Getting Wild on World Book Night 2014

April 24, 2014 12:00 AM

Last night I participated in World Book Night for the first time. After settling on Cheryl Strayed's Wild (did you think I would pick a different author?) and picking up my box from Fountain Bookstore, I decided I would walk around my fabulous neighborhood to pass out the books. First, I had to borrow a great idea from Heather at Between the Covers and leave a copy for my mail person with a note thanking her for the great book mail and apologizing for my barking dog. 

I took Ruby and my husband with me for a bit of support, but sharing ended up being much easier than I thought. From the first smile and "Sure!" I was off and had emptied my bag in just over an hour, including stops at a restaurant, two parks and one of our neighborhood Little Free Libraries. I even met Melanie, who ended up sharing an amazing tweet about the experience! 

One thing I can say for sure is the expressions I saw when I offered the books were all full of such excitement and awe that this is something I can't wait to do again next year and many more to come. 

For those of you that participated, how was your World Book Night?

If you're curious what other bloggers were planning to give, Tanya from 52 Books or Bust shared a roundup yesterday!

2014 Summer Book Preview

April 23, 2014 12:00 AM
I think this winter has been more than enough for most of us, right? And then it came back for a little encore last week. I didn't have any snow, but I did have to turn my heat back on and I was less than happy about it. With that being said, I think it's beyond time to start thinking toward July and August and put a plan in place for our beach reads, shall we? These are the books I'm just itching to grab (and wouldn't mind reading in the sun).

2014 Summer Book Beach Read Preview

"Based on a true story of discovery, The Visitors is New York Times bestselling author Sally Beauman’s brilliant recreation of the hunt for Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings—a dazzling blend of fact and fiction that brings to life a lost world of exploration, adventure, and danger, and the audacious men willing to sacrifice everything to find a lost treasure."

"A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love."

"A beautifully written story of the delicate art of growing up, of love and war, of time travel and magic, and of the man who would become known as Captain Hook."

"Dark, unexpectedly funny, and achingly human, Season to Taste is a deliciously subversive treat. In Lizzie Prain, Natalie Young has created one of the most remarkable and surprising heroines in fiction."

Armada by Ernest Cline - July 28th
"A cinematic, inventive, heartwarming, and completely nerdtastic adventure from the best-selling author of Ready Player One."

The Home Place by Carrie La Seur - July 29th
"Carrie La Seur makes her remarkable debut with The Home Place, a mesmerizing, emotionally evocative, and atmospheric literary novel in the vein of The House Girl and A Land More Kind Than Home, in which a successful lawyer is pulled back into her troubled family’s life in rural Montana in the wake of her sister’s death."

"A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay."

"Jason Fitger's life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies."

"Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away."

"In this psychological page-turner set at a 'last-chance' school for teens, a teacher hides from her own terrible tragedy by teaching the Greek classics to her troubled students."

Which summer books are you most excited for?

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Stacking Up the Books

April 22, 2014 12:00 AM

It's almost here! In just a few short days we'll be hunkering down for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. This is now my third time participating, so I've started to figure out the best way to get the most out of the day: shorties and graphic novels, kids! This is a marathon, not a sprint - but we can break it up and make it a bit easier with smaller reading bits.

So, along with two short novels I grabbed for my TBR Pile Challenge and three graphic novels I had ready to read here at home, I also made a trip over to NetGalley and picked up a new graphic novel, This One Summer, just for this event. Here's the stack!
Will I get through all of them? Probably not, but it's always good to have a few extras in case you encounter a flop. Just a few days to wait! If you're looking for some book ideas for the Readathon, I made a list of (non-graphic) novels under 250 pages that will be up on the Readathon site today. 

I'll be helping y'all stay awake as a Readathon co-host and hosting a mini-challenge here on the blog, so prepare to see quite a bit of me here and on Twitter (@rivercityreadin) on Saturday! 

Are you taking part in the Readathon? What are you planning to read?

It's Monday April 21st, What Are You Reading?

April 21, 2014 12:00 AM
Colson Whitehead The Noble Hustle

So happy to be feeling much better this week! After ending up somewhat disappointed by what I've been reading lately, I feel like I've finally hit some amazing reading (thank you, MAY!). I'm almost finished with All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon and An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. And since I've been feeling like a bit of non-fiction, I think I'm going to jump into The Noble Hustle by Colson Whitehead next. Stop by tomorrow, I'll be sharing my Readathon plans!


Mid-April Mini Reviews

April 18, 2014 12:00 AM

Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom (from publisher for review) 
Single Line Synopsis: In order to help her mother's sister carry her baby to term, Emmy must travel to her mother's hometown and comply with the healing rituals of her aunt's strict religious beliefs. 
Thoughts: The novel starts with a great, slow pace that gradually reveals small bits of information about each of its characters and weaves in unique themes. Unfortunately, as the plot reaches its climax in the last 75 pages or so, the beautiful writing that filled the beginning of the book turns overdramatic and loses its soft touch.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (TBR Pile Challenge)                   
Single Line Synopsis: After the death of her mother, Cheryl sets out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with no experience but tons of supplies.
Thoughts: Have I mentioned that I loved Tiny Beautiful Things? Like, love loved? So much so that I've been afraid to read this because I didn't want my opinion on Strayed to change. Crisis averted. Still, I think I'm one of few who would have preferred more meditations on her emotions throughout her journey in place of narration of the hiking itself...but then I'd be reading Tiny Beautiful Things and I do that once every few months anyway. 

Chop Chop by Simon Wroe (from publisher for review)
Single Line Synopsis: "Monocle", a name earned for his background in English literature, struggles to find his way as he learns the ropes of working in the kitchen of a well-known restaurant. 
Thoughts:Simon Wroe writes in a funny, cheeky stream of consciousness that helps keep the pages turning. However, at least once or twice in each chapter, I found myself thinking about how much more I would be enjoying the novel if I had experience working in a kitchen. If you've been there, I would definitely check this out. 

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose (from publisher for review)
Single Line Synopsis: Exploring the intersection of the lives of a cross-dressing lesbian athlete, a photographer, a socialite and a writer following World War I and, eventually, the years leading into the horrors of the Second World War.
Thoughts: What a strange reading experience. I went from being unsure about the structure of the alternating perspectives, to excitement as they all started to come together, and frustratingly bored through the rest of the novel. The premise is amazing but, unfortunately, it's forgotten as a majority of the book is spent developing characters who still feel like they are at arm's length by the end. 

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

April 17, 2014 12:00 AM

Publisher: Pantheon
Source: Won in Goodreads Giveaway

Alone on a dreary, secluded British island, Jake Whyte wakes to find that something, or someone, has killed some of the sheep she is responsible for tending. Jake grows increasingly paranoid as she begins to hear scratching and voices in the night, shaken by both her solitude and the haunting fears of the life she left behind.  

Told in a series of flashbacks intersected by present day, readers journey backward through Jake's life, as All the Birds, Singing pieces together the horrific events that led her to seek life alone on a quiet island. Through this style, Wyld builds not only the tension of her beautiful novel, but the depth of its increasingly complex protagonist. 
"I can feel my strong arms floating from my shoulders, as weak as feathers. I want to do something to make him understand that it is important that this doesn't happen. I am sorry for my bad behaviour, I want to tell him, I want to say I won't do it again, I promise. I will take the beating with a brush, but not this. But all I can make is the word 'Please.'"
The atmosphere of All the Birds, Singing is full of weight and rain, soaking every page of the novel in a ceaseless dampening that readers can practically smell. Wyld's writing is absolutely transformative and makes it nearly impossible not to feel Jake's isolation, strength and tension.

Already topping lists in the UK since its release last year, All the Birds, Singing is a marvel of a novel sure to find accolades and awards here in the US as well.
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