Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eat More Chikin

Admittedly, the title has absolutely nothing to do with the post, but I was tired of trying to come up with something clever and/or insightful.

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!


  1. I just saw "The Solitary Vice" the other day and thought it looked really interesting. And "After Dark" is on my "buy" list for when the paperback comes out in a couple weeks. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on them!


  2. "The Solitary Vice" sounds so cool! I was just thinking about ordering some books and I think finding out about this one put me over the edge and I'm going to place my order. Thanks for the great recs. (That's recommendations.)

  3. Lezlie, I'll keep ya posted! I'm sure I won't read them as soon as I'd like, but I will certainly pop off a review when I do!

    Nik, order girl, order!!!! Shouts the enabler!

  4. I almost spit muffin all over the computer screen when I saw 'the m word'. Okoey-Doeky.

    Anyone else see the irony of a book about not reading.

  5. I'm dying to read Lonely Werewolf Girl! His book The Good Fairies of New York was one of my favourite reads of last year. And I've heard great things about this one as well.

    I haven't read After Dark yet, but it's hard to go wrong with Murakami.

    I hope you enjoy them all and I look forward to your reviews.

  6. OH yes, Chris. The irony is too much to pass up in my opinion. I can't wait to dig in.

    Nymeth, I've heard good things about The Good Fairies of New York, too. I'll have to go back and check out your review of it.

  7. I loved the Murakami book: Enjoy! Can't wait to read more of that author.

    Reading is like masturbation, hmmm? Then why isn't more popular with teens?

  8. And exactly how do you get all these lovely books to review? Do tell, do tell - because, of course, i just need more to read. . .

  9. I keep seeing Lonely Werewolf Girl around and being tempted but have resisted so far. Maybe I should cave after all.

  10. I've got a huge pile of review books too and I just can't seem to read fast enough. Plus, I get sidetracked by all my shelf sitters :)
    I kinda like the sound of the Werewolf book. Different from my typical reads but sounds like it has potential to be a lot of fun. Let us know ok.

  11. I liked "Norwegian Wood" best of the Murakami I've read so far. Haven't read "After Dark", but my husband has and he says it was pretty good - what you'd expect of Murakami.
    I haven't seen that werewolf book around but it looks intriguing. Have you heard of"Day Shift Werewolf"? Not quite the same as it's a collection of linked short stories but I enjoyed it. (it won the 3-Day novel contest a few yrs back).

  12. LK, my thoughts exactly! Young boys everywhere should be reading themselves into oblivion.

    Andi, several ways:
    1. Sometimes authors and publicists contact me via this blog because they see my reviews.
    2. I get books through BiblioBuffet for writing for them.
    3. I occasionally keep one of the books that comes through for review at Estella's Revenge.
    4. I will occasionally request a book directly from the publisher. I throw around the National Book Critics Circle membership in hopes that they'll take me seriously. :D

    Rhinoa, I'll let you know how it goes. It's high on the TBR stack (sitting on the back of my reading chair waiting for me).

    Iliana, my pile is growing way faster than I can read them too. And the rest of my TBR is just as impatient.

    Melanie, I'll have to check out your husband's review of After Dark. And I haven't heard of Day Shift Werewolf. I'll have to check that one out, too.

  13. Hang in there. School's out soon!!

  14. We're so lucky to be complaining about our piles of books aren't we?

  15. Thank God, Lisa!

    Heather, YES! This is the *best* problem.

  16. I'm rather envious of your review copy of 'After Dark'. Not like I don't already have other books of his around here to read but book hoarding isn't necessarily logical. :P

  17. The Solitary Vice sounds like a must read.

    I am distracted by shiny things, so I couldn't help but keep glancing from your post to your sidebar where the thigh on the cover of Master looks disturbingly airbrushed to me. Does it to you?

    But the Review Pile in the sidebar sounds like a good way to keep track. I unfortunately just pile all my review copies into TBR Mountain, so I get a lot of polite emails asking if I've had time to get to such and such yet, but who knows where such and such is in that beast of a TBR pile. So, yeah, the Review Pile itself sounds like a great guilt-motivater idea, and the sidebar sounds like just another way to remind you they're there. And then the "interesting books in my review pile" post sounds like a way to feel like, well, now you're giving those books an extra day in your blog. You are so smart. I think I'll copy your ideas.

  18. Ahh, Nat, I love illogical hoarding. I think it's something we probably all have in common 'round the lit-blogs. I need to go pet that copy of After Dark again this evening. It's been a few days since I gazed at it.

    Dewey, you know me far too well. Self-guilt is my specialty, and the review pile on the sidebar is certainly a good motivator. Plus, I have obligations to ER, Bibliobuffet, AND a new blog writing endeavor I haven't revealed yet (coming soon). So many people not to let down. It's terrifying! Feel free to copy. I totally ripped off your Sunday book coveting and generally sprinkle it throughout the week here.

    As for that thigh, it's FRIGHTENINGLY airbrushed. I wish mine looked a third that good.

  19. If by good you mean plastic and strangely forearm sized!

    Hmm, I will have to google to find out what bibliobuffet is!

  20. What do you suppose chikin tastes like?

  21. I'm interested in the werewolf book as well but am determined to read The Good Fairies of New York, which I've had for a year, before buying this one!!!


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