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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:


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.


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.

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?)


Happy release day (4/15 and beyond)!

If you work or follow the publishing industry, you quickly learn that Tuesday is the holiest day of the week: release day. Well, at least for some books (those with a strict release date). A whole bunch of stuff also arrives in store throughout the week (which, from my bookselling point of view, is a good thing, otherwise we might as well just build a book fort around the information desk on Tuesdays).*

In any case, I figure I’ll see what’s coming out this or next week, and tell you what books I would really like to get my hands on.

lovecraftLovecraft’s Monsters, edited by Ellen Datlow. Technically already out and taunting me from the store shelf. Looks like this anthology continues the tradition started with Lovecraft Unbound, also edited by Datlow. The first collection was quite excellent, as I recall, so I am looking forward to this one.



duncanrhap_99x142Hal Duncan, Rhapsody: Notes on Strange Fictions. I don’t always read lit crit, but when I do, I make sure it’s written by the most sardonic of authors. (‘Sardonic’ is the word Brit Mandelo also used to describe the tone in this review of Rhapsody on



afterparty-cover-400x582Out next week: Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. This hardly needs more buzz, to be honest, but I still have to say it’s probably the next book I’m reading. I’ve read a couple of Gregory’s other novels (loved Pandemonium; thought The Devil’s Alphabet was ok; Raising Stony Mayhall fell off my radar, but is now back), and this one so far has been getting really glowing reviews.


And if you are keeping the score at home, here’s the current reading update: making my way pretty swiftly through Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins. Will be followed by the aforementioned Afterparty, as well as The Quick by Lauren Owen (reading this one for both personal and professional purposes), and Authority by Jeff Vandermeer. My coworker (and kickass illustrator) very kindly loaned me their ARC.


*By the way, why is the release day Tuesday? If you want a really long, inconclusive answer, you can read this. Otherwise, I frankly don’t know.

March reading tally: the snowed in edition

March was hectic. Part of it was the new job (old place, but new things to do), which included learning a bunch of stuff and also a giant project. Nevertheless, the brain proceeded with the directive ‘read all the books’. Here’s your March tally.

Books acquired (mostly borrowed, received, stolen from coworkers, you know, the usual):


I was pretty impressed with God’s War, so now I can move on to Infidel. More bug-based tech for everyone.

I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking: ‘Is that really something called Reagan at Reykjavik in that pile?’ Um, yes it is. I like my Cold War histories, shush. The one below it is about MacArthur in Japan. I’m an old man, I like my military histories too.

Testo Junkie is an intense gender studies volume. The way I can describe is that it’s really very readable while being nigh-incomprehensible in places.

James A. Corey and Gene Wolfe are long overdue for a read.


Once again, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: ‘Is that seriously Gray’s Anatomy there?’ Yes, yes it is.

Also, look, Rapture is there too, for when I’m done with Infidel. And also the best book of essays on trans* issues I’ve ever read.


I do not have words to describe how good this is.


Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail by Kelly Luce is published by a tiny publisher called A Strange Object. My friend and I are quite excited about them. Unfortunately, I will have read all their output when I finish this collection. They seem to have good taste in short stories and I hope they publish more stuff (plus, their books are pretty).

There is also Charles Yu’s collection of short stories that I have never seen before and an Asimov’s under it.

While all this book pr0n is great, let’s see the actual Books Read list:

1. Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle: Book 2 (I finally found someone at work who shares my obsession with Knausgaard, so now we can have conversations like ‘what about that scene where he goes to the grocery store to buy some milk? That was amazing!’ Seriously though, the man is a master when it comes to psychological insights.)

2. Robert Jackson Bennett, American Elsewhere

3. Adam Sternbergh, Shovel Ready

4. Knut Hamsun, Growth of the Soil (this was about to become Depressing Scandinavian Literature Month for a moment)

5. Joe Abercrombie, Half a King

6. Kameron Hurley, God’s War

7. S. Bear Bergman, The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

8. C. J. Cherryh, Downbelow Station

9. Nicholas Grider, Misadventure (this is the other book published by A Strange Object)

10. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos, Transmetropolitan Vol 3: Year of the Bastard (reread)

11. Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos, Transmetropolitan Vol 4: The New Scum (reread)

12. Brian Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga Vol. 1

13. Brian Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga Vol. 2

14. Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs. Review of this will be forthcoming, errr, some time in the summer. The book is not out till September, and publishers frown upon extremely early reviewing. All I am going to say is that I am really tempted to use all caps now to describe how damn good this book was. I sat down and read to the point when I was sick of words.

So yeah, never got to that Reagan book.

Agonizing reading decisions: book pr0n edition

I sometimes feel that book bloggers like posting reading updates and TBR pile pictures because it helps keep madness in check. Writing about what I’m reading allows my mind to see books as concrete units, rather than as an endless sea of pages that is my living room floor. So here’s what occupies my hours when I’m not sleeping or associating with other humans:

0311141232No, I did not find it abandoned on the bench on the National Mall. I brought it with me. It was 70 degrees outside, which means it was actually possible to sit outside with a book and a sandwich (not pictured). Bookgroup reading for this Thursday, classic, etc., etc. Great stuff.

0311141907Halfway through (see what I did there) Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King. People tell me it’s marketed as YA. I think in Abercrombie’s world that means everyone is still stabbing (or backstabbing, rather) each other with pointy ends, but without swearing quite as much.

0311141908New Jo Walton! New Daryl Gregory! Apologies to the third author, whose name on the cover is written in scattered points in tiny font and therefore not visible here. Her name is Claire North, and her book sounds good. The Shining Girls is mentioned on the back, as is Life After Life. Sign me up.

0311141908aI’ll be honest, I don’t really read poetry in English (though I read it in Russian, and it’s interesting to ponder reasons why it works for me in one language but not the other). But I dearly, dearly need to know what poems make the following people cry (from the table of contents): Stephen Fry, Patrick Stewart (!), Daniel Radcliffe, Andrew Solomon, J.J. Abrams, Colin Firth, and Tom Hiddleston (!!), among others.