Thursday, September 27, 2012

Irrepressible Library

I am really ready to start bashing my head against hard objects, except that would slow me down even more from reading ALL THE THINGS. I really don't know what to do with myself. I don't get through as many books as I'd like to, even though I am always reading. I give up on a lot of books, plus I'm just a slow reader, plus I get distracted easily.

I really don't know how I have time to breathe right now. I work full-time, I have my EMT course which takes up all night Tuesdays and Thursdays and has a freaking large textbook to read the other days, plus I'm trying to really crack down on my writing (I'm not going to let it get pushed to the side because of my class!), which leaves me just the train ride for reading. =/ Not to bemoan my situation, but that's never enough! \end{rant}

MY BRAIN IS BREAKING.

Currently reading:

A Matter of Blood - Sarah Pinborough (The Forgotten Gods #1)
I started reading this a while ago and got 70% of the way through, then put it down for god knows why. I'm reading it from the beginning again, and this time I can really notice how clean and crisp the prose is and how brutally plotted it is. Every scene is doing 3-4 things. That's a champ writer, people. This isn't available in the US yet (I think it's coming here Fall 2013?) but you can order it (and should, because it's awesome) from Book Depository.

The recession has left the world exhausted. Crime is rising; financial institutions across the world have collapsed, and most governments are now in debt to The Bank, a company created by the world's wealthiest men. But Detective Inspector Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he's haunted by the deeds of his past, and he's got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve - not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies. Then Cass Jones' personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide—leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it's time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself—only to discover that all three cases are linked... As Jones is forced to examine his own family history, three questions keep reappearing: What disturbed his brother so badly in his final few weeks? Who are the shadowy people behind The Bank? And, most importantly, what do they want with DI Cass Jones? (Book Depository)


A surprising amount of Mainstream Fiction:

The Timekeeper - Mitch Albom
I admit, I've never read Mitch Albom before. My best friend loves him, and even Phil has read The Five People You Meet in Heaven (I loved the movie). His new one looks awesome and might be purchased, despite my kibash on hardcovers, and the fact that I bought a hardcover last week and it only turned out ok and I hate myself a little for buying it (Every Day).

From the author who's inspired millions worldwide with books like Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most imaginative novel yet, The Time Keeper—a compelling fable about the first man on earth to count the hours.
        The man who became Father Time.
        In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.
        He returns to our world—now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began—and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.
        Told in Albom's signature spare, evocative prose, this remarkably original tale will inspire readers everywhere to reconsider their own notions of time, how they spend it and how precious it truly is.
(BN)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce
Several people, including Phil's Ma and several coworkers, have come to me and said OMGYOUHAVETOREADTHISBOOK. I admit, it sounds really good. I hope I don't ugly-cry at the end, because I don't know if I can handle that kind of emotional turmoil right now. There's a copy available at the library I plan to snag.

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
        Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.
        Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him—allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.
        And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.
        A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.
(BN)

The Casual Vacancy - J. K. Rowling
I was a bit worried about this at first, not that it would be bad, but that I just wouldn't enjoy it. It's been getting great reviews so far, so I'm excited to read it. Not sure when I'll get to it, but I'll most likely buy it on my nook.
The Sex and Unicorns Interview
Lev Grossman's Review
Haha

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.
        Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
        Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
        And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
        Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.
(BN)

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
I know! I KNOW. I can't believe I haven't read this book yet. Once again, I read a few chapters and then gave it to my best friend to read because it was so amazing and she had to read it RIGHT THEN. Of course, then I didn't have it to read myself. (I don't know why I thought that made sense at the time.) She has since informed me that it is one of her favorite books and I need to get my ass moving on it, and here's my copy back.

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
        Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
(BN)


And last but not least, the Fantastic Fantasy:

Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War #1)
I am SO EXCITED for this book. I had my name on the waitlist at the library as soon as it was in the system, and I don't have it yet! *sad* I'm supposedly at the top, so hopefully soon! I can't wait!

The first in an epic new fantasy series, introducing an unforgettable new heroine and a stunningly original dystopian steampunk world with a flavor of feudal Japan.
        A DYING LAND
        The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
        AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
        The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
        A HIDDEN GIFT
        Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
        But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.
(BN)

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking Trilogy #1)
This is another book that's been on my list for a while. I keep reading five pages, putting it down for three weeks, reading five more pages, putting it down for three weeks... that's no way to read a book. By all accounts this book is amazing and the rest of the trilogy gets even more amazing, so it needs to happen.

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. (BN)

Swan Song - Robert McCammon
Not much to say about this one, except that it sounds amazing. I discovered it on EBR, and they have good taste (damn elitists).

In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, earth’s last survivors have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil, that will decide the fate of humanity: Sister, who discovers a strange and transformative glass artifact in the destroyed Manhattan streets. Joshua Hutchins, the pro wrestler who takes refuge from the nuclear fallout at a Nebraska gas station. And Swan, a young girl possessing special powers, who travels alongside Josh to a Missouri town where healing and recovery can begin with Swan’s gifts. But the ancient force behind earth’s devastation is scouring the walking wounded for recruits for its relentless army, beginning with Swan herself. (BN)

Brood of Bones - A. E. Marling
This has been on my TBR pile for a while. I am... strangely intrigued and simultaneously grossed out by the premise. I've been waiting to buy it until I'm ready to read it, and lo! It's free for Kindle today! I feel guilty downloading it for free when I was planning to purchase it anyway, but if I like it I will probably buy a copy for my Nook to read it properly instead of on my phone with the Kindle app.

Cursed with endless drowsiness, Enchantress Hiresha sleeps more than she lives. Since she never has had a chance to raise a family, she sometimes feels like every woman is pregnant except for her. This time, she is right.
        From virgin to grandmother, all the women in her city have conceived.
        A lurking sorcerer drains power from the unnatural pregnancies, and Hiresha must track him by his magic. Unfortunately, her cultured education in enchantment ill equips her to understand his spellcraft, which is decidedly less than proper. The only person uncivilized enough to help is the Lord of the Feast, a dangerous yet charming  illusionist. Associating with him may imperil Hiresha's city, yet refusing his help will allow the sorcerer to leech godlike power from the mass births.
(Amazon)

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey (Expanse Series #1)
Another high on the list! I haven't fallen in love with a space opera since the Revelation Space trilogy by Alastair Reynolds, so I'm excited to fall in love with this one. It's been getting great reviews (and the second is out already, so I need to get my ass in gear).

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.
        Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, The Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
        Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
        Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
(BN)

Gojiro - Mark Jacobson
I thought I would include this one since I'm kindof also reading it. A coworker gave it to me because he loved, loved, loved it, so I'm giving it a go. I'm about fifteen pages in, and honestly, it's really hard work. Not giving up yet though! I have no idea how he found it, but evidently it's a cult classic. The description cracks me up.

This remarkable first novel combines the manic energy of monster movies and comic books with a serious and sad look at the post-nuclear world. At center stage are two friends. One is Gojiro, a 500-foot-tall lizard who has swollen to his extraordinary size--and acquired the shrewd brain of higher life forms--as a result of an atomic test. Then there's his comrade Komodo, a human victim of Hiroshima. A mystical and telepathic bond unites them; they make a home for themselves and other radiation victims on a volcanic island in the middle of a ``roiling petrochemical sea.'' But Gojiro becomes a movie star, setting out with Komodo for Hollywood at the strange request of a film producer (whose father was involved with the Manhattan Project tests that produced Gojiro). They soon uncover a plot to test new atomic weapons that, in the best comic book tradition, threatens the world. The plot is fast-moving and fun, but the bulk of the book consists of long, philosophical dialogues between the austere youth and the wisecracking monster--whose hipster jargon is a perfect imitation of the late rock critic Lester Bangs. The novel's beauty lies in the way these often hilarious conversations strike a poignant note while the ``mutants'' try to come to grips with the horrors of their lives. (PW)


And there you have it! Now can you see why I feel so overwhelmed? And these are only the books that are competing for the top "Read Immediately" spots.

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