5 Nov
2015

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

 

220px-DWCityAre you bored by non­fic­tion?  Yes?  Well, The Dev­il in the White City will change your mind about non­fic­tion. Seri­ous­ly, I read one of Erik Larson’s books and was ready to ven­ture to the Smith­so­ni­an in D.C. for a book sign­ing (but I didn’t because tick­ets sold out in five minutes…bummer…).

For some rea­son, read­ing about seri­al killers has always been great fun for me.  I start­ed read­ing about the essen­tial seri­al killers: Jack the Rip­per, Char­lie Man­son, etc.  How­ev­er, this book isn’t just about seri­al killer, mad­man, and gen­er­al scam­mer H.H. Holmes; it’s also about the head archi­tect respon­si­ble for cre­at­ing the Chicago World’s Fair in the 1800’s.

H.H. Holmes creeps me out more than most seri­al killers.  Yes, Char­lie Man­son got peo­ple to kill for him and Jack the Rip­per had that whole carv­ing up lady bits thing going for him, but H.H. Holmes built a maze-like MURDER MANSION!  He was a true vul­ture, pick­ing out young and naïve wom­en new to the city to tempt and trap in his crazy mur­der man­sion.

I have a much deep­er respect and admi­ra­tion for archi­tects after read­ing this book.  After all, the World’s Fair was a mar­vel of con­struc­tion.  I doubt the qual­i­ty and beau­ty (there are pic­tures in the book…I know you wan­na know!)  of the Chicago World’s Fair could be echoed today.  I’m kind of sad that they decon­struct­ed it instead of try­ing to main­tain it, but when they shut it down home­less peo­ple began liv­ing there and the White City was no more (Inter­est­ing tid­bit: many of the peo­ple who helped build the so-called White City were unem­ployed when they fin­ished con­struc­tion, thus many of the for­mer work­ers began liv­ing there).

10 Sep
2015

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

41le8ej-fiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_How many times can I read this book before tir­ing of it?  I think it’s impos­si­ble to tire of this phe­nom­e­nal piece of writ­ing.  It’s part phi­los­o­phy, part dystopi­an future, part ethnog­ra­phy.  This book makes me afraid for our future, espe­cial­ly in Amer­i­ca.  If you’re in the mood to think about some deep shit, you must read this book.  Plus, it’s a clas­sic and Huxley’s writ­ing is lyri­cal­ly pleas­ing.

I’m going to be hon­est; I despise pret­ty much every char­ac­ter.  The char­ac­ters are weak and don’t ask ques­tions.  I’m a ques­tion asker and a rule break­er, just ask the head­mas­ter at my high school.  One char­ac­ter ques­tions the cul­ture he has been born into, and things don’t go swim­ming­ly for him.

In Huxley’s cul­ture, child­birth is con­sid­ered bar­bar­ic, whilst ingest­ing drugs to make you hap­py and hav­ing wild orgies is total­ly accept­able behav­ior. It makes one think about cul­ture and who cre­ates cul­ture.  Are we a pro­duct of our cul­ture, or is our cul­ture a pro­duct of us?  Who has pow­er?  Who has agen­cy?  What are we leav­ing behind?  What will peo­ple remem­ber?

Huxley’s mas­ter­piece has been read and re-read for decades and for good rea­son.  More excit­ing than 1984, more ter­ri­fy­ing than Gat­ta­ca, and believ­able enough to be major­ly unset­tling, it’s a book that demands to be read!  So if you’ve been slack­ing off in the clas­sics depart­ment this is a great place to start.  Drop some soma and can­cel your orgy-por­gy plans to snug­gle up in bed with Brave New World before all the books dis­ap­pear!

8 Jul
2015

Review: The Golden Compass

Gold­en Com­pass by Philip Pull­mangc1
When I was about 8 or 9, my broth­er and I found our­selves dragged along to a week-long con­fer­ence for seri­ous grownups. We basi­cal­ly spent the entire week stuck in a swel­ter­ing, sticky dorm room with noth­ing to do but col­or pic­tures of jesus (it was a suu­u­per Chris­tian con­fer­ence) and lis­ten to audio­books.
When I put it like that, it sounds hor­ren­dous, doesn’t it? But hon­est­ly, this week is one that I remem­ber with fond­ness. The audio book we had cho­sen was The Gold­en com­pass, and I was entranced. I fell head­first into the won­der­ful world where every­one had their very own forever best friend, where witch­es were wise wom­en and gyp­sies saved the day, and one very loy­al Polar bear took care of that one very head­strong lit­tle girl. It didn’t mat­ter to me at all that I was being cooked alive in a strange room, and I espe­cial­ly didn’t mind that I was stuck in the same room as my EVIL lit­tle broth­er. We didn’t fight once, and that’s a huge com­pli­ment to the sto­ry.
I still re-read the Gold­en Com­pass every once in a while. And each time I read it, I find a lit­tle girl inside of me that can change the world, see the good in every­thing, and also see through lies. I have loved mul­ti­ple copies of this book to pieces, and will con­tin­ue to do so until I can’t see any­more. And then I will lis­ten to it again.

3 Jul
2015

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Trigger+WarningIt’s be a hot min­ute since Neil’s lat­est book came out, but with all the busy busy life stuff, I’ve only just fin­ished read­ing it. And man, I need to tell you how awe­some it is, because dear lord.

I mean, every­one knows that Neil Gaiman is the god of mod­ern fan­ta­sy. (Right? you know that, right??) So I wasn’t sur­prised by how good his book was. I mean, of course it was good. He has like mag­ic fin­gers or some­thing. Wait, I take it back. It’s his hair. His hair is mag­i­cal.

I was excit­ed about this book miles before the release date. The top­ic of trig­ger warn­ings in gen­er­al is one that I have con­cerns about but also am very pas­sion­ate about. And I didn’t think it was pos­si­ble, but Mr. Gaiman pret­ty much per­fect­ly puts words to my feel­ings about the whole thing in his intro­duc­tion to the book. I read that thing twice. I under­lined things in the book. I spent days just soak­ing in the INTRODUCTION. I hadn’t even got­ten to the juicy sto­ry bits yet. (oh. It’s a book of short sto­ries, in case I hadn’t men­tioned…)

The sto­ries were all amaz­ing. Like real­ly. High­lights were a sto­ry about Ray Brad­bury (that is just sim­ply stun­ning­ly put togeth­er!), a sto­ry that is basi­cal­ly Sher­lock fan-fic­tion, and a sto­ry about the real David Bowie. It was all most­ly fan­ta­sy, def­i­nite­ly dark, but not scary. And poet­i­cal­ly writ­ten.

This is for sure a MUST READ, guys. I didn’t think it was pos­si­ble, but I loved Neil Gaiman even more when I fin­ished. <3

 

30 Jun
2015

Carry On, Jeeves” wrap up

Thanks to every­one who came out to book club on Sun­day! We had a rip-roar­ing old time, what?
Just look at all the­se smil­ing faces!

BClub

 

The gen­er­al opin­ion of all in atten­dance was that every­one should read this book! Why? Well, because it’s hilar­i­ous! and charm­ing! And just gen­er­al fun! Quite a few peo­ple at book club had already picked up anoth­er Wode­house book to read. And let me tell you, once you’ve got the bug, you’re done for. All the Bertie Woost­er is not quite enough Bertie Woost­er! 11666160_1456754604624552_7810846338112262679_n

The next book club will be meet­ing on August 16th at 6pm in the store.
We’re switch­ing gears quite dras­ti­cal­ly with this book! On to the creepy tale of ter­ror: The Strain by Guiller­mo del Toro and Chuck Hogan! If you’ve been aching to get your thrill on, we got you.

See you in August! But also hope­ful­ly before then, because there is PLENTY of time to read a mil­lion oth­er books (and post them for #KUBook­Bin­go to win prizes) before the next meet­ing!!!

 

 

4 Mar
2015

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

american-gods-1Okay, I’ll be bru­tal­ly hon­est. Some­times I’m a skim­mer. Some­times I just real­ly get so invest­ed in a book that I skip para­graphs so that I can learn what hap­pens next. It’s a real­ly bad habit that I’m try­ing to fix.

There is one book that I’ve read, how­ev­er, that sucked me in so solid­ly that I read every sing word and lin­gered on all of them. This is that book. In fact, when I read this book, instead of rush­ing through it eager­ly, I was so invest­ed and inter­est­ed and every­thing that I would put the book down for days after each chap­ter because I just real­ly real­ly didn’t want it to end. To some peo­ple it might sound a lit­tle back­wards that the book that I love the most is one that took ages to read. But it’s how it hap­pened.

I have read Amer­i­can Gods three times now. And each time, it was even bet­ter, and more full of hid­den bits of truth and secrets.  The very first time I read Amer­i­can Gods, I was in Ire­land for six months. I was already sur­round­ed by this feel­ing of mag­ic behind the leaves of the world, and the hope that may­be I would see a fairy over the next hill. Read­ing a tale of Gods in our world while liv­ing in a place where there were sure­ly fairies was intense. Mag­i­cal. Won­der­ful.

But you don’t have to be in Ire­land to feel the mag­ic in this book. Okay, may­be mag­ic is a strange word.… Pow­er? Mys­ti­cism? It def­i­nite­ly instills a sense of mys­tery, of pon­der­ing. It is not a hap­py mag­ic. It’s a mag­ic that drinks your dark­ness and eats you up in the night.

I high­ly rec­om­mend this book. In fact, if some­one comes into the store and asks for a book rec­om­men­da­tion, this is my sec­ond choice. (My first is Good Omens, because it’s lighter, and some­times peo­ple just don’t have ener­gy for a book that pulls you all­l­ll the way in.) But if you are a fan of Neil Gaiman at ALL, you must read this book.

Also, side note, if you read this book once and liked it, you should prob­a­bly read it again. It’s now avail­able in the ‘Author’s Pre­ferred Text’ ver­sion, which is how Neil wish­es it had be done the first time around. So you should read that ver­sion for sure!!

 

 

3 Jan
2015

The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

bothDo you have a set of books that you re-read every year? For me it’s the Abhors­en Tril­o­gy. Do you want to know how much I love the­se books?

-I lit­er­al­ly read AND lis­ten to them once a year. Like sep­a­rate­ly. I lis­ten to them once on audio book and then lat­er in the year I read the actu­al phys­i­cal books. (The audio book is read by Tim Cur­ry. JUST SAYING)
-I have read through at least 2 copies of the books. At Least. Like I mean that I read the books so much that they dis­in­te­grate.
-When I changed my name legal­ly (for entire­ly unre­lat­ed rea­sons), I added Lirael into my name.

Why do I love the­se books so much? Well, I would not have made it through my young life with­out the­se books. I’m not just say­ing that because they ‘helped me grow up’ or because I ‘learned valu­able things’ or blah. I’m say­ing it because lit­er­al­ly I would be dead if I didn’t have the­se books. sab

Okay, so we’re going to get dark for a sec­ond here, but bear with me.

I read Lirael (the sec­ond book in the series) dur­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly bad bout of teenage depres­sion. I’m talk­ing slight hos­pi­tal­iza­tion-style stuff. I had already read and loved the first book, but Lirael is even near­er and dear­er to my heart. Why? Because the sto­ry of Lirael was one of over­com­ing deep-root­ed life long depres­sion. I was deal­ing with that in my real life, and fol­low­ing Lirael through her own jour­ney to over­come self hatred and depres­sion brought me slow­ly but sure­ly out of my own.

I know that not every­one is going to love this series as much as I do. I have a seri­ous per­son­al con­nec­tion. But let me just tell you that it is worth at least one read. It is full of fan­ta­sy and sur­vival and mag­ic and a cat that talks. Seri­ous­ly. Read the­se books. lirael

17 Sep
2013

KU’s Book Bites: Fortunately, the Milk

ftmng

Mr. Gaiman pic­tured with some milk. Milk is very impor­tant.

For­tu­nate­ly, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is by far my favorite con­tem­po­rary author.  His work epit­o­mizes every­thing that is good about mag­i­cal real­ism and fan­ta­sy.  For­tu­nate­ly, the Milk is a won­der­ful addi­tion to Gaiman’s already impres­sive body of work and is a great choice for kids of all ages to read alone or with mom and dad.  In his usu­al, can­did way, Gaiman relates the sto­ry of a father’s love for his chil­dren.  And adven­tures.  And milk.

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