Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Books: The #amreading / scheduled to read / omg Borders edition:

1. Finished China Mieville's Kraken. Here is a cephalopod art rec, because I needed something to get the taste of suck-ass out of my mouth: Jellyfish and Octopus by reminisense.
I haven't read anything by Mieville before. Despite hearing from many that Kraken is possibly his worst book, and that I should try one of his others, I think I'll pass. I found everything about the book except the cover (which is extremely cool) annoying and horrid.

2. Started reading In the Night Garden by Cathrynn M. Valente. I was in love within mere sentences, and now, a little ways in, I just adore it. I'd never read Valente before either, but people I trust love her writing, and I can see why.

3. Borders is in its last death throes ten days, and I joined the zombie hordes eagerly devouring literary brains on Sunday. I couldn't bring myself to take a picture inside; it was simply too sad. This particular Borders is where I've lingered on many a Sunday afternoon. It's where I went to not one but two midnight-release parties for Harry Potter books (six and seven). It's where I told a young kid to try Bradbury (he was already perusing the sci-fi and fantasy sections, picking up the Star Trek serial stuff) and saw him leave later with "The Martian Chronicles."

People seemed almost giddy, which made it worse. Yeah, I'm glad to see people picking up actual, printed books, whatever the circumstances. But there was a sense of glee among the customers that horrified me. The employees, conversely, were just trudging along. The overall atmosphere was... apocalyptic.

I picked up four books for less than $20. I'm happy about that, because I'm a dead-poor girl who grooms dogs for a living and has a bad, bad reading habit I need to sustain. But the hole that Borders will leave in my heart is huge.

Anyway. The books I bought:

Worlds of Exile and Illusion by Ursula LeGuin (a trilogy)
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes -- an Angry Robot imprint that I've been interested in for a while
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
The Passage by Justin Cronin -- reviews on this were mixed, so I've put off buying it for some time, but for the price, I felt I could chance it

4. Writing? What's that? I write every day. It's usually less than four hundred words. It's scattered material, with no coherence to previous writing. At least it's writing.

That's what I tell myself.

But hey, I got books to read!


  1. Hey, I´m sorry about the Borders-experience =( I know what you mean, I would be mourning too.

    Writing, schmiting! You´re reading new books! Exploring unknown territory! I re-read Joe Hill like an old, grumpy lady, too suspicious and disappointed to try anything new...

    I have nothing to say, I just wanted to talk to you =) At least it´s September ;)

  2. Trying new authors can be fraught with disappointment. I usually rely on recs from others, but sometimes even that isn't a perfect system.

    Do you really have nothing to say? Nothing at all? Does the word "Pharaoh" do anything for your European space explorer heart? I only ask because, for the first time in ages, I wrote something for Lily's, and every time my phone beeps to let me know a new post has made over there, I eagerly click to see if it's Asuqi.

  3. Ah, Borders. *shakes head* I know.

    I'm so excited you mentioned In The Night Garden!!!
    I'm eyeing the caps tab as I type. I'm very excited. I READ THAT BOOK LAST YEAR, FORGOT THE TITLE AND AUTHOR - AND YOU PUT IT ON YOUR BLOG!!!

    I've been hounding my boyfriend for months, mercilessly - to read a book that I neither remembered the author or title of. I was highly insistent. You can imagine how ridiculous these lengthy conversations were.


    Fantastic. You are FANTASTIC.


    BF of JD: What's it called?


    BF of JD: Um, ok... You do realize that--

    JD: READ IT!


    Was it something like that? *g*

  5. YES!!
    Except much waving of the arms and garbled explanation of the stories within stories. I started telling him the stories, and how heartbroken I was that I had lost the scrap of paper I'd written the title/author on. Then I'd start yelling at him to start reading it. Very circular argument.

    Reading that book was such a solace!

    It kept my mind entertained - I had gone to college a few years older that most freshmen (after I was 21, not being able to go at an earlier age) thus graduated at 24, feeling like a complete loser for lack of a meaningful job and a 25th birthday looming several months in the distance). Interviews weren't panning out, my dog had died, etc. And then *light at the end of the tunnel* I was enthralled with just the sort of escapism I needed.

    And I felt a bit idiotic going to the library and demanding them show me a book I could not remember the title or author of. (Now that I think of it, I could have spared myself all the agony and had them look it up. How embarrassing.)

    Isn't it odd how reading books at certain moments in life pull you together?

  6. I don't know if you saw the Cathrynn M. Valente's The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland -- for a Little While. I can see why people rave about her sentences. I enjoyed the writing, I'm not sure I connected with the character though.

    I recently started Zoo City, not far enough to really get into it, but I expect while I'm out in Sweden I'll finish it. Did I ever answer your question about what I thought of The Passage?

  7. Hm, I had basically the same issue with The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland as I'm having with In the Night Garden. While, like you, I enjoy the writing, for me the story is not, er, fabulous. The characters are fine, some quite entertaining, but I'm also not connecting. A lot seems like an intellectual exercise in beautiful prose, exciting, intriguing, unique prose, at the expense of story and character. But it almost seems unjust to complain. :)

    I think you might have, as when I picked up The Passage, I thought of you. It's been a while but I believe you said that it had an exciting beginning, an epic stretch of boredom, followed by leaving on a cliffhanger, clearly setting up for another book. If that wasn't you, it might've been other reviews I saw, all of which seem to echo that. We'll see.