Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dominoes by the Book

Here is a playful video by the Arizona bookstore Bookmans. 


I'd hate to be the person who has to re-shelf all of this.... But what a good "cause"!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Visitants

Before I picked up Visitants, a collection of short stories that involve angels, I would have ventured to say that the heavenly host are there for humanity's well-being.

Now... well, now I am not so sure.

You may not like every story in this collection, but you will never think of the heavenly host the same, ever.

I first became interested in this book because of Neil Gaiman: his is the first story in the collection. His tale, "Murder Mysteries," is personal and unreal at the same time, a character that makes the entire story immediate and plausible.

I felt brave, so I soldiered on.

From plagues to plays, from computers to curses, each author takes an interesting turn around the block with this subject. Each was interesting in its own right, and editor Stephen Jones arranges them in an interesting, attractive order. I have to admit, I was awash with a particular tide for a while, but as I read one or two stories a day, I wasn't too overwhelmed when a particular theme wove through too many in a row.

My favorites? Aside from Gaiman's story, I liked "An Infestation of Angels" and "Plague Angels." Both shared with me a perspective of angels I never imagined.

If you can read only one story (aside from Gaiman's), go for "Molly and the Angel."  Second choice: "Things I Didn't Know My Father Knew," which wasn't as much an angel story as — well, you'd have to read it to understand.

Pick up this great collection and prepare to be amazed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Celebrating the Dickens Out of Today

I will celebrate Charles Dickens' 200th birthday tonight by reading the second chapter of Oliver Twist. (I read the first chapter a few days ago.)

I look forward to discovering the terrible nature of one of literature's vilest villains, Bill Sikes.

Interesting tidbit: the author was accused of anti-Semitism when the book was first published. At first, he defended himself. Then, according to Wikipedia, he "then halted the printing of Oliver Twist, and changed the text for the parts of the book that had not been set, which is why Fagin is called 'the Jew' 257 times in the first 38 chapters, but barely at all in the next 179 references to him."

If you want something Dickens-ish — but not by Dickens — consider Drood, a fabulous mystery novel by Dan Simmons that speculates if there wasn't more truth to Dickens' final, unfinished novel.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Books on the Horizon for 2012

With a new kitten in the house, little has been done to anticipate the upcoming books. I will rectify that.

But first, a picture of the kitten.










Now we may continue.

Many of the books I am looking forward to reading are sequels, including:

  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, the sequel to the delightful and suspenseful A Discovery of Witches (due out in the summer). (I apologize for not offering a review of the first novel, but I urge you to read it right away.)
  • The Return of Shandar, the third in Jasper Fforde's Dragonslayer series, is due out in November. (I have been remiss in the second installment published in 2011. Please don't tell Mr. Fforde. The Last Dragonslayer, the first in the series, was amazing.)
  • The as-yet untitled sequel to Miss Peregrin's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (publication date yet to be announced)
Other novels I anticipate that are not sequels include:
  • Gold by Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee, whose story about the friendship between female athletes on the eve of a competition will be on my shelves as soon as it is avai
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander — I read his short story by the same name and found it was all I could talk about for days.
  • The Odds by Stewart O'Nan — his books resonate with me and I can't wait to read about a story of a married couple on the edge who go for broke at Niagara Falls one weekend (it sounds like On Chesil Beach, another slim, powerful tome).
  • Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, about a real street in Northern California — and whose novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union stung and moved me

I also can't wait to see what new (or "new to me") authors I meet this year. I didn't expect Deborah Harkness, Nathan Englander, Chris Cleave or Jeffrey Eugenides (author of The Marriage Plot, which I can't wait to read) — so how many others will I be meet this year?

Every year is a discovery, so hang on to your bookmarks and let's get ready to read!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Have You Read the Peculiar Book Yet?

So, what did you think of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children?

What!?

Have you read my review?  And you still haven't started it?

Well, you're a tough audience.

Let's see if this won't get you to the bookstore:

I know, I know: I don't play fair. But hey, all is fair in love and books. Anyway, if it gets that book in your hands, it's worth it.

Let me know what you think when you're done with it.