Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Update

It's been a while since I've written one of these and I got some new reads this week, so I thought it was a good time to do an update. Then I read Presenting Lenore's great post about authors requesting books. The comments on that one (over a 100 when I last checked) ended up covering a broad range of topics including complaints from authors about bloggers who ask for free books and then never review them. So I just want to make this clear: I buy (or check out from the library) the vast majority of books that I talk about on my blog. On the rare occasion when I get a book for free, I talk about it in one of these preview posts not to brag, but to give the book additional publicity and to talk about how excited I am to read it.

Okay, onto the good stuff - books!

My book club picked our next book: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
When Margaret Lea opened the door to the past, what she confronted was her destiny.

All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
Hopefully I'm not stepping on Alea's toes (for those of you who don't read her blog, Pop Culture Junkie, Alea does these fantastic Lookalike posts about similar book covers) by bringing this up, but I really like this cover and when I went to the bookstore to buy it, I saw another book that struck me as being similar-looking: The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay.

Do you see a similarity or is it just me?
Eighteen years old and completely alone, Rosemary arrives in New York from Tasmania with little other than her love of books and an eagerness to explore the city. Taking a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books called the Arcade, she knows she has found a home. But when Rosemary reads a letter from someone seeking to “place” a lost manuscript by Herman Melville, the bookstore erupts with simmering ambitions and rivalries. Including actual correspondence by Melville, The Secret of Lost Things is at once a literary adventure and evocative portrait of a young woman making a life for herself in the city.
This sounds intriguing, though the reviews I read were lukewarm, so maybe I'll see if I can find this one at the library.

From LibraryThing's Early Review program, I got The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. (I'd like to point out that this is not actually an "early" book; its been out for several months.)
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.
I am so excited to read this book! I've heard so much about it from everywhere, it seems. Here's what My Friend Amy and Maw Books had to say about it, and word from Presenting Lenore about the sequel!

Happy Friday, everyone, and join me tomorrow for the Read-a-Thon!


  1. Hunger Games is fantastic, it left me anxiously awaiting the sequel.

  2. I love books with books on their cover. And yes, Hunger Games is awesome!


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