not yet published

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:


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.


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.

Best books (so far) of 2014

I’m following in the steps of In the Forest of Stories to present you my Halfway There list of best books (so far) of 2014. I’m not limiting myself to books published only this year, but if you’d like to see lists of just the newest stuff, see this Mind Meld at SF Signal.

So here are my top picks from the books I’ve read this year. I’m not including rereads and I’m not limiting the lists to ‘top x’ number of books:

whatmakesthisbook1) Books published in the first half of 2014:

Jo Walton, What Makes This Book So Great

Marcel Theroux, Strange Bodies

Joseph Boyden, The Orenda

Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation and Authority

Michael Deforge, Ant Colony

Jalphaomegaoe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega

Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Saga #3


2) Books published before 2014:

Will McIntosh, Love Minus Eighty.

Robert Jackson Bennett, American Elsewhere

S. Bear Bergman, The Nearest Exit orendaMay Be Behind You. Possibly my favorite book of essays on trans* and gender issues.


3) And now, the tricky one: books published in the second half of 2014. Not out yet, but you should put them on the list now.

Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs

David Mitchell, Bone Clockswhatif

Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Randall Munroe, What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

Jeff Vandermeer, Acceptance (but you will want to pick this one up anyway, because you have already finished Annihilation and Authority and can barely wait, right?)

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:


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!


Reading update: the not-yet-published weird edition

After my complete re-read of Locke & Key, I went back to my ARC pile decimation. That’s when things got weird. Here’s what I read in the past few days:

IMG_20140618_112520Stephen Collins, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. This is not out till October 2014, so you will have to wait a few months to find out what the deal is with evil beard. It’s a graphic novel, and it’s delightful.

20763852The Wilds by Julia Elliott. The cover. That’s pretty much why it found its way into my hands. And a mention of ‘brain-restoration procedure’ on the back. (Publishers, take note: if you want me to read a book, choose unsettling cover images and just write BRAIN PROCEDURE in giant letters on said cover. Easy.) Much weird indeed is happening within this collection of short stories. Feral dogs, almost feral humans, diseases. Also not out till October, which seems like the perfect month for it, given Halloween and all.

Next post will feature books already in print and easily obtained, I promise.



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:


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.