I seriously click on the “to read” button on the Goodreads page like nobody’s business and the awkward thing is I don’t even feel like reading them after a while and wonder why the hell I even wanted to read it in the first place. BUT for some reason, I’ve been really, really, really interested in the books I’ve added recently to my TBR and thought you might be interested too.
*Note: All summaries are from Goodreads
- A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2) by Becky Chambers
Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.
Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for – and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.
A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers’ beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.
This is actually a sequel to the wonderful A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet which is seriously like Firefly even though I have only watched 5 minutes of Firefly..I’ll pretend I know what I’m talking about. But the worldbuilding and the species creation in that book was sooooo incredible. I mean, a species that has 3 different families in their lifetime? That are not raised by their parents? A species that expresses emotion through color? A species that reminds me of a caterpillar and speaks through grunts? Amazing. I want to live in this world.
2. By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from The New York Times book Review by Pamela Paul
Sixty-five of the world’s leading writers open up about the books and authors that have meant the most to them
Every Sunday, readers of The New York Times Book Review turn with anticipation to see which novelist, historian, short story writer, or artist will be the subject of the popular By the Book feature. These wide-ranging interviews are conducted by Pamela Paul, the editor of the Book Review, and here she brings together sixty-five of the most intriguing and fascinating exchanges, featuring personalities as varied as David Sedaris, Hilary Mantel, Michael Chabon, Khaled Hosseini, Anne Lamott, and James Patterson. The questions and answers admit us into the private worlds of these authors, as they reflect on their work habits, reading preferences, inspirations, pet peeves, and recommendations.
By the Book contains the full uncut interviews, offering a range of experiences and observations that deepens readers’ understanding of the literary sensibility and the writing process. It also features dozens of sidebars that reveal the commonalities and conflicts among the participants, underscoring those influences that are truly universal and those that remain matters of individual taste.
For the devoted reader, By the Book is a way to invite sixty-five of the most interesting guests into your world. It’s a book party not to be missed
The logic is that the authors that inspired the “great” authors must be good right? But I really love hearing writers talk about their craft. I think it’s really inspirational and I love writing so this should be an obvious pick.
3. Why God is a Woman by Nin Andrews
Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. It is also the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fantastic and familiar where all the myths, logic, and institutions support the dominance of women.
One of my goals for 2016 was to read different types of literature like plays and poetry. This one falls into the poetry category and I have to say the synopsis also is really intriguing to my feminist heart and I think it could be really thought-provoking considering basically everything in our world is male-dominated.
4. The Passion of Dolsa by Julie Berry
I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it.
Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all.
Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too.
Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas.
When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village.
From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Mecomes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.
My historical fiction game is pretty much nonexistent this year so far and I think the synopsis sounds so cool and I’ve heard it focuses a lot on friendship and is very action-packed. What more could I want really..
5. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.
In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.
But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .
Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students.
First of all, this cover reminds me of The Night Circus and will therefore automatically send ringing signals to my brain to check it out. Second of all, it looks like there are talking dolls and witch’s curses and stumbling on magic?? And also, it’s a fairytale retelling. Hello??!
6. The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan
Twenty tales of lust and loss. These stories feature clockwork hearts, lascivious queens, paper men, island circuses, and a flooded world.
• On the island of Skye, an antlered girl and a tiger-tailed boy resolve never to be friends – but can they resist their unique connection?
• In an alternative 19th-century Paris, a love triangle emerges between a man, a woman, and a coin-operated boy.
• A teenager deals with his sister’s death by escaping from their tiny Scottish island – but will she let him leave?
• In 1920s New Orleans, a young girl comes of age in her mother’s brothel.
Some of these stories are radical retellings of classic tales, some are modern-day fables, but all explore substitutions for love.
Let’s be real here, you got me at antlered girl and tiger-tailed boy. I don’t read enough magical realism and I love fairytale retellings so yay for that. Logan is also the author of The Gracekeepers which is a literary dystopia of which I’ve heard pretty good things about.
7. Hope and Red by Jon Skvron
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two young people from different cultures find common purpose. A nameless girl is the lone survivor when her village is massacred by biomancers, mystical servants of the emperor. Named after her lost village, Bleak Hope is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance. A boy becomes an orphan on the squalid streets of New Laven and is adopted by one of the most notorious women of the criminal underworld, given the name Red, and trained as a thief and con artist. When a ganglord named Deadface Drem strikes a bargain with the biomancers to consolidate and rule all the slums of New Laven, the worlds of Hope and Red come crashing together, and their unlikely alliance takes them further than either could have dreamed possible.
Pretty much your standard fantasy with underdog main characters but I’ll always be on the lookout for these.
8. The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
The Pulitzer Prize-winning classic about the outbreak of World War I
Historian & Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to WWI. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, she reveals just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn’t. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, THE GUNS OF AUGUST will not be forgotten.
This is a really weird analogy to use but World War I is like World War II’s nerdy, antisocial younger brother that no one really pays attention to. World War II is fascinating and everyone knows what happens in it but despite learning about World War I in class, I still don’t really know what it was about and I want to know more. I also expect great storytelling as this did win the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.
9. Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Winner of a 2016 Newbery Honor, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation.
Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, this impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck
Ok, this just sounds like a really daunting book for the middle grade category. I hope it’s not one of those children’s books that’s actually for adults. But it seems like an emotional journey and I always love ensemble casts of characters whose stories interweave together.
10. The stories of ibis by Hiroshi Yanamoto
In a world where humans are a minority and androids have created their own civilization, a wandering storyteller meets the beautiful android Ibis. She tells him seven stories of human/android interaction in order to reveal the secret behind humanity’s fall. The story takes place centuries in the future, where the diminished populations of humans live uncultured lives in their own colonies. They resent the androids, who have built themselves a stable and cultural society. In this brutal time, our main character travels from colony to colony as a “storyteller,” one that speaks of the stories of the past. One day, he is abducted by Ibis, an android in the form of a young girl, and told of the stories created by humans in the ancient past.
The stories that Ibis speaks of are the 7 novels about the events surrounding the announcements of the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in the 20th to 21st centuries. At a glance, these stories do not appear to have any sort of connection, but what is the true meaning behind them? What are Ibis’ real intentions?
I read the line “She tells him seven stories of human/android interaction in order to reveal the secret behind humanity’s fall,” and I was pretty much sold. I love any scifi that has to do with humans vs androids. I think it will be interesting to read a work of Japanese scifi since I haven’t read any although Harmony by Itoh is on my TBR.
11. The Land of 10,000 Madonnas by Kate Hattemer
Five teens backpack through Europe to fulfill the mysterious dying wish of their friend.
Jesse lives with his history professor dad in a house covered with postcards of images of the Madonna from all over the world. They’re gotten used to this life: two motherless dudes living among thousands of Madonnas. But Jesse has a heart condition that will ultimately cut his life tragically short. Before he dies, he arranges a mysterious trip to Europe for his three cousins, his best friend, and his girlfriend to take after he passes away. It’s a trip that will forever change the lives of these young teens and one that will help them come to terms with Jesse’s death.
For someone who loves spontaneous travel and going to new places, I don’t know why I don’t read more road trip books. This one is a road trip book but it first caught my eye because again, I have a weakness for books with ensemble casts especially if the characters are friends.
12. Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden
Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought. . . .
On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen soon learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny, or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive
I’ve been really in the mood for a middle grade fantasy and this one sounds sooo good but I was initially drawn in because of the stellar early reviews saying it might be the next Percy Jackson which I’m skeptical about but who knows.
13. The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas and Antonio Caparo
In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery’s pocket and touched the wizard’s locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who or what is stealing the city of Wellmet’s magic.
This one sounds a lot like the Septimus series by Angie Sage which I really liked. And also you can’t really go wrong with magic and wizards and adventure.
14. The Story of my Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
I was born in Pachuca, the Beautiful Windy City, with four premature teeth and my body completely covered in a very fine coat of fuzz. But I’m grateful for that inauspicious start because ugliness, as my other uncle, Eurípides López Sánchez, was given to saying, is character forming.
Highway is a late-in-life world traveler, yarn spinner, collector, and legendary auctioneer. His most precious possessions are the teeth of the “notorious infamous” like Plato, Petrarch, and Virginia Woolf. Written in collaboration with the workers at a Jumex juice factory, Teeth is an elegant, witty, exhilarating romp through the industrial suburbs of Mexico City and Luiselli’s own literary influences.
I think I want to read this book based on the sheer eccentricity of the synopsis but I think it will surprise me. It was nominated for the Best Translated Book Award and I think it was translated from Spanish? but I’m not sure. Either way, I think it’ll be a new experience.
This is Part one so look out for part two sometime next week. If you have any recent additions to your TBR you think I should check it out, tell me so I can add it to my 700+ TBR list. I obviously need more books to read. Obviously.