Monday, October 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Fall Leaves Edition

Is it just me, or has it been a really long week?  I did have a rough week last week, and I'll do you the favor of sparing you the gory details.  In addition to my medical issues, I had a truly squirm-inducing encounter with a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.  I'll be blogging about that at some point soon.  It was not the highlight of my week.

On the other hand, I did get to attend quite a few excellent Litquake events, saw many friends, and got to go drinking with a bunch of awesome lady novelists.  Again, there will be follow-up blog posts, video, and more, as soon as I can get around to it.  Penny, was it you who was talking to me about Mira Grant and her alter-ego in the comments recently?  I shot some really great video of her reading from Feed that you can look forward to later this week.  Or perhaps I should save the zombies for Halloween?  I have so much fun stuff to share!  And at some point, I really need to write some book reviews...

Tonight, I have to choose between working really late (henceforth to be known as "what I should do") and going to see Alice Hoffman at the JCC, or Michael Ondaatje in conversation with Michael Chabon at City Arts & Lectures.  Any thoughts?  Tomorrow night is the book group that I run.  And after that I'm not sure what else is up for the coming week.  Oh yeah, I'm flying to Seattle on Thursday, where I will be seeing novelist Boyd Morrison and his lovely wife Randi over the weekend.  So, that's a full enough week.

I want to take a moment to say "hi" to all the nice folks who are visiting this blog because of the Blog Hop.  Already I can see that it's another huge success.  It's nice to see some fresh faces on the blog.  Do come back any time.  :-)

And on that note, an entirely too long and very diverse list of acquisitions this week...

The Night Eternal
by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Release date: October 25, 2011
Source: Finished hardback from publisher

This was a really pleasant surprise!  The first novel of this trilogy scared the hell out of me, but I couldn't put it down.  I think I've been waiting for the third to come out before reading the second book in the series.  This would make for a fun Halloween treat!

The Time in Between
by Maria Duenas
Release date: November 8, 2011
Source: Finished hardback from publisher

I've already got a couple of galleys of this novel that has been getting some serious promotion from Simon & Schuster.  I haven't heard anything specific about the novel itself yet, but I'm looking forward to giving it a read.  If the house is pushing it that hard, I want to know why.  Count on a galley giveaway soon.

Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day: A Game Plan for the Budget Conscious Cook
by Ellen Jaffe Jones
Release date: June 15, 2011
Source: Finished paperback from publicist

I'm what you might call a "flexitarian," rather than a vegetarian or vegan, but this looks like a great resource for our times.  I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes.

The Marriage Plot
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Release date: October 11, 2011
Source: Purchased at awesome indy, Books, Inc.

Hmmm, I wonder what Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Susan had an unpleasant encounter with this week?  All I can say is that the novel is great.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick
Release date: March 1, 2007
Source: library

There's a film coming and he has a new book out.  It was time to finally read this.  Plus, kids books are just what the doctor ordered when you aren't feeling well.

Death Match
by Lincoln Child
Release date: May 4, 2004
Source: library

More comfort reading while laid up.  I've had a galley since forever, but I finally read it on my Kindle.

Lightning Rods
by Helen DeWitt
Release date: October 5, 2011
Source: Kindle purchase

I've been feeling guilty for ages that I haven't got around to reading DeWitt's cult classic, The Last Samurai.  So, now that her second novel has been released more than a decade after the first, I was determined to read it in a timely manner.  OMG, do not buy this book!  I've heard to many good things about her debut to doubt it's the truth.  What happened?

by Jose Saramago
Release date: September 28, 1998
Source: $2.99 Kindle sale

I've never read it.  'Nuff said.

The Lost Goddess
by Thom Knox
Release date: February 2, 2012
Source: Electronic galley from publisher

I've never read Mr. Knox.  Have any of you?  This adventure thriller looks like it could be really good or really bad!  I'll totally give it a try.

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
by Julia Scheeres
Release date: October 11, 2011
Source: Electronic galley from publisher

I have always been fascinated with the Jonestown tragedy, in part because of my vague memories from childhood, and in part because it's an amazing, awful story.  Do you know that I live one block from the site of the old temple in San Francisco?  It's a post office now.

The Demi-Monde: Winter
by Rod Rees
Release date: December 27, 2011
Source: Electronic galley from publisher

I'm not sure this will be my cup of tea, but I'm curious.  Becky, if you read it first, please let us know your thoughts!

The Vanishers
by Heidi Julavits
Release date: March 13, 2012
Source: Electronic galley from publisher

I'm more interested in the mother/daughter themes of this novel than the supernatural ones.  We'll see...

Books finished this week:

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Death Match by Lincoln Child
The Callahan Chronicles by Spider Robinson

Currently reading:

There but for the by Ali Smith (I'd be done by now if the damn book had punctuation!)

So, what books have you acquired this week?  What have you been reading?  Please let us know in the comments!


  1. I have high hopes for that Rod Rees, will definitely let you know what I think if I get to it first. I'm also curious about The Time In Between. I got an ARC and a finished and they're definitely pushing the heck out of it. The comparison to Shadow of the Wind and Casablanca in the blurb is intriguing and I have to wonder if it's a true comparison. We'll see.

  2. Ooh, Shadow of the Wind & Casablanca? I don't think I read that blurb. That's a lot to live up to.

  3. Yes, that was me talking about Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire. I would love to hear a reading from her. I am sometimes reluctant to see interviews/read blogs of authors I really like. Some really...interesting...things come out in the more personal writings/interviews of authors (*cough*LKH*cough*) leading to my reluctance to continue reading their books. It doesn't happen very often, thankfully.

    I haven't really read anything in the last week, but I have started Larissa Ione's Eternal Rider and purchased Virna DePaul's new one, Chosen by Fate. I had two rounds of interviews this past week and have now made the transition from bookseller to librarian! This should be interesting. :)

  4. So you're saying you didn't like Lightning Rods? I loved The Last Samurai! Maybe this would be a good library book. What am I saying? Almost any book is a good library book for me these days, me being on an austerity budget.

    I finally finished Francine Prose's My New American Life, which I loved. It wouldn't have taken so long if I hadn't kept getting distracted by other books. The ending wasn't totally satisfying, yet it fit.

    I finished Ready Player One in record time because of the non-renewal clause for books on hold. Loved it! It was right up my alley thematically and with all the '80s trivia. I also found its picture of the future compelling, being quite a bit as I fear may come to pass with the way the world's economy is quickly spiraling. Very good book. Has he written any other novels?

    Also finished P&P & Zombies before that. I thought it was hilarious! I probably won't read any more of the books in the monster Austen series because as I understand it, they were written by someone(s) else and I think the novelty will also wear thin. I could be wrong. Maybe someday.

    I'm now tackling White Witch Black Curse, another in Kim Harrison's series. The Waters Rising by Sheri S. Tepper is next up, a wonderful science fiction writer, most of whose works I have read. There may be one or two of her more recent ones that I've missed.

    I think that does it. Horrors! I better get browsing the library.

  5. Penny,

    Congrats on your awesome transition!!

    Oh, and Mira Grant is a bit quirky, but I don't think you'll find her off-putting in any way.


    Yeah, I did NOT like Lightning Rods. Your mileage may vary. I'll review it one of these days. And I still need to read The Last Samurai. I wish it were available on Kindle.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed Ready Player One as much as I did! Not great literature, but definitely great fun! I wonder what youngsters are getting out of it?

    Oh, and for anyone who was consumed with curiosity, I worked semi-late and then went out to hear Michael Ondaatje and Michael Chabon. Really, anyone who knows me knows that Chabon will be the deciding factor every time. I didn't get to see Michael personally last night, but his crazy wife Ayelet gave me a truly warm, friendly smile, and not her usual, "How do I know you?" I need to be nicer to her on the pages of this blog.

    So, the two bigest suprises of the evening:

    * Michael Chabon proclaimed Ondaatje his "favorite living wirter." I really need to get on reading The Cat's Table!

    * Michael Ondaatje quoted Kinky Friedman of all people! "There's a fine line between fiction and nonfiction, and I believe I snorted it in 1976." LOL.