4/15/14

From the TBR Shelf: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson


http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080724105005/baroquecycle/images/0/0f/Cover_of_Cryptonomicon_Trade_PB_9780380788620.jpgCryptonomicon (1999) by Neal Stephenson

First of all, this is a long book. A VERY long book. As in, 1130 pages. Every one of which I enjoyed.

So if you're into cryptography, computers, World War II history, submarines, the Philippines, or engineering, you'll love this book. And even if you are only interested in one or two of those things, and know little of the others, you'll still enjoy the story (i.e. I know some WWII history and a little bit about the Phillipines during the Spanish-American War and beyond, but all I know about computers and cryptography is what happened to stick in my mind when people have tried to explain it to me).

4/9/14

Books to Look For (April): History, Comics/Graphic Novels, & Travel

History

http://edelweiss-assets.abovethetreeline.com/MM/images/jacket_covers/flyout/9780374172992_50d66.jpgHotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 464 pages, April 22)

I don't know about you, but I always connect the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) to writers like Hemingway, Orwell, and Auden- probably because that's the only time I learned about that conflict. Vaill, though, takes us deeper into the background of those who joined the Spanish Republican side: writers, journalists, and photographers who shaped how we think about truth in reporting and the rise of photojournalism.


4/8/14

Breaking Into Crime Fiction

hammettIn the spirit of a “reading challenge,” I decided earlier this year to devote the entire month of March to crime fiction (mostly American). Why that particular genre? It had been beckoning to me furiously after I devoured five Agatha Christie novels in one gulp a couple of years ago, but there were always other books claiming my attention. After all, 90% of my TBR shelf is literary fiction or history; I simply didn’t own any contemporary crime fiction. Now, I had read Capote’s In Cold Blood, Poe’s mysteries, Collins’s The Moonstone, and all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, but I wanted to get a better sense of the 20th-century American scene (basically beginning with Hammett in the 1930s). I wanted to understand what “noir” was really like on paper (since I had seen plenty of it on film and tv).

So I asked my fellow Rioters and bookish twitter buddies for some recommendations and whittled them down to seven novels. I chose them based on the following criteria:

4/7/14

Rachel's Random Recommendation #29: The Moon and Sixpence by W. S. Maugham

http://diaryofafuturegoldengirl.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/moon_sixpence.jpgThe Moon and Sixpence (1919) by W. Somerset Maugham

This lovely novel by Maugham (who also wrote the autobiographical masterpiece Of Human Bondage [1915]) takes its inspiration from the life of French artist Paul Gauguin. Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, decides one day to abandon his banal life in order to devote himself to painting. Leaving his wife and career for an unknown future, Strickland embraces an existence fully devoted to creativity, and while his abrupt renunciation of his past life may seem callous, his courage to pursue something socially deemed "impractical" for something he loves is also inspiring.

And if you're into novels about painters, also see Émile Zola's The Masterpiece (1886), which is based on the life of Paul Cézanne.

4/4/14

Haunting Beauty: Apex Magazine's Cover Art

http://www.apex-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ApexMag300.jpgAlright, guys, you know that I'm a major lover of vivid and funky sci-fi/fantasy cover art (refresh your memory here if necessary). So you won't be surprised when I fall all over myself to show you some of the beautiful images recently (and not so recently) featured on the cover of Apex Magazine.

Like great literature, great art invites you to make connections across time and space, recognizing older, influential works in newly-painted landscapes or portraits. This is what happened when I looked at recent Apex covers, particularly those featuring solitary female figures. Below are four of my favorites:

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4/3/14

Review: Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun


https://d1ldy8a769gy68.cloudfront.net/180/978/080/413/714/0/9780804137140.jpgBlack Moon (2014) by Kenneth Calhoun

At just under 300 pages, Black Moon is like a fast-moving train glimpsed through a window. (Sorry if that sounds strange, but I find it helpful to think visually about a book I've just finished).

Let me explain. Imagine glancing out of a window at night and seeing a train rushing by, but you can't see either end of it. You hear it and see the flashing lights, and you know that it's moving, but that's all the information you have. Your first question might be, "How long is this train?" or "Where is it going?"

4/2/14

Books to Look For (April): Biography, Literary Fiction, & Mystery

Biography

http://edelweiss-assets.abovethetreeline.com/HC/images/jacket_covers/flyout/9780061896453_0cec4.jpgUpdike by Adam Begley (Harper, 576 pages, April 8)

Dare I even admit that I haven't yet read John Updike? Oh wait, I guess I just admitted it. Well, now I really want to read his novels, especially the Rabbit tetralogy, after checking out this new biography. Updike strove to "transcribe middleness with all its grits, bumps and anonymities," like a modern-day Naturalist writer, allowing him to dissect and analyze suburban America in a multitude of novels, poems, short stories, and critical essays. Looks awesome.


3/31/14

Rachel's Random Recommendation #28: The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f5/Yiddishpol.jpgThe Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007) by Michael Chabon

I have to admit, this is one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen on a book. Ever. And the story between the covers? Equally fantastic!

This, my first Chabon novel, was recommended to me by a good friend a couple of years ago. I had wanted to read Chabon, but my TBR pile was huge and I just never got around to it. Until I finally went out and snagged a copy of YPU.

Parabolas, Colors, and Tattered Pages: Creative Ways to Organize Your Bookshelves

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 couple of years ago, Rioter Liberty gave you some fresh ideas for how to creatively organize your bookshelves. Because she was right, you know: alphabetical order is so passé!

Well, I’d like to add a few of my own ideas here, since the very thought of organizing things makes me salivate like a hungry bear. I mean, whenever I’ve had the opportunity to reorganize my bookshelves, I had to keep my smelling salts handy for fear I’d pass out from the fun-overload of deciding how to best arrange my literary lovelies.


So here goes:

3/29/14

In Translation: Arabesques by Anton Shammas


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jWoT65Ls11U/TzHxwlZOETI/AAAAAAAADKM/pRDgse0B_GA/s1600/arabesques-cover.jpgArabesques (1986) by Anton Shammas

I first tried to read Arabesques when it was assigned in my Middle Eastern Lit class in college- that was more than a decade ago. The semester was almost over, I was swamped by all the other reading and writing that I had to do, and I was about 50 pages in when I just abandoned the poor book. It wasn't grabbing me by the shoulders, and its fragmentary nature left me frustrated. I absolutely hate leaving a book unfinished, but it happens sometimes.

I picked up the novel again a few days ago, determined to read it through, no matter what. After all, I've set a goal for myself that I'll read at least one translated book per month. Shammas's story was just as fragmentary and hard-to-follow as I remembered, but I gave it a chance this time, and it payed off.