Monday, June 20, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Wish I felt better edition

As far as I'm concerned, there are few things worse that feeling ill on a Monday.  I was sick all weekend.  :-(  So, this Monday I'm indulging myself with an entire series of puppy in the mailbox photos.  They almost make me feel better.  Hopefully you'll enjoy them, too.

  • Speaking of not feeling well, I was a bit premature when I pronounced my sister and new nephew well last week.  My family had failed to keep me in the loop.  Grrr.  The baby is reasonably well, but my sister could use some healing energy sent her way, if you've got any to spare.
  • Ann Patchett's event at Bookshop West Portal was awesome!  I've got some fun video to post later this week.  And, I got to run into my friends Sue and Rachel at the signing, which proves that Ms. Patchett attracts all the best people.
  • On Thursday night, I wound up having dinner with Jacob and Rina Weisman of Tachyon Books, and novelist Michael Kurland and his wife Linda.  Lovely couples both.
  • On tap this week, my face-to-face book group meets tomorrow night.  I run it, so unless I'm at death's door, I'll be there.
  • And guess who I'll be spending this coming weekend with?  James "Jimbo" Rollins, whose book The Devil Colony goes on sale tomorrow.  At long overdue last, I'll be posting a review today.  And Jimbo doesn't know it yet, but I'll have my borrowed video camera on-hand as we hang out all weekend.
  • Speaking of James Rollins, he's having an online world-wide book release party for The Devil Colony.  Details can be found here.  They're calling it Dance with the Devil, and if I can get the energy together, I'll be there wearing the light up devil horns given to me by author Joe Hill (on the occasion of the release of his novel Horns).  Pics if it happens.
  • Also, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I've recently joined the Twitterverse.  You know how I'm always a month behind blogging about interesting things I'm doing?  Like BEA, the Book Blogger Con, and the rest of the shows I saw in NY?  If you want to hear about stuff in real time, please follow me @SusanTunis.  I'm generally about a decade behind the rest of the planet when it comes to technology, so I'm still learning about the medium, but this would be an excellent time to follow me.  I'm off to NY again in a couple of weeks for more theater and Thrillerfest--and there is always something exciting and/or scandalous to comment on there!  (I'm not joking.)

As for what's in the mailbox, here's a loose collection of books that have come in from sources other than BEA in the recent past.  I'm sure it's incomplete.  Nonetheless...

The Devil Colony
By James Rollins
Release: June 21, 2011
Source: finished hardback from publisher
Thank you, Shawn!  I was thrilled to see this in the mailbox!  It's my very favorite book by one of my favorite authors.

Folly Beach
Dorthea Benton Frank
Release: June 14, 2011

Source: Finished hardback from publisher
I think this one will be a giveaway some week.  I may have a copy of the previous book to package with it.
by Rosamund Lupton
Release: June 7, 2011
Source: The Amazon Vine program
I'm hearing good things on this novel, and I'm looking forward to reading it!

Blood of the Reich
by William Dietrich
Release: June 28, 2011
Source: The Amazon Vine program
I've been a Dietrich fan for years, and this book feels like he's getting back to his early roots.  Ice Reich was the book that made me a fan.  I'm about halfway through this book, but I'm not sure what I think yet.  It's an enjoyable read, but how he pulls it all together will be important.

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
Release: September 13, 2011
Source: The Amazon Vine program
This debut novel has more buzz than just about any BEA title this year.  And somehow I could NOT acquire a copy at BEA.  It was a little bizzarre.  Thank goodness for my friends at Amazon.  I can't wait to read this!

Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Childrens Health
by Amy Kalafa
Release: August 18, 2011
Source: Galley from the publisher
Another future giveaway, I'm thinking close to the start of the school year.

The Devil All the Time
by Donald Ray Pollack
Release: July 12, 2011
Source: Galley from the publisher

Yay, I'm finally able to go back to my normal formatting.  I have no idea what I was doing wrong above.  Anyway, I have heard very good things about this thriller, but I suspect that it too will be given away.  So many books, so little time!

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
by Sandra Beasley
Release: July 12, 2011

Source: Galley from the publisher
Got Allergies?  This is another future giveaway title.  I have a feeling this memoir will resonate with many readers.

by Alex Shakar
Release: August 23, 2011
Source: Galley from publisher's rep

Random House has a wonderful rep who hooks me up with interesting titles.  I am completely unfamiliar with this author, and I hadn't heard about this title, but it sounds fascinating.  I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Release: August 16, 2011
Source: Galley from publisher's rep

This is the other title my rep friend brought to my attention.  I had heard of it, but I wasn't sure it was for me.  For starters, I'm not an online gamer.  However, he highlighted other aspects of the title that made it sound really interesting and unintimidating.  When it arrived at my house, I got sucked into the first chapter and had to force myself to stop reading.  It was off to an awesome start, but I have too many books I've promised to read first, and this one isn't out until August.

I know there are more books than that, but those are the ones I can remember.

Books I've read since I last reported in:

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Arcadia: Complete Summary & Analysis by Raja Sharma
Skinny by Diana Spechler
The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

(I'm just a little behind on my reviewing.)

Book's I'm currently reading:

The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein
Blood of the Reich by William Dietrich

So, I think we've proven today that puppies in mailboxes never get old.  I could post these pics all day.  Have a great week!


  1. You've got yourself a nice list of books this week! What is the Ready Player One book about? I know you mentioned online gaming, which peaked my interest.

    Also, mailbox puppies, great idea. My favorite, of course, is the corgi :)

    I haven't started any new books this week, but I am happy to say that my husband and I have recently gotten addicted to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. We've been listening to the audiobooks together and sharing them with friends. We've gotten Greg's Dad, My boss, and my boss's friend hooked.

    Hope you start feeling better!

  2. Hey April,

    Thanks! And, yes, I recently started listening to those Dresden Files audiobooks, too. I've got the third on tap waiting. Marsters does a great job reading.

    As for Ready Player One, here's the book's description:

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

    Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

    And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

    For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

    And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

    Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

    A world at stake.
    A quest for the ultimate prize.
    Are you ready?


    Me again. One of the things that was very appealing to me about Ready Player One is that the dead game designer referenced above was enamored with the decade of his teen years--the 1980's, which also happens to be the decade of MY teen years. So, this whole futuristic society is sort of obsessed with the 80's, and there are all these references throughout the book, because all the players trying to solve the puzzle are trying to get into the creator's head.

    Here's an example: In the first chapter, there was a reference to "Dogs and cats living together!" which I correctly identified as a quote from Ghostbusters. I don't know how I remembered that, but it's the trivia that makes up our lives. Anyway, I found the first chapter really engaging. I liked the voice of the first-person narrator. I hope to get back to it as soon as I knock a few more books off the TBR.

    Meanwhile, those puppies WERE a pick-me-up. I'm saving the kitties for another day.

  3. What a pity you were ill all weekend, Susan! And I hope your sister gets better really soon.

    You got some great books there, but I'm pleased with the one book I got today: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. I asked and got an ARC of this book that I am really very excited about reading. Do you know it?

    Hope you have a good week this week, Susan.

  4. Hi Judith,

    Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    And I know that When She Woke was one of the books buzzed at BEA. It's a YA title, right? I shall look forward to your review!

  5. LOL, I had to laugh at your comment about Lunch Wars being a give-away. Does anyone support the whole premise? Up here the answer was a resounding no; then again, Alaskan's tend to be a rather independent, I'll feed my kids whatever I dang well please and government can just stay the heck out of it, kind of bunch. (My sanitized version)

    I had a migraine this week that just wouldn't go away. Luckily, I had some audio books on my MP3 player. I listened to Alex Kershaw's The Envoy, about Raoul Wallenberg and the Jews of Hungary. This one is pretty graphic in a rattle off all the facts kind of way; it felt very lacking in sensitivity to me. I think it would hurt you and so I do not recommend you read it.

    Another one I finished was Paolo Coelho's The Witch of Portobello. This one was very thought provoking. Its spiritualism goes against my Christian worldview, yet I discovered that there are many gems of human soul which transcend religion and simply speak to who we are. Liked it a lot and will read more of his books.

    Currently I am listening to Louise Erdrich's Plague of Doves, which I am really enjoying. Her descriptions of place are marvelous, and her depictions of relationships among characters are first rate.

    My ebook continues to be Plastic by Susan Frankle (should finish in a few days), and my print book, at long last, is Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife, which I am just a little ways into, but enjoying so far.

  6. Susan, I hope you, your sister, and your nephew are doing well. Sending good thoughts your way.

    I have to put my 2 cents in about Jim Butcher. Excellent author! The series really takes off after the 3rd or 4th book. Of course, the subject matter of his books isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I can hand-sell him to just about everyone of both genders and all ages who does like it. People are always asking me who my favorite author is, and my general answer is, well, it depends on the genre. BUT, if you had to pin it down to just one author, it would be Jim Butcher. And, I really don't even like to say that because there are so many talented authors out there. It just depends on what it is you are looking for and what mood you are in. But, he IS an excellent author. And, as a side note, my husband listens to the audios and loves the job Marsters does. Yes, I got my husband, who doesn't like to read very much fiction, to read Butcher! :)

  7. Care,

    I'm sorry you were also feeling under the weather. I'm feeling a lot better, and hope that you are, too. Meanwhile, you continue to stagger me with the scope of your reading. So impressive!


    Thanks for the kind thoughts. And, yes, the verdict seems to be unanimous on Mr. Butcher. I wound up listing to the first book a couple of months ago after being very disenchanted with A Discovery of Witches. Butcher's debut was so much better! I don't feel the need to race through his backlist, but I'll continue to listen to them as time and circumstances allow. It's good to know that they only get better from here. Thanks!