Top Ten Tuesday: The blossoming TBR of spring

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is all that is shiny and new on the to-be-read pile this spring. My spring to-read pile is looking more like a mountain, but that’s hardly new. This time of year inevitably gets a little crazy, so I’m trying to be realistic about what I’m going to read in the next three weeks – and this is the result. (Hint: it’s still not entirely realistic.) It’s funny how even cutting down this list to books that I’m desperate to read doesn’t make it that much shorter…

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The best releases of 2015 (feat. The Cascade)

The Cascade, my student newspaper alma mater, runs a giant “Best Of” issue every January. Despite not holding a position at the paper since 2014, I still manage to sneak in every year to rave about the best books I’ve read. This year the list includes Martin John by Anakana SchofieldAll True Not A Lie In It by Alix Hawley, Bone Gap  by Laura Ruby, and seven others (including two reviewed by Katie Stobbart over at The Quotidien.

All in all, it’s a pretty great list. You can read the full feature here and browse the full issue here. Needless to say, I highly recommend all of the books below.   Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: the consistent preorder

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday challenge from the Broke and the Bookish!

Narrow Top Ten Tuesday logo copy

This week’s list: authors whose works I buy as soon as they’re published, no matter what – regardless of genre, topic, or format.

As a starving university student, I’ve massively cut down on the number of books I buy. On the other hand, there will always be few authors I’ll always have a soft spot for – and you’ll find their new books on my shelf as soon as I can get my hands on them. For this top ten I’ve only listed six – because that’s the honest truth. I’m a pretty heavy library user (uh, it’s a bookstore where you don’t have to pay for the books) but these are the authors I consistently pre-order as soon as I discover a new book is coming out – library waitlists be damned.  Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: fairy tales, fables, magic realism, and retellings

Top Ten Tuesday - Bayrock, Bookrock - Sidebar crop copyThe Broke and the Bookish has a weekly top ten challenge – and this week I’m joining in!

The challenge is to post a list of ten fairy tales or retellings, and I find the majority of popular fairy tale interpretations appear as young adult fiction – I’m thinking of authors like Holly Black, Gail Carson Levine, and Vivian Vande Velde.

Since YA isn’t really my wheelhouse any more, I’ve taken a few liberties with my list – including authors who channel the weird old spirit of Aesop or the Brothers Grimm, rather than sticking to strict retellings. Fairy tales sneak their bony fingers of inspiration into literary fiction every year; magic realism and fairy tales aren’t exactly analogous, but sometimes the two genres overlap in a neat little Venn diagram.

Long story short: if you’re looking for fairy tales without diving into the often-angsty YA, I’ve got a list for you – a good mix of fairy tales, fables, and folk stories.

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Magic realism, magic dualism: Murakami’s 1Q84

1q84-coverMurakami has flawless intuition when it comes to mixing fantasy with reality to make both elements shine, and IQ84 (as with so many of his works) seems like the best sort of lucid dream.

The novel begins in 1984, in Tokyo, but we don’t stay there for long. With one wayward shortcut, our protagonists Aomame and Tengo shift to a not-quite-parallel world: 1Q84.

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Cover to cover with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is a crash course in the beauty of magic realism. Our intrepid hero loses his cat, meets a chain-smoking teenager, falls down a well, and completes a bemused journey through a dream world. One of the things I love about the book is that the main character has an extremely straight-forward perspective – blunt and naive at the same time.

I’ve only ever seen two covers for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle in real life: John Gall’s paperback (far left) and Chip Kidd’s hardcover, (middle with jacket and right without, which is sort of incredibly clever).

John Gall's North American cover Chip Kidd's hardcover dust jacket Chip Kidd's hardcover below the dust jacket

But the internet is a beautiful place, and I quickly discovered a host of other covers which strive to reflect the constantly shifting, dreamlike nature of the novel. I can’t decide if this is surprising or completely unsurprising, but the best ones are unofficial tributes to the novel from graphic designers, illustrators, and fans rather than official covers.

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