Posts tagged books
Posts tagged books
Ernest hates Summertime, All the Cats are Bored by Philippe Georget.
(submitted by kalenski)
Possibly the best submission I’ve gotten for this tumblr.
Oh and while we’re talking about fantasy books that blow your mind can we talk about how much I fucking LOVED Clariel, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I’d recommend re-reading the Abhorsen series before reading this, too, but honestly, if you’re not already re-reading the Abhorsen series on the regular, I’m not quite sure you can understand my excitement about how good this book was ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Hot off the press, the Library Reads August 2014 list!
We’ve got the first in a new series from library fav Chelsea Cain. Lev Grossman wraps up the adventures of Magician’s trilogy. A BEA Buzz book: The Miniaturist!
New books from staff and patron favorites Amy Bloom, Liane Moriarty, John Scalzi, and Thirty Umrigar. Everyone’s favorite mother and son writing team bring us latest historical mystery in An Unwilling Accomplice.
And a little something, something for the romance readers from Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Katie MacAlister.
I keep meaning to blog about The Magician’s Land, so I will take this opportunity to say that I loved it—very satisfying ending to the trilogy—but I really wish I had re-read the first two before diving into it. So if you’re waiting for it, take this opportunity to re-read The Magicians and The Magician King to immerse yourself properly.
I remain impressed by what Grossman managed to do with these books: be utterly skeptical about magic and its importance while maintaining a childlike adoration of it. I always get such a rush reading these books, because the combination allows me to re-visit my first experiences of Philip Pullman, Susan Cooper, Garth Nix, et al., in a way that most other fantasy books do not. That headlong and greedy reading experience, those books that are so good you forget to change positions and your arm falls asleep—I always feel that Grossman misses it as much as I do, and it’s a treat to read a book that reflects being that affected by fantasy writing, and even manages the same trick a few times.
It has been a real pleasure re-reading The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, a book that I always forget I how much love until I am reading it. I am glad it’s gotten a nice tidy Twentieth Anniversary Edition, because though I recently became the last person on tumblr to watch Sherlock and liked it quite a bit, this series is my favorite version of the Holmes re-tellings.
That being said, I know it is anathema to request textual changes when publishing an anniversary edition, but I really wish they had done so here. Why? Well, because one of the first cases on which Mary Russell assists Sherlock Holmes, she helps rescue a young kidnapped girl named Jessica. JESSICA SIMPSON. Oh dear. It’s so distracting! I know that in 1994 our modern Jessica Simpson was still singing in church camp or something. I certainly don’t mean to blame King for not predicting the course of pop music. But I don’t think it would have been such a problem to do a search and replace and have kidnapped a young Victoria Simpson, for example. Nothing would have been lost except the opportunity to imagine a young Jessica Simpson trapped in a tree in period garb, mumbling to herself about whether she had chicken or tuna for dinner.
Anyway, if you can overlook that, and you’ve not read this series, take this opportunity to get started, especially since apparently we will be waiting another year for more Sherlock. A mystery for non-mystery readers, equally good for teens and adults, and, I bet, to be adored by fans of Flavia de Luce.
When Jenn tells me a book is possibly her “favorite book of all time. seriously. FAVORITE,” I read it, quick. It took me 48 hours from her declaration to acquire and read Books & Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich, and of course Jenn is largely right. I love Erdrich, and this book is fantastic. For fans of Erdrich, it offers an insight that’s not found in her other books (think the personal nature of Shadow Tag, but without the darkness and pain of that book). For those who haven’t read her yet, it’s a fantastic extended essay, and an American memoir of real substance.
What I loved best about it is the overarching question, which Jenn also notes: “Books. Why?” She offers a number of specific answers throughout the book:
Meandering off to explore the geography and history of Ojibwe Country, her family, the language of Ojibwemowin, the resurgence of traditional belief, her internal life—Erdrich always returns to this idea. Books. Why? This loose focus is meditative, calming, and radical. So much of the subtext of our conversations about books these days contains this same question, but in anger. Why does this person get to write books? Why do people read those books? Why would you like that book? Why does anybody review books? Why don’t more people read? Books. Why?
Erdrich’s book doesn’t answer these questions, deflating them, and for me, exposing the fear underneath. Instead, she drives at the deeper whys of books. Because we need them, because they’re there for us, because they endure. Because your friend will make you read one and it will feel like your souls are sharing a small room together, happily. Just because.
Books. Why? Because.
When librarians registered for this year’s Unconference, we asked them: Where do you learn about books? Many librarians, especially those new to RA, are overwhelmed by the sheer number of books in the world, and we wanted to make a helpful list of resources that are actually used on a regular basis.
As we’ve put RAUNCON together, this has been one of my favorite parts of the registration form. If you’re a librarian, you might find some great new resources here. If you’re a publisher or writer, you might be excited/terrified to see where librarians are actually learning about books. And if you’re a blogger, you might like to comb through this list frantically in the hopes that you are on here. I do wish we asked how much time a day people spend with these resources, because balancing “learning about books” with “actually reading books” seems to be an unheralded RA skill at this point. Well, maybe next year.
I’m not sure I can write about An Untamed State by Roxane Gay without crying; that’s how it’s wormed under my skin. I might still be too close to it to reflect properly, but I also feel compelled to share it as fast as I can.
I expected that it would be well-written and thoughtful, because I’ve read and been moved by many of Gay’s essays, and it was, of course. I expected it would examine, with grace and ferocity, the intersections of race and class and sex and violence, and it did, in a way that unnerved me and made me think about my place at those intersections. The book transitions quietly between past and present, and from viewpoint to viewpoint, much in the same way that we do in our own heads. Mireille’s mental unraveling and fortitude are constant companions throughout the book and then after it ends. I had high hopes for this book, and it did not disappoint me.
What I didn’t expect, however, was a love story. A fine love story, a love story for the ages. The atrocities on the page are illumined by the complicated and pure love between Mireille and her husband Michael, as well as between Mireille and her mother-in-law. Many of the scenes of intense violence in this book brought tears to my eyes, but it was the scenes of frustrated love and compassion that made me weep in the corner of the train seat. I don’t know how she did it, combined all these things, but she did, and now it won’t leave me alone.
I look forward to more people reading this book, partially so that I can talk about it in more depth, but just sitting quietly with a fellow reader would be satisfying as well.
Michael Lewis’s work has always straddled the line between straight-up reportage and first-person essayage, but Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt is the first time I’ve seen the latter conquer the former. This has more to do with the timing of the book’s publication than anything else. I admire the work he’s done here, but there are a lot of footnotes that keep undoing any pretense that this book is just about telling a good story.
For example, on page 202, Lewis notes, “When the last history of high-frequency trading is written, Hunsader, like Joe Saluzzi and Sal Arnuk of Themis Trading, deserves a prominent place in it.” Okay, that’s a good idea—wait—why didn’t they get a prominent place in this book? Since you already know about them and everything? And are writing about HFT? This happens several times, Lewis leaving an Easter egg suggestion for this someday-maybe book about high-frequency trading. I’m assuming that’s because he felt it was important to publish this information ASAP. There is a sense of urgency driving the book, though that could just be the adrenaline rush that pumps alongside most writing about financial services—but there’s also a sense of wonder and outrage that’s more present than some of his other writing about similarly outrageous financial issues.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in my eyes, because I do think it’s urgent that more people understand how high-frequency trading works, and that we talk about it, and don’t allow large swaths of the economy to be invested in financial tools that aren’t even adequately understood by the people holding the reins. But it does lend the book an unbalanced feeling, as it’s hard to tell whether Lewis wants you to understand high-frequency trading or just be mad at it. Perhaps both. It’s worth reading (at least this excerpt) anyway.
Kate Gavino of @lastnightsreading is live-drawing at @housingworksbks and it is just the greatest!
I stopped by the Bowery Poetry Club to hear Teju Cole speak this morning (along with Hari Kunzru and Katie Kitamura who I haven’t read) and fangirl-ed a lot to Lamya, my partner in crime for all things downtown literary fest, when I realized lastnightsreading was actively drawing the speakers. Also Teju Cole is just as great of a speaker as I imagined, somehow infusing even casual chatter with sharp literary references and wry humor, and that was all I needed on a sunny Sunday.
(To be fair, I am pretty sure everybody would like Katie Kitamura, I’m just 100% positive about this particular recommendation.)