covers a huge span: Victoria’s wedding and the place of the royals in popular esteem; how the very poor lived, the underworld, prostitution, crime, prisons and transportation; the public utilities – Bazalgette on sewers and road design, Chadwick on pollution and sanitation; private charities – Peabody, Burdett Coutts – and workhouses; new terraced housing and transport, trains, omnibuses and the Underground; furniture and decor; families and the position of women; the prosperous middle classes and their new shops, e.g. Peter Jones, Harrods; entertaining and servants, food and drink; unlimited liability and bankruptcy; the rich, the marriage market, taxes and anti-semitism; the Empire, recruitment and press-gangs.
The period begins with the closing of the Fleet and Marshalsea prisons and ends with the first (steam-operated) Underground trains and the first Gilbert & Sullivan
Bluestockings by Jane Robinson: Robinson presents the eye-opening and inspiring story of the first young women who overcame all the odds to get their education and attend university. Using the words of the women themselves, ‘Bluestockings’ charts the fight for and expansion of higher education for women from 1869 through to the 1930s.
A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes: Molly Hughes vividly evokes the small, everyday pleasures of a close family life in Victorian London: joyful Christmases, blissful holidays in Cornwall, escapades with her brothers, schooldays under the redoubtful Miss Buss. The urban counterpart to Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford, there is the same easy intimacy with the reader, the same intensity of recollection. Her college life at Cambridge and her first teaching jobs provide a fascinating glimpse into another world, full of everyday period detail, vividly and humorously told.
I haven’t read any of these yet, and I think some of them may be fairly hard to find, but I’m really looking forward to reading them some time soon. If anyone’s read any of the above books, any opinions would be most welcome!
Okay, so I went a little crazy and requested a whole bunch of galleys/ARCs on Netgalley (I only did it ’cause I didn’t think I’d get them all). I was luckily granted access to seven titles.
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dalton
Random House Children’/Delacorte
Pub DateFeb 10 2015
“Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.
Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.” -via Goodreads
K-9 (Knightly and Son series) by Rohan Gavin
Bloomsbury USA Children
Pub Date Feb 17 2015
“Darkus Knightley, tweed-wearing, mega-brained, thoroughly logical 13-year-old investigator of the weird, was just getting used to having his dad back in his life. Then Alan Knightley went off-radar, again, leaving Darkus with a traumatised ex-bomb-disposal dog as his only partner in crime-solving. Now things are getting even stranger. Family pets are being savaged by a beast at a top London beauty spot. Policemen have been tracked and attacked by a particularly aggressive canine. And two curiously alert hounds seem to be watching Darkus’s house. No one is using the word werewolf – yet – but as the full moon approaches, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out that someone or something sinister is messing with the minds of London’s dog population. A mysterious canine conspiracy is howling for the attention of Knightley & Son . . .Criminally good detective adventure, perfect for fans of Sherlock and sharp-minded sleuths of all shapes and sizes . . .” -via Goodreads
I’m about three or four chapters into Seeker and it’s okay. I’m confused about some of the history but hopefully that’ll get cleared up.
I’ve wanted to read Knightly and Son for a while now, so I’ll need to get on it if I’m to understand what’s going on in K-9.
The other titles I received access to, but will be reading later on, include:
All the titles above are clickable links to each title’s GR page. Go check them out!
I’m not going to give this one a star rating, because I only got to read a preview, but from what I read, I really enjoyed it.
I met Victoria Schwab back in 2011 at the Auburn Writers Conference, where I interned in college. I got to introduce her to the audience at one of the Writer Talks (It still makes me nervous thinking about that) and she was very sweet and intelligent (she is only a few years older than me, but man has she got her sh*t together better than me). The Near Witch had just come out and I got it signed by her. I’ve followed her work since then, and am really excited for A Darker Shade of Magic to come into the world (Pub. date 2-24-15)
From the first sentence, I was entranced. It deals with all my favorite things: London, magic, royal families, and trench coats. I cannot wait to read the full book in February.
Check it the summary from Goodreads:
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
Definitely put it on your radar!