Cover of Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Naomi Novik’s novel Uprooted reads like a Fairy Tale. It follows Agnieszka, who loves her home despite the corruption of the Wood that surrounds it. The people of her village and within the surrounding valley give a young woman to the “Dragon” (human wizard, not a large reptile) as a tribute for their protection from the Wood. Everyone knows that her friend Kasia will be taken, that is until the day of the choosing when he instead takes Agnieszka. The story follows her and the Dragon as they work to protect the kingdom and wage war against the growing Wood. The world created by Novik is all encompassing, and I was most drawn to her depiction of natural places overtaking man-made ones with a vengeance.
SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT
Cover of the Bedlam Stacks
Bedlam Stacks is the second novel by Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I received this galley at Winter Institute 2017 in Minneapolis, and the final book will be released August 1, 2017. It follows injured, ex-East India Company smuggler, Merrick Tremayne as he looks for another adventure while trapped at his home in Cornwall, England. The India Office recruits him to fetch quinine, a treatment for malaria, from deep within Peru. He knows this is a bad idea, but accepts in a last-ditch effort to leave his home and the plotting of his brother to send him into service of the church. He heads off and ends up at a village on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line separates the village from the forest. “Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock” he must work to separate fact from fiction, while earning the trust of the village and more importantly Raphael, a young priest, and entering the woods to get the quinine for the East India Company.
My bookshelves when I started, the shelves are double stacked and each drawer is full to bursting with books
Since graduating college I’ve been living in a strange in-between, internships and part-time jobs to afford rent in cheap apartments, living in places for four months at a time hoping that something turns into a real actual full-time job or at least something that will let me move myself and all of my books out of my Dad’s house. I am currently spending a month in the in-between place that is my childhood bedroom, the walls are purple and there are books in every drawer of my armoire and double-stacked on the shelves in the armoire, and filling my bookshelf, not to mention the books that I brought back in crates from my most recent apartment.
In Modern Romance Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg has taken on the ever changing concept of romance in the 21st century with humor and wit and facts. I listened to the audiobook while walking to and from work and had to frequently stop walking to almost double over in laughter (and remembering that I was in public untying and retying my shoe so as to not draw attention to the silent laughs) or walk along with a stupid smile on my face and needing to overcompensate with an almost comical frown.
In this debut collection of short stories Lesley pulls the reader out of the world they are in and places them into the universe of each story so artfully that coming back to wherever you’re sitting and reading as you finish each story is almost upsetting. These stories focus on what binds us in relationships—parents and children, cousins, neighbors, lovers—and the places that we call home. And even at their darkest moments the world of these stories is compelling, magical, and demands to be read. Many of these short stories look at potential futures, near and distant and how these could affect out personal lives and relationships.
Exit West is a novel by Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist (which I’m only mentioning because I read it in a college English course and didn’t realize this was the same author, despite it being printed on the cover, because I listened to this book on audio, but more on that later), published by Riverhead Books in March of 2017, with the audio recorded by Penguin Random House Audio. The story follows lovers Saeed and Nadia as they flee from a war-ravaged city to become refugees in Greece, London, and California. This feels like a very timely story with the refugee crisis, and reactions to it among the global community if magical doors with no set destination were opening in places around the world. This reaction seems to be what I’m hearing about this book, and was all that I knew about it coming into the story.
Before I go under the cut and talk about what I thought of the writing, and this book in general I wanted to mention that this was the first book that I listened to on audio using the OverDrive app. I don’t think I could have asked for a more pleasant re-introduction to audiobooks. Often while listening to podcasts on walks I find my mind wandering and when my attention returns to the show I’ve missed something crucial (the real reason I’ve yet to finish Welcome to Nightvale). While listening to this book on my many walks across the city of Minneapolis it held my attention, and I could enjoy the story without any internal intrusion.
It’s hard to think that the Harry Potter books are 20-years-old today, but then I remember that I am almost 23 and that Harry Potter has been with me every step of the way. My tattered copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sits on the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom, surrounded by the next seven years of Hogwarts. As I try and think of a time when Harry wasn’t an important character in my life, nothing comes to mind. And because this is my blog I’m going to share some of the times that those books and the world that surrounds them gave me a place to call home.
As many of you may know June is national audio books month.
So, audiobooks. I remember when I was younger renting books on tape from the library and listening to them on drives to and from summer camp. And now that I’m living in a city and using my own two feet to get me around, I’ve been struggling to find a way to consume more books. Short of pulling a Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet and walking while reading, which seems safe in Netherfield Park during the early 1800s, but not as convenient in streets with other people and cars. It was as I was considering the best method to hold books while walking and how often I would need to look up, I fondly remembered listening to audiobooks when I was younger.
This blog has existed in the fringes of my mind for a little over a year now. It started as a place to occasionally talk about books that I enjoyed, and was created because of my college advisor. But now, a year out of college and struggling to find communities, I’ve discovered the power of book blogs. So here it is, an official introduction with a semi-promise to post regularly, to Another Bookish Blog. I hope to continue to post about books that I really enjoyed (hopefully on a more regular basis), talk about things going on in the book world, and join the greater bookish community.
I thought that before really getting into all of that I should introduce myself. My name is Cailin, I grew up in Northwest Michigan (lower peninsula), graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Professional Writing (focused in editing and publishing), and now I’m floating around the country doing unpaid internships, because they told me this is how to get your foot in the door. I’ve always found comfort between the covers of a book, my Ma likes to tell stories about sending me to my room because I did something wrong and finding me curled up in bed with a book; or the need to find series for me to tear through because I would finish individual books so quickly.
My reading tastes range from non-fiction essay collections to magical realism, memoirs to high-fantasy. I am super into books with multiple points-of-view, essays told in the second person, and short story collections with a through-line. I look forward to joining the book blogging community and talking about bookish things.
What is Not Yours is Not Yours was published in March of 2016 by Riverhead Books and came out in paperback March of 2017. Helen Oyeyemi is the author of five novels, and I’m angry at myself for never having picked up her work before this collection of stories, if this is any indication of her talent—which I’m sure that it is—because this style of writing and the world that is created in each of these stories is something that I’ve been looking for for a long time. These stories take place in different times, places, but the main character in one story will be mentioned in passing in a later as a family member, or ex-lover. This leads the reader to meditate what worlds we’ve created around us and how we don’t always realize the intersections with other worlds and stories. These stories are each built around the idea of keys; keys to a home, to a heart, to a garden, a library, books, anything that could possibly need a key to open is in this collection.