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text 2018-01-25 23:21
Meaning
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters - Ursula K. Le Guin,Karen Joy Fowler

"Meaning - this is perhaps the common note, the bane I am seeking. What is the Meaning of this book, this event in the book, this story ... ? Tell me what it Means.

But that is not my job, honey. That's your job."

 

- Ursula K. Le Guin

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text 2018-01-25 19:24
Reading progress update: I've read 23 out of 240 pages.
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters - Ursula K. Le Guin,Karen Joy Fowler

I could not put off reading this book any longer. 

 

There are two collections of Le Guin's articles/essays on my Mt. TBR shelf and this is the one that was only recently published (November 2017). 

 

No Time To Spare is a collection of articles from her blog, which you can check out here

 

Having read only a few pages so far, it just drives home just what a powerful force of mind we have lost. 

 

One of my favourite post on her blog so far is this one about Amazon - and I am fairly sure that she deliberately abbreviated "Bestseller" and that the term "BS Machine" does not refer to "bestsellers".

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text 2017-12-11 19:38
12 New December Books
Year One - Nora Roberts
The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries - Mimi Matthews
One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning (The Final War) - David Moody
Winds of the Forest (Forestborn Book 1) - Dele Daniel
If the Fates Allow - Killian B. Brewer,Lynn Charles,Erin Finnegan,Pene Henson,Lilah Suzanne,Annie Harper
Gun Kiss - Khaled Talib
Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace - Jennifer Chiaverini
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters - Ursula K. Le Guin,Karen Joy Fowler
Taming the Alpha (Balls & Chains 2) - Amara Lebel

Winter is here. The days are getting shorter, the weather's getting chiller and we cannot find a better way out of this situation than hiding under a blanket with a book pile nearby. If you're looking for some new titles for your December reading, have a look at the following 12 new releases and let us know what are you reading this winter season.

 

 

Year One by Nora Roberts 

A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author—an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives. 

 

Preorder ->

The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries by Mimi Matthews 

From elaborate Victorian cat funerals to a Regency era pony who took a ride in a hot air balloon, Mimi Matthews shares some of the quirkiest—and most poignant—animal tales of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Meet Fortune, the Pug who bit Napoleon on his wedding night, and Looty, the Pekingese sleeve dog who was presented to Queen Victoria after the 1860 sacking of the Summer Palace in Peking. The four-legged friends of Lord Byron, Emily Brontë, and Prince Albert also make an appearance, as do the treasured pets of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Charles Dickens. Less famous, but no less fascinating, are the animals that were the subject of historical lawsuits, scandals, and public curiosity. Preorder->

 

 

 

One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning by David Moody 

In One of Us Will Be Dead by Morning, David Moody returns to the world of his Hater trilogy with a new fast-paced, and wonderfully dark story about humanity's fight for survival in the face of the impending apocalypse.

 

 

New release & Giveaway

Winds of the Forest by Dele Daniel 

In the only surviving part of the earth sits the post-apocalyptic West-African kingdom of Nayja. In the only place where humans still exist lives four tribes, the Kingfishers, the Ammirians, the Rowans and the Arnazuris but one tribe is dominant and must remain so.

 

 

If the Fates Allow by Annie Harper 

During the holidays, anything is possible—a second chance, a promised future, an unexpected romance, a rekindled love, or a healed heart. Authors Killian B. Brewer, Pene Henson, Erin Finnegan, Lilah Suzanne, and Lynn Charles share their stories about the magic of the season.

 

 

Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib 

A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue… When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen. 

  

 

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini 

The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker illuminates the fascinating life of the world’s first computer programmer Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have gone unsung for too long.

 

Preorder->

The Last Governor: Chris Patten and the Handover of Hong Kong by Jonathan Dimbleby 

1 July 1997 marked the end of British rule of Hong Kong, whereby this territory was passed into the hands of the People’s Republic of China. In 1992, Chris Patten, former chairman of the Conservative Party, was appointed Hong Kong's last governor, and was the man to oversee the handover ceremony of this former British colony. Within the last five years of British rule, acclaimed journalist Jonathan Dimbleby was given unique access to the governor which enabled him to document the twists and turns of such an extraordinary diplomatic, political and personal drama. Preorder->

 

 

Taming the Alpha by Amara Lebel 

Welcome to Balls & Chains, a BDSM Club for gay men. Cross the threshold and see the worlds of humans and shifters collide as these alphas dominate, and betas submit.

 

 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden 

A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the backwoods of Russia to the court of Moscow, in the exhilarating sequel to Katherine Arden’s bestselling debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale.

 

 

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine 

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away. Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text.

 

 

No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s online writing, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her unceasing wonder at it: “How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.”

 

Happy reading!

 

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review 2017-05-10 16:10
Book 28/100: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
I never knew when I picked this book up that the identity of Fern was supposed to be a "twist" -- the review I read that piqued my interest gave it away, and that's what made me want to read the book. Ironically, I probably would not have picked it up had I not known the "twist" beforehand!

But I am glad that I did pick it up. I hadn't realized that this was written by the same person who wrote The Jane Austen Book Club, which I found to be a bit too cutesy and not particularly enjoyable, and at first knowing that put me off a bit. However, I found this book to be much more substantial and introspective, and demonstrative of Fowler's growth as a writer in tone and themes.

This book was less about the experience of living with Fern than I expected, and more about the way her short time with the Cooke family impacted them for decades even after she disappeared. The narrator was only five when Fern disappeared from her family, so she perhaps had the most difficulty truly making sense of what had happened and why. Her social interactions remained awkward and she felt isolated throughout most of her life, always compensating for unusual formative years and the impact Fern had on them. Unable to see the "big picture," she also blamed herself for Fern's disappearance, which was reinforced by her brother's interpretation of events.

Fern, brother Lowell, Rosemary (the narrator), and her friend Harlow are incredibly vivid characters -- the rest of the characters less so, to the extent that I sometimes had trouble keeping track of them or remembering who was who. The non-linear storytelling style can also take some getting used to, and because the book is very reflective in nature, there is a lot that is conveyed in summary and memory rather than in direct action. The narrative style seemed appropriate to the storyteller and the story she was attempting to convey, and the book's powerful themes about family, the importance of formative experiences, the response to grief, the isolation of an unconventional childhood, activism and animal rights more than made up for its minor weaknesses. It's the type of book that will make you want to read more about the subject matter, which always counts as a win for me even if it places further strain on my massive TBR list. Ever-expanding intellectual curiosity is fun, if a bit overwhelming. :)
 
 
 
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review 2017-02-23 20:08
Sarah Canary - Karen Joy Fowler

As one of the characters, B.J. Voisard, might describe it, this story is exactly like the quest for the grail, except it takes place in late 19th century America instead of medieval England, and instead of a grail there’s a  mysterious woman with an unknown past who can’t speak, and instead of valiant knights there are a Chinese migrant, a suffragette, and an escapee from an insane asylum on quests to help her. Otherwise, it’s the exact same story.

 

The book is rich in detail and meticulously researched. The SF elements are more of an open question and it isn’t heavy on plot. The writing is excellent but the characters, quirky and memorable, make the book, particularly for me, the aforementioned B.J. Voisard. If you don’t find them engaging, this book really isn’t for you.

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