Posted by: Mish | June 20, 2010

Another One Makes the List

There have been some really good finds thanks to bookish bloggers and Goodreads. As per usual, the Dread Pile o’Reads has been growing. Varying in genre and from “must” to “maybe”, some recent additions:

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell: 6 narrators from different time periods and regions hear each others’ echos and their destinies are changed. It sounds really interesting and something I would really like. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen: An early 19th century comedy of manners in which a spirited courtship between a proud Mr. Darcy and a prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet plays out. It’s not something I usually read, but I would like to try reading at least one book by Austen. From what I’ve heard, Emma would be really annoying while P&P is often well-liked.

The Seven Whistlers, Amber Benson & Christopher Golden: Horror fantasy novella. Legends say that the Wild Hunt’s hounds search for lost souls and should all seven come together, it will mean the end of the world. I’m curious if Benson (BtVS) can write as well as she acts and sings. I came across one of her books awhile ago but it was geared towards younger young adults, but this one seems more older YA and interesting. Plus Golden has written some of the BtVS tie-in books, among other SF/F fiction and non-fiction, so it’d be nice to check out his writing as well.

Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus: De Jesus was in school just long enough to learn to read and write. She was pulled out around the age of 7. Published in 1963 after a journalist’s visit, it was the first book to shed light on life in favelas (slums/shanty towns) in the fifties and is the only first-hand account. It drew international attention to Brazil’s social and political structures and the struggles of the poor. I read the diary several years ago for a Brazilian studies course and I remember it being really good and powerful. It was recently called to mind and now I’d like to read it again.

Brazil, Errol Lincoln Uys: Following the generations of two families, the saga spans 5 centuries of Brazilian history, from colony to modern republic. I started the 1005 page historical-fiction several years ago, but got distracted. Maybe if I officially put it in the pile I’ll get to it.

Pitching My Tent, Anita Diamant: A collection of essays from when she was a columnist that span family life and the joys and complications of being Jewish. On the topic of how Jews and Christians view the afterlife, Maphead said Diamant “might have summed up more in those few pages than what’s covered in an entire academic term of most graduate level divinity courses”. Since reading and loving the Red Tent I’ve been meaning to read more by Diamant. I’m more of a cultural Jew, but like learning more about the religious aspects.

The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2010, Rich Horton (editor): 37 short stories by authors such as Nancy Kress, Jay Lake, Margo Lanagan, Catherynne Valente, and many others. It came out in April so I haven’t seen much about it,  including all the authors involved, but I’m a fan of anthologies.

Islam Explained, Tahar Ben Jelloun: Through dialogue between Jelloun and his questioning son, he clarifies tenants, some of Islamic history, and politics of fundamentalism. It sounds like a good introduction to Islam and I love learning about religions.

Leaving Tangier, Tahar Ben Jelloun: In a bleak portrait of Morocco in the nineties, young people dream about illegally entering Spain or are recruited to be soldiers in the fight for global jihad. Azel accepts an offer to move to Spain with wealthy Miguel as his assistant and reluctant lover. The book also follows Azel’s sister and others who have crossed the strait in search of a better life. The most vivid memory of my family’s visit to Morocco in ’91 are the border guards who carried machine guns. I figure since it’s the same era it might make for an interesting read about a country I don’t know much about.

The Red House Mystery, A.A. Milne: A classic detective story in which an inn’s guest appoints himself ‘Sherlock Holmes’ when police are baffled by a murder case. Together he and his friend ‘Watson’ work to solve the whodunit. Created before Pooh and Tigger, it’s Milne’s only mystery. He’s also written adult fiction, plays, non-fiction, and poetry, some of which I’d like to check out.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson: In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza, but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. While a new computer virus is striking down hackers everywhere, he races along on a search-and-destroy mission for virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. I haven’t explored Cyberpunk SF yet and his name and Snow Crash always comes up. It was written in ’92, before most people had the internet. I miss DOS. William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) has been on my list.

Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson: During WWII, an Allied group works on preventing the Axis from realizing their codes have been broken. The secrecy carries over to the present-day plot, in which their grandchildren team up to help create an offshore data haven and maybe uncover some gold once meant for Nazis. An encryption scheme left over from WWII arises with conspiratorial ties. This seems to be one people either love or loathe a lot. I would probably read this after Snow Crash.

We, Yevgeny Zamyatin: In the One State of the great Benefactor, there are no individuals, only numbers. Life is a process of mathematical precision. Outer space and its inhabitants remain untouched, for now. The chief architect of a new spaceship decides to record his thoughts for the benefit of less advanced societies. But a meeting with 1-330 results in an unexpected discovery that threatens everything D-503 believes about himself and the One State. The discovery of inner space and that disease the ancients called the soul. An early sci-fi work published in 1920 before the rise of Stalinism and A Brave New World. Sounds fascinatingly interesting.

I suddenly had Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” in my head so…

Another one makes the list
Another one makes the list
And another one on
And another one on
Another one makes the list
Hey, I’m gonna read you too
Another one makes the list

If you’ve read any of these books or authors, I’d like to hear your thoughts. What are your recent finds and reading list additions?

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Responses

  1. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is now on my list! I bought Ghostwritten but haven’t got around to reading it. This one sounds even better!

  2. I am honored by your inclusion of several books that I recently featured on my blog. Your decision to quote me also honors me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Maphead

  3. Matt: I was reading the summary for Cloud Atlas and all I could think was “fascinating!” Ghostwritten sounds good, but yeah, Cloud Atlas sounds better.

    Maphead: You are most welcome, my pleasure. Thank you for bringing some really good, interesting books to my attention.

  4. Wow, great list. I’ll be copying some of that down.

  5. Interesting list.

    I have to agree, start with Pride and Prejudice for an Austen read. Stay away from Emma…at least for now. I just could not get into Emma…the reading annoyed me.

    I have the Red Tent sitting on my shelf with every intent to read it, but my first attempt failed. Admittedly, I read only a few pages before I gave up and admittedly it was during a time in my life where my brain could not focus on a story long enough to finish any book. Maybe I ought to give it another go.

    Cloud Atlas sounds intriguing.

    Good luck in trying to get to these reads. 🙂

  6. We is fantastic! I read it a few years ago and posted a review on it. Loved it. Took a bit to get into but then I was sucked in.

    I’ve read Pride and Prejudice and really enjoyed it. I love so many of the film versions of Austen’s books that it is always a bit odd actually reading them, but as a fan of the classics I found this one to be very good.

    I haven’t read that Rich Horton anthology, but I have read one, the 2007 version of this same series, I believe, and it had more good to great stories in it than so-so ones.

    And the Milne book is on my summer list.

  7. John: Thanks, help yourself.

    Ibeeeg: P&P is the general consensus. It seems like Emma would be nails on chalkboard for me. Life and brain power, or lack thereof, does have a tendency to get in the way of reading sometimes. Red Tent is definitely worth a second attempt. Thanks for the tips and luck.

    Carl: We sounds fantastic and like something I would really enjoy. I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard about it sooner. I usually skip the Regency films when they’re on TV. Score count: P&P- 7 Emma- 0. I’m not really familiar with Prime books so good to know about that anthology. I’m a DAW books reader and will pick up one of their anthologies on a whim just because they have a great track record.

  8. That’s quite a list Mish. I also came across this post by fellow blogger Sherry recently which may interest you (you may have come across it?):

    http://bit.ly/bkZeto

    Has some interesting titles to read.

  9. You’re not kidding, it’ll be of interest. I looked at some of the lists earlier and will be pouring through them again. Thank you.

    Invictus was excellent. The reading in the cell…*whistles* Definitely one of Freeman’s best roles. That it featured my favourite rugby team (All Blacks) was an unexpected bonus.

  10. I read both, Cloud Atlas and Pride & Prejudice this year. Recommend them both – specially think you’ll like Cloud Atlas (I’m sure I’ve said that in a comment somewhere to you before).

    We by Zamyatin is also fantastic. Apparently, Orwell was inspired to write 1984 based on this book, so….

  11. You’re the one who pointed me to Cloud Atlas. With recommendations flying back and forth it’s hard to keep track of who and what.

    Interesting about 1984. Now I’m even more intrigued to read We.


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