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text 2016-03-15 16:38
Top Ten Tuesday: March 15, 2016
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction - Hannu Rajaniemi
The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss - Max Wirestone
The Witch of Lime Street: Seance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World - David Jaher
The Builders - Daniel Polansky
Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet's Ace Reporter - Tim Hanley
Ladies Night at the Dreamland (Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction Ser.) - Sonja Livingston,John Griswold
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye
The Beauty Volume 1 - Jason A. Hurley,Jeremy Haun
Sister Light, Sister Dark - Jane Yolen
Through the Habitrails (Comic) - Jeff Nicholson

(Original Top Ten Tuesday concept and topic from The Broke and the Bookish)

 

Today's list is slated to be Ten Books On My Spring TBR, but rather than make a TBR for spring when I’ve barely made headway into any of the others I’ve made for past Top Tens, I’m going to go with a list of the Top 10 ARCs I Desperately Need to Read ASAP (which is still a TBR, I know). I’ve been sitting on some of these ARCs for over a year, which kind of goes against the whole “reading in advance of release” thing.

 

Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi. I’ve dipped into it and love the style, but just haven’t been into a lot of short fiction lately.

 

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone. This was requested based on one really strong review. Perhaps not the best barometer of my own interest.

 

The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher. Another one that came from a strong recommendation and has yet to be cracked open.

 

The Builders by David Polansky. I’m really interested to see where the Tor novellas are going to go. It would help if I read the only one I’ve requested so far. Plus, talking animals.

 

Investigating Lois Lane by Tim Hanley. I’ve never been terribly interested in Superman, but Lois’ history sounds fascinating.

 

Ladies Night at the Dreamland by Sonja Livingston. I really love essay collections, university press publications, and books about women, so this looks to be promising.

 

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. I’ve started this one, but it’s very dark (Jane Eyre if Jane were a serial killer!) and I’m taking my time.

 

The Beauty Volume 1 by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley. An interesting premise and the cover art drew me in.

 

Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen. I’ve actually read this book before, but it was more than 15 years ago and I remember nothing other than I enjoyed it. I know I will like it and I want to boost the signal for it as a re-launch of a title that has been out of print for some time.

 

Through the Habitrails by Jeff Nicholson. It will be interesting to see how an early 90s social commentary comic holds up (from what I can tell, very little has changed).

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text 2016-01-19 21:31
Top Ten Tuesday: January 19, 2016
After Alice: A Novel - Gregory Maguire
White is for Witching - Helen Oyeyemi
Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho
House of Dark Delights - Louisa Burton
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction - Hannu Rajaniemi
The Partly Cloudy Patriot - Katherine Streeter,Sarah Vowell
Old New York: Four Novellas - Edith Wharton
The Queen of the Night - Alexander Chee
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise - Chris Taylor

Today's Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR

 

(Topic and original Top Ten Tuesday concept from The Broke and the Bookish)

 

After Alice by Gregory Maguire. A Christmas present (my copy is signed, which is extra cool). I love Alice in Wonderland and I also love classic story retellings, and since Maguire hasn’t let me down yet, I have high hopes.

 

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. This was also a Christmas present (from the same person, my super sneaky Secret Santa who knows just what I like, apparently), and a book I’ve been hoping to get my hands on for ages.

 

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho. This one has been on my list for a few months, since it keeps getting compared to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, one of my absolute favorites. My library hold finally came in, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

 

House of Dark Delights by Louisa Burton. This is on my list, though I don’t own it yet. I’m trying to find some well-written erotica and nothing is meeting my absurdly high standards (Anais Nin is my only love so far). (Also, recommendations highly sought).

 

Bonk by Mary Roach. I’ve been meaning to read something by Roach forever, and I’m always interested in learning the biological and neurological underpinnings of sexuality.

 

Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction. I received an ARC of this AGES ago, and just recently dipped into it and had to bump it up the TBR list.

 

The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell. Like Mary Roach, Vowell is a writer I’ve had on my radar for some time but have yet to try. I found a copy of this (and a couple of her other books) at the used bookstore and now they are awaiting me on Mt. TBR.

 

Old New York by Edith Wharton. I’m hoping to take on a sort of “Wharton project” this year, tackling things I haven’t read, but also rereading the greats like House of Mirth and Age of Innocence.

 

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. I’ve had the ARC for this for a while, as I was trying to wait until a bit closer to publication to read it. Since it comes out in early February, I fear I may have cut it a bit close to tackle it before the release date, but I’ve heard so much buzz, my curiosity got the better of me.

 

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor. This is the lone audiobook I’m counting, as I tend to let them sit around longer. But the history is intriguing, and this is also a book I think my husband and I will both enjoy, which is rare.

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review 2015-12-01 17:00
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction - Hannu Rajaniemi

I had never read anything by Hannu Rajaniemi before I read this collection and I was a bit doubtful in the beginning because the two first stories didn't really rock my boat. Actually I found myself a bit confused. It felt a bit like I had missed something and I had a bit of trouble understand what was going on. But by the third story it started to get better. 

 

I will not list all the stories in this collection instead I thought I would mention some of them that was really memorable.

 

The Haunting of Apollo A7LB -  A tragic love story that includes a haunted space suite.

 

Elegy for a Young Elk - Kind of hard to explain this story, but I loved the ending. It showed that despite everything a father would do anything for his child despite that the child has evolved into something new.

 

Fisher of Man - One of my favorite story in this book. Nothing to do with AI or technology, but instead it's a story about the daughter of the Sea that catches men in her net. I was intrigued with the story and with the Finnish mythology, a subject that I'm not at all are familiar with.

 

Ghost dogs - What happen with dogs that die? If they don't go to heaven, are they still in the house? A very good story and the one with the saddest ending. 

 

Paris, in Love  - A very unusual love story between a Finnish man and Paris.

 

Topsight - The death of a friend is the topic here and was it really an accident or was it murder? I wish this story had been longer, it was such an interesting story. 

 

The Oldest Game - A man against a god in a drinking contest. More Finnish mythology. I really need to read more about the old Finnish Gods. 

 

Shibuya no Love - Another interesting take on love. Heartbreaking ending. 

 

Satan's Typist - A very short story, but honestly it didn't need more to tell its story. Being a typist is really not a fun job when your boss is Satan himself. 

 

In the end, I just want to say that despite the fact that I was a bit doubtful in the beginning of this book did it turn out to be a really good collection. There were some stories I didn't that much and some were a bit confusing, but most of the stories was good. I really loved the mix of stories about technology and Finnish mythology. It gave a good balance to the collection. 

 

Thanks to Tachyon Publications and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2015-07-29 19:34
Collected Fiction - Hannu Rajaniemi
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction - Hannu Rajaniemi

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A few months ago, I read Hannu Rajaniemi's first two installments of "The Quantum Thief": not so easy to follow novels, but unique in their own right, because of their fascinating blend of science and, dare I say, poetry.

These short stories are a little easier to follow, while retaining this quality, as well as first sentences that almost always manage to pique my interest, combining as they do totally different elements. Typical example: "Before the concert, we steal the master’s head." We often hear or read that first sentences and first pages are important to grab a reader's attention, and I think this author manages to do that very well here.

Most of those stories kept me enthralled, although not always for the same reasons. Some of them were clearly set in a distant enough future that men had become digital gods, or launched starships meant to drop servers into spaces just like one would plant seends, aiming to create a network spanning entire galaxies. Other stories felt closer to contemporary times, while toying with Finnish myths and legends (Tuoni...). Not to mention the inclusion of Edinburgh: I very often derive pleasure just from reading about a city I know well and/or live in.

Generally speaking, I would divide these stories into three (somewhat loose) categories:

- The exploring of technology, pushed back to its limits and beyond, and what it means to be a sentient being in such a world. I use the words "beings" here on purpose, since not all protagonists are human: "His Master's Voice" features two extremely enhanced and intelligent pets, and is narrated by the dog itself. Brilliant.

The same applies to "The Server and the Dragon" (a lone server growing in space, questioning its own purpose), "Deux Ex Homine" (the story of one who briefly embraced a plague turning people into digital deities), "Elegy for a Young Elk", or "Invisible Planets" (where the protagonist is, in fact, a ship).

"Skywalker of Earth" has its own charm, in between a contemporary alien invasion adventure and a pulp serial—considering the people who initiated the conflict in it, and when they did it (1930s pseudo-science). I also really liked the idea of going open source in order to pool all resources available and fight back.

Certainly closer to our own time period, "Topsight" deals with what's left of people in the digital world after their death, while "The Jugaad Cathedral" explores the meaning of living in a digital world, most specifically a MMORPG, vs. embracing the "real" world, and blurs boundaries between both.

The one I didnt like so much was "Shibuya no Love", because its portrayal of Japan and its inhabitants felt too close to caricature. It was probably on purpose, but it didn't work for me.

- The mythical-tinged stories: "Fisher of Men" (includes Iku-Turso), "The Viper Blanket" (with its bizarre family following ancient rites), "The Oldest Game"...

- The others: "Paris, In Love", "Ghost Dogs", or "Satan's Typist". The first one was close to urban fantasy, in that the City in it really took on a life of its own. The other two are more the horror-infused type—the ghost dogs especially echoed Gaiman's wolves in the wall for me.

Definitely a unique collection, one that I will recommend without fear of the science thrown in: maybe the concepts will be lost on some (I won't pretend I understood absolutely everything either), but it doesn't really matter. Context, feelings and ideas largely make up for it, allowing to mentally draw a bigger picture in every case.

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text 2015-07-02 16:00
TBR Thursday: July 3
Searching for Jane Austen - Emily Auerbach
Sirena - Donna Jo Napoli
The Darkangel - Meredith Ann Pierce
The Doctors Are In: The Essential and Unofficial Guide to Doctor Who's Greatest Time Lord - Graeme Burk,Robert Smith
Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction - Hannu Rajaniemi
The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers (Dover Thrift Editions) - Mike Ashley
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

I'm currently working my way through Searching for Jane Austen by Emily Aurbach. I can never get enough books about Jane Austen, especially when they are as well researched and well written as this one.

 

I've probably acquired over 30 books in the month of June, but instead of tackling any of those, I got a wild hare and decided to grab a couple of books from the library. They are actually re-reads, but I read them so long ago I don't remember ANYTHING about them: The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce and Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli. Napoli was one of my absolute favorite writers as a teenager, especially since fairy tale retellings are my genre kryptonite (read: my weakness), so I'm hoping it holds up.

 

I'm also hoping to make my way through a couple of NetGalley ARCs, as I've let them fall a bit behind lately. First on the list is The Doctors are In, followed (hopefully) by Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction and The Feminine Future.

 

I'm also super duper stressed out lately, so I'm also re-listening to the Harry Potter books, narrated by the fabulous Jim Dale. It soothes my soul.

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