Tag Archives: summer reading

August TBR!

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Somehow, I feel like I’m more excited about my August TBR than any of my other TBR stacks from this year. This month, every book on my TBR is one that I physically own, and I have no urge to hit the library and go off the rails (yet). There are a few new releases on here, and a few that I feel like I’m playing catch-up on because I’ve heard so much positive hype. But what these books all have in common is that I can’t wait to read them! 🙂

HomegoingVicious (Vicious, #1)The Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)Pretty Monsters: StoriesLailahRunning with ScissorsThe Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

So, here’s my August TBR – as usual, I ranked the books in order of how likely I am to read them, but this month I honestly do think I’ll be sticking pretty closely to this stack. So my ranking system might be a little off.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – OK, so I bought this book on July 31st and couldn’t wait to get started; I figured that I could binge-read it that day to see what happens before I accidentally read a spoiler or something. And…I’ve started it, but I wasn’t liking it that much (which is such a terrible thing to say about Harry Potter! I feel guilty about it). I’ll absolutely finish this book, but I’m not sure that I’m going to end up enthralled.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book. It’s the story of two African sisters who are separated and whose descendants go on to live very different lives; I have no idea how this author is going to tell the stories of so many generations in such a relatively slim book, but from what I heard, I’m going to be blown away.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab – this book about two best friends/enemies who (I think?) develop some type of superpowers sounds like the type of book I can get completely sucked into. I’ve read the first couple of chapters so far and I really like what I’ve seen; V.E. Schwab clearly knows what she’s doing and I’m excited to see where the story goes.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – I am terrified to read this book; I also can’t wait. Ferrante’s books get me into this intense reading trance; Elena and Lila’s relationship is consuming and powerful. I’m anxious to see how their lives end up and to finally get a resolution to the mystery presented at the beginning of My Brilliant Friend.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin – this book comes out on August 16th and I am soooo excited; either I’m going to jump straight in and read it immediately or save it until I have big chunks of uninterrupted time to binge-read. It’s the sequel to The Fifth Season, one of my favorite books of last year, and takes place in a world that has suffered multiple apocalyptic-type natural disasters. The people there are survivors, but the first book began with the end of the world; in addition to the intricate and fascinating world-building, the characters are incredibly real and I need to know what happens RIGHT NOW.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs – I got a copy of this at a library used book sale because I vaguely remembered one of my friends telling me she’d read it. I started listening to it on audiobook and am interested so far; I like how detailed Burroughs’s writing is, and he easily and quickly creates a sense of place.

Lailah by Nikki Kelly – if I am in the mood for YA this month, I’m picking this one up and seeing if the angel/vampire love triangle works for me. Fingers crossed! I’ve read zero reviews on this one and haven’t seen it on bookstagram or any blogs, so this is a bit of a risk.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – I’ve read two short story collections by Kelly Link so far, and own two unread ones. Link’s stories are this gorgeous, mysterious, and atmospheric blend of fantasy and horror with occasional hints of science fiction and fairy tales; the stories tend to get under your skin and stay with you after you read them. I absolutely love her writing and am interested to see what other stories she has in store for us.

 

What do you plan on reading in August? Let me know!

 

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.

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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!

 

 

WWW Wednesday: July 13th

IMG_1970Random stack of some of my favorite books.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Taking On a World of Words (https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/). You answer the 3 W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

Things have been crazy and I was out of town for a bit, so I haven’t been posting much lately, but I’m back! I’ve been really enjoying reading outside with the gorgeous summer weather, and I’m definitely looking forward to the #24in48 readathon, which starts in a little over 2 weeks. Is anyone else participating?

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What are you currently reading?

Men We ReapedThe QuickBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

My current audiobook is still Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward; I actually own this audiobook (I almost never buy audiobooks) so I had it on pause for a bit while I finished some library checkouts. It’s devastating and powerful, and so beautifully written. I’ve also had Blue Lily, Lily Blue on pause; I just really haven’t been in a Raven Cycle kind of mood lately. I really do want to finish the series, but I need a break from it right now. And I just started The Quick by Lauren Owen; all I really know about it is that the premise involves vampires in Victorian London, which is right up my alley. I’ve heard really mixed things about this book, and it has a low rating on Goodreads, but I really like the writing style and atmosphere so far. One of my absolute favorite books (The Magicians by Lev Grossman) has equally bad reviews and a low Goodreads rating, so I try not to put too much stock in that.

What did you recently finish reading?

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksGods Behaving BadlyShrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

So many things!!! So I finally finished Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the third book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels; the quality of the writing remains fantastic and I am so anxious to see where Lila’s and Lenu’s stories go next. I finished 2 (!) audiobooks recently, which is a LOT for me (I’ve posted before about my audiobook struggles) and I really enjoyed both of them. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was really informative, and I feel like it’s important for everyone to know Henrietta’s story; I do agree with other reviews I’ve seen that I could have done with less of the author inserting herself into the story. I thought that Shrill by Lindy West was funny but extremely raw and true; I knew nothing about this audiobook and picked it up solely due to bookstagrammers’/book bloggers’ recommendations, so thanks, guys! I also finished Gods Behaving Badly a few days ago; it wasn’t amazing but was a fun and funny satire of Greek mythology.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The ArgonautsThe Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)Lagoon

I’ve been hearing amazing things about The Argonauts on book blogs and Bookstagram, so I went ahead and bought the audiobook to listen to next. I definitely will be picking up the final Ferrante book, The Story of the Lost Child, soon, but first I need to prepare myself for the emotional onslaught I know it will be. The amazing-sounding Lagoon is absolutely coming up next when I finish one of the physical books I’m currently reading. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I’ll read for the 24 in 48 Readathon (July 23-24!) but that’s still 2 weeks away so I don’t want to post my readathon TBR picks yet.

 

What has everybody been reading lately???

 

 

June Reading Wrap-Up

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In June, I finished two books that I’ve been halfway finished with for at least six months (The Cuckoo’s Calling) and in the other case several years (Unaccustomed Earth); I started a great new series (The Raven Cycle); and I had yet another 5-star read (The Girl Wakes). It’s only halfway through 2016, and I’ve already beaten the number of 5-star reads I had during all of last year 🙂 Here are my totals:

# of books read: 8

#readmyowndamn books: 4

20 Books of Summer total: 8/20

Audiobooks: 2

So here’s what I read this month, ranked (as usual) in order of awesomeness:

The Girl Wakes: StoriesUnaccustomed EarthA Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)Citizen: An American LyricThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)The Color of Magic (Discworld, #1; Rincewind #1)

The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau (5 stars): This incredible book of short stories is made up of dark feminist fairytale retellings. If that appeals to you, READ THIS BOOK. The premise alone made me know I would love this book, but it turned out to be even better than I expected. Longer review to come (I’m going to try actually posting some book review posts!) but to summarize, these short stories gave me goosebumps and were absolutely what I wanted to read.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (4.25 stars): I’m really loving short story collections lately. The characters and stories in this book feel so fully real, and Jhumpa Lahiri is an incredible writer. My favorite of the collection was “Only Goodness,” about the relationship between a brother and sister and the brother’s struggle with alcoholism; the last story in the book, however, the third in a series of connected stories, hit me hard.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (4.25 stars): Indulgent romantic fantasy that I will most likely reread several times.

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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (4 stars): the second book in the Raven Cycle was great, especially since it focused on my favorite character, Ronan. I love that the plot just keeps getting weirder, but the lovable characters are what really keeps me interested.

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (4 stars): If you haven’t checked out this YA series yet, I would encourage you to do so. I went into it knowing nothing about the plot, and I think that was a good way to go.

Citizen by Claudia Rankine (3 stars): I found some of the passages in this book of prose poems to be incredibly powerful, others less so. Overall I wish I’d read it in physical form rather than listening to it as an audiobook, although I had thought it was a good idea at the time. Too much rewinding and re-listening may have spoiled the effect for me, and I think I’d have rated it higher if I’d physically read it. No more poetry audiobooks for me.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (3 stars): I started listening to this audiobook in December and stopped about 2/3 of the way through because nothing was really happening. It took me until this month to get the desire to pick it back up so that I could finally find out who the murderer was. I feel like my expectations were too high because J.K. Rowling wrote this, and while it was a decent detective novel, I’m not interested enough to continue the series. Honestly, I wouldn’t really recommend it. Read something else instead.

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (2.5 stars): this one was a disappointment for me. I’ve read two other Discworld books (Mort and Small Gods) that I enjoyed, but this one unfortunately got really…boring. It started out well, with humor and an interesting setup, but then went rapidly downhill. I know that this is the first book in the series and isn’t widely considered one of the best, but I was still disappointed–particularly with the book’s treatment of female characters. I understand that Pratchett was satirizing a lot of aspects of fantasy literature, but it’s still really unnecessary, and in my opinion a turnoff to a lot of female readers, to have literally every female character be naked in this book.

 

Overall, it was a great reading month! I’m already looking forward to my reading in July (my birthday month!) and I’m hoping to find some more great reads.

 

What did you all read in June? Let me know!

WWW Wednesday

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words (https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/).

Right now, I’m in the middle of two quartets of books and really engrossed in my current audiobok (Men We Reaped). In other bookish news, I heard that Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace is being made into a miniseries! The more Atwood, the better, in my opinion; I haven’t heard any news lately on the Maddaddam TV series, so I hope that’s still in the works.

Currently reading:

Men We ReapedThe Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)

So far, Men We Reaped is really incredible. Jesmyn Ward’s writing is somehow both clear and layered at the same time, and she’s so good at creating a sense of place. The story she tells is traumatic, and I’m amazed that she found the strength to tell it.

I’m over halfway done with The Dream Thieves (the second book in the Raven Cycle) and it’s really good. I’m so glad that I started this series; it’s been awhile since I found a good YA series that I can really get sucked into. The characters in this series are what keeps me  hooked (although the plot is definitely weirdly good as well) and I think Ronan might be my favorite. Although Blue is a great protagonist, and it’s pretty impossible not to love Gansey.

I’ve stalled a bit on Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay; it’s not that it isn’t great, but I’m having a little reading ADD and YA seems to be really working for my reading mood at the moment. I’d like to dive back in and finish it by the end of the month, but we’ll see.

Recently finished:

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

The Raven Boys (4 stars) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (3 stars).

What’s next?

The Girl Wakes: StoriesBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)LagoonThe Book Thief

I’ve been wanting to get to The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau for awhile–it’s a book of short stories focused on dark feminist fairytale retellings, and it’s pretty short, so I’ve been waiting until I get a stretch of time to read it in one sitting. I’ll probably start the third book in the Raven Cycle (Blue Lily, Lily Blue) after I finish The Dream Thieves, and I already checked it out from the library in preparation. Also, with all of this series reading, I’d really like to pick up a good standalone next; I’m thinking maybe Lagoon and/or The Book Thief.

 

What is everyone reading right now???

June TBR!

 

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It’s officially time for summer reading! Even though I read year-round, there’s something special about reading in the summer. I always tend to spend a lot of time reading and relaxing in the sunshine and seem to get through more books during this season than the others (although I’ve never really kept track; it might just feel like I read more). I already laid out my top 20 books to get through this summer in my last post, but here is a more specific breakdown of my TBR for June. This month, I plan to finish the Neapolitan novels, continue my streak of listening to nonfiction audiobooks with no DNFs, and pick up a bunch of books I’ve had on my TBR stack for too long. I figure that it’s OK to be ambitious–it’s summer!

So here’s what I’ll hopefully be reading this month:

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – book 3 of the Neapolitan novels and, to me, the one with the most beautiful title and cover. The last book ended on a pretty major note (don’t worry, I wouldn’t dream of spoiling anybody) and I’m so intrigued by the direction the story is taking. I feel like once I dive into this, though, I’ll have to set my other books aside for awhile and then snag book 4.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante – book 4. I feel pretty confident I’ll get to this book as well this month, but it depends on whether I want to savor the Ferrante books and postpone reading it.

And Again by Jessica Chiarella – I won this in a giveaway from Tor.com earlier this year (the first and only book I’ve ever won in a giveaway!) and I’m really interested in the premise: it’s a literary science fiction standalone where four people are given new, physically perfect versions of their bodies and then struggle to fit back into their lives.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – I started this audiobook in May but now am super frustrated: my Overdrive account only lets me take out an audiobook for a week at a time, and after I had to return this book, I was bumped back to fifth in line. Fifth! So now I might have to find a new audiobook for June…really annoying, since I was getting really into this one. I really like some things about Overdrive, like how easy it is to use, but right now none of the books I really want to listen to are available 😦

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I paused this for awhile in May due to a severe case of Ferrante fever, but I will definitely finish this month. I’m over halfway through and it seems like a solid enjoyable 4-star read.

The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau – feminist fairy tale retellings in short story form that I cannot wait to jump into this month.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith – from the Goodreads blurb, “Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families—one headed by Archie, the other by Archie’s best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal.” I’ve heard such amazing things about Zadie Smith, and I keep meaning to read this book but haven’t done it yet.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I have a bad track record of getting frustrated with and DNFing YA books, but I’ve heard such positive things about this series, and its premise seems pretty mysterious, so I’m going to give it a shot. Fingers crossed! I have DNFing, but I don’t shy away from it; I want to be reading books that I like!

 

What are you all reading in June??

 

Best of: Summer Reading 2015

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For years, summer was the time I was able to read the most, and I’ve been meticulously documenting my summer reading for years. Now that there’s no school to segregate summer reading as a separate entity, I tend to instead track my reading by the month and by the year. Except this year, where I’ve been planning out my reading per season as well (although I am constantly changing and updating my plans, of course). And even though summer doesn’t mean a break anymore, a long stretch of uninterrupted reading, there’s still something special about reading in the sunshine. So here are my top five summer reads of 2015, in no particular order (again, these aren’t books necessarily published this summer, just my personal summer reading highlights–but I do highly recommend them all as unconventional beach reads!):

  1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: I love books that are unique. Books that can surprise me by circumventing or challenging established genre tropes, or that immerse you completely in a world that isn’t like anything you’ve read about before. The Fifth Season does this extremely successfully. It takes place in the Stillness, a world named ironically, since it suffers devastating disaster events with relative frequency. Its civilizations have developed to survive these events (volcanoes, epidemics, earthquakes, etc) and this shapes both historical precedents and daily life. N.K. Jemisin’s worldbuilding continuously impresses me with every book of hers that I read–it’s just so well thought out. She doesn’t just tell you, hey, this is what this particular culture/island/city is like–she shows you why it developed that way by providing historical and political context. I don’t want to summarize or spoil the plot, but I will say this: the book begins by telling you that “This is the way the world ends. For the last time.” It only gets more intriguing from there. There are people with powers to control the earth, who are feared and hated by the general population; an empire that expanded despite the continuous extinction setbacks; mysterious beings referred to as “stone eaters,” survivalist texts that take on an almost religious significance; and hidden mysteries underlying all of it. If you like fantasy with great worldbuilding, that has realistic characters in a fantastically destructive setting, then I highly recommend this book.
  2. Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt: A thin child living in the English countryside during World War II, too young to fully comprehend the war that is consuming her world and that has taken her father away to fight, reads a book about Norse mythology that helps her to comprehend the horrors occurring far away in her world. It’s part historical fiction, part mythology retelling, and part philosophy. I’m honestly not sure why it’s gotten such low ratings; personally, I was blown away by Byatt’s prose. It’s simple on the surface but has so much depth. I loved the parallels that were drawn between the modern world and the world of Asgard: Byatt doesn’t throw it in the reader’s face, but lets you draw your own conclusions. It’s about the purpose that myths serve humans, how they shape our world, and how they can help us ultimately better understand it.
  3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: I’ve been meaning to read this book for approximately forever. Intertwined narratives, ranging in genre from historical fiction to scifi? I’m completely on board. I was really impressed with Mitchell’s range as a writer; if I didn’t know better, I’d be entirely convinced that each section in Cloud Atlas was written by a different author. The only issue I had was that I liked some of the stories much better than the others (one in particular I absolutely hated). I did, however, really enjoy the challenging aspect of picking up on the subtle ways in which the stories intersected, and I was a big fan of the creativity of not just the book’s structure but the individual stories as well.
  4. All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang: This is a fantastic book for English and Writing majors, anyone who has spent time workshopping pieces of their writing, and for writers and poets in general. It’s subtle and beautiful, and it meditates on the nature of writing, success, creativity, and love. It spends a great deal of time exploring the question of whether writing can truly be taught, and whether an individual’s writing ever truly improves.
  5. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman: In the past I’ve struggled to finish short story collections–not because they weren’t good, but because each story was so emotional and like a mini-book that I needed time to recover before moving onto the next one. Smoke and Mirrors isn’t like that. Each story is well-done and resonates in a different way, but after you finish one you crave more, so that you keep promising yourself you’ll only read one more before you go to sleep. And then you think, oh, but the next one sounds really good…Smoke and Mirrors has the loose theme of illusion, but the stories are all very different. There’s a lot of fantasy, some horror, and even a bit of science fiction, which I haven’t really seen from Gaiman in the past. There’s also a god variety in formatting: some stories are extremely short, others are a bit longer, and there are also a bunch of poems–some short, some longer and narrative. Some of my favorite stories were: “Changes”–a science fiction story about a scientist who discovers a cure for cancer, but doesn’t realize the profound consequences of the drug’s side effect of switching the patient’s gender; “We Can Get Them For You Wholesale”–a creepy cautionary tale about bargains; “Murder Mysteries”–about a murder mystery involving angels; “Only the End of the World Again”–reminded me of American Gods, in a good way; and “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories”–an English writer goes to Hollywood to adapt his bestselling novel. I also love that Gaiman includes an introduction (with a hidden short story inside!) that discusses each story individually. He explains his inspiration for the stories, where they originally appeared, and how he feels about them putting together this collection years later. I liked getting the writer’s perspective on his own work and hearing about how he gets his creative ideas. I didn’t love every single story in here–particularly toward the end, some felt weaker to me, but overall it was great.