Monday, November 21, 2011

Mailbox Monday: The giving thanks edition

Well, it's a few days early, but I'm ready to celebrate Thanksgiving!  It's my favorite holiday, and the only one that I never miss spending with my family.  I'm flying home to DC on the red-eye Wednesday night.  That's tough, but once I'm there, I get to stay for ten whole days!  So, I'm looking forward to seeing lots of family and friends, and eating a really great meal.  (My family can cook!)

Also, there is one thing I'm looking forward to on my red-eye flight--finally getting to read the new (and final) Michael Crichton novel, Micro.  Truthfully, my hopes aren't super high for the book, but it's still very special to me.  I never articulated it until he passed away, but Crichton was a hero to me.  I thought he was Human 2.0.  He was brilliant and talented and handsome and really, really tall!  I'd started reading his novels before I was ten years old, and they gave me decades of pleasure.  And this is the very last new one.  Sort of.  Sort of because it was finished by Richard Preston, but sort of for another reason as well...

When Michael Crichton passed away, I learned of a little-known pseudonym that I'd neither heard of nor read before.  He published eight novels under the name John Lange, and within 48 hours of his death, I'd acquired six of them.  I had one shipped all the way from England.  Hopefully, one day I'll dig up affordable copies of the other two, but for now I have a secret stash of unread early Crichtons.  I've only read one, and I'll be rationing out the remaining titles for the rest of my life.  That, my friends, is true fandom.  But for now, I'm thankful that I'll be reading his final work this week.

I am also thankful, as noted earlier today, to have joined's Top 100 Reviewers for the first time.  It was a long-term goal, and it feels good to have met it.  I'm less thankful for the miserable cold I'm currently suffering from, but if I can get through the next 48 hours, I'm golden.  I'm super thankful that my office is closing at noon on Wednesday, and that I won't have to return for 12 days!  And on that note...

I've Got Your Number
by Sophie Kinsella
Release date: February 14, 2012
Source: Paper galley from publisher

I read Confessions of a Shopaholic a few years ago and kind of hated it.  I thought the protagonist was an idiot.  But, as you've gathered, I've been desperate to lighten my reading and this fit the bill.  It was a pleasant surprise.  I started reading it as soon as I opened the package.  Review to come soon.

The Winters in Bloom
by Lisa Tucker
Release date:  September 13, 2011
Source: Finished hardback from publisher

I'm not sure why Simon and Schuster sent this book months after its release, and after I read and reviewed a galley, but, okay.  Thank you.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics
by Marisha Pessl
Release date: August 3, 2006
Source: sale

I've been meaning to read this much-lauded novel for the past five years, and in addition to going on sale this week, I just learned that Pessl's second novel will be published this coming spring.  I now have a deadline.  Must read this book!

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Release date: June 24, 2003
Source: Free anniversary money from

Since reviewing 11/22/63 on, a bunch of strangers have been leaving comments on my review telling me that I have to read the Dark Tower novels.  I've always been a little wary of them, but I'll try to get to this one before the year is out.

Anne of Green Gables
by L.M. Montgomery
Release date:  1908
Source: $.99 Kindle purchase

I've never read this classic, and it was suggested by helpful reader friends to assist with scrubbing the Umberto Eco from my brain.  I'm reading it now and it's delightful! 

Live and Let Die
by Ian Fleming
Release date: April 5, 1954
Source: Kindle Daily Deal ($1.99)

Just over a week ago, my friends Melissa and Mike convinced me to give James Bond films another go.  They were right; the re-make of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig was the best Bond film I've seen.  It was during this discussion that I said I really needed to read Fleming's original novels.  Now I'm one step closer.

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes
by Stephen Sondheim
Release date: October 26, 2010
Source: Finished copy from publisher

Not only does the new Michael Crichton go on sale tomorrow, the new Sondheim does, too!  It's the second volume of his collected lyrics/memoir that began with this volume last year.  I was hoping the kind folks in Knopf publicity would honor my review request, and they did.  Sort of.  Someone SNAFUed and sent me last year's book instead of the new one:  Look, I Made a Hat.  Hopefully, I'll acquire a copy soon.  Look for the bold pink cover; it'll be a popular gift title this holiday season.

Books finished this week:

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Too Much Stuff by Don Bruns

Currently reading:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen

So, what have you been reading?   What books have you acquired this week?  What will you be reading during your holiday travel/time off?  Please let us know in the comments.  And happy Thanksgiving to you all!


  1. I'm doing some catch up this week. Just read a couple of teen books and am hoping to hit a few review books before Wednesday and then it's Stephen King time!

  2. I finished Elysianna, which turned out to be very enjoyable. I like the way humor is worked in with some fairly graphic violence. I just like this writer and now probably have another year or two before he has another book published. Sigh.

    Surprisingly, I'm enjoying A Day and a Night and a Day, considerin that the central action concerns torture to gain information. It's all over the map timewise, with present, recent past, and flashbacks presented randomly. I like the style, which is different from the Last Werewolf, yet recognizable as the same writer.

    I just started Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close because I just found out they made a movie of it and would like to read it before it's released later this year. It sounded intriguing when it was published; I just never got around to it.

  3. Happy Turkey Day, Susan! Highly recommended: Night Circus as read by Jim Dale. Just sayin.

    See you at December's SFBX?

  4. Hey, glad to hear our Bond-ing experience led you to Fleming! I haven't read him yet either -- look forward to hearing what you think....

  5. Thanks for all the Thanksgiving wishes. I hope everyone had a great holiday! I'm finally back, as you can see, but I just couldn't deal with a Mailbox Monday post on my first day back. Sorry!

    And, Mike, "Bond-ing"? You should be ashamed of yourself.