I can't say that I'm in a reading slump because when I have the time, I read quite a bit. However, time is of the essence as of late, and such will be the case through May 2nd or so. One thing is for certain...nothing is more tempting during slow reading moments than my review pile. You might've noticed the growing list of "Review Pile" books languishing on my sidebar. Similarly, they languish all day and night in a special stack on my bookshelves. They stare at me, mock me, and generally tempt me. They try to drag me away from work, family, and even my other books. Seductresses. Trollops.
In particular, I'm really excited about the following books (click the available title links to read more):
Yes, my first instinct upon receiving The Solitary Vice: Against Reading, by Mikita Brottman was, "Pshaw...riiiight." But those folks at Counterpoint are pretty sharp. I expect there's more to this book than meets the eye.
From the publisher:
Mikita Brottman wonders, just why is reading so great? It’s a solitary practice, one that takes away from time that could be spent developing important social networking skills. Reading’s not required for health, happiness, or a loving family. And, if reading is so important, why are catchy slogans like "Reading Changes Lives" and "Champions Read" needed to hammer the point home? Fearlessly tackling the notion that nonreaders are doomed to lives of despair and mental decay, Brottman makes the case that the value of reading lies not in its ability to ward off Alzheimer’s or that it’s a pleasant hobby. Rather, she argues that like that other well-known, solitary vice, masturbation, reading is ultimately not an act of pleasure but a tool for self-exploration, one that allows people to see the world through the eyes of others and lets them travel deep into the darkness of the human condition.
I've read a few pages already--told you the pile is seductive--and it looks like it'll be a good read. Some of the comparison to...uh, the "m" word...are pretty entertaining. I look forward to delving into this one a bit further.
After Dark, by Haruki Murakami looks to be another excellent read. You may recall that I read my first Murakami, Norwegian Wood, last year, and I loved it. The paperback release is impending, and this one is not the same cover I have on my shelves. I actually think the trade size is even more gorgeous if that's possible.
From the publisher:
At its center are two sisters: Yuri, a fashion model sleeping her way into oblivion; and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny's into lives radically alien to her own: those of a jazz trombonist who claims they've met before; a burly female love hotel manager and her maidstaff; and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These night people are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Yuri's slumber — mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime — will either restore or annihilate her.
Norwegian Wood was markedly "normal" compared to Murakami's other work (from what I hear), so I'm interested to sink into After Dark and explore his metaphysical side for myself.
Finally, Lonely Werewolf Girl is another offering from Counterpoint/Soft Skull that caught my eye. In particular, the cover is really striking, and the blurb isn't bad either.
Teenage werewolf Kalix MacRinnalch is pursued through the streets of London by murderous hunters, while her sister, the Werewolf Enchantress, is busy designing clothes for the Fire Queen. In the Scottish Highlands there's trouble at Castle MacRinnalch as the Werewolf Clan prepares for war. Lonely Werewolf Girl is an expansive tale of werewolves in the modern world. The MacRinnalch family contains elegant werewolves, troubled teenage werewolves, friendly werewolves, homicidal werewolves, fashion designers, warriors, punks, cross-dressers, musicians - an entire Clan of Werewolves, involved in conflict from the Scottish Highlands to London, and several dimensions beyond.
To read more, visit the author's website.
Somehow, I don't think these are Stephenie Meyer's type of werewolves. I'm interested to see if Millar takes this well-worn type of character in innovative directions.
Certainly I'm looking forward to all of the books on my review pile, but these are the ones jumping out at me the most right at this moment. I expect I'll be receiving more in the mail soon, and that only makes my decisions more difficult. But it sure is fun!