Monday, July 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday: The all type, no talk edition

So, I still have no voice.  This has gone beyond mere annoyance, as it's been nearly three weeks now.  But it led to a very funny interlude this past week.  I commented to a co-worker that I'd spent the entire weekend in silence.  She looked at me very skeptically.  I said, "As much as I read, don't you realize that I spend most of my life outside this office in silence?"  Her response was, "I always picture you reading aloud.  And gesticulating."  I laughed until I cried.  Everyone who has heard this quote shrugs and says, "I could see that."

And on that note, let's start this week's list with the swarm of books I picked up in the "Paperback" sale.  I've said it before, I can't resist the cheap audiobooks.  One of the things I love about them, is that while I have little time to reread books, sometimes I'll pick up an especially beloved book in this new format, and it feels a little less like revisiting the same territory.  It's also a way to fit in older books I've been wanting to read--books I don't owe reviews on.  Or new books I didn't receive review copies of.  It's a little easier to squeeze the audiobook in while I'm shopping, cooking, stitching, or otherwise multi-tasking.

Still Missing
by Chevy Stevens

This was a hot debut thriller last summer, and I considered reading it then.  Her latest thriller is now sitting in my house.  I already "read" this one while walking around New York.  Enjoyable.  The first half was very reminiscent of Emma Donaghue's Room.  I liked the second half a lot better. 

Alas, Babylon
by Pat Frank

I've always wanted to read this classic of apocalyptic fiction.

A Visit From the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan

I think everyone here knows I'm a big fan of Jennifer Egan and this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.  For five bucks, I couldn't resist adding the audiobook to my collection.

Fever Dream
by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I'm a decades-long fan of Doug and Linc's, but I'm a rare fan who feels that a little Pendergast goes a long way.  A few years ago, I just got Pendergasted-out, and I stopped reading the books.  But, I started to feel a little nostalgic recently.  The latest Pendergast book is out in a couple of weeks, so I decided to re-enter the series with last year's offering, the first in a trilogy.  I've already listened to it, and I had an epiphany.  Pendergast's courtliness is 100% Doug Preston.  An example... Me: Doug, I've lost my voice.  Doug: What a shame, you have such a lovely voice.  He's like that all the time.

Then Came You
by Jennifer Weiner

Technically, I purchased this brand new title with my credit.  This is another one I've already listened to.  Enjoyable and interesting, but not funny like her typical work.  I missed the humor.

Geek Love
by Katherine Dunn

It must be 20 years since I've read this cult classic, and yet I think of it so often.  It deserves a reread after all these years.  I loved this book, and hope that I still do.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
by Shirley Jackson

I have heard too many raves about the book and audiobook to ignore.

Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett

In a perfect world, I would have every book I read in paper, Kindle, and audiobook formats, as I like to switch back and forth, and frequently listen and read at the same time, etc.  Now that I do have this monster in all three formats, I'm running out of excuses not to read it. 

The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield

This is another popular title that's been sitting on my bookshelf that I've been meaning to get around to reading.

Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami

Simply put, Nicole would never forgive me if I passed up a Murakami.  I'm reading my first Murakami now, and while I don't understand it, I'm enjoying it immensely.

People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks

One of these days I'll actually read a Brooks novel.

Shut Up and Dance: How to Stop Leading and Follow Your Man Into a Happier, Sexier Relationship
by Jamie Rose
Source: Paper galley from publisher

I don't think this is for me...

The Winters in Bloom
by Lisa Tucker
Source: Paper galley from publisher

I keep acquiring Tucker's novels and not reading them.  I need to break this cycle!  Has anyone else read Lisa Tucker?  Thoughts?  I shall try to get to this one.

The Search for Philip K. Dick
by Anne Dick
Source: Finished trade paperback from publisher

This is a new biography of the troubled writer, written by his wife.  Sounds interesting!

They're Watching
by Gregg Hurwitz
Source: Picked up at book club

I enjoy Hurwitz, and I missed this one last year.  Thanks, Maya!

The Finkler Question
by Howard Jacobson
Source: Picked up at book club

The Jewishest Booker Prize winner ever.  The only question is, why haven't I read it yet?  Thanks, Steve! 

Books finished this week:

Killing Kate by Julie Kramer
The Magician King by Lev Grossman
Machine Man by Max Barry

How painfully obvious is it that I will never catch up on my review writing?  I'm like 20 behind now.  *hangs head in shame*

Currently reading:

Dominance by Will Lavender
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
and snippets of too many other books to even mention

So, what books have you acquired lately?  What have you been reading?


  1. You need to see someone about your voice. Ask Kianu if there's anything she can suggest?

    I've been on a Jim Butcher tear and am now reading the most recent one, Ghost Story. I don't know what I like most about them, but they make me laugh out loud frequently. Much like a Chris Moore does, but a different type of humor. I even watched the Canadian TV series on DVD, which was good but changed too many things for my liking.

    I'm also reading John Crowley's The Translator. Still. It's slow reading as it's my bedtime book and sometimes only gets a couple of pages of attention. I have to admit, I think the reason I put it down after about 100 pages before is, it's kind of boring for long stretches. Not one of my favorites.

    I'm reading another ebook, Francine Prose's My New American Life, which I'm enjoying thoroughly and keep getting sidetracked from by Butcher.

    Biggest news: Now that I live only a few blocks from the Central Library, I got a new library card. Haven't been there yet, but I've checked out a few ebooks. I'm going to venture into the building soon and checkout some physical books to see how I do. I've been tempted to buy more books, so I'm trying to keep them to ones that I can't get otherwise.

  2. My Birthday was last weekend, so I got treated to a few new books. I got the new Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, and Michael Connelly. I also got Dance with Dragons, the long awaited 5th book in the Song of Fire and Ice Series. It is a tome! No wonder it took him 6-years to write.

    Recently I finished reading: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, The Savannah Project by Chuck Barrett, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, That new Charlaine Harris book, & Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich.

    Currently reading: Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

    Currently Listening: Small Favor, by Jim Butcher -- the tenth Dresden book, also the one that started the fascination. Relistening to it to see if we missed anything the first go-round.

    Hope your voice improves soon!

  3. Just bought Them by Jon Ronson and am currently reading Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God in anticipation of the next in the trilogy.

  4. SL,

    Yeah, I finally broke down and saw the doctor yesterday, 'cause in addition to the voice, I've been under the weather and just can't seem to get better. She says it's a series of viruses and to gargle with salt water. The voice IS returning slowly. Blech. Meanwhile, yay for library e-books!


    Happy belated! Looks like you took in quite a birthday haul! In weeks to come, please share your thoughts on these books as you read them. I'm sure I'm not the only one interested. Enjoy them all!


    Wow, you managed to mention two books and authors that I'm completely unfamiliar with. Impressive!

  5. Just finished reading Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan and am getting ready to start Ghost Story by Jim Butcher and Blood Hunt by Shannon K. Butcher (his wife!). It will probably take awhile to read them as I am working A LOT to wind down our store. I may just have to lose sleep, though, for Ghost Story.

  6. Oh Penny, I knew you were a bookseller, but not that you were at a Borders store. I'm so very sorry! My thoughts are with you as you close your store and seek new employment. I hope you stay a bookseller.

    And enjoy Ghost Story!

  7. Thanks, Susan, it's appreciated. Yeah, I've been with Borders almost 9 years, 6 in a Waldenbooks, mostly as an assistant manager, and almost 3 in a Borders after they closed my WB store. It's been hard. I have an endcap called Penny's Paranormal Picks (I have loved reading fiction about all things paranormal since I was a kid and the only thing "paranormal" was Koontz and King; I read Pet Cemetery when it first came out!) and I have customers that are coming to me asking me if I am going to another bookstore? And if I am going to one, will I keep doing my picks? And, I have people coming up to me that tell me they have really enjoyed all the discussions on books I've had with them over the years and that they really enjoyed all the suggestions I've made to them. It just leaves me in tears that I am leaving all that behind. I hope I can continue to be a bookseller, too. Or maybe I'll have to dust off my MA and teach for awhile. I just don't know. My sales manager has been half serious about opening an independent bookstore but only if I help her. *sigh* I think I have to get through the liquidation first and then decide what to do. It's just mentally exhausting. Well, enough sad talk! I think I may have to go enter the giveaway. Hope your sister is going well!

  8. Susan, I must say that envy your ability to be able to listen to audiobooks while doing other things. I have tried so many, many times, and they just don't work for me if I am doing something else.

    I can't workout while listening to them; I can't do them on road trips, I can't work on editing my photography while listening to them. I can, sometimes, iron while listening to them, and can listen to them on a plane, but that's about it.

    I must be the queen of quirkiness when it comes to audiobook listening ability.

  9. Penny,

    You're breaking my heart. I am SO sorry. You've probably noticed that I like to sneak messages in support of independent booksellers onto the blog. It's a good message, and I value and support the indies in my city, but I've been heartbroken over the loss of our Borders stores. They were such community centers for so many of us. No wonder the people in your community feel invested in your future.

    You'll take things one step at a time. Do keep us informed where you wind up. For what it's worth, I say, "Go independent!"


    You know, not that long ago, I would have been commiserating with you. I was never a fan of audiobooks, and knew that I wasn't a very good listener. My mind tended to wander. However, within the past couple of years, I've made several discoveries...

    Listening is just like any other skill. With practice, you improve. It wasn't actually audiobooks that won me over. I started listening to my Kindle read aloud at times, often when I was reading along to the words as I listened. I liked that it would read at a faster pace, and I liked that it was a computer reading, not an actor. Weird, huh? What I liked was that the computer made occasional pronunciation an reading errors. (For instance, a sentence ending in "lit" would be read as "litres," or instead of addressing a character as Dr., it would read "drive.") These little errors kept me on my toes and made me listen harder. My attention wandered less.

    Once I was more used to listening, I took advantage of a introductory promotion for I liked the service so much I subscribed, and I've been really delighted with it. And my single best discovery was that if you listen to the audiobooks using the Audible App, you can speed them up 1 1/2X or 2X speed. I'm sure that wouldn't be for everybody, but part of my difficulty with audiobooks was boredom. I read print so much faster that the pace of many audiobooks was putting me to sleep. And the more actively I have to listen--i.e. at warp speed--the better I pay attention. Plus, books get read faster, which is big bonus!

    Oh, the other thing I learned while listening to my Kindle's computer voice is that it's not about the performance for me. Reader performances can be excellent, and they can certainly enhance (or ruin) enjoyment of an audoibook, but I think I'm so used to creating all that in my mind, that my ears hear inflection and emotion even when they're not there.

    And I tell you all of the above in case any of these things helps you become a better, happier reader through your ears. It's been a great evolution for me. Just by switching it up between paper, Kindle, and audio, I find myself reading more than ever before.

  10. Susan, I've been actually overwhelmed at the support of our regulars. I knew they liked us, but until this happened I guess I never realized how much we and the store meant to them. I suppose I should have considering what books, and all bookstores in general, mean to me, but it's still a shock. It's a very nice counterbalance to the ones who are being very...well, insensitive, to pick the nicest word I can think of. :) But that's another issue. We really don't have any independent bookstores in our area, and I think that's a shame. Maybe we'll start one. And I think it's great you are doing your part for independent bookstores. They need to survive. But I will miss that sense of camaraderie with a lot of my customers, my coworkers, and...the ARCs! :)