I have a confession to make..... I made a New Year's resolution for 2017 that I was not going to buy any new books until I reduced my TBR first. I have not kept that resolution - not even in the slightest. To be honest, I have bought so many books over the last month and a half that I need another bookshelf. It is a sickness, and I don't want the cure.
I am going to give you a list of eight of the books that I bought last month - I bought more but I want you to think I am reasonable. As always, I am taking the blurbs from Goodreads and there is a link to a bookstore in each book that will allow you to purchase them if they speak to you.
This first one actually came to be from across the ocean. Sent to me from Liverpool by a friend of mine, this book was ranked as his favorite read of last year. He is one of my go to book recommenders - so, I am super excited to read it. The premise reminds me a little of the novel The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, a novel I loved a few years ago. A town on the edge due to a mythical creature haunting its shores.
"They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart."
I was heading down to Bookshop Santa Cruz last month, and was talking to my friend Curtis about the trip when he mentioned this novel to me. I had not heard of it, but when I got to the store it was right there on the shelf. As you can see, Curtis has good taste in books.
"One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, and sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.
But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction."
I am not sure where I first heard of this one. It was either on a book tube channel, or a review on Hogglestock.com. But wherever it was, everyone liked it or raved about it. And, for some reason, I love the cover of the paperback copy. Plus, I have a soft spot for any book set on a small English estate in the countryside. I am not sure what that says about me...... but there you go.
"Twenty-two year old Jane Fairchild, orphaned at birth, has worked as a maid at one English country estate since she was sixteen. And for almost all of those years she has been the secret lover to Paul Sheringham, the scion of the estate next door. On an unseasonably warm March afternoon, Jane and Paul will make love for the last time--though not, as Jane believes, because Paul is about to be married--and the events of the day will alter Jane's life forever."
This book came to me by way of Savidgereads and his booktube channel, when he reviewed Hannah Kents second novel, The Good People, which is not available in the US as of yet. It was also mentioned on Eric of LonesomeReader on his channel as well. They both sold me on her second book, and said how amazing her first novel is -- so, I thought since I could not get her second book I would pick up her first. And after the blurb - oh my goodness!
"Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard."
I don't have a lot to say about this book other than, The Vegetarian - Ms. Kang's first book - was one of my favorite books that I read in 2016. It won the Man Booker International Prize and was freaking weird! I loved it - so when I saw her second book was translated and out. I just picked it up - no questions asked.
"In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.
The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho's best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice."
This book was bought on a whim. I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman, and this book reminded me of one of his books. I am never read anything by Iain Pears, but I have high hopes for this one.
"Henry Lytten - a spy turned academic and writer - sits at his desk in Oxford in 1962, dreaming of other worlds.
He embarks on the story of Jay, an eleven-year-old boy who has grown up within the embrace of his family in a rural, peaceful world - a kind of Arcadia. But when a supernatural vision causes Jay to question the rules of his world, he is launched on a life-changing journey.
Lytten also imagines a different society, highly regulated and dominated by technology, which is trying to master the science of time travel.Meanwhile - in the real world - one of Lytten's former intelligence colleagues tracks him down for one last assignment.
As he and his characters struggle with questions of free will, love, duty and the power of the imagination, Lytten discovers he is not sure how he wants his stories to end, nor even who is imaginary..."
This book came to me by recommendation for my manager at work. She had just gotten back from a 3 week trip to Antarctica - crazy right! She read this on the boat and told me that I had to pick it up as soon as possible. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but the story of a group of men that survived the destruction of their boat in Antartica peaked my interested.
"The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, "defined heroism." Alfred Lansing's scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book -- with over 200,000 copies sold -- has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance's fateful trip. To write their authoritative story, Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others."
The idiom is never judge a book by its cover - but no one has ever said to not buy a book because of its cover. And for me, this is just one beautiful cover. When I found out that it is kind of a Russian fable tale, I was sold. There is so much about this that excites me.
" At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil."
So there you go. A list of eight books I picked up in January. Let me know if you have read any of them yourself. Let me know if you wind up picking any of them up. Also, tell me if you liked this type of post - would you like another one in March for February. Let me know - and happy reading.