Lists

That Don’t Impress Me Much…

Please tell me you thought of Shania Twain, even if you aren’t a country fan. I’m probably dating myself here.

Shania Impress

“They” say never judge a book by it’s cover…

Yet I do it all the time. Rather than speaking of books that did not manage to impress me, I decided to cover (sorry, not sorry) books that left me underwhelmed, visually speaking. Occasionally good books get bad* covers.

The Bird Sisters // Rebecca Rasmussen. I really enjoyed this novel, but the cover never would’ve grabbed me. I read it on the recommendation of a fellow librarian.

Bag of Bones // Stephen King. See also: Any Stephen King novel.

Straight Man // Richard Russo. One of the best campus novels of all time simply has a duck on it. Truly, I understand why it was picked, it’s just so unappealing!

The Devil All the Time // Donald Ray Pollock. This is one of my favorite novels, but the cover is so lackluster – especially in comparison to Pollock’s new novel.

Euphoria // Lily King. I’m not sure of the general consensus, but I would’ve passed on the novel based on the cover alone.

The Marauders // Tom Cooper. Funnier than any post-Katrina novel should be, yet visually underwhelming.

Unholy Ghosts // Stacia Kane. I think it’s likely a genre thing, and I’m not fond of paranormal romance usually, but the book was solid, the cover art…less so.

Edge of Dark Water // Joe R. Lansdale. This is one of my favorite novels by Lansdale, along with Leather Maiden, and comparing the two covers reveals a stark contrast not in Edge of Dark Water’s favor.

The Night Sister // Jennifer McMahon. Just…meh.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage // Alice Munro. The short stories are amazing. The cover is not.

Have any great books with bad covers you’d like to share? For more lists, visit here.

*Don’t get me wrong, yeah I think they’re alright.

Miscellanea

Fates and Furies // Six Degrees of Separation

The idea behind this exercise is to connect books in any way that’s meaningful to you, from the profound to the inane. Although Kevin Bacon is typically behind the six degrees game, books are just a bit more fun. Like a few other chains I’ve visited, I too had a hard time figuring out where to start with this month’s prompt. I haven’t read Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, though I want to, so I was stumped. In what was probably the world’s tiniest epiphany, I decided to simply link it by the idea of “want to read”.

Fate and Furies Six Degrees

For the purpose of this exercise, I chose the last book I added to my to be read list, which was Wigs on the Green by Nancy Mitford (based on Kate’s review). Using Mitford as my next link, I thought of John Sandford’s character Neil Mitford (from his long running Lucas Davenport series), who appeared most recently in Extreme Prey. One of the weird things about a Lucas Davenport novel is that it always makes me crave a really good cheeseburger.

If you were to dig through my archives (please don’t), you’d find that the book Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo has the exact same odd effect. Nobody’s Fool was turned into a surprisingly decent movie starring Paul Newman (not as good as the book, of course).

Paul Newman also starred in the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ Message in a Bottle, and while I didn’t particularly care for the book or the movie, Paul Newman is never a bad thing. Message in a Bottle takes place on the North Carolina shore and while it’s certainly not exactly the same, it’s at least similar to Virginia’s coast, which is the setting of The Shore by Sara Taylor.

The Shore has a gritty, Southern Gothic vibe with a fair amount of family drama. In that respect, it is similar to The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock. And with that, I’ve reached the end of my chain!

From Fates and Furies to The Heavenly Table in seven easy steps. Where would you end up? Give it a try.

 

Reviews

The Shimmering Road by Hester Young

ShimmeringI feel like it has been an absurdly long time since I’ve done a traditional review (because it has). However, this lovely little book came out on Valentine’s Day and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.

A little over a year ago, I was in one of the biggest reading slumps of my adult life. On a whim*, I picked up Hester Young’s The Gates of Evangeline and absolutely loved it.

So I was both excited and nervous to read The Shimmering Road**, Young’s second book featuring journalist Charlie Cates. I am happy to report it’s an enthralling read and a solid follow-up to her first novel.

Charlie, expecting her first daughter, is now in Arizona, searching for clues that might help solve the murder of her mother and half sister. Plagued by recurring nightmares, she can’t help but worry about the fate of her unborn daughter and that of her half-sister’s daughter, even as she gets drawn further into the mystery surrounding the murders. Her c

The novel is fast paced, unexpected, and a pleasure to read. The Shimmering Road, as is its predecessor, is everything a page-turner—with a supernatural flare—should be. Admittedly, I loved Gates of Evangeline just a little bit more and I missed the southern Gothic aspect, but it was nice to revisit characters I enjoyed.

*That whim got it’s start from Sarah’s (of Sarah’s Book Shelves) love of Gates of Evangeline.
**I received a review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

Miscellanea

Voldemort’s Inauguration

Obama Biden MemeTonight I realized it’s the last night I’ll go to bed with Barack Obama as my president. Tomorrow will be a very dark day indeed. Not only are we saying goodbye to an eloquent, brilliant man, we are inaugurating the literary equivalent of Voldemort.

So let’s play a game*. As one does.

Although it’s nearly too frightening to be funny, I do enjoy some of the humor surrounding this very grave political shit show (the arsenic icing on this poisonous cake was this morning’s news that Trump proposes to cut both the National Endowment for the Arts (N.E.A.) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (N.E.H.) in their entirety). But in regards to humor, the Obama Biden memes make me smile. My favorites – and this should be no surprise given my affinity for books – are the Harry Potter ones. Does it help that my son and I are reading through the Harry Potter series before bed? Yes, yes it does. But Trump’s wig as a horcrux? Brilliant. It would be Nagini, of course. But what about the rest? Is Tom Riddle’s diary the equivalent of Trump’s twitter account or a first edition of The Art of the Deal? Regardless, I am positive that we all know that he will have the best horcruxes. They are tremendous, the absolute very best.

Now pour yourself a drink and imagine what objects might be hiding Trump’s soul. Here are my thoughts…

Tom Riddle’s diary. First edition of The Art of the Deal.

Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring. Trump’s tax returns.

Salazar Slytherin’s Locket. Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. Trump’s plane. Gold cup, gold plated toilet. One in the same.

Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem. That awful red Make America Great Again hat.

Harry Potter. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Nagini the Snake. That wig.

I regret I couldn’t fit in Twitter, a stack of manila folders, or what must be the world’s tiniest personal thesaurus. Any other suggestions?

*I am far from the first to suggest this or these items as horcruxes and I’m sure I am far from the last (suggestions on Twitter and Reddit abound). Please enjoy them as they were intended – a lame attempt to lighten what is likely to be a dark moment in history.

Miscellanea

Long Live the 90s

Nirvana MenSooo…

Long time, no post. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, I have, I just don’t quite have the brain power to formulate much in the way of thoughts about what I’m reading. And I go back to work in a few weeks. Library patrons are going to love me.

Would you like to know something funny/sad? I use the WordPress App on my phone, and for some reason it stopped updating. Only I didn’t know. So I published my last few posts and heard nothing but crickets, and I was thinking “damn, well I really let the blog crash and burn…” However, I was delightfully surprised to see I was wrong and there were comments. I really did feel better. Thanks for sticking with me.

This next post idea is completely stolen from Laura over at Reading in Bed (on Facebook, no less). The idea, which I see circulate from time to time, is to “List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER*, but only one per band/artist. Don’t take too long and don’t think too long.”

It’s the don’t take too long and don’t think too long that reeled me in. In no particular order:

10. Mezzanine // Massive Attack
09. Version 2.0 // Garbage
08. The Downward Spiral // NIN
07. Meat is Murder // The Smiths
06. Sixteen Stone // Bush
05. So Much For the Afterglow // Everclear
04. Bringing Down the Horse // The Wallflowers
03. In Utero // Nirvana
02. Time Out of Mind // Bob Dylan
01. Metallica // Metallica

If I gave this more thought or I was in a different mood, I bet I’d come up with something different. So, give me your most influential album at a teenager? 

*I tried to limit this to albums that were released while I was a teenager, but there are some that are obvious exceptions (like Meat is Murder, which I “discovered” when I was a teenager).

Image found here.

 

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