New books for February! I set myself a hard goal this year of acquiring only 3 new books per month, and I suppose if I couldn’t make it happen in the shortest month of the year then I’d really be in bad shape. Fortunately, I persevered, and am now sharing with you my smallest book haul in over a year. I’m PROUD. (And also so very tempted to celebrate by buying new books.) But for this month, here’s what I got:
- King Lear by William Shakespearre. I’m on the hunt for my favorite Shakespeare play, so after a few recommendations I made sure to add this one to my list of classics to read in 2018. I was originally planning to read it in December, but I’ve changed my TBR system and I’m pretty interested in giving this one a try so I might pick it up early. In any case, I’m ready to read it now that I have a nice Pelican copy. I don’t know anything about the plot of this one, but that’s the way I like to read, so please don’t spoil me.
- The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller. This one is my February Book of the Month Club selection, and I did manage to read it within the month! I had my eye on four of the selections this time, and I do have borrowed copies of a couple of the other choices in my possession at the moment, but I’m so proud of myself for facing the temptation head-on and sticking to my resolution of only choosing one in my BOTM box. I’m only supposed to be selecting one per month until I’m caught up with my BOTM backlog from last year, so this month was a success in that regard, as well. Follow the link for my review of this one, I had a great time reading it! It’s a sort of sci-fi/fantasy novel with historical and feminist elements, but mostly its a whimsical, wild ride about chasing dreams.
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I guess I did buy a second BOTM selection, but not through BOTM. I bought a regular copy of this one after its release date for the cool cover details that BOTM generally doesn’t include, but also just because I was planning to get this one with a coupon through another bookseller before the February BOTM choices were announced. And I’m glad I did, because this book is GORGEOUS and will look perfect on my shelf next to The Nightingale, which admittedly I haven’t read yet. But I’m excited to read both! This one sounds like a hard-hitting story about abuse and the Alaskan wilderness, and I’ve seen nothing but good reviews. I’m planning to read this one in the next week or two.
That’s my entire list of new books for February. It’s short, but I think I made some good choices, and I’ll definitely read all of these within the year. I’ve only read one of three so far, but I did read four previously unread books from my shelves this month, so even though two of these are still unread I am actually down one book on my owned-books TBR this month, which also feels good. Success on so many levels.
Which new books did you pick up in February? And what’s good in new YA? I didn’t see much that caught my eye for YA in February, but I’m looking forward to some March releases!
The Literary Elephant
A new year means a new book goal– and I’ve already failed it. In 2018 I’m challenging myself to acquire no more than three books per month, with strong intent to read them within the month I acquire them. I’m determined to work hard at that this year, but apparently harder in the second month because January was a lost cause. I received 4 books as belated Christmas gifts on the 1st, and since that already put me over my goal I wasn’t as careful about exercising restraint. Here’s what’s new:
- Emma by Jane Austen. I love this edition (Vintage Classics) and maybe someday I’ll have more that match because right now I have five different editions between the six Austen novels on my shelf. I know absolutely nothing about the plot but that hasn’t stopped me from loving other Jane Austen novels. This is going to be my first of (at least) twelve classics for 2018, but since I revamped my TBR system those twelve might not fit neatly one per month, as Emma did not. I am planning to get to this one soon though.
- The Waves by Virginia Woolf. This one also found its way to my 2018 classics list, but it’s a bit farther down. It’s the same pretty Vintage Classics edition as Emma, a matching Christmas gift. All I know about the plot is that (I think) a child dies while a group of friends are playing at the beach, and the narration explores how the other characters are affected by the loss. I think I’m going to like it a lot, and I don’t think it’ll be sitting unread on my shelf in 2019, which is the real goal for new this year. I want to get as close as I can to reading every new book I acquire in 2018 before the end of the year.
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. A Christmas gift, again. I think this is the only Rowell book I haven’t read yet (along with its companion, Carry On, which I won’t read until after Fangirl). I’ve been saving these two for last, so I’m hoping to read and love them both this year. This one features a girl who’s starting college and trying to find her (metaphorical) feet through fanfiction after a family tragedy. She feels more at home participating in an online fandom than out in the real world, but now that she’s in a new place she needs to reconcile her online life with the changes around her.
- A Poem for Every Night of the Year ed. by Allie Esiri. This is the last of my Christmas gifts. I have been reading a poem per day, as the title suggests, and it’s been interesting. I’ve recognized a few of the poems for January already, and I like how some of the poems are connected to their significant dates– different celebrations and commemorations of writers from around the world, etc. It’s just a little something calm and interesting to wind down with at the end of the day, and I do intend to keep up with these throughout the year.
- As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner. This is my BOTM choice for January. I didn’t read much historical fiction in 2017 but I want to dip my toes back into that water. So I chose this heart-wrenching book about Spanish Influenza in 1918 Philadelphia, a subject I knew next to nothing about when I chose it. I want to pick up more books this year about new-to-me subjects. This is my current read, so I’ll have a review up soon.
- The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne. This was BOTM’s book of the year winner for 2017, so I had to add it extra to my box. I’m making it a rule in this year not to add extras, but I couldn’t skip “book of the year” from my favorite subscription box. This one’s another historical fiction; it looks hefty and wonderful and I just know it’s going to be a quality read, which was my intent for 2018 reading: quality over quantity. All I remember about the premise is that the protagonist travels between Ireland and the US in recent history, trying to reconcile his personal and national history with present society.
- Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. I mean, it’s Pierce Brown. I love his Red Rising books. This one came out on the 16th, and I’m planning to pick it up as soon as I finish As Bright as Heaven. I bought a signed copy and I’m beyond excited to see how it’ll turn out for Darrow and crew (ten years later plus new characters) as they struggle to rebuild a better society on the bones of the one they ripped apart in Brown’s first three books. I hope this new installation is as beautifully chaotic as the rest of the series has been.
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. True crime has been piquing my interest for a while now but I haven’t really delved into the genre yet. This will be my first true crime novel (a sort of classic of its genre, I think) and I expect to like it a lot. It seemed like a good place to start and I expect it’ll show up on my next TBR in February. I think the murders it covers take place in the 1960’s, but I really like going into books as blind as possible so I didn’t look into details. (I’m sorry if a lot of my descriptions are vague on books I haven’t read, but I really don’t want to know more before I read them.)
- Aramada by Ernest Cline. I read and loved Cline’s Ready Player One in 2016, and I’ve heard over and over that that’s the better book, but this one’s got a gorgeous cover and I need to see for myself how well Cline’s writing transfers to another novel. It’s clear from the cover that this one has something to do with space invasions/battles but I don’t remember if it also involves a game, as well. I’m getting Ender’s Game vibes, but I really don’t remember the premise. It was on sale and my previous appreciation for Cline’s writing was enough of a motivator for me to pick this one up.
- Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, but I bought it on a whim. This is the kind of un-pre-meditated book shopping I’m aiming to eliminate in 2018 by limiting myself to 3 books per month (It’s not that I regret buying this book, it’s that I regret buying any books on a day when that wasn’t in my plan). If I end up loving this one I do intend to read more of Albertalli’s books, but since I think they’re companion books, I want to read them in publication order and this is the first. In this one, something private of Simon’s is sent in an email to all the kids at his school, which causes his love/social life to blow up. I think.
So those are my new books. New BOTM selections will be posted in mere hours and I already know of one more that will be arriving in my mailbox in February, but I’m going to try really hard to stick to my 3 book goal. We’ll see what happens.
In the meantime, I am pleased that I’m already currently reading 2 of these, and planning to pick up at least 3 more within the next month. But still, that’s only half of the list, and I want to be eliminating unread books on my shelves this year, so here’s to doing better as the year progresses.
What new books did you pick up this month? Do you have book-buying resolutions? Have you read any of these?
The Literary Elephant
I done good. So far. I know there are a few days left in December, but I’m not anticipating buying any more books in that time and I have lots more updates and 2018 plans to share with you in upcoming days, so today is Book Haul Day!
My goal for most of 2017 has been to acquire a maximum of five books per month (I usually fail, so I’m lowering that goal for next year, yikes) and even with Christmas this month I managed to add only five books to my shelves! That seems like an odd thing to be excited about, but 2017 has just been out of control for me when it comes to buying books (no regrets) so I’m glad to end the year on a more successful note. My new books:
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This is my BOTM selection from December, and I have not read it yet but I’m planning to get to it (and several other BOTM books that I fell behind on) first thing in January. I’m proud of myself for only choosing one book for my December box even though most of them looked great. All I remember about this one is that Eleanor Oliphant is not fine, that she has a strange relationship with her mother, and that the way she interacts with the world tends to alienate her from the people around her. I’ve heard good things, and I can’t wait to see for myself.
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I’ve read the first three books in Maas’ ACOTAR series. Even though my interest in those is waning, I wanted to check out her other big series. I’ve seen mixed reviews for the Throne of Glass books, but even though I didn’t like A Court of Thorns and Roses much I was interested enough to read the entire novel and continue the series anyway; so I’m planning to read at least Throne of Glass and decide from there how far I want to go in the series. I think the final book comes out in 2018, so if I do end up wanting to read them all, now’s a good time. All I know is that there’s a female assassin, maybe on a mission from the king, and there’s a love interest once she’s in the castle. Fingers crossed for ACOMAF–quality writing.
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. My one Christmas gift book, and I picked it out myself. (No one buys me books because they’re afraid I will already have, have read, or not like the ones they pick.) I found a signed copy on sale at Barnes and Noble, and I thought this would be a great way to complete my 2017 reading challenge without having to read the Pulitzer Prize winner that I fell out of the mood for, so I asked a family member to stick it in my Christmas box. I haven’t completely finished, but I’ve read a lot and I’m loving it. One of the most intriguing aspects for me has been seeing the Underground Railroad as a literal train, but of course there’s a lot more to love about this one. I fully intend to finish this novel within the week.
- It by Stephen King. I’ve been meaning to read It for years, and the interest definitely increased around the time of the new film adaptation in 2017. But I was busy, and It is extremely long, and excuses, excuses. I’m tentatively planning a buddy read for this one in January, which should be fun because 1) it will be my first buddy read and 2) it will be so satisfying to cross a book this giant off of my TBR so early in the year. I know there’s a scary clown and maybe it’s targeting a group of kids in the town and maybe the adults secretly know what’s going on because of something that happened when they were kids. I’ve been trying to avoid spoilers, so most of my knowledge is pieced together from the movie trailers and really I don’t know much about the book yet. But I’m excited to change that.
- Great Tales of Horror by H. P. Lovecraft. No real reasons or excuse for this one– I knew I wasn’t up to five books yet, and I found this short story collection on sale for less than $4. For a 600 page hardcover book, that’s a deal too good to pass up (for me, anyway). I’m not sure exactly when I’ll get around to reading this one, but I do like Stephen King and Shirley Jackson and Edgar Allen Poe, so I think I’ll definitely find something to enjoy in this collection. Some of the titles look familiar, but these stories will be my first foray into Lovecraft’s oeuvre.
That’s a wrap. December’s been a pretty good reading month, and I’m working on my reading wrap-up already even though I’m still in the middle of a couple books I hope to finish before the end of the year. I’m so pleased with my book haul this month, even though I haven’t actually finished reading any of the books on it yet. It just makes me more excited for what comes next. Stay tuned this week and next week for updates on my reading/buying/writing/blogging goals and more good stuff, because that’s coming up pronto. I can’t believe it’ll be 2018 in like, three days. So much to read. So little time.
What new books did you add to your shelves in December?
The Literary Elephant
My 5 book goal is going to be a bit of a wash for the rest of the year, I think. I haven’t been doing very well about sticking to it the last few months (or ever, really), and I don’t have high hopes for sticking to it in December. Merry Christmas to me. 🙂 But there’s always next year, right? I have some serious book goals for 2018 in the works, but as long as it’s still 2017 and I’m failing anyway, might as well buy all the books. These are the new titles on my shelves this month:
- Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. This was my BOTM selection for November. This one’s narrated through letters and/or journal entries, if I’m remembering right, which sounds unusual and interesting. I like books that are narrated in uncommon formats. It’s also an end-of-the-world story, which I haven’t read in a while so it must be time to try that again. It was the only selection I hadn’t heard of in BOTM’s November list, so it caught my interest.
- Artemis by Andy Weir. An extra BOTM pick for me. This is the first BOTM selection I regret buying, and I haven’t even read it yet. I’ve seen some negative reviews for this book (and some positive ones, but I fear I won’t be one of those), and I think I was just so busy at the time I picked it that buying new books was a stress-reliever and I just didn’t have the time and energy to actually look into it properly before I made my choice. In the end, I think what I actually wanted to read was The Martian, which was also an extra BOTM selection this month, but I chose Artemis instead because it was new.
- The Martian by Andy Weir. After seeing yet another bad review for Artemis, I realized that what I really wanted to read was The Martian. So I decided to go ahead and buy a copy of the one I actually wanted, to boost my book-buying spirits. I’m much more confident about enjoying this one, but I might still read Artemis first; if it’s newness is the only thing propelling me to read it, I better utilize that while it lasts because I do still want to check it out for myself and not leave it unread on my shelf forever. Also, I like to save the best for last.
- Death Note: Black Edition Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba, Yuki Kowalsky, and Takeshi Obata. I needed a graphic novel for my reading challenge this year, and I ended up choosing Saga. I don’t read much that’s full of pictures. It’s just not my preferred medium. But I am willing to try something different every now and then, and I did like Saga, so I bought a manga that looked promising from my initial list of potential graphic novels. I got the black edition, which is actually the first two volumes in one book (I always choose more story in one book, when that’s an option), and I’m excited to check it out. I think there’s even a TV series.
- Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. This is the sequel to Sleeping Giants, which I bought last year and still have not read. It’s at the top of my list for 2018, and the covers are so cool that I couldn’t resist. I’ve read the synopsis a few times, about a girl who finds a giant hand and people realize it’s only part of a whole, and the whole book is narrated through interviews and other unusual mediums for a novel, which again, sounds right up my alley. And Pierce Brown blurbed the first book. And the covers are so neat. So when Black Friday sales rolled around, I picked this one up. (It never seems to be cheap enough, otherwise.)
- Pines by Blake Crouch. Another Black Friday grab. This one is part of a series that I want to read in 2018. Crouch’s Dark Matter was one of my favorite reads of 2017 from way back in January, and I wanted to try another one of his books in 2018 as a result. I’ve heard this one’s weird and thrilling and completely mysterious, which sounds perfect. I think the main character is some sort of journalist or investigator who gets trapped in a strange town where nothing makes sense and death might be the only means of escape.
- The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This one’s a thriller/mystery about reincarnation, I believe. I read the synopsis so long ago, so I barely remember the details of what it’s about. But it’s been a while since I’ve read about reincarnation, and that’s an interesting topic in itself. I’m cautiously hoping North hits the mind-bending side of it and not the cheesy “let me try this same thing over and over again because my life only has so many possibilities and this is the one thing I can change” tactic. But it seems more promising than the usual tropes.
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I picked up one of the Pelican editions with the cool covers around Black Friday discount time. I’m not a huge Shakespeare fan, and I probably wouldn’t have bought this if it wasn’t the play I wanted to read for my 2017 reading challenge. I forgot to hunt for the Shakespeare anthology at my library, and as the end of the year approaches I was suddenly unsure of when I would be back to get it and whether that would leave me with enough time to read it. (And whether I wanted to lug a giant Shakespeare anthology around while I was Christmas shopping.) So I bought my own copy, just to make it easier to pick up the story whenever I have a moment to fit it in. If I like this one, I might branch out and try a couple more with the covers from this collection. And it’s nice to have at least one book on my haul list that I know I’ll be reading soon.
I’m really excited about this list. I know I won’t get to much of it before 2018 because my December TBR is already pretty crazy, but I’m setting some great reading goals for 2018 that I think will really help me clear some unread books off my TBR shelves. Almost every one of these books is from a genre I don’t read super frequently (Sci-fi, a play, a graphic novel), which is exciting. I’m ready to step outside of my comfort zone. I want to be surprised.
Have you read any of these? What should I pick up first?
The Literary Elephant
I didn’t try very hard to stick to my 5 book goal this month. It was a stressful time and books make me feel better so I bought some books. Not too many (is there such a thing for a bibliophile?), but enough to fail my goal. No regrets, as usual. Here’s what’s new:
- The Power by Naomi Alderman. This is my Book of the Month Club selection for October. It’s about a change in the power dynamic of the modern world that occurs when women discover they have the power to zap people with electricity through their hands. It’s a strong new feminist book that’s already won awards and it’s Halloween colored. I’ve been wanting to read this so badly all month, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m planning to read it in early November.
- Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King. This was an extra I added to my BOTM box in October. I wanted to read a Stephen King book this month, and again, it didn’t happen. I had other horror books in my TBR, too. But I like to own the thick King books that I want to read because it makes me feel less pressured to read them in a hurry, which actually helps me get through them faster. This one’s about what happens to the world when women start falling inexplicably into a cocoon-wrapped sleep and can’t be woken. It sounds great and I really want to dive in, so I’m glad it’s on my shelf ready to go whenever I am.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay. This is the illustrated edition of the third Harry Potter book. I don’t have a full set of matching Harry Potter books, and I’ve decided that I want this set to be my full set, when they’re eventually all published. So I added the third one to my collection as soon as it was released, and I’ve looked at all the pictures already. (I’ve read the text several times previously, so I think that counts as having read this one.) I do want to do another reread of the entire series at some point, maybe just of the three illustrated books to start with, but it might have to wait until 2018. There are so many books left on my 2017 TBR as the end of the year is approaching that rereads are not a top priority.
- Paper Princess by Erin Watt. I’ll go into more explanation about this one in my monthly wrap-up. For now I’ll just say that this YA/NA romance has been on my radar for about a year and I finally decided kind of on a whim that I had to read it right away, so I bought it and read it immediately. It has some mature themes for a book marketed as YA, although the story is rather Gossip Girly, so it reads like a bunch of spoiled rich kids with some absurd problems that they address with illegal activities and inappropriate relationships. I had a lot of thoughts about this one that you’ll see tsoon in my wrap-up, since I didn’t post a full review.
- The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. I found a signed copy of this one on sale, and I snatched it up. It’s a beautiful book, and I want to read it really soon, but first I’m planning to finish the Six of Crows duology by reading Crooked Kingdom. Hopefully I’ll get to both CK and TLoT in November. Buying The Language of Thorns inspired me to finally start Six of Crows, and I LOVED IT. But hopefully soon I’ll be starting The Language of Thorns, which is a collection of short stories set in the Grishaverse. I believe it’s a set of legends/fairytales that our Grishaverse characters would be familiar with.
- Broken Prince by Erin Watt. This is the sequel to Paper Princess, and my thoughts on this one will also appear in this month’s wrap-up because I’ve read this one too. I waited until I had read the first book in this series to buy books two and three, but otherwise I did not try to restrain myself from these rather impulsive purchases. I was having a bad month. Again, it’s a YA/NA romance, with surprisingly adult themes. The main characters are high schoolers, and I would’ve been okay with reading this at that age, but I’m hesitant to recommend it for that age group. Especially this second book, but I’ll explain more in my wrap-up.
- Twisted Palace by Erin Watt. And here is the third book in the Royals (Paper Princess) series. I think there are actually four or five books and maybe some novellas, but I think I only want to read the first three novels. After that the secondary characters become main characters of their own stories, so it’s sort of a continuation with other characters after Twisted Palace and I’m not into this series enough to commit to all those extra perspectives. I haven’t read this one yet, but the first two went really fast for me and I want to wrap up this “trilogy” before I’m completely out of the mood for it.
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. This one has been on my radar for over a year, and I’ve been on the fence about buying it because I wanted the UK cover, which was more expensive for me to buy. In the end, I decided I wanted to read it badly enough that I settled for the US cover, and I’ve decided that if it becomes one of my favorite books I’ll consider buying a second copy so I can have the cover I wanted, and I’ll donate this one. That seems like a lot of extra work, but I normally don’t care about the cover enough for that to affect what I buy, so I’m going to read the story the cheaper way before I worry any more about how it looks on my shelf. It’s historical fiction set in Russia (I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read set in Russia), and I’ve heard great things about Towles’s writing. I’m hoping to read this one before the end of the year, as well.
- Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This is the first of my last-minute book haul additions. I unexpectedly went book shopping just after I thought I was safe to take my haul picture for the month. I’ve been planning for months to read this one in November, but I’m so busy right now and was just starting to wonder how/when I was going to be able to get a hold placed through the library and go pick it up. And then I found this one on sale, in the edition I wanted, and it seemed like a sign. All I know is that Emma Carstairs and her adopted family are back in this first book of the new Dark Artifices series.
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I really like historical fiction, especially when it’s not set around WWII. This one involves a character-driven quest to build a cathedral. It sounds unique and unexpected, and I hear that it’s written well, which is really all a good book needs. It’s set in 12th century England, and follows the lives of the people building the cathedral and/or affected by its construction. I’m really intrigued to see whether it lives up to it’s 4.29 rating on Goodreads, but I’m confident enough about its ability to suck me into a dramatic story that I also picked up:
- World Without End by Ken Follett. Here is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth. There’s a third book published now also, but it’s not in a nice matching paperback format yet, and while I was brave enough to buy a second book without having read anything by this author previously, I wasn’t brave enough to buy the third yet. I’ll try these two and see how it goes. I have high hopes.
Those are my October books. I’m sad that I haven’t read more of these already, but I overpacked my October TBR and I’ve been really busy working. I want to read several more of these in November, and I’m optimistic about the chances of that happening.
Have you read any of these books? What’s new on your shelves this month?
The Literary Elephant
I *almost* stuck to my 5-book goal this month. It wasn’t until this last week that I gave in and checked out a sale, and we all know how that ends. I might have still considered myself within the goal if those extra books hadn’t arrived yesterday, but they did, so I’ll admit to their existence on my shelf and add them to this list where they belong.
Check out my new September books:
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I choose this novel as my Book of the Month for September (have I mentioned yet this week how much I love Book of the Month Club? I feel like I’m saying it all the time, but they really do have great books and I can’t restrain myself). This was the book I was most looking forward to reading in September, so of course I didn’t get to it. I’ll be aiming for October with this one because I’ve heard good things and I’m still really excited about it.
- Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. Here’s a second September selection from Book of the Month. I told myself I was only going to buy one this month, so of course I ended up selecting the maximum number of books (three) for my monthly box. I was highly intrigued by the blending of fact and fiction in this thriller’s premise, and it was the shortest of my BOTM choices (thus easiest to fit into my schedule), so I’ve already read and reviewed this one. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it did put me in the thriller mood for October.
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. A couple of years ago I discovered how much I love Margaret Atwood’s books, so of course when I saw this one added as an extra to BOTM’s September list, I had to have it. It looks pleasantly thick, and the prospect of a story within a story sounds perfect for me. But I’m currently in the habit of reading one Atwood book per year, in January, so unless I suddenly find 300 fewer books or so on my Goodreads TBR, I probably won’t be picking this one up for a few months. But I’m excited for it. So excited.
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. After reading Pride and Prejudice (and it’s modern update Eligible) this month, my interest in reading all of Austen’s novels has been renewed. This is the only one of her six major works that I didn’t own yet, and I think it’s the one I want to read next, so I found a cheap copy that’ll work for me and I’m looking forward to reading it. It probably won’t happen in October because I already have a crazy TBR planned, but I’m hoping to read it within the next few months while my Austen appreciation is still fresh.
- Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. I became addicted to Gabaldon’s Outlander series about a year and a half ago, which has mostly faded, except for my interest in the TV show. The third season just started a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to watch all of its episodes, so I picked up this new season-3-cover-edition of Voyager to peruse my favorite parts during the season (I read the whole book last year). I’ve also got the first two books with the TV show covers, so this one matches and I’ve been intending to buy it for months, which means it wasn’t an impulse buy.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. This one, however, was an impulse buy. I always have more Stephen King books on my radar at this time of year than usual, and this is one that I’ve been vaguely planning to read for years. I found a 10th anniversary edition and picked it up even though I don’t know when exactly I’ll be reading it. King is a fantastic author and I’ve heard great things about this book, but it’s probably not scary like his novels, which I’m more inclined to reach for in October. Still, I’m glad to have this one on my shelf and am looking forward to reading about King’s writing experience.
And that’s all I’ve added to my shelves this month. Even though I didn’t quite hit the 5-book mark, I’m happy with the new books I’ve picked up this month. Two of them I’ve already read, and at least one I plan to be reading very soon, which means I’m not adding a ton of extra clutter to my TBR shelf. I think I made some solid choices.
Have you read any of these books? Which titles did you pick up in September?
The Literary Elephant
I didn’t try very hard to meet my 5-book goal this month, but I’m satisfied with my choices nonetheless. Book Outlet had a great sale, Book of the Month Club had great selections, and I think I’m prepared now for a month full of spooky reads in October. It’s crazy that it’s almost fall here already, but there it is. At least I’ll have plenty of reading material to get me through the colder weather.
And now for the new books:
- Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. A Book of the Month choice from the August selections. This one’s a suspenseful psychological thriller about a mother and her young son stuck in a zoo after hours as a murder spree is under way. I’ve already read and loved this book.
- The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh. Here’s another fresh Book of the Month selection that I’m also really excited about and hoping to get around to reading early next month, before my Sept BOTM box arrives. This one’s been described as a speculative modern Western, which sounds like nothing I’ve ever read and I’m eager to see for myself what this book is doing. The premise reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, which I loved.
- The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson. This is the third book in the Kiss of Deception trilogy, which I have been waiting to read until I got my hands on this third book. Now I can start any time. I don’t know anything beyond the premise of book one (a runaway princess is chased by her betrothed and an assassin, and the reader doesn’t know which is which), but I’ve heard good reviews about the entire trilogy, so I’m taking a chance on enjoying the whole thing. At least the matching set looks nice on my shelf.
- The Once and Future King by T. H. White. This is a classic fantasy book about the legend of King Arthur, and I’ve heard the title and other versions of the tale, but I’ve never read this book. Since I’ve been reading George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, I’ve been more interested in epic fantasy, and I’ve always been fascinated by King Arthur’s story, so I’m really excited about this one.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I’ve been getting into a few of Gaiman’s stories this year and generally enjoying them, so I keep picking them up. I found this mass market paperback size for $2, and I think this will be my next Gaiman read. It’ll be a good fit for October, I think, because as far as I remember this is a creepy story about someone dead and their spooky childhood adventures. Or something like that. I’ve also heard this one described as a modern classic, which is appealing to me.
- The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I saw the film of this story several years ago, but I’ve forgotten almost everything about it. I remember being impressed by the story, and I think it would be a great plot to read about before re-watching the movie. It’s about serial killer Hannibal Lecter, his disturbing habits (I think he’s the guy who takes his victims’ skin), and his penchant for escaping justice. It’ll be another great horror tale to read around Halloween.
- The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. This is a book of King’s short stories, complete with commentary on his ideas for and writing of each of them. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, but many of his books are very long and it’s been a couple years now since I last read one (it was 11/22/63, one of my all-time favorite King novels). A book of short stories seemed like an easy way to get back into the mood for a long and disturbing King novel. I’m also a big fan of a great short story, and I’ve let my reading of those fall behind, as well, so it’ll be nice to get back to that medium as well.
- Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. I’ve been reading even more thrillers than usual this year, but I’ve never read any of Slaughter’s books. There were several that caught my interest, but I found a cheap mass market size of this one and I picked it up to get me started. I don’t remember the premise of this one at all, but I think it’s one of those usual thriller-series books that follows the detective’s perspective through creepy crimes. I just wanted an easy introduction to the author’s writing, and I like the creativity of the crimes in those sorts of series, like in James Patterson’s 1st to Die.
- The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction by Kate Chopin. Here’s a classic full of shorter pieces. I’ve read a couple of Chopin’s short stories in the past and loved them, and The Awakening has been on my TBR for ages, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to have a copy on my shelf to be prepared for when the mood strikes me. Her stories are generally empowering and impactful, and the writing is engaging to read. They’re not creepy stories, exactly, but I remember a sense of foreboding pervading her pieces that I found very compelling.
- These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. I haven’t read much YA of the horror/thriller/mystery sort (the most recent probably being Eileen Cook’s With Malice), but this one intrigued me. I think it’s about a girl looking into her father’s suspicious death and finding more danger than she bargained for. I’ve seen some good reviews and I think it’ll add variety to my creepy October reads to have some scary YA mixed in there with the classics and thrillers and Stephen King novels.
- Ruined by Amy Tintera. I have a weakness for YA fantasy. I don’t read them as often as I’d like, but I can’t resist picking them up. I believe this one’s also got a bit of romance in it, but I’ve heard good things about the world-building and the fast-paced plot, so I’m hoping there are plenty of those fantasy elements in here as well. I think this one’s a story of revenge, with maybe a royal marriage and some murder and political intrigue. That’s all I know so far, and all I want to know going in.
- The Muse by Jessie Burton. I still haven’t read Burton’s The Miniaturist, but I’ve heard such good things about this author and both of her books, and they both sound like my type of lit fic, so I’ve picked up this one to match the other on my shelf and I’m hoping to get around to both of them in the not-too-distant future. This one follows two time lines and a painting, and the cover is gorgeous.
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve only read two of Austen’s books so far, but they’ve convinced me that I need to read them all. I’m only short a copy of Mansfield Park now, I think. Anyway, Sense and Sensibility may be the last Austen book I read this first time around because I’ve already seen a film adaptation of it. I’ve been trying to save the movies for after the books, but I failed on this one so I’m trying to forget as many details as I can before picking it up. But now I’m prepared for that day.
So those are my new books. I’ve only read one of them so far, but I’ll be ready to pick up The Blinds any day now, and a bunch of these look great for October. Most of these look like books I could see myself picking up within the year, which is what I’m going for in my book hauls even if I can’t limit myself to five. Better luck next month, I hope. It’s the sales that get me every time.
What new books did you pick up this month?
The Literary Elephant