Showing Posts From: Book Discussion

04 Oct, 2017

Adult Books are not All Miserable Marriages

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

I don’t watch many booktube videos but I do like Francina Simone’s videos. I tend to share her viewpoints more than I identify with other YA-focused booktubers I’ve seen. I feel a little differently than her about this subject though.

Her premise is that there is a new genre of YA/New Adult/Something Else developing to fit the sensibilities of all the adults reading YA. It is focused on action packed plots but not necessarily about 15-17 year olds like traditional YA.

I was confused. It seemed like she was describing most urban fantasy/mystery/sci-fi books that are considered adult fiction. Why is that considered new?

Here’s the comment I wrote on that video.

“What I’m getting from the comments here is that most people think adult books equals literary fiction by white authors. Yeah, that bores me too but there is so much more out there if you do some research. People get so upset when others reject reading YA out of hand but they are doing the same generalization and dismissal of adult books. I recommend looking at genre novels and books by POC authors for some great reads with the same type of feel as what you are looking for. Terry Pratchett, Nnedi Okorafor, Daniel Jose Older, etc all wrote both YA and adult books that are radically different. If you like the YA they wrote try the adult books, I find they are so much deeper and more complex.”

I have never understood why some book people are so radically opposed to reading adult fiction.  Maybe this is the issue.  If you think adult fiction is all white ladies sitting home and brooding over their sad marriages, I’m not surprised that you’d avoid it.

People also get really mad when you point out that YA tends to be simplistic.  Understand that simplistic isn’t necessarily bad.  But when you read authors who have written for a YA audience and an adult audience you can see what I mean by that.

I love both of these books but there is a world of difference in the writing style and detail between the YA Akata Witch and the adult Lagoon.

Want action, excitement, and an overall great story written for adult audiences? 

Try these books to start.

Karen MemoryKaren Memory by Elizabeth Bear

“Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.”

This book is fun.  The prostitutes are a diverse bunch who aren’t going to stand for one of their own being terrorized.


The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1)The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

All you need to know about this one is that there are both airships and talking cats. Talking cats, people!

 

 

 


Discount Armageddon (InCryptid, #1)Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

“Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night… The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she’d rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren’t for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family’s old enemies, the Covenant of St. George.”


Borderline (The Arcadia Project, #1)Borderline by Mishell Baker

“A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court.”


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possibly want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and some distance from her past.

And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer.

From Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the chatty engineers who keep the ship running, to the noble captain Ashby, life aboard is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. That is until the crew is offered the job of a lifetime tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. Sure, they’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years, but risking her life wasn’t part of the job description.


Rebel Mechanics (Rebel Mechanics, #1)Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

“A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.”

It is a love story and a spy story and it has magic!

27 Sep, 2017

The Joy of the Underappreciated Book

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

Do the books you read tend to be popular or unpopular?

I never thought about this until I found out how to check how many ratings a book had on Goodreads.  Then I realized how truly obscure my reading choices were.

Here’s how you can look at your Goodreads account.  Choose Settings at the top right of your Read page.  Select “num ratings.”

 Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 9.24.08 AM

The “Num Ratings” column will show up between Average Ratings and Date Published. Click on it to get your books arranged by rating numbers. Click on it again to get it starting with the lowest number.

I learned about this for a Top Ten Tuesday that wanted us to see what books we had read with less than 2000 ratings?  2000? I have close to 50 books under 100 ratings.

So why should you care?

These can be the undiscovered gems that are so much fun to promote.  If you inspire one person to read and rate a book it can make a huge difference to the author. 

There are some really great books here too.  I’ve realized that some of my absolute favorite authors are in this low number of ratings categories.  I thought they were famous because their books are so good.

Here are some favorites I’ve read recently and their way too low numbers of ratings.

Lydia San Andres – 15 and 16 ratings

These are historical romances that take place in the early 1900s on an imaginary Caribbean island. 

A Summer for Scandal – When Emilia Cruz agreed to accompany her sister to a boating party, she had no idea that the darling of the literary world would be in assistance—or that he would take such pleasure in disparaging the deliciously sinful serial she writes under a pseudonym. No one save her sister knows she’s the author and to be found out would mean certain scandal.

The Infamous Miss Rodriguez – Graciela Rodriguez is determined to break her engagement to Ciudad Real’s most eligible bachelor—even if it means ruining her reputation.  Vicente Aguirre has been hired by Graciela’s aunt to keep her wayward niece from damaging the family name along with her future. When her charms prove irresistible, will he fall for the infamous Miss Rodriguez?


 

“Famed Broadway producer Milo Short may be eighty-eight but that doesn’t stop him from going to the office every day. So when he steps out of his Upper West Side brownstone on one exceptionally hot morning, he’s not expecting to see the impossible: a woman from his life sixty years ago, cherry red lips, bright red hat, winking at him on a New York sidewalk, looking just as beautiful as she did back in 1934.

The sight causes him to suffer a stroke. And when he comes to, the renowned lyricist discovers he has lost the ability to communicate. Milo believes he must unravel his complicated history with Vivian Adair in order to win back his words. But he needs help—in the form of his granddaughter Eleanor—failed journalist and family misfit.”

Only 89 ratings?  This book deserves more than that.


Taylor Cipriano had everything figured out, back when she lived with her single mother in Miami. Now, she’s moved upstate for her junior year to live with her mom’s boyfriend and her soon-to-be-stepsister and is trying to figure out who she is out of the shadow of her best friend. When she meets Theo—quirky, cute, sensitive Theo—he seems like a great match…except he has a girlfriend. Josey, icy and oh-so-intimidating.

But Theo and Josey aren’t like anyone Taylor’s met before; Josey grew up in a polyamorous family, and the two of them have a history of letting a third person in to their relationship. It’s nothing Taylor’s ever considered before…but she really likes Theo.”

132 ratings.  This book was my first by this author and so far I’ve loved everything I’ve read of hers.


This series by M.C.A. Hogarth is so cute and sweet. 

Mindtouch  (252 ratings) – Seersana University is worlds-renowned for its xenopsychology program, producing the Alliance’s finest therapists, psychiatric nurses and alien researchers. When Jahir, one of the rare and reclusive Eldritch espers, arrives on campus, he’s unprepared for the challenges of a vast and multicultural society… but fortunately, second-year student Vasiht’h is willing to take him under his wing. Will the two win past their troubles and doubts and see the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime partnership?

Mindline (178 ratings) – At the advice of Vasiht’h, his first and truest friend, Jahir Seni Galare has accepted one of the most coveted residencies in xenotherapy, even though doing so has severed him from all the relationships he’s fostered since leaving his cloistered homeworld. But not all the simulations at school have prepared him for the reality of being an esper in a hospital large enough to serve the winter capital of the entire Alliance, and it’s not long before he’s questioning the wisdom of having left the university for the tumult of one of the largest port cities in the known worlds.”

Dreamhearth (50 ratings) – Jahir and Vasiht’h have earned their licenses as xenotherapists at last, and they have their hearts set on starting their practice in one of the Alliance’s most exciting and cosmopolitan destinations: a sector starbase. But dream therapy is a revolutionary treatment modality, and as esper practictioners they will have to work hard to win the trust of their community. Not only that, but they have a deadline: if they can’t prove themselves an asset to the starbase within six months, they’ll have to leave!


 

This book is fairly new so hopefully it will get more than 22 ratings.

News media brought the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”–the famous swirling gyre of plastic pollution in the ocean–into the public consciousness. But when Marcus Eriksen cofounded the 5 Gyres Institute with his wife, Anna Cummins, and set out to study the world’s oceans with hundreds of volunteers, they discovered a “plastic smog” of microscopic debris that permeates our oceans globally, defying simple clean-up efforts. What’s more, these microplastics and their toxic chemistry have seeped into the food chain, threatening marine life and humans alike.

Far from being a gloomy treatise on an environmental catastrophe, though, Junk Raft tells the exciting story of Eriksen and his team’s fight to solve the problem of plastic pollution. A scientist, activist, and inveterate adventurer, Eriksen is drawn to the sea by a desire to right an environmental injustice. Against long odds and common sense, he and his co-navigator, Joel Paschal, construct a “junk raft” made of plastic trash and set themselves adrift from Los Angeles to Hawaii, with no motor or support vessel, confronting perilous cyclones, food shortages, and a fast decaying raft.”


What underrated books do you love?

19 Sep, 2017

Backlist Love

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

I love backlist books.

How do I define backlist?

  • Published more than one year before I read it

I looked at the books I have read so far this year.  On the day I did my count, I had read 156 books so far.  Of those books:

  • 34 were published in 2017
  • 10 were published in 2016 and less than a year before I read them
  • That’s only 28% of the books I read being new this year.  Honestly, that’s more than I would have thought.

Of those 44 recently published books:

  • 11 were nonfiction – I guess I like my facts fresh.
  • 10 were new books in series I like so I was looking for them

I’m always amazed at people who can write lists like “Top Books I’m Looking Forward To This Fall.”  I never have any idea what books are coming out.  There are still thousands in the library I haven’t read.

Reasons Why You Should Read More Backlist Books

 

1. Be Different!

Who wants to read the 42nd review of the newest hyped book?

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” –Haruki Murakami

 

2. Let people know what amazing books are already out there

“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” –Abraham Lincoln

 

They may have missed it when it came out. This is especially true in the vast worlds of adult and genre fiction where most of the time there isn’t the hype that seems to exist in YA.

3. Save money, go to the library!

Did you see the 156 books by September stat above? There is no way I can afford to buy all those books. I wouldn’t want to anyway. Where would I keep them? I’m a library person.

What is the oldest non-classic book that you have read this year? 

Mine was The Cost of Sugar from 1987.

The Cost of SugarThe Cost of Sugar by Cynthia Mc Leod

I’ve also read some great books from 1994 and 1992.

I used to have a problem reading books that were written as contemporary novels years before I read them. If the technology or geopolitical references were out of date, I got frustrated. Then I realized that I could just think of them as very realistic historical fiction novels!

So go forth and find those forgotten gems!

29 Aug, 2017

TV Adaptations

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

I love TV adaptations of books as much as I hate movie adaptations.  Obviously, a TV adaptation is required to have the time to get absolutely EVERY DETAIL from the book in.

Here are some upcoming book to TV adaptations that I’m excited about.

Good Omens

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

You may find this over-dramatic but occasionally I think sadly back to the time when it was announced that Terry Gilliam was going to direct a movie version of this Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman book.  The plot revolves around the angel and demon left in charge of Earth who decide to work together to prevent the rise of the Antichrist because Earth is a cushy job and they don’t want to lose it.  Jonny Depp and Robin Williams were going to be the leads.  I think of this as the biggest missed opportunity ever.

But now, now, it has been announced that there will be a TV adaptation with David Tennant playing Crowley the demon.  I wanted to squeal when I heard but I couldn’t because other people were sleeping.

Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I reread this series a lot.  It is comfort food for me.  That makes me a little nervous about the adaptation that is in the works at Bad Wolf studios in Wales.  Don’t screw it up.  The author, Deborah Harkness, is very involved so hopefully it will be ok. The first book takes place in Oxford so it should be pretty.

This is a world of witches, daemons, and vampires.  A medieval scholar who has suppressed her witch heritage is drawn into conflict when the library gives her access to a book that has been hidden for centuries.

Who Fears Death

Who Fears DeathWho Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Anyone who has been around here a while knows that I love me some Nnedi Okorafor and that Who Fears Death was my first book of hers.  I love it but I don’t know if this was the one I’d have chosen to adapt.  She has others that seem more TV-friendly.

This is a post-apocalyptic story about racism and sexism in a brutal world in the African desert.  There are magical battles but also a lot of rape and violence.

I am looking forward to depiction of the tribe that lives in the middle of the sandstorm.  I love them!
good omens

Dawn

Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)Dawn by Octavia E. Butler

I actually have mixed feelings about this one.  I feel like I totally missed the takeaway of Octavia Butler’s series.  What I got from it was that humans are horrible and probably need to be exterminated.  Apparently she meant it as a ode to humans triumphing over slavery.  Pretty big difference of opinion there. 

Because of that I feel like this adaptation will probably just frustrate me as the humans go around being absolutely hateful and we are supposed to root for them.  Am I the only person who read this series that feels this way?

03 Aug, 2017

Women in Translation Month TBR

/ posted in: Book DiscussionReading

August is #WITMonth (Women In Translation).  When I heard about it, I looked on my Kindle app and my bookshelves to see what books I already had to read.  To my surprise, I found a bunch.

Swedish

The Unbroken Line of the Moon (Sagan om Valhalla #4; Valhalla #1)The Unbroken Line of the Moon by Johanne Hildebrandt

“In this grand saga of love, war, and magic set in the tenth century, young Sigrid is destined to be the mother of the king of the Nordic lands that would become Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and England.”

 

 


Spanish

Palm Trees in the SnowPalm Trees in the Snow by Luz Gabás

“When Clarence comes upon a series of letters from her family’s past, she starts to piece together the story of her father’s travels with his brother, and she becomes curious about her origins. Sifting through the clues and assembling the narrative, Clarence embarks on a journey to the exotic African isle of Fernando Poo, where the 2 brothers, Jacobo and Kilian, landed after fleeing their conventional, safe lives in the Spanish Pyrenees.”

Pierced by the SunPierced by the Sun by Laura Esquivel

“When Lupita witnesses the murder of a local politician whom she greatly admires, the ghosts of her past resurface as she tries to cope with the present. She quickly falls back into her old self-destructive habits and becomes a target of Mexico’s corrupt political machine. As the powers that be kick into high gear to ensure the truth remains hidden, Lupita finds solace in the purity of indigenous traditions. While she learns how to live simply, like her ancestors, she comes to understand herself and rediscovers light within a dark life. And if there is hope for Lupita’s redemption, perhaps there is hope for Mexico.”


Dutch

The cost of sugarThe cost of sugar by Cynthia Mc Leod

A history of 18th Century slavery in Suriname (1765-1779) … “a frank expose of life in the Dutch slave colony when sugar ruled as kind – and the tragic toll it took on the lives of colonists and slaves alike.”

 

 


Turkish

Last Train to IstanbulLast Train to Istanbul by Ayşe Kulin

“As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.

But when the Nazis invade France, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety.”


German

The Secret HealerThe Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta

“In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited to the home. But spirited young Madlen finds her calling as assistant to the city’s trusted midwife, Clara. Working alongside Clara, Madlen develops a surprisingly soothing technique and quickly becomes a talented healer.

After Clara’s tragic death, Madlen alone rushes to assist the birth of a local nobleman’s child. But rather than the joy of birth, Madlen walks into an accusation of murder and witchcraft because of her extraordinary gifts.”


Polish

Family History of Fear: A MemoirFamily History of Fear: A Memoir by Agata Tuszyńska

 

“The author was nineteen years old and living in Warsaw when her mother told her the truth—that she was Jewish—and began to tell her stories of the family’s secret past in Poland. Tuszyńska, who grew up in a country beset by anti-Semitism, rarely hearing the word “Jew” (only from her Polish Catholic father, and then, always in derision), was unhinged, ashamed, and humiliated. The author writes of how she skillfully erased the truth within herself, refusing to admit the existence of her other half.”


And then I figured graphic novels would be a good, fast way to read some more since I know I won’t get all the books I have listed read.  I might have gone a bit overboard with my library requests but I was impressed by how many they had. I’m sure they have a lot more but this is a start.

French

Aya: Life in Yop City (Aya #1-3)Aya: Life in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

 

“Ivory Coast, 1978. It’s a golden time, and the nation, too—an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa—seems fueled by something wondrous. Aya is loosely based upon Marguerite Abouet’s youth in Yop City. It is the story of the studious and clear-sighted nineteen-year-old Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It’s a wryly funny, breezy account of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City.”

Blue Is the Warmest ColorBlue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

“Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.”

 


Korean

Bride of the Water God, Volume 1Bride of the Water God, Volume 1 by Mi-Kyung Yun

“When Soah’s impoverished, desperate village decides to sacrifice her to the Water God Habaek to end a long drought, they believe that drowning one beautiful girl will save their entire community and bring much-needed rain. Not only is Soah surprised to be rescued by the Water God — instead of killed — she never imagined she’d be a welcomed guest in Habaek’s magical kingdom, where an exciting new life awaits her!”


Japanese

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya

“Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.”

 

A Bride's Story, Vol. 1 (A Bride's Story, #1)A Bride’s Story, Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori

“Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.”


Now we all know that I can’t follow a TBR to save my life, so stay tuned to see which of these I manage to read!

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