February 2019 Book Haul

Hello friends! I apologize that I haven’t been around lately. February was a busy month: it was my birthday, I went to an anime convention, and I picked up a new video game. I also haven’t had many book related things to talk about recently (though I have been reading) so I let my blog languish a bit.

Anywho, my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest does these wonderful book haul posts, so I decided to do my very first one since I got some fun books this month. So without further ado:

The New Books

new books fixed

These are all the new books I bought this month:

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – Just picked this up today since B&N is having a 50% off sale and this was less than $10.

Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey by Mark Dery – I don’t normally read biographies but Edward Gorey was just so weird I had to get this (it was also bought today as part of B&N’s 50% off sale). Last year I got first editions of Gorey’s Vinegar Works and they are some of my favorite books I have ever owned.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – I am currently reading this with Emily @Embuhleeliest. It has a very strange writing style, it is told as if someone was telling the story directly to you…digressions included, but I am finding that I really like it so far.

The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft – I read the first book in this series, Senlin Ascends, last year and holy crap was it amazing. I already own the second book but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I bought this one so I would be ready.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – Emily @Embuhleeliest‘s husband is reading this book and she is the one that recommended it to me. (She is thinking about stealing it from said husband since he is being slow about finishing it.) It sounded fascinating so I picked it up.

The Metamorphoses of Ovid by Ovid, Allen Mandelbaum (Translator) – Lately I have been reading books that pull heavily from the classics. So, while I have read many of the classics, I decided to re-read some and read others for the first time in order to get the full picture. I have not read this one before, and I picked it up because I recently read Circe by Madeline Miller, which deals with the goddess Circe who can transform men into beasts.

I Hate Myselfie by Shane Dawson – Again, this is not the type of book I normally read, but I happened to pick up the second book of Dawson’s, It Gets Worse, out of curiosity and was dying within seconds. So I decided I should read the first book first.

Like a ding-dong, I forgot to include the following books in the pic I took and it is more trouble that it is worth to re-take it:

 

Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy by Martha Wells – I love Murderbot. Though ART is one of my favorite characters of all time and I wish it was in more than just one book.

The Used Books

Used books fixed

There is an incredibly dangerous used bookstore in my city. I really should never, ever go there but I can’t seem to help myself. These are the used books that I picked up there this month:

The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer by Albrecht Dürer, Dr. Willi Kurth (Editor) – I am a sucker for art books, and this one is chock full of the absolutely stunning wood block prints done by Albrecht Dürer in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Arabian Nights: Their Best-Known Tales by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Editor), Nora Archibald Smith (Editor), Maxfield Parrish (Illustrator) – This is a beautifully illustrated book of some of the better known tales from The 1001 Arabian Nights.

The Romance of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Thomas Malory, Alfred W. Pollard, Arthur Rackham (Illustrator) – I love stories about King Arthur and I love Arthur Rackham’s art so this was a book I just had to own.

Little Red Riding Hood and Other Stories by Charles Perrault – The illustrations in this book are beautiful, and I adore fairy tales so this was another must buy.

The Gift Books

Gift books

As I mentioned in the intro, this month was my birthday and both of my aunts got me these books:

Classical Mythology: Illustrated Edition by Helen A. Guerber – My one aunt got me this book, quite unknowing that I was reading the classics and especially greek myths. So, this was really the perfect birthday present!

Will O’ The Mill And Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson – My other aunt, an artist, did a portrait of John Steinbeck many years ago that hung for a long time in my family’s bookstore. (The bookstore was in Monterey, CA where Steinbeck based most of his books.) Alas, the bookstore is no longer, but my aunt made a gift of the portrait to me for Christmas. Well, I asked her if she would do a commission of Robert Louis Stevenson in the same style. She is thinking about it, but in the mean time she sent me this pocket (literally!) book by Stevenson for my birthday.

The eBooks

This list will get out of hand (as if it isn’t already) if I list out all the ebooks I bought this month. Most of the ones I got were by Jordan L. Hawk. I started off reading their Hexworld Series, but then switched to Whyborne & Griffin (I just today picked up book 5 in that series).  The only ebook that was not by Jordan L. Hawk was Diplomatic Relations by J.L. Langley, which is the 4th book in her Sci-Regency Series.

The Special Books

 

On the left:

The Voyage of Argo – Folio Society Edition by Apollonius of Rhodes, Lawrence Norfolk (Introducer), Daniel Egneus (Illustrator) – This is my first ever Folio Society book! It is beautiful. Folio Society was having a sale, including this book, so I decided to get it because, again, I am brushing up on the classics. I have read the play Medea by Euripides, but I have not ever read the Argonautica, so this will be new for me (even though I do know the story).

On the right:

The Odyssey – Franklin Library 100 Greatest Books Leather Bound Edition by Homer, Robert Fitzgerald (Translator) – Someday, I hope to have leather bound editions of all my favorite classics. I have not read this translation of the Odyssey, but I did comparison reads of the most popular translations available, and I liked this one the best. Looking forward to seeing if I end up liking this translation better than the one I read a million years ago in high school.


And so the library grows…

TBR Highs and Lows

TBR

My friend Emily @Embuhleeliest just did a post of this on her blog and it looked interesting. At first I thought I couldn’t do one of my own since I have only had a Goodreads account since September 2018 so I don’t really have any books to purge, since they haven’t been on my list for long and I still want to read them all. But the purge rule also has an alternative option, so that is what I went with.

Rules:

  1. Link back to the original post at Howling Libraries
  2. Sort your Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, ascending
  3. Find 5-10 (or more, if you feel ambitious!) titles to purge from your TBR (the “lows”)
    1. ALTERNATIVE OPTION: Find 5+ titles that are at the BOTTOM of your TBR—books you want to read someday, just not right now!
  4. Post those 5 books in the list, with a brief explanation
  5. Next, sort your Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, descending
  6. List the last 5 (or more!) books you added to your TBR, with a synopsis or your brief summary of why you added it (the “highs”)

The Lows

As I said in the introduction, I am doing the ALTERNATIVE OPTION, which is to choose 5+ titles that are at the bottom of my TBR…well, I don’t keep my TBR in any sort of order, so I did what the rules said and sorted by Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, ascending, and took the first 5 on that list (with one exception that I had already recently written about in my For the Love of Lovecraft post). So, these are not truly at the bottom of my list (in terms of preference) though they are at the bottom in terms of Date Added.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I added this because the cover looked cool, and lots of people seemed to like it. It is also reminded me of a manga I read a million years ago called Alone in My King’s Harem by Lily Hoshino that had a chapter called the Night Circus which I enjoyed. Plus, I really like stories about circuses when they are done well.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Again, looked at this one because the cover is awesome and lots of people seem to like it. Then I found out it is about Koschei the Deathless (I adore Russian fairy tales) and immediately added it to my TBR.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

Alternate history 1950’s America where a woman becomes the first astronaut? Yes. Please.

Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson

I came across this in a r/Fantasy thread recommending books for one of the bingo squares for r/Fantasy’s annual Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge. (The square was Fantasy Novel that Takes Place Entirely Within One City, if you were interested.) I planned to read this book for that square but ended up reading Alice by Christina Henry first (and realized that book worked for the square too) and so this one languishes on my TBR list.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Of all the books on this mini TBR list, this is the one I am most likely to read soon. It was recommended to me by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites and the blurb sounds super intriguing.


The Highs

I actually have 2 TBR lists, one for books I don’t own yet and one for books I already own but haven’t read yet (obvs.). The previous “The Lows” list was from my don’t own yet TBR (since it has the first books I ever put on the TBR list on it). But this following “The Highs” list is from my physical TBR (as I call it, since I own the books).

Torn by Rowenna Miller

This has been on my radar for awhile, so when I visited a B&N recently, I decided to pick it up.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

In a time of revolution, everyone must take a side.
Sophie, a dressmaker and charm caster, has lifted her family out of poverty with a hard-won reputation for beautiful ball gowns and discreetly embroidered spells. A commission from the royal family could secure her future — and thrust her into a dangerous new world.
Revolution is brewing. As Sophie’s brother, Kristos, rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement, it is only a matter of time before their fortunes collide.
When the unrest erupts into violence, she and Kristos are drawn into a deadly magical plot. Sophie is torn — between her family and her future.

Authority by Jeff Vandermeer

I finished the first in the series, Annihilation, and immediately had to pick up the next book. I need to know what happens!

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

The Golden Key by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott

This is another book I got for the Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge. It is for the Novel Featuring a Protagonist Who is a Writer, Artist or Musician (NOT: Kingkiller Chronicles) square. I had originally intended to read Dust and Light by Carol Berg, but had trouble getting into that story.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

In a land where art is prized above all else, the master painters of the Grijalva family stand apart from other artists. Theirs is an art that can alter Reality, a secret Gift passed down for generations and always used for the good of the kingdom. But now the most talented of the Grijalvas has decided to use his power for his own dark intentions–with results more devastating than anyone could imagine!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This book was recommended to me by my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Band Sinister by KJ Charles

This book was recommended to my by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites.

Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads:

Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumours about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)

Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder.

Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind—and dangerously attractive.

In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist…and so is Philip. But all too soon the rural rumour mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet—but does he dare lose his reputation too?


The end! I feel like this type of post will be more rewarding in the future when I might actually have books on my TBR that need purging.

For the Love of Lovecraft

hp lovecraft 3

I must admit, I am a latecomer to H. P. Lovecraft. I had never read a single story by him until this year (2018). I happened to pick up Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys as one of the books I planned to read for the Reddit Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge. However, I hadn’t gotten very far into Winter Tide when I decided I needed to read the source material first. So, I picked up a copy of Tales of Horror, an anthology of stories by H. P. Lovecraft. Well…let’s just say I was very surprised to learn just how influential Lovecraft’s work has been over the past century to literature, film, and video games.

Now, I really enjoyed Lovecraft’s stories, particularly The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and I fully intend to read more of his stories (especially the Dream Cycle stories). However, what I find fascinating is that ever since I read his stories, many of the books I have read and enjoyed since then have drawn heavily from Lovecraft’s mythos. I have read a few, and intend to read many more Lovecraft inspired novels, so I decided I needed to dedicate a shelf in my library to them. The library is not set up yet, so for now I will just have this post to remind me of what books I want to put on that shelf.

**Fair warning, there are spoilers ahead. Also, if you have never read Lovecraft, I don’t recommend reading ahead since my explanations of why a book is “Lovcraftian” might not make any sense to you.**


Read

 

Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

As I mentioned before, I picked up this book to read for the Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge. It is about the aftermath of the government descending onto Innsmouth at the end of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow over Innsmouth. The book follows Aphra, a surviving Deep One, and her reconnection to her past and her people. It was an interesting read, because you hear the “other side of the story” and get to see the world from a Deep One’s point of view.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

I am sooooo glad I read Lovecraft’s stories before reading this book. The tower/tunnel in the ground containing the mysterious creeping horror, the cosmic light/goo creature that causes you to loose your senses when you look upon it…so very, very Lovecraft.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Definitely was not expecting this book to have anything to do with Lovecraft. Well, turns out, the things that are causing everyone to go insane and kill other people and then themselves when they look upon them are infinity creatures (possibly from space…we don’t actually know where they are from). Go figure. There is even mention of tunnels. And there is a creepy cellar.

Monstress Vol. 1, 2, and 3 by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

One of the main characters is a tentacled Elder God. Need I say more?


TBR

Shadows over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft and Others

I picked up a physical copy of this at a Half Priced Books sale. I am excited to read it, especially because one of the stories in the anthology is by Neil Gaiman.

The Outsider by Stephen King

Stephen King has admitted to being inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, and while I don’t know for sure that this books is particularly Lovecraftian, since I have not bought it or read it yet, just based on the book blurb I have a feeling this book is heavily influenced by Lovecraft.

Tales of Alhazred by Donald Tyson

This one sounds fun. It is a story about the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, the man who wrote the dreaded Necronomicon…a book that has developed a mythos all its own.

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

As I said before, Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle stories are my favorite, so I am really looking forward to reading this one.

Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

This is a Lovecraft inspired graphic novel. The art in it looks gorgeous.

Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

This is another one on my Lovecraft tbr. I think it is going to be made into a TV series?

The Fold by Peter Clines

This book was recommended to me by my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest. Apparently it also has Lovecraftian elements (or so the internet tells me). Would not have guessed that from the book blurb.

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

This book was recommended to me by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites. She actually recommended the entire Whyborne & Griffin series to me. This was another one that, to me, didn’t seem to be inspired by Lovecraft, but Sarah (and the internet) said it is actually heavily influenced by Lovecraft.

Kraken by China Miéville

It does not surprise me at all that China Miéville draws inspiration from Lovecraft. I own his book, Perdido Street Station, but have yet to get my hands on Kraken.

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Not sure how I feel about this one. I will still probably get it and read it though, because the cover is tops. (Yes, I have been known to buy books purely for the cover.)

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, and Dave Stewart

Another one by Neil Gaiman. This one combines Lovecraft with Sherlock Holmes. Yes. Please.


I have a few others on my list, though they are more “maybe I will get around to them, maybe I won’t”.  If you want to see my whole Goodreads shelf, go here. (It is not in any particular order.) I can’t wait to get my library set up and buy more of the books on my list so I can have them all in physical form on one shelf!