It’s time for our monthly recap. Find out which books were favorites, which were duds, and which ones we plan to read the following month. We’ll end our wrap up with a calendar of book-related events/facts from the Month of June and we’ll highlight our upcoming July content. We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read in June and what you look forward to reading in July. Read more
A close friend recently posted a request for reading recommendations on her Facebook page. I responded with some admittedly embarrassing recommendations which I won’t list here again but, suffice it to say, they were mostly within the urban fantasy and young adult genres. I even may have noted the words “witches” and “vampires.” This is a smart, intellectual friend. We suffered through our doctoral programs together. So, she has smart friends and most of them recommended top quality literature. Think Hemingway, Woolf, Tolstoy and you get the idea.
So, what happened to me? Why did I have to fight the urge to post “yeah, Anna Karenina is great and all but have you tried Divergent?” To put it in context, my friend recently had a baby and was asking about books to read while nursing. I was remembering myself during my first 3 months (okay more like 6 months) post-baby. The notion of trying to read Hemingway, let along Woolf, during those months was hilarious. While every woman’s experience after childbirth is unique, mine was not one of endless quiet, reflective moments – the type well-suited to reading quality literature. Read more
Welcome to our first update in the Summer Reading Challenge! We have a lot of people joining us for this challenge and we hope you are all having fun picking out your books. Haven’t joined yet? There is still time to sign up and receive your virtual passport.
Every two weeks or so we will be posting an update on the challenge along with some ideas for book locations. We’ll also give an honorable mention to the reader who posts our favorite book-location pairing over the two weeks.
It’s only been one week but many of you have already traveled to at least one book destination. Remember you have 3 months to read so there’s no rush! Here’s how the scoreboard currently stands: Read more
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
Published in: 2010
Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2010)
Reviewed by Jen
Rating: 3.5 stars
Find it here: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
After reading Cloud Atlas, I avoided all other Mitchell books for many years for fear of being disappointed. Cloud Atlas is one of the books that made it into my list of favorite books which is no small feat. I have over 600 books on my Shelfari bookshelf and only 10 of those books have made it onto my list of favorites. Typically when I love an author, I seek out all their books but I felt differently about my first experience with Mitchell. Cloud Atlas was one of those books that was notable for me because it was unlike anything I had ever read. It was intelligent but in an unpretentious and highly accessible manner. While Cloud Atlas was a great and engaging story, it was the unique way that Mitchell played around with narrative structure, timeline, and genre that made the reading experience so wonderful for me. So when I turned to read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, it was under the shadow of unrealistically high expectations. Read more
Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Reviewed by: Jen
Rating: 4 stars
Pre-order your copy here:Among the Ten Thousand Things
Among Ten Thousand Things is about the events, big and small, that lead to the eventual breakdown of a family. When Jack Shanley’s mistress tries to expose their affair to his wife by mailing her a package with their sexually explicit correspondence, his young daughter intercepts the package and both children read it. The remainder of the book centers around what happens to all members of the family after this event. Each member of the family responds in their own way leading to the eventual breakdown of their family unit. Read more
In keeping with the theme of books that teach a lesson, we decided to review A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton. E picked this book out herself during one of our trips to the bookstore. It’s certainly eye catching with it’s bright orange cover and vivid illustrations inside the book, but Emma liked the cover because “that girl is trying to talk to the cute animal.” Read more
It’s official. Our Spring Cleaning Challenge is finally over and we have some winners to announce. You all did an amazing job cleaning up your TBR shelves while I unfortunately added to mine. As a group you read over 100 books. Our top two participants combined read over 50 of those books!
Our grand prize winner was selected at random. Each book you read counted for one entry and the winning entry was selected using random.org.
So without further ado, here our winners:
Grand Prize: Becky. Congrats to Becky! She wins a box packed with books and book-related goodies. Included in the box are the following items: book tote bag, literary teas, a personal library kit, bookmarks, a book journal, an adult coloring book, a $25 Amazon gift card, and a selection of 9 new books from a variety of genres. Books include a graphic novel, 2 non-fiction books, a classic, a short story collection, a science fiction book, a comedic fantasy, contemporary fiction, and magical realism/romance novel. Becky – please send me an email with your mailing address for the box. Here’s a glimpse of what she gets:
Most read: Our first place prize goes to Kate who received and incredible 26 points. Even more impressive, she even read Infinite Jest by Wallace for which she received 3 points. Kate wins a $40 gift card to Amazon.
First Review posted: Anita. She posted the first review in the challenge – The Housekeeper and the Professor by Ogawa. She wins: a pair of library card socks & a book lover’s journal. Anita – I will also need your mailing address. The socks crack me up.
Last Review Posted: This technically goes to Kate but since we limited everyone to one prize, the runner up gets the prize. Lynsey posted the second to last review of Adichie’s Americanah. Lynsey wins: A hardcopy edition of Judy Blume’s new book, In the Unlikely Event that was released earlier this month.
So congrats to all the winners. We hope that even if you didn’t win, you enjoyed the challenge.
And, if you didn’t win, there’s always the next challenge. I’ve already started collecting prize materials for the summer prizes. Sign up for our Summer challenge that begins today!
What did you think of the challenge? Which was your favorite TBR read? Which was your least favorite?
Several months ago I signed up for a Book Riot quarterly box subscription and last week my first box arrived. With Father’s Day just around the corner, a book box subscription may be a perfect gift for the dad in your life.
I’ve been hesitant to sign up for any book subscription services because I don’t love the idea of someone else picking out my books. I’m picky and I generally don’t love the popular books that everyone else is reading. But the Book Riot box sounded interesting and arrives quarterly (at $50 per box). Each “Quarter” is designed around a specific theme and includes a personal letter and hand-picked items. See what I got and whether it was worth it after the jump — I don’t want to give away the items for those who have yet to receive your box so click more only if you want to see what items arrived in July. Read more
After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Published in: 2004
Translated from Japanese by Jay Rubin
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: 4 stars
Find it here: After Dark
Synopsis: (from the Back Cover): Eyes mark the shape of the city
The midnight hour approaches in an almost-empty diner. Mari sips her coffee and reads a book, but soon her solitude is disturbed: a girl has been beaten up at the Alphaville hotel, and needs Mari’s help.
Meanwhile Mari’s beautiful sister Eri lies in a deep, heavy sleep that is ‘too perfect, too pure’ to be normal; it has lasted for two months. But tonight as the digital clock displays 00:00, a hint of life flickers across the television screen, even though it’s plug has been pulled out.
Strange nocturnal happenings, or a trick of the night?
Review: If you read our featured author post you will know that I love Murakami’s writing and this book was no exception. From the moment I read the back cover, I had a happy warm feeling in my tummy. I knew this was going to be a good read. The front cover just calls out to you “read me, read me.” The only problem with this book is that it is short. I could have stayed wandering around Tokyo at night much longer than the time Murakami allowed me.
From the opening lines of the book we, the readers, are told that we are voyeurs. We can watch what happens in the city. We can zoom in on bits that interest us, but we cannot get involved. We cannot influence anything. We cannot be heard and we are entirely neutral.
The book is set on a midwinter’s night between the hours of 11:56pm and 6:52am in Tokyo. It revolves around 3 central characters: the beautiful Eri who has decided to sleep and not wake up; her intelligent sister Mari who cannot sleep; and Takahashi a young musician who provides a link between the 2 sisters.
While Eri sleeps her beautiful sleep, Mari stays awake in the city where she encounters Takahashi in a Denny’s restaurant. Their meeting leads her to be pulled into the life of the “Night People.” Night people are those who are more at home after the sun has gone down — the insomniacs, prostitutes, and others who prefer the night.
While there is some action in this book, it’s more about feelings and perceptions than about plot development. There is violence and vengeance, and in true Murakami style there are mystical and magical moments and cats!! How do you know you are reading a Murakami? Because there are always cats.
This is a stylized book and I can easily see it being made into a noir film as the story really lends itself to the visual.
For those who like a proper ending with all the loose ends tied up, this is not the book for you (nor is any other Murakami book). There are several mysterious events that are not explained and are just left dangling when the sun rises. Murakami has created a place that exists only after dark and so until the next time the sun sets the mysteries will have to stay mysteries.
Want to try if for yourself? You can find it here: After Dark
We want to hear from you. Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you like Murakami’s books?