TBR pile

ARC pile demolition project, part 2

It is time for another ARC demolition project! I did one a couple of months ago with great success, and I am due for a repeated because this is how much my pile has increased just this week:

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This is insane, although I do not feel particularly bad in this case, as on Monday I reorganized all my giant stacks of books and got rid of three giant boxes of literature that will either never be read or has been read and will not be reread.

We’ll see how it goes this time.

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Rebuilding the TBR pile

There are times when I start five or so books and then get mired in a seemingly endless, yet completely unsatisfactory, readathon. I get busy and forget about three of those, and the other two turn out to be mediocre, or just not the books I want to read. I read two chapters of one and a few pages of the other. This goes on for days.

And so this is where we are now, with five books stuck in progress. It is clearly time to give up and rebuild the currently reading and TBR piles.

Here are the new candidates:

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Reading decision was made for me by Tor with this shiny e-arc (the book is out January 2015)! I did not particularly like My Real Children, but Walton remains one of my favorite writers. Getting my hands on this is a cause for celebration. It involves time-traveling Pallas Athene, Apollo, and Sokrates, among others. Besides, I was just saying a few days ago how much I love deities in my SF.

Next is The Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias. I seem to recall reading good things about this one when it came out.

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I think I am in the mood for a first contact story. I also enjoy weird aliens. I’m just a few pages in, and these appear to be crustacean, or at least have pincers.

And so as not to get carried away, I am going to stop at two.

All the books: August and early September releases

End of August and beginning of September is an amazing time. September in general is heavy on great new releases, and this year it’s almost overwhelming with the number of books I have either read and liked or look forward to reading. Here’s an incomplete list of amazing stuff for your perusal:

1) David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks (out 9/2). I read it way back in April, and now I need to reread it because I swallowed it in two sittings, filed it under ‘really liked, but had issue X (specifically, what I called ‘the scouring of the Shire’ ending’), and then promptly forgot all the fine details. A couple of my friends who read it a bit later tried to engage me in conversation about it, and I realized I could not form coherent thoughts. On reread pile it goes. Oh, and if you are anywhere DC on September 17th, Politics & Prose is having an event with Mitchell, details and tickets here (shameless employment place self-promotion). I’ll be there, attempting not to look like an idiot or drool on the author.

mirrorempire2) Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire. This is out on 8/26. I did not get a chance to read the ARC, but I’m quite excited to read the final product. This promises a complex world, gender politics, and a multi-layered story. It’s already been reviewed by a bunch of intelligent and articulate people, if you want to take a look: Alex Ristea at Ristea’s Reads, Justin Landon at Staffer’s Book Review, Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn, or Neth at Neth Space. I feel that I should leave this one for when I feel I have enough mental capacity for it, but it seems like an essential book if you are a genre reader.

3) Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs (out 9/9). I had so much fun with this one. Bennett is among one of my favorite writers. I am yet to read anything by him I did not enjoy (incidentally, David Mitchell is in the same category).

4) Jeff Vandermeer, Acceptance (out 9/2), the conclusion to the Southern Reach trilogy. This will firmly solidify your fear of natural world and prevent you from leaving the house or visiting any nature preserves, possibly forever. And once more with the shameless self-promotion: Jeff Vandermeer will be at P&P on September 27th at 6 pm. Of course I’ll be there. If I can leave the house.

hieroglyphThere are many more shiny new books, like Lauren Beukes’s Broken Monsters, or this collection of stories called Hieroglyph (I am still on a short story kick, so this is very exciting). Really, I need to stop here and go read now.

Happy fall. Have all the books.

ARC decimation project update

Conversation at work:

Me: I’m off for the next week and a half. I’m going to work through some ARCs for books already out in paperback. Because let’s be honest, we all have those.

Coworker: Hey, I have ARCs for books already out of print.

 

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my feeble attempt to read through my ARC pile. You will all be shocked to find out that I’ve actually been rather successful. Let’s see what I was up against:

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And now let’s see what I actually finished (no photo because I actually gave most of these away to coworkers and other desperate book addicts):

1. Grady Hendrix, Horrorstor (out September 2014) – I feel like I should write a whole post on this one.

2. Eula Biss, On Immunity: An Innoculation (out September 2014)

3. Daryl Gregory, Afterparty (out now)

Then I was briefly interrupted by a re-read of Locke & Key

4. Stephen Collins, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil (technically this was a finished book, but not yet published, so it counts)

5. Julia Elliott, The Wilds (out October 2014)

6. Alyson Foster, God Is An Astronaut (out this week)

7. Randall Munroe, What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (out September 2014)

8. Susan Coll, The Stager (out this week)

So hey, pretty good! I had 11 books in my pile and read 8. But wait…  Upon closer inspection, it is revealed that only one of these was in the original TBR pile. I call this ‘the Nick Hornby effect’ — read any of his Believer columns and you will discover that his books acquired list rarely matches his list of books read.

It was a pretty good run in terms of quality. There were no abandoned ARCs. It was also a pretty good mix of regular fiction, speculative fiction, short stories, and non-fiction. Therefore, I declare my ARC decimation project a success. Commence phase 2: Further Decimation of ARC Pile. And while I’m off, maybe I’ll also do phase 3: Getting Rid of ARCs I Will Never Read But That Looked Good at the Time!

 

A feeble attempt to decimate my ARC pile

The ARC situation at home is once again out of control. I attempted to make neat stacks out of ARCs and galleys, which made them look even more intimidating and despair-inducing. So I just picked a handful that I am planning on tackling in the next week or so. Let us assume this is 1/10th of my ARC collection (that’s probably a lie, but let’s pretend I’m bad at math). If I get through this pile, I will successfully achieve my first ARC collection decimation.

This initial pile is mostly new stuff:

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Four are bookstore events-related, so you can say they are work-related. That sounds a bit silly, since anything book-related is also work-related. A few are already out (but at least not in paperback!). Follow me as I attempt to tackle this ARC construction while being distracted and sidetracked by the re-read of the Dresden Files, new releases that look better than old ARCs, random ancient sci-fi that looks better than all of the above, and works of Turgenev that I always want to read when it’s summer and nice outside.

May reading tally: ‘Too Early to Talk About’ edition

May was extremely satisfying reading-wise, but entirely frustrating when it came to reviewing. I read a few really, really good books, and I can’t tell you about them. Because it is too early. Basically, this month, I read 80% of all my ‘Can’t Wait Till Release Date” books for the entire year. These books are the ones that go immediately to the top of the reading pile, and I will, in fact, drop any other book I’m reading to read these.

What this means is that this month, my books acquired should be pretty similar to books read. Fingers crossed.

Books acquired (including borrowed) – and this time I was pretty good about photo documentation:

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A couple of bookgroup books (Sabriel and Blindsight), plus The Bees, which I reviewed here.

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Guys, guys, it’s the xkcd book! The only reason I’m not done with it yet is because I got it yesterday. Also, Sally Ride!

Continuing with non-fiction theme:

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Plutopia is supposed to be great.

I then acquired this odd hardcover edition of Dune (pictured here melding with the table):

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All these were satisfying acquisitions, but the true highlights were these babies:

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Really, how can you not drop everything and read these? I binged on Vandermeer all last Saturday, finished Mitchell in two days, and Murakami in a day and a half. The only thing I can say is that you will want to get these as soon as they are released.

And now, on to books read:

1. Chester Brown, Louis Riel

2. Joseph Boyden, The Orenda

3. Yuka Igarashi, ed. Granta # 127: Japan

4. David Mitchell, Bone Clocks

5. Jo Walton, My Real Children

6. Rivka Galchen, American Innovations

7. Douglas Coupland, Worst. Person. Ever. (this is obviously Canadian Content month)

8. Lydia Davis, Can’t and Won’t

9. Laline Paull, The Bees

10. Jon Skovron, Man Made Boy

11. Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation

12. Jeff Vandermeer, Authority

13. Jeff Vandermeer, Acceptance

14. Lish McBride, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

15. Michael Deforge, Ant Colony

16. Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

The Best: this is really hard. Vandermeer is a wizard. So is David Mitchell. Murakami is in his own category. But to be honest, the book that took over my mind for days after I was done was The Orenda.

The Worst: nothing was truly terrible. I was disappointed in My Real Children, but I think that’s because I had really high expectations, and the book just didn’t seem to match what was in my head. Also, I’m in the minority here.

I honestly have no idea why I read Douglas Coupland’s book. I needed something truly out of my reading range. I read him before, but during an entirely different phase of my life. Worst. Person. Ever. was crass and disgusting and really made me feel like I was watching a train wreck. It wasn’t terrible (in a sense of ‘boring, can’t go on’ book terrible).

The Weird: only two graphic novels! But they are both by Canadian artists (Canadian Content month continues). Ant Colony is truly weird, but really awesome. Also, I’m never touching Sweet’n Low.

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Yes, they are all ants.

Summer releases create exponential TBR pile growth

I can’t seem to settle down long enough to finish a book these days, so all I can do is read lists of books I will be reading once I am able to do said settling down. There is a nice list of summer releases over at io9 (although can we please stop sending people to buy books only from Amazon?), and there are a few I am really looking forward to:

causalangel1) Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi. I love The Quantum Thief. It’s so strange, and yet I love it so much. I have The Fractal Prince on my shelf too, and the completion of this trilogy would be the perfect excuse to read all three at once.

2) Authority by Jeff Vandermeer. Oh hell yes. Reading now (I mean, keep picking it up, getting excited about having picked it up, and running around in glee for hours without actually reading it).

3) My Real Children by Jo Walton. Same situation as with Authority. Honestly, Jo Walton can write a phone book or rental advertisements, and I’ll still read them.

4) Skin Game by Jim Butcher. The new Harry (the other Harry)! Enough gemmafilessaid.

5) Half a King by Joe Abercrombie, already very briefly reviewed here.

6) And lastly, the unexpected find: We Will All Go Down Together by Gemma Files.  It’s a) published by ChiZine and b) set in Toronto.  My home city remains one of the best settings for speculative fiction! (Maybe because they have a really amazing sci-fi/fantasy bookstore?)