Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What's In My Stack

Hi! It’s Ashley today for your dose of All The Books I Should Read. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people who reads several books at once. I know some people have a major problem with this—how do I keep them all straight?! How do I remember what characters are what?! How do I not finish one thing and just plow right through?! Why do I do all the things I do?! I can answer a few of those, but probably not the last, all-encompassing one. So here is what I wish I could say to the incredulous naysayers about my polybibliophiling.

1.      Books are like friends to me. Yes, I have friends as well, but I also like books. I do not get them confused with each other. Do you get Sally confused with Sandra when you meet with each one? (Do you even have friends with these names? You get my drift anyway, right?). No. You probably don’t get them confused. It’s the same for me with books. They look different, they feel different, the font is different, their weight and size is different…I mean. Come on. They’re different. Disclaimer: In ten years, I may not remember the intricate details of each book and if they are similar I may get them somewhat confused. But while reading several at once? Not usually. Also: It’s not good if I get a book confused with another book. That means it’s unoriginal and has its own issues. I do not get my friends confused no matter what. Please be my friend. J
2.      I like to have different reads for different moods. Sometimes I want something heavy. Sometimes I want something light. Sometimes I want something indulgent. Sometimes I want to learn. The list could go on and on but you get my drift. I like to have different books for each of these things. Granted, a good book will cover many of these bases at once, and of course there are times when I just read an entire book without stopping and feel nary a stitch of guilt. However, most times I like to have lots of stuff to read. Even if I am sitting down to read for a spell (which I try to do daily, although it doesn’t always happen), I will have at least two books with me.
3.      As a book reviewer, sometimes I have to review things that I don’t really want to review. It’s just the way it is. If I request a book from a publisher and then I agree to get a copy, I have to read that book and review it. However, that doesn’t mean I have to like it nor that I have to read it exclusively. Sometimes while reading a book I don’t always love I will reward myself intermittently with a book I’m really enjoying. It’s an effective way to get done what I need to without gouging my eyes out in the middle of it. Sometimes I even like the book and it is one I want to read (whether it is a review book or not) but it is just so intense or heavy or hard to read that I need a break, and a lighter book will provide that escape. I get my reading in, I get what I need done, my kids get ignored for a few more minutes, it’s a win on all fronts.

There are many books that are pending for me right now. I've got them lined up and ready to go on my special "I'm reading this next" shelf, as opposed to my Goodreads "To Read" list which is at least 29 pages long, and I'm not exaggerating about that. These books are ready to step in at any whim, and I will often have at least five books that I am currently reading, sometimes more. I am only listing three books that I'm actively reading currently, two of which are due at the library and cannot be renewed and so they must be finished now. "Actively reading" means I carry them out with me when I'm reading and leave them out for the day in my reading chair so that I can read whichever one I'm in the mood for at the time. So without further ado, I present to you What’s On My Shelf Summer 2017:

Summary: From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes an engrossing novel that spans the past and the present and unearths the dark secrets of Bulgaria, a beautiful and haunted country. 

A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. 

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger. 

Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

Summary: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

Summary: Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil – felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows.

Among this disparate group were journalists, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva.

Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened to a diverse group of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a ‘red madhouse.’ (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

And, as always, there will be some reviews for these books once we begin again in the fall!


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