Happy New Year!

It’s that time again, the time when I look back on my year of reading and think, “I could have done better.” Not that my year of reading was bad; actually, I’ve read a ton of awesome books this year, including some potential faves forever. But, you know, I could have not read that one terrible book or I could have read more books in translation or I could have listened to more audiobooks or whatever. It happens.

I’m also looking back on my year of blogging and thinking, “Goodness, it’s like I haven’t been here at all!” I was all sorts of energetic last January, even reserving the right to become more ambitious with the blog! Oh, how I laugh at my one-year-younger self. She’s so precious.

Obviously I’m terrible at resolutions, so I’m just going to say that this year I plan to keep on reading and keep on letting you guys know what I think about the things I read, and if inspiration strikes I may write other things from time to time. I think I can handle that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, I’d better get started on writing about all the books I read while on winter break, so for now I will leave you with this list of five books that I read in 2012 that you should absolutely go read right now if you haven’t already.

The List
1. Gone Girl. All your friends have read it, so even if you hate it (which I hear is possible), at least you’ll be able to hate it loudly with other people?
2. The Fault in Our Stars. Because you need to have read a John Green book in your life, and this one’s probably the most universal.
3. A Confederacy of Dunces. The inanity of the book will break your brain, but it will make you feel much better about your own life.
4. The Man from Primrose Lane. This book will also break your brain, but in a completely different way.
5. The Phantom Tollbooth. I read the annotated version this year, but you can skip that and go straight to the unadulterated original, which is far and away my favorite book ever.

Books That Followed Me Home

I haven’t done a “Books I Put on Hold” post in a while, largely because we haven’t been cataloging many books since the end of the fiscal year. Now they’re coming back full force, which is awesome! This time I’m not leaving them on hold forever, because then I forget why I was excited about them in the first place, so I do actually have a small stack of books to talk about today. Let’s see what they are!

The Joy of X, by Steven Strogatz. I actually put this book on the purchasing list for my academic library, but I can check it out longer from the public library so that’s where I got it! I’m a sucker for math and and especially popular math (see: The Drunkard’s Walk), and this book promises to tell me how best to flip my mattress and how many people I should have dated before I got married — I hope that answer won’t get me in trouble with Scott. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m excited for this one.

11/22/63, by Stephen King. I’m less excited for this one because it’s so dang long, but I’m reading it for my book club and they’re all saying that it’s fantastic and goes quickly, so fingers crossed! Even though I’ve developed a new appreciation for Mr. King since the last time he infiltrated my book club, I’m not sure I care enough about JFK to get into this one. I guess I’ll find out in a couple weeks!

How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. You won’t see a post about cookbooks around here, because I’ve never figured out how to talk about them. “These recipes look yummy!” “I made two of these recipes and one was pretty okay!” Yeah, that sounds terrible. But I do read them, and every once in a while I get around to making a recipe out of one, and sometimes they’re decent! And this one looks especially awesome, because in addition to the recipes it also tells you, well, how to cook everything so that it comes out the way it’s supposed to. I can’t guarantee I’ll do it right anyway, but now I’ll have a fighting chance. ๐Ÿ™‚

Locke & Key, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. This is a book I’ve been avoiding because I’m not so well-versed in the horror-y things, but I read a lot of blogs and listen to a lot of podcasts and this series has come up a lot recently with Hallowe’en and all. If fall ever comes back to Florida (today’s high: 77), I may grab some hot chocolate and try this one out.

The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Emma Thompson. I… love Emma Thompson. I also read all of Beatrix Potter’s books as a child. Is there anything else to say about this one?

What do you guys have stacked up this week?

RIP TV

Hello blog friends! I feel like I’ve been absent forever, even though it’s only been a couple weeks. I haven’t been doing much book-reading, so I haven’t had anything to talk about!

Except that, oh, right, it’s RIP time and I totally have things to talk about! My lack of books lately stems partly from the fact that I have been kind of obsessively watching television, and luckily for me said television is totally RIP-appropriate. Here’s a synopsis of what’s been invading my brain lately (possible spoilers if you haven’t seen these things yet!):

Doctor Who
omg Doctor Who. I was a little nervous going into this half-season because it had been so long since the end of the last one, and because I knew that the format was going to be very different — standalone episodes rather than the giant season-long arc that I enjoyed so much last time. And indeed, I was a little iffy on the relative shallowness of the stories, but at the same time it was nice not to have any cliffhangers! Of the five episodes, I’d have to say my favorites were the first, Asylum of the Daleks, and the last, The Angels Take Manhattan. Asylum I liked largely for the character played by Jenna Louise Coleman, who will be back at Christmas to play the new companion. If said companion is anything like Oswin, or is somehow Oswin (you never know with this show), I will be very very delighted. Angels, on the other hand, I liked for all the most RIP-y reasons, like mystery and noir and time travel and scary Weeping Angels. The only downside is that both Scott and I were very very sad for about two days after watching this episode. Strangely, that just makes me like this show even more…

Eureka
I had tried to watch this show maybe a couple of years ago, but I didn’t make it past the first two episodes. They were okay, but not something I was super-interested in. Even when I started seeing star Colin Ferguson everywhere, and found out that Cool People Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day were involved, I was like, maybe. Then Scott got a hold of it and watched two and a half seasons in seemingly no time at all, and I was like, hey, wait, let me catch up to you and we can watch it together! And, yes, the first few episodes were still only kind of okay, but two seasons in I am hooked. I really like the characters and the way they interact with each other, I am amused by the weird and implausible science, and I like the way the show has several different large mysteries to solve so that it’s always making progress on something. I wouldn’t call this great television, but it is fun and absorbing and often delightful.

Supernatural
Okay, so I’m not really technically watching this show, but Scott is (are we noticing a pattern here?), and so I’ve overheard a lot of it while doing other things. I really did not like the first few seasons of this show, and so avoided it, but Scott showed me some of the funnier and meta episodes (i.e. one that takes place at basically a Supernatural convention, one that manages to takes place on the set of Supernatural) and I thought those were wonderful. The show does funny really well; I watched in full a few episodes toward the end of last season that involved a main character being possessed by Lucifer, but instead of Lucifer being, like, standard evil, he was more like little-brother evil, singing terrible songs and being generally annoying. This season I’m back to overhearing things, but maybe once they get rid of the teenager (or bring back Misha Collins, my favorite!) I’ll be interested again.

Got any more fun and/or weird shows for me to watch? My books might not thank you, but I will!

Books I Put on Hold This Week

This week’s theme is apparently “Books I Do Not Know Anything About.” But that’s okay, because sometimes it’s the books I go into blindly that end up being the awesomest! (She said, optimistically.)

Shadow ShowShadow Show, ed. by Sam Weller. Well, so, first of all, who can resist that cover? Very cool. Second of all, who can resist the call of Ray Bradbury? Not these authors, apparently, and since I love me some Atwood, Gaiman, and Niffenegger, I can’t imagine I’m not going to have a fun time with this collection. And it’s a perfect read for RIP! Isn’t serendipity wonderful?

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. I think I had vaguely heard of this novel when it came out, but I had no interest in it at the time. Then I saw a blurb about the upcoming movie in an Entertainment Weekly I had bought to stave of airport boredom, and the movie looked kind of weird and not like something I would really want to see. But then I saw that the book apparently goes back and forth between time and narrator and I was like, oh, reeeaally? I am such a sucker for that, and I’m more willing to put up with weird in books than movies, so I guess I can give this one a try!

The Prisoner of HeavenThe Prisoner of Heaven, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Okay, seriously, I can’t tell you anything about this one, except that I loved Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and thought The Angel’s Game was pretty okay, and so therefore I am reading this one. Okay, let me cheat and go look up a summary… aha! Our friend Daniel from the first novel is back in his rightful spot as protagonist, and I am promised a “mysterious stranger” and a “dangerous adventure.” Well, that settles that.

What are you guys waiting for this week?

Books I Put on Hold This Week

Wow, I feel like I haven’t been around here in ages! I just got back from a fantastic tiny-cruise-ship vacation to Glacier Bay in Alaska, which I must say I highly recommend, largely because I was too busy having fun to get any reading done. Weeeellllll, okay, I did read quite a bit, but it was in The Stand, so even though I read like 500 pages I am far from finishing that one. ๐Ÿ™‚

But mostly I was doing this:

Kayaking in front of Lamplugh Glacier
No big.

Anyway, my point is that when I got back to the library there were tons of new books to put on hold, and so I did just that! Here is a sampling of interesting things:

The InvestigationThe Investigation, by Philippe Claudel. Well, so, first, that cover! So cool. And then there was the description, which sounds incredibly boring: “The Investigator is a man quite like any other. He is balding, of medium build, dresses conservativelyโ€”in short, he is unremarkable in every way. … The Investigator’s train is delayed, and when he finally arrives, there’s no one to pick him up at the station. It is alternating rain and snow, it’s getting late, and there are no taxis to be seen.” Are you yawning yet? But the book jacket also promises me something akin to Kafka, Beckett, and Huxley, so I’m pretty sure that tedium is going to lead to something quite intriguing.

The Other Woman's HouseThe Other Woman’s House, by Sophie Hannah. I feel like I’ve heard of Sophie Hannah before, and I feel like whatever I heard of her made me not want to read her stuff. If that’s the case, don’t tell me, because this book sounds really interesting and I’d like to give it a fair shot. In this one, some lady is browsing real estate listings when she comes across an image of a horribly dead person in one of the houses. But when she tries to show someone else the picture, it’s mysteriously devoid of dead body. What the what?? Tell me more!

Other Worlds Than TheseOther Worlds Than These, by John Joseph Adams. I love me some parallel world stories, and someday I am going to read another short story collection — hey, maybe it’ll be this one! I love the theme, and I am intrigued to see what these authors have to offer. I obviously enjoy me some Stephen King, but I’m more excited about the authors I’ve been meaning to get around to reading but haven’t: George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. LeGuin, Catherynne M. Valente.

What books or kayaking adventures are you looking forward to this week?

Books I Put on Hold This Week

Okay, none of these are technically from this week, because there haven’t been a lot of books coming through cataloging lately and also I’ve been busy reading actual books, what? Craziness.

RedshirtsRedshirts, by John Scalzi. This is one from a while ago that I thought I’d have devoured by now, but it hasn’t even been delivered to my library yet so who knows. I actually had a dream the other night that I bought the book when I found it unexpectedly in paperback (I love me some trade paperbacks), and was a little disappointed when I woke up! Why do I want this one? Well, it’s John Scalzi, whom I love for Zoe’s Tale and the rest of the Old Man’s War series, doing a parody of Star Trek and its friends. Red shirts, people, what could possibly go wrong?

BlackbirdsBlackbirds, by Chuck Wendig. Just look at that cover! It’s so pretty! Also, the plot — there’s a girl who can see how people die, and she meets a dude whose death is gruesome and murder-ful and while he’s dying he’s calling her name. She’s all whatever about other people dying, but when she might be the next victim, she starts to care a bit.

Gone GirlGone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. So I read Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, a couple years back, and it was icky and gross and weird and I didn’t particularly like it. But I did like the writing, and I was willing to give her another chance (though I never did), and I’ve heard so many good things about this book from people I trust that I guess it’s time to hang out with Flynn again.

What are you guys waiting on?

Books I Put on Hold This Week

I have this pile of books in my house and I don’t even want to read anything out of it. I mean, I do, but not enough to actually pick up a book and open it. I need an exciting book in my life… perhaps one of these will do?

Broken HarborBroken Harbor, by Tana French. Seriously, is it the end of June yet? I absolutely loved French’s books, and though I was underwhelmed by the third because of its different tone, I am more than willing to give French another chance. If you haven’t read any of French’s previous books, you’re in luck, as this “series” is more a collection of standalone books with common characters, so you’ll be coming into the book with about as much knowledge as anyone else.

The Man from Primrose LaneThe Man from Primrose Lane, by James Renner. I actually put this on hold a while ago, but apparently I never mentioned it! I saw this cover and I was like, hmmm, interesting, okay, but then I saw that this book is set in my beloved Northeast Ohio and it was over, I was sold. Well, okay, it also helped that it’s a mystery and apparently a bit sci-fi as well, and that the title character is apparently a man who wears mittens all the time. You know I like a weirdo.

This Is HowThis Is How, by Augusten Burroughs. I know next to nothing about Augusten Burroughs, but Amazon’s Omnivoracious blog had a few “Ask Augusten” columns by him last month and the answers he gave were highly amusing and useful. So when This is How ended up in my hands for cataloging, I was like, fine, universe, I’ll read this book. Eventually.

What are you guys waiting on?

Books I Put on Hold This Week

I say this week, but I really mean “at some point since the last time I did this.” You know how it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dead HarvestDead Harvest, by Chris Holm. I absolutely loved the cover on this one, which is all fancy and retro and cool. And then it had an awesome back-cover description about a guy what collects souls and takes them to Hell, except for this one time when he’s like, how about not this girl? The jacket doesn’t say, but I’m guessing this involves a little bit of running and adventure and badassery. We shall see!

ImagineImagine, by Jonah Lehrer. I read another one of Lehrer’s books a couple years ago, and I found it pretty interesting if repetitive. I imagine (ha!) this book will go the same way, but I’m intrigued to learn more about creativity and imagination and chemist bartenders and autistic surfers.

Let's Pretend This Never HappenedLet’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson. I probably could have read this book already if I hadn’t put myself on the audiobook list, but like many humorous memoirs before it, I feel the need to hold out for the author-read version. I am continually amused by Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to adore this.

What are you guys waiting on this week?

Books I Put on Hold This Week

I have too many things on hold. I’ve had to actually wait for books to come in so that I can free up space on my holds list! (I definitely didn’t add a few things surreptitiously using my override code…) This is good, though, since I was running out of things to read at home. Well, where “running out of” means “only having several.” Look, I’m just going to stop contradicting myself and tell you what cool books I’ve found recently.

Wild ThingWild Thing, by Josh Bazell. Well, I mean, really, I had to. I rather enjoyed his first novel, Beat the Reaper, and this second novel once again follows the erstwhile Pietro Brnwa and I have got to see what happens to him next. This one promises a “sexy paleontologist,” which, blech, but with any luck we’ll see her tearing out someone’s, um, lower-leg bone (tibia? fibula? I never took A&P shutup). And if you don’t know what I’m talking about go read Beat the Reaper right now. You probably won’t be disappointed.

GirlchildGirlchild, by Tupelo Hassman. I may have been ready to sneak this one onto the order list for my academic library if my public library didn’t hurry up and add it to theirs. We’ll never know, because they did and now it’s on my holds list. I have basically no idea what this book is about, but I do know that the protagonist is a girl who keeps checking the Girl Scout handbook out of the library and as a lifetime member of that wonderful organization you know I’m intrigued. It’s also apparently about class and overcoming adversity but blah blah whatever Girl Scouts rule!

The Gone-Away WorldThe Gone-Away World, by Nick Harkaway. This is another book I don’t know much about, but I have heard so many good things about Harkaway’s new book that’s coming out, Angelmaker, and even though I’m pretty sure they have nothing to do with one another I’m still compelled to read the first book first. It’s a disease, I know. Besides, I just looked it up and The Gone-Away World promises “love, pirates, mimes, greed, and ninjas.” I’m in.

Books I Put on Hold This… Month

True story: I got to work the other day and was summoned to the branch next door, where the books I check out wait for me. Apparently there’s a list of things that have been on hold for more than 60 days without being filled and my name was on it several times. The circulation supervisor was like, “Are you having problems getting your books?” and I was like, “No, I just like to put things on hold and then suspend them,” and she was like, “That’s fair; also this book you have on hold sounds interesting so I put a hold on it, too!” Darn tootin’.

Anyway, I haven’t put a lot of stuff on hold since the last time I did this post like a month and change ago, because I am trying to if not succeeding in reading all these dang books I have checked out. But here are a few things I found of interest:

No One Is Here Except All of UsNo One Is Here Except All of Us, by Ramona Ausubel. This is one that I cataloged; I was intrigued by the cover and title but turned off by the World War II subject heading because there are just so many of those books and I’ve read a lot of them. But then I read the description, which told me that the story takes place in remote Romania and features an eleven-year-old girl and a “mysterious stranger” and I was like, okay book, you win.

Blueprints of the AfterlifeBlueprints of the Afterlife, by Ryan Boudinot. I heard about this book on a recent Bookrageous podcast, and as soon as I heard “senient glacier” I was sold. There’s also apparently an Olympic champion of dishwashing and a dead clone or two and it’s post-apocalyptic and aside from the fact that I don’t have it in front of me I’m not sure why I’m not reading it right now.

Lifespan of a FactLifespan of a Fact, by John D’Agata and Jim Fingal. I have seen this book almost literally everywhere because it’s so insane โ€” it’s the story of a guy who wrote an ostensibly non-fiction article for The Believer and the other guy assigned to fact check it. Normally not an exciting thing, I’d imagine, but in this case the non-fiction article was more of an essay very loosely based upon a possibly true story, and so the fact checking took a while. Like, years. I’ve heard mixed things about this book, but I’m definitely interested in checking it out.