Tag Archives: book haul

January Book Haul

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Here are the books I’ve picked up in January! Some are from this wonderful used bookstore in Washington D.C. (Carpe Librum), some are from a library used book sale, some are from Book of the Month Club, and I picked one up at the Strand’s pop-up store in New York.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit – I picked this one up while visiting a friend in New York at one of the Strand’s pop-up locations; I figured that it would be a timely read given the current political situation. It’s a very short collection of essays discussing violence against women, misogyny, and the importance of feminism.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – I picked this as an extra selection in my Book of the Month box for January. This was chosen as BotM’s Book of the Year, and it’s described on Goodreads as “a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.” I’ve seen a lot of amazing reviews, and feel like this is something I’m really going to like.

Lucky You by Erika Carter – this was my Book of the Month Club pick for January–it’s the story of three friends who decide to go live off the grid. I’ve been hearing from reviews that the characters are very unlikable and that it’s quite a sad story, but as I tend to have unpopular opinions about a lot of books, it may just work for me.

The Incarnations by Susan Barker – this was a used bookstore find that I’ve been hearing great things about. It was published in 2014 and is about a man who finds a series of letters that seem to be about his past lives and believes he is being watched by someone who has known him throughout all of these lives.

The Lover by Marguerite Duras – this is a very short novel (I think I heard about it on Flavorwire’s list of recommended short books) that focuses on an affair between a young French girl and an older Chinese man. Also, Roxane Gay gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, so there’s that.

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett – I saw this in a used bookstore and remembered that I really wanted to read it, but had no memory of what it was supposed to be about. Goodreads says: “Feverish and forthright, Pond is an absorbing chronicle of the pitfalls and pleasures of a solitudinous life told by an unnamed woman living on the cusp of a coastal town.

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – this one sounds amazing, and I’m so excited that I found a copy at a used bookstore. From Goodreads, it’s “a reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman. Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale. “

And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips – I was browsing the sites for a few independent publishers that I like and stumbled across this book which was on sale for $5 (shipping included!) on Leapfrog Press’s website. It’s a collection of short stories, all of which are only two pages long, which are supposed to be quite weird, creative, and varied. I’m really looking forward to this one.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn – this novella was a freebie in this month’s Book of the Month Club box. I’ve read all three of Gillian Flynn’s previous books–Gone Girl was by far my favorite–and I’m looking forward to picking up this little book, probably during the next Dewey’s Readathon.

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I also picked up these four books at my library’s used book sale for $1 each. This book sale was actually kind of a letdown for me; I feel like I usually have better luck and find more books that I’m super interested in. Instead, I really wasn’t finding anything, but I did pick up these four, which were more impulse buy-ish compared to the books I typically pick up. However, after asking around on Bookstagram I’m especially glad I picked up It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, as a lot of people seem to really love it and it sounds like a book I’d really like. The others I’m more on the fence about, but will definitely give them a shot.

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Also, my friend got me these two awesome-sounding books: one is a collection of literary-inspired cocktail recipes, and the other is a recipe book inspired by Gilmore Girls.

November/December Book Haul, Part 1

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So, December is going to be an intense month for book hauling. My Black Friday online book purchases came in and I joined the Book of the Month Club, so I thought I’d post this haul before the holidays and before my stack gets too out of control. I also un-hauled (aka donated) two large bags of books to my local library this month, so at least there’s that! Anyways, I’m crazy excited to read all of these, and my 2017 TBR is exploding.

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld – this mysterious book about a woman living alone on an island with her dog and flock of sheep has been on my mind for awhile; apparently things start to get creepy when her sheep start disappearing and her past comes back to haunt her.

Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue – this is one of the books that I absolutely can’t wait to pick up. It’s a collection of fairy tale retellings that was recommended to me on Bookstagram and it looks AMAZING.

The Unfinished World by Amber Sparks – I actually don’t know much about this fabulist short story collection, but it was highly recommended on BookTube and I’ve been very into short story collections lately.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – one of my favorite reads of 2015, this was on sale on Book Oulet on Black Friday and I decided I really needed it on my shelf.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay – as this was one of my absolute favorite reads of 2016 (spoiler alert for my upcoming top ten books of 2016 post), I decided I really needed my own copy.

The Vorrh by B. Catling – this was really my sole impulse buy on Black Friday. How could I resist a book with a Goodreads description like this: “Next to the colonial town of Essenwald sits the Vorrh, a vast—perhaps endless—forest. It is a place of demons and angels, of warriors and priests. Sentient and magical, the Vorrh bends time and wipes  memory. Legend has it that the Garden of Eden still exists at its heart. Now, a renegade English soldier aims to be the first human to traverse its expanse. Armed with only a strange bow, he begins his journey, but some fear the consequences of his mission, and a native marksman has been chosen to stop him. Around them swirl a remarkable cast of characters, including a Cyclops raised by robots and a young girl with tragic curiosity, as well as historical figures, such as writer Raymond Roussel and photographer Edward Muybridge.  While fact and fiction blend, the hunter will become the hunted, and everyone’s fate hangs in the balance under the will of the Vorrh.

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente – Yes, I already have 2 unread Catherynne M. Valente books on my shelves. No, I could not resist buying another one, because I still have this feeling that she’s going to become one of my favorite authors. This one is set in a fantastical city and was nominated for a ton of awards in 2010.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee – I picked up this book as an extra from Book of the Month; it’s the dramatic story of an opera legend whose hidden past comes back in the form of a mysterious opera that appears to be written about her life.

Not on Fire, But Burning by Greg Hrbek – this book is about a mysterious explosion at the Golden Gate Bridge that leads to America’s Muslims being forced onto reservations and the country to be broken down into territories. The main character believes that his sister was killed in the explosion, but his parents are denying that she ever existed. Goodreads says “Not on Fire, but Burning is unlike anything you’re read before—not exactly a thriller, not exactly sci-fi, not exactly speculative fiction, but rather a brilliant and absorbing adventure into the dark heart of an America that seems ripped from the headlines. But just as powerfully, it presents a captivating hero: A young boy driven by love to seek the truth, even if it means his deepest beliefs are wrong.

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce – my first ever Book of the Month pick! I’ve been eyeing all of the bookish social media posts about Book of the Month Club for awhile now and was gifted a subscription as an early Chrismakkuh present after the Black Friday deals were too good to resist. It’s about a woman who moves across the world to escape the scandal surrounding a childhood trauma, and who must later return to face what she has done.

A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball – I’m going to let Goodreads explain this one: “A man and a woman have moved into a small house in a small village. The woman is an “examiner,” the man, her “claimant.” The examiner is both doctor and guide, charged with teaching the claimant a series of simple functions: this is a chair, this is a fork, this is how you meet people. She makes notes in her journal about his progress: he is showing improvement, yet his dreams are troubling. One day, the examiner brings him to a party, and here he meets Hilda, a charismatic but volatile woman whose surprising assertions throw everything the claimant has learned into question. What is this village? Why is he here? And who is Hilda? A fascinating novel of love, illness, despair, and betrayal, A Cure for Suicide is the most captivating novel yet from one of our most exciting young writers.

And…I may have picked up a few books at a library book sale as well:

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October Book Haul

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I may or may not have gotten caught up in the sales on Book Outlet during October, which convinced me to pick up more books than I meant to…I’ll try to do better in November!

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter – I hate to say that I wasn’t in love with Carter’s short story collection The Bloody Chamber; I really liked the first two stories but felt it got repetitive from there. I really wanted to give Angela Carter another shot, though, since she’s such a well-renowned author, and this book about a circus performer who claims to be part-human, part-swan sounds really intriguing. Lots of books about bird people coming up this month, apparently.

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah – this book about an albino woman imprisoned in Zimbabwe after being convicted of murdering her adopted father sounds fascinating, and I’m assuming it also deals with the unreliability of memory, something I always like in fiction.

The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales – this sounds like a really fun, action-packed book about female assassins, and I’ve heard good things so far.

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel – I haven’t been hearing great things about this book in reviews, but I somehow feel that I will like it. Sometimes I like really unpopular books (and vice versa, actually probably more frequently I hate really popular books) so I wanted to give this one a try. It’s about a mysterious (alien?) artifact found by a young girl who grows up to be a physicist studying where the object could have come from. It’s getting comparisons to World War Z, which I’ve never read, but I hope that doesn’t mean there are zombies because I HATE THEM. Vampires, yes. Werewolves, yes. Aliens, yes. Fairies, sure. But zombies? No thanks.

Iluminae and Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman – I enjoyed reading Illuminae so much during Dewey’s 24-hour readathon that I immediately bought its sequel after I finished it. The main characters in Gemina shift to two teenagers living on the space station mentioned in the first book, which I’m okay with–not that I didn’t like the main characters in Illuminae, but they weren’t the reason that I enjoyed the book. I’d ideally like to wait and save Gemina for the next readathon (24 in 48 and Bout of Books are both in January) but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wait that long.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu – I’ve heard that this YA novel has a really great female antihero as its main character, and that it’s dark fantasy, which I tend to enjoy. I haven’t found a really good YA trilogy in awhile, and since the last book just came out, it seemed like good timing to pick this one up.

Bats of the Republic by Zachary Thomas Dodson – this book sounds SO COOL. It’s a nontraditional format with illustrations and documents as part of the story, and is told through dual narratives, one in 1843 and one in a dystopian future. I honestly don’t even want to know any details so that I can discover them for myself; the book also includes a letter labeled “DO NOT OPEN.” Can’t wait to ignore that and open it.

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman – I’ve heard really good things about this book, whose characters are named only A, B, and C. I believe it’s sort of a darkly funny look at consumerist culture, but I could be totally wrong on that.

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun – I’m going to let the Goodreads page take this one: “In isolated British Columbia, girls, mostly native, are vanishing from the sides of a notorious highway. Leo Kreutzer and his four friends are barely touched by these disappearances—until a series of mysterious and troublesome outsiders come to town. Then it seems as if the devil himself has appeared among them.” Apparently magical realism is also involved. This one doesn’t have many reviews up, but I’m feeling really drawn to the story.

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee – this dystopian science fiction book set in future America was really highly recommended; I’ve had my eye on it since it came out in 2014 but was waiting for the paperback.

Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis – a book of short stories, because apparently I don’t have enough short story collections on my tbr shelves *gives self a disapproving look*

September Book Haul, Part 2

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Yes, lots of book buying went down in September. And I don’t regret it for a second, because these books all look awesome. I’m looking forward to a super bookish fall and winter curled up with a hot drink and a good book.

So here’s the second half of my book haul:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang – I had no idea this book was so short (less than 200 pages!) and I have a feeling I’m really going to like it. It’s supposedly dark, surreal, and told from multiple perspectives–all things I enjoy in a book.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi – I mean, I’m not NOT going to buy a new Tahereh Mafi book. That’s just how it is. Although I do hope she returns to YA soon, and the brief hint that she posted on Twitter about her newest project sounds AMAZING.

Gutshot by Amelia Gray – this is a dark short story collection that I know very little about; I think the stories have a lot of grotesque/horror elements, and I’ve heard it’s a bit disturbing. It’s a very short collection, and I’m wondering if I might be in the right mood for it in October.

A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel – another short story collection with an awesome cover. I read some extremely positive reviews about this themed collection, which is, according to Goodreads, “organized around the stages of life—love, conception, gestation, birth—and the transformations that happen as people experience deeply altering life events, falling in love, becoming parents, looking toward the end of life.”

The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour – I remembered reading about this book on The Millions’ anticipated books list one year, but I haven’t seen it much on any blogs or on Bookstagram. It’s about an albino Iranian boy who is kept in a cage by his mother for most of his childhood and communicates  like a bird. He’s later released and brought to New York City but has difficulty adapting to living as a human; it’s supposed to be good but very, very sad.

What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi – I’ve previously read Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, and I thought that her writing style was really incredible. I’ve only heard good things about her short story collection, which focuses on the concept of keys. Plus, I just love short stories.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – I think I’m going to really, really enjoy this one, especially since I love reading really long books in the winter. I thought that Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas was intricate and well-thought-out, and that his writing strength was really proven by inhabiting so many very disparate characters in different places and times. I believe that this one has a similar style, but I’ve been trying not to read too much about the plot, since I feel like this kind of book is best if you know very little going in.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips – this author is getting comparisons to Haruki Murakami and Margaret Atwood (!) for this short novel about a woman inputting numbers into a database at her job for an unknown purpose; apparently it gets much weirder from there.

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews – this is the penultimate book in the Kate Daniels series, which is by far the best UF series I have encountered and has some of the most lovable and memorable characters from any series I’ve ever read. And I’ll freak out if anything bad happens to them in this book. I’m telling you right now, if anyone dies I’m just going to pretend it didn’t happen. Honestly, I’m sort of nervous to read this one–it might be all buildup to the final showdown that I think we all know is coming in the final volume. Or it could be great! In either case, it’s going to seem make the wait for book 10 seem unbearable.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – AHHHH FINALLY. I don’t even want to read this because it’s only a duology and after I finish, this series will be over.

And apparently I forgot The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin in my last book haul! My review for that book will be up in my September reading wrap-up post (hopefully tomorrow).

 

What books did you all pick up in September? Which of these should I pick up first? Let me know!

September Book Haul, Part 1

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So, I had a rough month at work with lots of stress (fun times!) which, for me, translates into lots of book buying. Consequently, I am getting super excited about my fall and winter reading as my TBR shelf continues to shape up.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber – this is a literary scifi book (my favorite kind!) about a man who travels to a distance planet to act as a missionary, and is separated by galaxies from his wife, who is encountering all sorts of issues on Earth. I’ve seen some very positive and very negative reviews of this one; it wasn’t previously very high on my TBR list, but I saw it was on sale at Barnes & Noble and had to scoop it up. I know a lot of people also really loved Faber’s previous book The Crimson Petal and the White, but the synopsis of that one doesn’t grab me at all.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I FINALLY got this book from Book Depository after ordering it over a month ago. It’s about a space voyage and focuses on a small crew and their interactions; it seems like it’s universally loved and I’m very excited for it. My favorite kind of science fiction is character-driven and/or focused on the sociology of alien peoples, so this should be right up my alley.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – I actually checked this out of the library twice to re-read it before ACOMAF came out, which was how I knew I should probably just go ahead and buy it. I’m not a fan of Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin, but I do enjoy aspects of this story and it’s one I’d definitely revisit in the future. I’d also like to own this entire series once the other books are released, so there’s that.

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld – another book I’ve already read, this was a 5-star book for me a few years back. The writing is beautiful but discusses such horrific things; it’s a short book but done so, so well. The Enchanted focuses on death row inmates and an investigator working to gather information for the inmates’ defense; it’s brutal and real, but told in this sort of strange, detached way with fairy tale elements introduced throughout the book. If you haven’t read it already I highly recommend it.

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi – this is the last book in one of my absolute favorite YA series, and I’ve been wanting physical copies of these books for awhile. Now all I’m missing is the second book, Unravel Me; I’m just waiting for it to pop up on Book Outlet.

Speak by Louisa Hall – this was a total impulse purchase on Book Outlet, and it sounds fantastic. Seriously, here’s the synopsis from Goodreads: “A thoughtful, poignant novel that explores the creation of Artificial Intelligence — illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding. In a narrative that spans geography and time, from the Atlantic Ocean in the seventeenth century, to a correctional institute in Texas in the near future, and told from the perspectives of five very different characters, Speak considers what it means to be human, and what it means to be less than fully alive.” This one is moving to the top of my TBR list.

The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan – this is about a girl struggling with schizophrenia and attempting to determine what is real in her world as she starts to encounter elements of fantasy. This was nominated for a ton of awards in 2012 and won both the Bram Stoker Award and the James Tiptree Jr. Award.

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen – reading Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel last month (a YA retelling of Peter Pan set in Southern California) put me in the mood for more Peter Pan retellings. I prefer retellings where Peter is cast as the villain, as I’ve never liked him; he has always seemed very creepy to me. This is an adult version of the tale that focuses on Captain Hook as the protagonist, and how an adult woman appearing in Neverland throws a wrench into the story.

 

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I also hit up a really great library book sale earlier this month and picked up 11 (!) books (at $1 each, this was definitely a steal). This particular book sale seemed to have a lot of classics/modern classics and not a ton of contemporary fiction that I was interested in. I seem to be having this problem lately where I really just have not been reading classics at all, despite continuously setting goals to do so; I read a ton of classics in my late teens but have tended to read more contemporary works in recent years. The problem is that I buy a ton of classics and they are sort of sitting on my shelf judging me. The reason I keep buying them is that I know I’ll get to them at some point in my life; I may drift in and out of classic-type moods through the years. Who knows!

Anyways, the book I’m most interested in from this haul is Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, which is written in an experimental format that seems to divide readers between love and hate. I also am interested to see if Susanna Clarke’s short story collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu is as wonderful as I found Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

 

There’ll be one more book haul post this month, as I am suffering from a severe BookOutlet addiction. Has anyone read any of these? Which should I pick up sooner rather than later?

 

August Book Haul, Part 2: Library Book Sale(s) Haul!

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I actually went to 3 library book sales in August, and I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as many books if one of those sales hadn’t been having a “bag sale,” which is when you can fill an entire bag with books for only $1. Here’s what I picked up:

The Stranger by Albert Camus – this is the first book that I ever added to my TBR shelf on both Shelfari (miss you, Shelfari) and Goodreads, and I haven’t read it yet. I’ve been looking for an inexpensive copy for awhile and finally found it for $1 🙂

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – Apparently I’ve confused my goal of reading more classics with buying more classics; I have yet to pick up a single classic this year, but yet I keep hauling them. I read Woolf’s To the Lighthouse in high school and didn’t feel like I was mature enough to fully understand it; I’m ready to give her another chance and this book sounds like something I could get really immersed in.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Sarah Waters on BookTube but never had been inclined to add her to my TBR. However,  I found this gorgeous hardcover book for only $2 and couldn’t resist! I like a good historical fiction book every now and then, and hopefully I’ll enjoy this one set in 1920s London.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – this is the only book on the list that I’ve read already; I initially had borrowed it and wanted my own copy, especially one with this gorgeous cover:

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It’s a fascinating book, very detailed, which I liked, and if you haven’t read it you should definitely pick it up.

Greywalker by Kat Richardson – this is a UF book where the protagonist can move between the world of the ordinary and that of the supernatural that I’d added to my TBR awhile ago.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway – From Goodreads, “A Moveable Feast is at once an elegy to the remarkable group for expatriates that gathered in Paris during the twenties and a testament to the risks and rewards of the writerly life.” I’ve wanted to read this ever since I watched Midnight in Paris, which is a wonderfully bookish movie.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison – Beloved is one of my favorite books of all time, and it was so emotionally devastating I have yet to pick up another book by Toni Morrison. I really need to, though. I’ve also heard that this is President Obama’s favorite book.

The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – from what I know, this is a complex historical mystery set in Italy in 1327; it sounds fascinating.

Trespass by Rose Tremain – this was a total impulse buy purchased on the last day of a book sale where you could fill a bag of books for only $1. Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

“In a silent valley in southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon, the owner, is so haunted by his violent past that he’s become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin. Meanwhile, his sister Audrun, alone in her modern bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel, dreams of exacting retribution for the unspoken betrayals that have blighted her life. Into this closed world comes Anthony Verey, a wealthy but disillusioned antiques dealer from London. When he sets his sights on the Mas, a frightening and unstoppable series of consequences is set in motion.”

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks – I’ve never read anything by Banks, but this science fiction read involving high-stakes, complex game-playing between aliens sounds super intriguing.

The Uncertain Places

The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein – I’ve had this on my TBR for so long that I can’t remember who recommended it to me. It’s a fairy tale retelling focused on a mysterious family of sisters, and it won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in 2012.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale

Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock – this is a high fantasy book about a man who abandoned his love to save his sister, who it turns out didn’t want to be saved. Ilona Andrews, one of my favorite authors, recommended it on her blog.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson – another impulse buy at the library bag sale. There’s a movie coming out soon (I think?) based on this book, which is about the children of dysfunctional performance artists.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld – another impulse buy! This has been on my radar for awhile–it’s the coming-of-age story about an outsider at a prep school in Massachusetts.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde – I’ve actually read one other book by Fforde (The Eyre Affair) which I liked in some ways; I thought it was really interesting and creative, but never felt really interested in the characters or story itself. I’m definitely willing to give him another shot, though, and this book comes highly recommended by a friend–it’s set in a society where status is determined by the colors you are able to perceive.

The Islanders

The Islanders by Christopher Priest – THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING. Not only is it recommended to fans of Haruki Murakami and David Mitchell, but seriously, read this Goodreads description:

“A tale of murder, artistic rivalry, and literary trickery; a Chinese puzzle of a novel where nothing is quite what it seems; a narrator whose agenda is artful and subtle; a narrative that pulls you in and plays an elegant game with you. The Dream Archipelago is a vast network of islands. The names of the islands are different depending on who you talk to, their very locations seem to twist and shift. Some islands have been sculpted into vast musical instruments, others are home to lethal creatures, others the playground for high society. Hot winds blow across the archipelago and a war fought between two distant continents is played out across its waters. The Islanders serves both as an untrustworthy but enticing guide to the islands; an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder; and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator.”

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden – this is an epic historical fiction work told in multiple perspectives and I’ve heard it’s excellent.

 

Phew! So that’s all of the books I hauled in August. See anything you’ve read? Let me know what you think I should pick up first!

August Book Haul, Part 1

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I may have hauled a lot of books in August; at the beginning of the months, I entertained hilarious thoughts of a book buying ban, which were quickly destroyed when a few coveted books became available on BookOutlet.com and several library book sales happened within a few weeks. Here are the books I bought during my Book Outlet binge:

Arcadia by Iain Pears – I saw this recommended on BookTube by Erica’s Epilogues and it sounded right up my alley; from what I understand, it’s an adult portal fantasy with several different worlds.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho – this fantasy book has gotten awesome reviews and comparisons to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is one of my favorite books.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan – Goodreads calls this “a lyrical and moving debut in the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood.” Um, yes please. In this world, people are divided between those who live at land and those who lives with see; this one was also recommended on Erica’s Epilogues.

Find Me by Laura van den Berg – this is a near-future science fiction read where an epidemic that causes memory loss and death spreads across the country; the main character is somehow immune and embarks on a journey across the country. I really don’t think I will ever get sick of this type of story.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson – I’ve never read anything by Nalo Hopkinson, and how awesome does this Goodreads description sound: “The rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.”

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the book haul–library sales!

July Book Haul!

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So I’m starting to see a pattern here–I always lie about how many books I’m going to buy in a given month. Every month I think, hey, I bought a lot of books last month, maybe I should take it easy this month. And then Book Outlet has some books on my wish list on sale, or there’s an enticing new release, or there’s a library book sale with prices just too good to resist. So instead of pretending I’m going to limit my book buying, I decided I really need to commit myself better to #readmyowndamnbooks!

I only buy books I’m really excited about reading, but I get distracted by library books, audiobooks (which I never buy), and the occasional ebook, and only 26 books out of the 58 books I’ve read this year have been on my physical TBR shelf. This ratio needs to improve, stat. And it will, because I am SO EXCITED about all of the books I bought in July!

So here’s what I bought in July:

ConfessionsBinti (Binti, #1)milk and honeySecond Star

In the spirit of #readmyowndamnbooks, I already finished all four of these in the same month I bought them! So I’m off to a good start with this haul. I’m hoping to read at least a few more in August, and I will be talking more about these ones in my July reading wrap-up post. To summarize: they were all great. I would literally recommend all four of these books, and I’m so glad I found them this month. Thanks, Book Outlet and B&N coupons!

HomegoingVicious (Vicious, #1)Tender MorselsThe Philosopher Kings (Thessaly, #2)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I have heard countless amazing things about this book; it’s been all over the blogs and Bookstagram. Initially I was going to wait until it came out in paperback, and then I got some B&N coupons in the mail and decided it was a sign. Plus, I couldn’t wait any longer and didn’t want to be left out of the amazingness that I have heard about this book. This is at the top of my August TBR.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I see this book on my Bookstagram feed multiple times per day, and as I have yet to pick up a V.E. Schwab book, I had to jump on this when it showed up for a good price on Book Outlet. It’s fantasy, and focuses on two former best friends with some type of superpowers, I think? I’m not really too clear on the plot, but I am excited to get into this next month as well.

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan – this is a dark fairytale retelling I read about on Flavorwire, and when it came in the mail I immediately started skimming the first chapter. And…it’s one of the few books in this haul that I’m now sort of hesitant about, as the first chapter was very heavy on sexual violence and I’m concerned this book may get too disturbing for me. I’ll definitely give it another try, but I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

The Philospher Kings by Jo Walton – this is book 2 in Jo Walton’s Thessaly trilogy, which deals with the premise of the Greek goddess Athena setting up a “Just City” outside of the normal course of time and populating it with teachers from various times throughout history to educate students. I don’t want to spoil anything from the first book (which is called The Just City) but after the ending, I’m very intrigued where the plot will go next. And I love anything Greek mythology-related, so this series was a must-read for me.

A Tale for the Time BeingSome Kind of Fairy TaleRadianceA Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this Man Booker Prize nominee that follows the stories of two (maybe three?) women.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce – I think this was one of the very first books I added to my to-read shelf on Goodreads, and I finally found a copy! It’s about a man whose missing sister returns after 20 years with a mystery surrounding her. Also, the blurb on the back compares Joyce to both Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – I’m so interested in Valente’s writing, and this one, which is supposedly somehow both about Old Hollywood and space travel, sounds especially intriguing.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – Another book that I think anyone has read except for me! This one involves multiple magical Londons and it’s one that’s been so hyped I was reluctant to read it. But then I changed my mind…

Vicious Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, #1)DuplexElect Mr. Robinson for a Better WorldThe Brides of Rollrock Island

Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson – this is a UF/PNR read that I really know nothing about, but I haven’ t found a new good UF series in awhile, so I’ll give it a shot. This is another genre I’m really picky about, so we’ll see.

Duplex by Kathryn Davis – this is a short novel set in the suburbs where magic starts to intrude on a young married couple’s life (I think?) and it’s supposed to be amazing.

Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim – I believe this is a sort of creepy dystopian read set in a small town; it’s another short read I’ve had my eye on for awhile.

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan – I actually had no idea this was YA when I bought this. It’s about a sea witch who brings men in her small village magical brides from the ocean, and the bond between the two somehow changes both of them.

LailahOf Bees and MistSweetbitterFangirl

Lailah by Nikki Kelly – this is a YA read that involves angels, vampires, and a love triangle. This could be really great or really terrible, but either way, I’m reading it.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan – I just picked this up at a used bookstore that popped up in my mall where Hollister used to be. It was totally a cover buy, and here’s what Goodreads says: “Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.” Sounds great!

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – this book about a young twenty-something working in a fancy restaurant has gotten a ton of hype, and I found an ARC at that same used bookstore and couldn’t resist.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve already read and loved this book, and wanted my own copy for cozy winter rereading.

 

I can’t wait to get reading! What books did everybody buy in July?? Let me know and feel free to link up!

 

 

June Book Haul

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As usual, I didn’t think I was going to buy a lot of books this month.

As usual, I was wrong.

This month, I discovered bookoutlet.com, which has somehow been hiding from me all this time. I blame Bookstagram entirely for my bookish purchases this month, as almost all of them (all except the Ferrante books and Among Others) were from Book Outlet and the only reason I heard of the site was from looking at book haul posts. The prices on this site are ridiculously good, so I don’t feel too guilty about my binge-buying; I’m so excited about the books I was able to find, several of which are difficult to find in bookstores. I pretty much want to read them all immediately, but since I’m in the middle of 5 different books right now, that’s probably not a good idea.

So here’s what I picked up!

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – I started reading this at the beginning of the month and am on pause until I get back in the Ferrante mindset. The perils of being a mood reader!

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – I caved and bought the last Ferrante book so that I’ll have it to start when I finish book 3 and also work up the courage to see how this emotionally gripping quartet ends.

Among Others by Jo Walton – I read my first Jo Walton book (The Just City) earlier this year and loved the originality of its concept. She’s a really prolific writer and pretty much all of her books sound amazing; Among Others got a lot of hype a few years ago when it won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel. From the Goodreads review, it’s “at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.” Sounds perfect.

The Weird edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer – this is an anthology of weird fiction that I’ve been coveting ever since I saw it on a shelf in the Strand a few years ago. It is absolutely gigantic and the cover features red octopus arms holding a book in some sort of stone cathedral.  The $30 price tag scared me away, but then I saw it on Book Outlet for under $7 and I had to go for it. Also, it’s edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer; Jeff Vandermeer is the author of the Southern Reach trilogy, which I loved, and they are both highly respected SF&F editors.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente – Valente is on my list of “authors I think I will love but haven’t actually read anything by yet,” and this book, which is a retelling of a Russian folk tale, sounds so intriguing. From Goodreads: “Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – I’ve read two books of short stories by Link so far and loved both of them. Her style of writing is odd, creepy, and endlessly creative; this is technically a compilation of YA stories, but some of these overlap with the stories in her adult books.

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – this is a first-contact-with-aliens story that takes place in Lagos, Nigeria, and I’ve been hearing nothing but awesome things about it. The premise from Goodreads says: “When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory – I may use this book for the “read a book about religion” task for the Read Harder challenge. It’s set in the near future after the “smart drug revolution” where people can now design and create their own drugs. Someone eventually creates a drug called Numinous that simulates religion and kicks off what looks like a crazy story.

Out by Natsuo Kirino – From Goodreads, “Natsuo Kirino’s novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works a night shift making boxed lunches brutally strangles her deadbeat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime.” Sounds intense and absorbing.

Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill – I think I heard about this book on Flavorwire and have meaning to get to it for awhile; I’ve been really into short story collections lately. Goodreads says, “Powerful stories of dislocation, longing and desire which depict a disenchanted and rebellious urban fringe generation that is groping for human connection. (Or, more simply put, the angst of people-who-wear-black.)

The Quick by Lauren Owen – I mean, I’m really down for anything involving vampires, but I really hope this one’s good. It’s set in the 1890s and centers on a woman’s search for her brother through the mysterious underworld of London; I’ve heard mixed reviews but I want this to work for me.

 

Has anyone read any of these? How did you like them? And what book did you buy in June? Let me know!

May Book Haul!

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April was a month filled with enticing library used book sales, so there weren’t any sales in my area in May. Instead, I splurged a bit on some new books and, in an unusual move for me, actually read two and a half of the books I bought this month within the month.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante – I finally caved into the immense literary pressure and bought My Brilliant Friend, a book that for a long time I resisted reading. I genuinely had thought I wouldn’t enjoy it; I was very, very wrong. I loved it so much that I quickly had to run back to Barnes & Noble for the second book.

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante – the sequel to My Brilliant Friend, I just finished reading this book this morning. And now desperately need the third book.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I pre-ordered this book awhile ago and am currently about halfway through; so far I’m finding it significantly more enjoyable than its predecessor, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I’m looking forward to reading the rest but want to savor it.

Love Poems by Pablo Neruda – I have never read a single poem by Pablo Neruda, although I’ve been meaning to for years. I don’t tend to read a ton of poetry but I think I should be attempting to read more of it; I’ll start with this very slim volume of extremely famously beautiful love poems.

Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey – I don’t know a lot about this book, but I found it in the Staff Recommendations section at the Strand. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and depicts a woman being submerged in water; from the description, it looks to be about a woman leaving her life behind and immersing herself in a new environment in New Zealand. I’m intrigued.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – I’ve read two of Ishiguro’s previous books (Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day) and love his thoughtful style and his focus on the theme of the unreliability of memory. This book is his first foray into touches of fantasy and depicts an elderly couple’s search for their son. I’ve been wanting to read it ever since it came out but was waiting for the paperback edition to be released.

The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson – Winterson’s The Passion was my first 5-star read of 2016, and I found this book completely accidentally on a bargain table at the Strand. From the back of the book, “The Daylight Gate is Jeanette Winterson’s singular vision of a dark period of complicated morality, sex, and tragic plays for power in a time when politics and religion were closely intertwined.” It looks to be about witchcraft and witchhunting in 1600s England, and I have really high hopes for it.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – I really hate watching a movie before reading a book, but it’s been a long time since I saw the film version in an indie movie theater in my college town. My goal to read more classics has been going really terribly, and I’ve  heard amazing things about this book, so I’m going to hope that this can help get me into a classics zone. The Goodreads blurb refers to this book as “the most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.”