book list: toronto/buffalo/montreal trip
packing my bags for tomorrow’s departure, and here are the books I’ll be taking with me:
- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami [?????, experimental prose?] : I know absolutely nothing about Murakami, except that he’s very well acclaimed and apparently writes stunning fiction. This book promises a compelling cast of characters, including a young man in search of his missing wife and her cat; a malevolent and mediagenic politician; a psychic prostitute; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria. Also, the book jacket is gorgeous. Light summer reading indeed. At 607 pages of dense, small text, this might be the longest book on my list.
- My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer [anthology, reinterpreted fairy tales, experimental prose, dark fantasy] : Fairy tales are boss. Let no one tell you otherwise. This book contains 533 pages of clean, small text over the span of 40 stories, all of them good (so far). Neil Gaiman, Neil Labute, Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, and Joyce Carol Oates are among its contributors. Timothy Schaffert’s haunting story, “The Mermaid in the Tree,” is terrifying, erotic, and stunning. It may be my favorite piece in this book.
- Across The Great Barrier, by Patricia C. Wrede [YA fiction, speculative/fantasy, western/settlers/pioneers] : The second book in Wrede’s pioneer/magician series, this book continues the story of Eff, a supposedly cursed thirteenth child (out of fourteen) as she comes quietly into her own, growing out of the shadow of her powerful twin brother, a seventh son. It’s been a while since I read the first book, so I don’t remember much… except that the monsters are really cool. It’s kind of like Little House on the Prairie meets Tamora Pierce’s books; the muted, personal feel of the former, with the inner fire and explosive potential of the latter. Like most YA fiction, the font is pretty big, so 339 pages is easily handleable.
- Legacy, by Molly Cochran [YA fiction, dark fantasy romance/bad boarding schools/prep school kids in love] : Sixteen-year-olds + sudden witchery powers + paranormal romances + sexy rich boys and girls + private schools = potential for a very catty, self-indulgent, shallow read. Which is absolutely fine; I spent most of high school reading about boys with hypnotic eyes and rumbling voices, and the girls who pined incessantly after them while competing with bevvys of mean, beautiful rivals. Despite being pretty much the antithesis of my current cup of tea, Legacy passed the skim test; even at a cursory glance, the prose seems catching, tense, and streamlined. Second, the book jacket promises a geek heroine who must come into her own and rescue “the dude” as she purposely researches and gleans a deeper knowledge of herself—which is much more interesting than a geek heroine who is told about her true identity and powers by “the dude” and guided by him until they fall in [usually pre-destined, re-incarnated] love. I do love a good rescue story, especially with a shy (but not bland) frontwoman. Also, not all the characters are white—a plus, especially in YA fiction. Legacy is probably the biggest risk I’m taking in this book list, but if all of its elements are handled as well as they seemed to be in the skim test, those 418 pages of large, rather ugly font may hold a very good story indeed.
- Scarlet, by A.C. Gaughen [YA fiction, retold legends] : Fairly typical girl-dresses-as-boy-and-runs-away-into-the-woods-to-live-as-a-thief story, with one significant twist: “Scarlet” in the title refers to Will Scarlet of Robin Hood lore. Cross-gender/sex reinterpretations of canonically male characters are always intriguing (to me, at least), and this seems a full step above the “she crossdresses because she is fiery and independent and her dad wants her to wear skirts, look at her she is suddenly very interesting and you should love her!” characters you often meet in this strain of fiction. Also, Will Scarlet is my favorite character, and I’m highly anticipatory of a possible romance between Will and Little John (as hinted at on the book jacket). Scarlet is a fairly quick read at 287 pages of large-ish font, so it’s a low-risk gamble to take if you’re on the hunt for fun YA literature.
Please note: I haven’t read [or finished reading] any of these, so no spoilers please!
I’m probably looking forward to reading Across The Great Barrier and Legacy the most right now. Plus, if I can finish one tonight, I won’t have to pack it in the morning. :) I think Legacy might be worth taking with me, though. I’m so excited!
- summercicada said:incidentalcomics.com
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- communist-propaganda said:If you like Murakami, look into his short stories and the novel ‘Kafka On The Shore’. C: It’s an amazingggg novel.
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- ifyoutrysometimes said:All the men are Lucy Liu!?!? NO!! You’ve ruined them for me!
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