This week‘s topic / April 19: Bookish Merchandise I’d Love to Own
I am not into bookish merchandize at all. Bah humbug! There was a time when I owned a ton of bookmarks, but I gave most of them away, as I largely read ebooks these days. I have all the coffee mugs I need and plenty of socks and cosy blankets for my comfy sofa. So, what could make my reading experience better?
Quick brainstorm… a nicer bookshelf, a lazy chair, a better reading light for that chair, more comfortable in-ear headphones, a new living room carpet in bright colours, a watertight kindle could come in handy… and, yes, ok, that bookmark with the rubberband I used to have was really useful.
I know what bookshelf I want. Or rather the maker—it‘s an Austrian company called Team 7. They custom make sustainable, natural wood furniture. Very pretty, very expensive.
If I wasn‘t so lazy, I would be visiting furniture stores and search for more affordable alternatives. Something upmarket in solid wood though.
Ok, so, reading chair… I was toying with the idea of an electrical lazy chair, but I don‘t want any cables lying around. So that idea is shelved for now. My doc recommended an old-fashioned, straight backed grandfather armchair—better for my back and that slipped disc. With a footstool? This is definitely something that requires a lot of test sitting. I was at IKEA with a friend recently and let me tell you, those chairs are not necessarily as comfy as they look.
How about a colourful option?
Yes, yes, I need to get off my lazy butt and start visiting furniture stores…. All right, now about that reading lamp. I have quite a nice one in a retro look, but I don‘t think it would fit that armchair. I think I am ready for something new. Maybe something more utilitarian? The first one is what I currently have:
Carpet… well, will have to wait until I have decided on the chair. I was aiming for something very colourful, which I would need to rethink, if I go for an armchair with a flower print! What is the connection between reading and a carpet, you ask? Nice atmosphere!
My current in-ear headphones still do their job, but the sound could be better. I am contemplating those thingies from Bose…. and, yes, the new kindle…
Last week‘s topic / April 12: Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To (Submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse)
Well, let‘s have a look at the more recent additions to my want-to-read pile and books lingering on my TBR pile of owned books….
(covers are linked to the books in Goodreads)
Seanan McGuire is definitely high on my list of authors I want to read. I have the first five books of Wayward Children lined up and ready to go, I just need to find the opportunity to squeeze them in somewhere…
Another one is Elizabeth Bear. I keep thinking that I have read something by her, alas I can‘t pinpoint what it might have been. I have Ancestral Night on my TBR pile…
A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.
I own two anthologies where she has contributed as well. And Tor offers some glimpses at her work.
Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.
What‘s not to like about that?
That‘s it for today, back to enjoying the sunshine and reading my vampire book….
Thisweek‘s topic / March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title
Tricky topic. Lets see what I can did up on my shelf. For variety‘s sake I‘ll start with the books I added to my shelves last and work backwards…
Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings — my latest NetGalley addition: Two Ships. One Chance To Save The Future. Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space
The Art of Cursive Penmanship: A Personal Handwriting Program for Adults by Michael R. Sull — A practice guide to improve one‘s handwriting. We start with a discourse on the history and technicalities of handwriting. There is instructions on the correct sitting posture, how to place the paper, how to use your writing implement, on fountain pens and so on. Chapter 5 is the beginning of the practical part. That‘s roughly where I am right now. Haven‘t started with the exercises yet…
Ancestral Night (White Space, #1) by Elizabeth Bear — not quite sure why I added this one to my stack: A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear.
Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes — this was a buddy read that I skipped. Everybody really liked it, so I got it after all: Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn’t yet ended.
The Black Coast (The God-King Chronicles, #1) by Mike Brooks — another buddy read that I skipped and my reading buddies all loved it: When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them because they know who is coming: for generations, the keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Tjakorsha. Saddling their war dragons, Black Keep’s warriors rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own land by a daemonic despot who prophesises the end of the world, the raiders come in search of a new home . . .
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — I like the original fairytale and the cover is pretty, so I couldn‘t resist: Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control.
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days by Alastair Reynolds — two novelettes set in Revelation Space. And the blurb of one of them is something aquatic. I had to get it: In the seas of Turquoise live the Pattern Jugglers, the amorphous, aquatic organisms capable of preserving the memories of any human swimmer who joins their collective consciousness. Naqi Okpik devoted her life to studying these creatures—and paid a high price for swimming among them.
Digital Divide (Rachel Peng, #1) by K.B. Spangler — not quite sure why I picked this one. Genre bender with cyborgs: Rachel Peng misses the Army. Her old life in Criminal Investigation Command hadn’t been easy, but she had enjoyed it. Now, as the first cyborg liaison to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police, Rachel is usually either bored senseless or is fighting off harassment from her coworkers.
Yes, not 100% certain that those are all adjectives… *shrugs*
What interesting reads have you added to your shelves recently?
The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple by Sean Gibson — A bard walks in on a dark elf dealing cards to a beholder, a mind flayer, a demon, a grouchy-looking wizard, and what is either a vampire or a really pale guy with an unfortunate widow’s peak….
Cross of St. George (Richard Bolitho, #24) by Alexander Kent, Douglas Reeman — February 1813: As American privateers pick off British and Canadian ships in the wake of the War of 1812, Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho returns to Halifax to defend Crown property. In the cold waters off Nova Scotia, he fights fruitless skirmishes with men of the frontier, all the while longing for peace.
Brunelleschi’s Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence by Ross King — Even in an age of soaring skyscrapers and cavernous sports stadiums, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence still retains a rare power to astonish. Yet the elegance of the building belies the tremendous labour, technical ingenuity and bitter personal strife involved in its creation.
Umlac’s Legacy (Entangled Galaxy Book 2) by Jim Meeks-Johnson — When Lt. Jade Mahelona defeated the cyborg Umlac, she inherited his interstellar kingdom—and made herself a target. Her new subjects are two-ton blobs who know that if they hunt her down and kill her, they get to take her place. She takes refuge with the reclusive Elliquine who adopt her into their herd and use her as their liaison to other species.
Well, I have some very suspicious offerings on this list. Maybe I shouldn‘t be surprised that some of them have been stuck on my TBR pile of owned books for a long time.
Thisweek‘s topic / January 25: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021
I generally read more new-to-me-authors these days than known ones. I used to read series after series, but have changed my reading habits in the last few years. I already posted my Top Ten Tuesday—the ten best books of 2021 and I will not mention those books again. Funnily enough those were mostly known-to-me-authors. Oh well.
Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy, #1) by Tade Thompson wasn‘t quite as good for me. An alien lands on Earth, burrows into the ground and presents as a illuminated dome. We follow Kaaro, a „sensitive“, in the employ of some shady secret agency. His life story is told in three separate timelines, set around the biodome. He is a thief, he is sexist, he felt like a clueless, self-centered, mysoginistic idiot to me. I can appreciate the inventive world building, but the rest was a slog.
Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler — short story. A human colony living as little more than slaves, joined to an insectoid race. Love, possesiveness and self-sacrifice are themes. Butler voices her surprise in the afterword, that readers see this as a story of slavery. But are we looking at symbiosis or at a parasitic relationship? Is it really consent in a situation, where your personal rights have been curtailed and there are no equal rights? I think not.
Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) by Octavia E. Butler — Lilith wakes up into a world of bipeds reminiscent of Cthullu with a touch of octopus biology. The world as she knows it has ended, the Onkali have rescued her and other humans. A classic. It was ok, but I won‘t continue with the series.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur — A queer rom-com debut with a social media astrologer. Give me a break! And Darcy, an actuary, her terrible blind date, is a total bitch (at first). Gorgeous though. Fake relationship trope! Well written, very readable. Oh, this is supposed to be a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I didn‘t see it, to be honest, besides the first name.
Becoming by Michelle Obama — Michelle Obama‘s memoir, from her early childhood to the end of her second term as FLOTUS. Entertaining.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell — potential m/m romance in an SF setting, marriage of convenience, potentially a murder mystery and court intrigue, hints of space opera.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badge — YA. UF/magical realism, set in our place and time, with ghosts, vampires and fae added to the mix. Author and female main character are Lipan Apache. Ellie is 17 years old and has the power to call animal ghosts into being.
The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter — the author covers a vast amount of linguistic topics. The author‘s casual dismissal of places and people outside of the US was a bit irritating at times. It was interesting.
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron — Enjoyable, humorous, not too silly and not too much drama. There is baking and sourdough starter and delicious Indian/East African food… If you are looking for a book that represents Islam and Muslim life, this is not it. If you are looking for light romance and great food though, you are bang on.
Thisweek‘s topic / January 18: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To
I changed that “excited to read“ to „added to my want-to-read“. Excited is a strong word. Those that I was excited about I pre-ordered and read in 2021. As I am very, very stingy with adding books to my want-to-read-shelf, I ended up with just another 10 books. And here they are:
The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott — „A gripping novel of myth, environment, adventure, and an unlikely friendship, from an award-winning Australian author“ — I have no idea why this is on my shelf. Pretty cover. Deleted.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley — YA mystery. Not really my thing. But my reading buddies loved it and it sounds tempting enough. I guess this part of the blurb did it: “Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman)“. Because I quite liked a book by a different author from an Anishinaabe community, Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. Does not really make sense, I know.
We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker — „about one family and the technology that divides them“ — contemporary setting, about a brain implant that helps to get ahead. Not sure about this one, deleted.
The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott — a nice sounding piece of chicklit. Mother dies, last wish is for her daughter to finish her final book in a bestselling series. Possible shenanigans. I might keep it for now.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — another YA. A retelling of The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, one of my favourite fairytales. Or The Six Swans by the Brothers Grimm. I am actually not sure which one, they are almost the same thing. Anyway, it tempted me.
Glimmer by Marjorie B Kellogg — „This new cli-fi epic chronicles a future NYC wracked by climate change and follows the individuals who must make the most of what remains to survive.“ — or should I rather go for Kim Stanley Robinson? This one here sounds like more fun.
Noor by Nnedi Okorafor — „From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.“ — I still haven‘r read anything by Okorafor. Or should I rather start with Binti?
Thisweek‘s topic / January 11: Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection
We don‘t give a lot of Christmas presents in my family (aka my parents) and if I get any, it‘s not usually books. My family doesn‘t know what to give me, specfic is in a whole other universe for them. Plus I do not read in my mother tongue, which makes it even more puzzling for them. And gift cards or vouchers are a no-no. So, here are the last 10 books I gave myself!
We were talking comfort reading / easy reading in my favourite specfic group, aka my online home. And this was recommended. Emergency Room in Space with imaginative, non-humanoid aliens. Sounds like a win to me!
It was so good! I just had to get the books. Ok, ok, friends told me that this doesn‘t have much to do with the books. I guess I will find out for myself, once the book gets here. I wanted to support my local and ordered this English-language hardback edition from my tiny German bookstore around the corner. It’s going to take a while. But I‘m not in a hurry.
PS: Lee Pace takes off his shirt A LOT! But seriously, the photography / CGI of the TV adaptation is excellent. The acting is great as well. I hope there will be a second season!
I used to read his books a lot, back when he hit the scene. I really liked his hyperative, high-octane and plot-driven military adventure yarns. Good fun for low brain power. These two shorts/novelettes were for free for Kindle, so I grabbed them to find out, if I still like his style.
In the suspense-charged tradition of Patricia Cornwell, Anna Salter draws from her professional expertise to introduce forensic psychologist Michael Stone, a sharply witty, courageous heroine who champions the victims of the most devastating crimes.
I received a free epub (in German) from my local bookshop for Christmas via their online shop. No idea if I will ever read it. It does sound a bit like Patricia Cornwell, which is not a bad things. I used to like her series ages ago.
Same as above, I received a free epub (in German) from my local bookshop for Christmas via their online shop. I am very dubious about this one.
Sweeping through the pivotal events of twentieth-century America, The Sight of the Stars chronicles four generations of one remarkable family as they journey through years of love, loss, sacrifice, and unimaginable betrayal.
Not really my thing. I am tempted to kick this off my shelf again right away. We‘ll see.
Wow, I got all of those books since Christmas Day. No wonder that my TBR pile isn‘t getting smaller. I checked, before this there were 20 days where I didn‘t get anything new to read… 🙄
Have you added anything good to your shelves recently?
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir — Mark Watney in space! And he sciences the sh*t out of his situation… so, yes, very much reminiscent of The Martian. And then some. I loved it and could barely put it down. So much fun!
The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1) by Alastair Reynolds — On the surface this comes along as a police procedural in a SF setting. Dreyfus is a cop with a strong moral code of right and wrong, committed to justice. My first association was Miller from The Expanse, with a bit of Blade Runner and minus any projectile weapons. Space opera, ultimately, with the many and very varied habitats of the Glitter Band, artificial intelligences, body modifications, uplifted mammals, many political systems, states of being and an elaborate polling system — fascinating!
David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — Gods have rained down on Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. We enter the story some time later, into the dystopian society that has developed here in the aftermath. David Mogo, our 1st person narrator, is a demi-god working as an illegal godhunter. An old wizard with dubious morals sends David Mogo off to catch two high gods, Taiwo and Kehinde. David is in need of money to fix his roof, so off he goes, despite his misgivings about this wizard. Obviously things don’t go as expected.
Revelation (Matthew Shardlake, #4) by C.J. Sansom — Historically pretty sound, as far as I can tell. Very homogenous. Full of suspense towards the end, could not put it down anymore. The murders are gruesome and reminiscent of a famous 90s movie. With the context of Henry VIII, his dissolution of the monasteries and the religious upheaval of that time it works well.
The Whale Library by Zidrou, Judith Vanistendael — Pretty watercolours, a mature story about a whale who contains a large library, a postman delivering sea mail, his wife and a smattering of sailors, pirates, fish, sea turtles, octopi and more…
Besides this one I also read some very good more traditional graphic novels. But that probably needs another entry…
I first read this as an online serial on Ilona Andrews’ website, which took most of 2016. I had fun reading the weekly bits and agonizing over them with my reading buddies. However, reading a finished book in one go is a more cohesive affair. It runs smoother, you can read as long as you want, no waiting for the next gripping bit. Also more editing and small improvements on various details. Plus a maturer rating.
“Look, it can be fast, good, or cheap. You can have any two but never all three.”
Great fun! I almost read it in a day. Our heroine is a bounty hunter for all things that go bump in the night. There are shapeshifters, vampires, bridge trolls, the fey… Nothing really unusual or terribly new, but an entertaining read nonetheless, if you like Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs or Carrie Vaughn.
Another attempt to make headway with this series. I got a very nice hardback edition. Starts with chapter 27 of the book, Shelter From the Storm, and ends with chapter 34 of the book, The Last Village.
Very close to the book. The artwork is nothing breath taking, but well done. Especially the cover gallery in the back has some very nice images.
This takes place roughly in the middle of The Eye of The World, which dragged for me. The pacing of the comic is not much different. I liked it, but it didn‘t tempt me to get another volume right away. If I saw some WoT comics in a second hand store at a reduced price, maybe…
Framboise is running a creperie in a small village in rural France. She spent her childhood years during WWII in this village, but nobody knows that. She now lives under another name, to protect a dark secret in her past. One day her nephew and his wife appear at her doorstep, to ask for the use of her name and recipes. When she refuses – to protect her true identity – she quickly realises that they will stop at nothing to get those recipes. But she is not easily defeated. And while she struggles against her nephew, she tells us her story….. Very good book, recommended! Great storytelling.
Unusual, as it is one of the rare books where Jack Ryan is not the main character. John Clark is not as black and white and makes for an interesting character. There is the usual body count and a lot of gadgets, all in all a solid thriller.
I have the seen the movie several times, it is one of my favourite Sherlock Holmes movies.
This is a very close retelling of the story. The dramtic chase and the big reveal of Holmes’ secret at the end are well done, as well as the artwork. An enjoyable read and a surprising take on the life of the great detective. Sherlock Holmes fans should not miss this.
I really wanted to like this, but after spending ages getting past the first 50 pages I decided to give up. The great thing about travel literature is the things that happen on the way. But as far as I got, the main thing was going up the mountain, over the mountain, down the mountain…. And I did not think the descriptions of the most likely stunning scenery were very good either. Very disappointing.
I‘m Groot! Interesting. I liked it, fascinating take on evolution and alien invasion, great character development. I felt with LT and almost cried with him at the end. Not sure if I am a fan of that quasi open ending.
My NetGalley version only consisted of the introduction and the first two chapters: How to get into space cheaply and asteroid mining. Once I realized that, I mostly skimmed and just perused a bit here and there.
Entertaining, amusing style, that borders on slightly silly. Amusing, very simple comic strips—I recommend reading the ebook version on something that allows colour. Easy to understand explanations of complex topics. Space elevators, reusable rockets, Elon Musk and the odd Star Trek joke make an appearance.
It‘s ok, if you are looking for something light to flick through, when you have a few minutes to spare. Coffee table reading, mostly decorative.
So this week is about places we love to read in. Back in the days before Covid-19 (B.C.), I frequently travelled on business and it was trains, planes and automobiles. Airports especially—reading whilst waiting before check-in, waiting at the gate, waiting in the tunnel to the plane, in the plane, in front of the luggage belt… you get the picture. The last time I boarded a plane was in December 2019. That is the longest time between flights since my first ever flight. Next week I will go on holiday via train. Fingers crossed the train conductors will not go on strike again. Plenty of reading time on that train ride! In the meantime, you are wondering why I am telling you all this. Well, I looked at my recently deleted photos and my Instagram of the last few months and you know what? I took a lot of photos of my current read with breakfast…
But the place where I read the most is my bed, just before going to sleep. No photos of that, sorry! Here is the second most used place, my sofas!
Then there is my balcony and my parents‘ balcony—we like to be outside, so a lot of reading happens there, if the weather is warm enough…
Then there is snacktime—a very important event…
And there is reading with coffee, more breakfast, light lunch and just standing around for no good reason and reading…
Not terribly exciting, but it‘s the kind of year I had. Not exactly a proper TTT either, but… *shrugs*… off to read…