Snow Day Book Love

We are in the path of a bulldozer of a storm, apparently — it’s going to snow Yetis, as I’m told — and so I figure that leaves today as a very good day for you to come over here and drop into the comments. Your purpose? To recommend a book you’ve read recently that you liked. Tell us the name, who wrote it, and why you dug it.

Feel free to throw in comics you’re digging, too, because comics are rad.

DO THIS NOW FOR GOOD BOOK KARMA.

For the rest of you in the path of the snowstorm, good luck, may your power remain forever on, and don’t eat each other like the guys on that soccer team who crashed in the mountains. Also, beware your microwave, because I hear that motherfucker can spy on you, now. Goddamn microwave, WE ARE WATCHING YOU WATCH US.

*microwaves a bunch of forks to punish it*

118 comments

  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler. I wouldn’t say any of the short stories in there are warm, cozy reads fit for a snow storm, but I dug it because Butler’s style is like literary Teflon: impenetrable, structurally sound, and quietly strong.

    For everybody in the path of the storm, stay safe!

  • I just read the 1st 3 Miriam Black books! and then Kings of the Wyld, which was fun. Now reading A Brief History of Vice by Robert Evans.

  • I recently finished Bill O’Reilly’s book “Killing the Rising Sun,” about the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan, to end the Second World War. While the subject is a very highly-charged issue, O’Reilly does not interject his own personal political beliefs into the book, except to say that his father was among the troops designated to be part of the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, under a plan titled “Operation Downfall.”

    I enjoyed the book because I enjoy reading about historical events, specifically during the Second World War, and following years. And, it was interesting to read a little more about famous names I’d learned about in history class, such as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and Army Air Corps General Curtis LeMay, who orchestrated the bombing campaign, including the strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that ultimately ended World War II.

  • I know I’m late to the party with this one, but Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is wonderful. As a kid who grew up in the 80s, it has every pop culture reference from my formative years. And as a guy who’s played video games since I could walk, I’ve always dreamed of a digital world like the one in this book.

  • No book recommendation at present. Just wanted to thank you for the hearty laugh from this: “Also, beware your microwave, because I hear that motherfucker can spy on you, now. Goddamn microwave, WE ARE WATCHING YOU WATCH US.” There is so little to laugh at nowadays, I’m so grateful for the glimpses of normalcy that a good belly laugh brings. So… Thanks! I really needed that!

  • “Chime” by Franny Billingsley is the best thing I’ve read so far this year. Vivid language that makes you see and hear the story of Briony, the young teenager who fears she is a wicked witch.

  • All three collections of Phonogram by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Just read them. Now. What lures you in as a cute conceit, music as magic, turns into a remarkably deep and devastating look at our relationship with pop culture. My cat just peed all over volume three so I suppose I should just get the complete hardbound collection.

  • I just finished The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler (LGBT steampunk) which was a lot of fun. I loved the characters and the steampunk setting. As for graphic novels how about a couple manga? I’m loving the Noragami: Stray God series by Adachitoka. In this gods are kept alive by the belief of the people and an unknown God like, Yato, can barely survive. It has some silly moments but a lot of heart touching ones too. I’m also just starting Bungo Stray Dogs by Kaftka Asagiri. This manga has ‘cops’ with paranormal powers, all named after famous Japanese authors. I’m just starting it (and the anime) but it has promise. How’s that for book karma?

  • Chuck, I’m a huge fan. I RT you all the time and repost on my author FB page. I’d recommend Ruth Whippman’s AMERICA THE ANXIOUS: How Our Pursuit Of Happiness Is Turning Us Into A Nation Of Nervous Wrecks. Amazing book!

  • “Rencor: Life in Grudge City” by Matt Wallace has probably become one of my favourite books. The two main characters are luchadores who were once enemies, but now have to work together to solve a crime. The whole thing is just a joy to read. It’s practically bursting at the seams with character. Also, it’s filled with body slams, cross chops, and a whole ton of butt kickery.

  • Currently reading a small but informative book called A Steampunk’s Guide to the Apocalypse by Margaret Killjoy. Useful information for the impending dystopia our illustrious new regime is setting us up for, and a bit of respite from the Daily Damage Report.

  • Afterparty, by Daryl Gregory. A lucky find, sounded vaguely interesting, was SO great and original and funny and I was bitterly sad when it ended. Am currently devouring everything else by Gregory. Been ages, honestly, since the last time I found an author I was this excited about.

  • The cemetery of forgotten books series by Carlos Ruiz zafon. I’m stealing a phrase from the NYT review: “zestful convolutions” – I think that does the trick. A bit of magic and a lot of homework in the four books. Love ’em. Gonna read ‘en again. Why isn’t it snowing here?!?

  • Just bought a very small book with a very large iceburg of inspiration floating within it. It’s ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ by Rainer Rilke. I was alerted to its existence by the ‘Brainpickings’ website (which, btw is an excellent site to subscribe to.) I believe it to be one of those books of which it could be said ‘The literary world is divided into those who have read Letters to a Young Poet and those who are going to read it.’ (Originally a quote about Lord of the Rings.)

  • Wind by Nevada Barr

    Third in the Anna Pigeon series, Anna finds herself back in her beloved southwest. I read the book in one day as the story moves right along. I love how Ms. Barr fills the book with such rich description I can smell the desert. As with previous novels, it doesn’t take long for Anna to find a murder and of a co-worker, at that. Throughout the story poor Anna has to not only find the killer but has to fight against herself as well. Loved this story and cannot wait to pick up the next one.

  • All the Wrong Todays: A Novel by Elan Mastai

    I’ve been ruined by reading this book. It has one whole chapter full of the word ‘shit’ and a couple of ‘fuck’s thrown in for good measure. Time travel is messy and keeping track of the number of parallel universes and dystopian futures is mind boggling but one of the best roller coaster rides I’ve ever had. The format is different than anything I’ve ever read and it works. I will read it again to find nuggets I know I missed the first encounter.

  • Saturn Run by John Sandford and Ctein. Really good hard science and quality fiction, as always, from Sandford. My Grandmother asked me to tell you she’s sorry by Fredrik Backman. New author to me, but now I’m reading A Man called Ove by the same author. Great stories about people in transition and finding truths in strange places.

  • Captive Paradise by James Haley. After my latest Maui vacation, I realized how little I actually knew about those beautiful islands. This book’s release was timely as a salve for my curiosity. It’s a fascinating and unflinching look at the history of Hawaii, and straightforward in exploring some of the more uncomplimentary aspects of native Hawaiian culture — which other histories have glossed over — according to many of the reviews I read before picking it up.

    It’s well-written and fascinating.

  • Head Lopper by Andrew MacLean – Very simple, yet very intriguing fantasy story, just like its protagonist.
    Lake Of Fire by Nathan Fairbairn and Matt Smith – Imagine Aliens in France during the crusades.
    Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty – Agatha Christie in space. With clones.

  • Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz . . . This is arguably my most favorite book. It’s a romantic suspense and the male lead is psychic (much as he’d like to deny it). I really love Molly and Harry and never tire of reading their story. 🙂

    Other wonderful books I’ve read or reread this year include. . .

    Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews, book #9 in the Kate Daniels Urban Fantasy series (this book destroyed me; it was sooo good!);
    When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz (not paranormal in any way, but a really fantastic romantic suspense story. . .and the hero shares his name with my puppy-son!); and
    Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, book #1 in the His Fair Assassin series and a YA Historical Fantasy (really a fantastic-for-me YA book, with none of the oh-so-pesky teenage angst).

    🙂

  • it’s an older book, but I just read Song of the Exile by Karen Davenport ( I pick up used books whenever I can). I am not a fan of jazz, but god that’s a great book. Hard in parts, lots of parts, but so amazing you’ll try to be as brave as the characters, and it’s worth it.

  • I recently read Terry Pratchett’s books about the guards of Ankh-Morpork. They may not be ‘sophisticated literature’, but I sure enjoyed them. They are, in order: Guards! Guards!, Men At Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, and Snuff.

    (‘Thud!’ is my personal favorite, but they’re all good. I don’t think I’ve actually finished Snuff yet, but I’ll probably correct that today.)

    Also, I highly recommend the Locke & Key graphic novel series. The art is gorgeous, the characters are interesting, and the story is good for the most part (it flounders a bit near the climax but manages to pull back together in time for a solid ending).

    • I’ll second that recommedation for Locke & Key – including the rough edges near the end. The final volume is the only one I dropped to four stars.

    • When I saw Sir Terry speaking at a book signing, I got the impression that Sam Vimes was his favorite character and that Night Watch was probably his favorite Discworld story. My take is that Thud! is better, but yeah, they’re all brilliant.

  • The first book I finished this year will likely top my year-end list: THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI by Helene Wecker is one of the most beautifully written novels I’ve read in years, bringing to life Manhattan’s 1900 Little Syria as setting for a very well-wrought fantasy.

    Mur Lafferty’s SIX WAKES offers arguably the most interesting look at clones in decades, via a locked room murder mystery aboard a spaceship.

    In the how-have-I-not-read-this-yet? department, I’ve just stayed up all night reading the first quarter of Daniel Polansky’s LOW TOWN, and can tell already I’ll be devouring the rest of the trilogy very shortly.

  • Finally getting ’round to The Handmaid’s Tale by Saint Margaret of Atwood. Wow. Found Oryx & Crake et al. even mightier, but still, WOW. And the Tale interrupted finally getting ’round to another book I’ve owned for decades, The Souls of Black Folk by the great Black intellectual W.E.B. DuBois. (And when *that’s* done, I’ll hyperspace my way through Big Chucky’s Aftermath: Life Debt…

  • SETTING FREE THE KITES, by Alex George. It’s a coming-of-age story set in Maine in the 1970s.

    Much of it is set in a quirky amusement park that is a cross between Camelot and the Old West. And there’s a thing with a mongoose…

  • I just read Blake Synder’s SAVE THE CAT.
    I was having trouble with my current novel and realized it might be a screenplay instead. Or a least I need to write it as a screenplay first and then as a novel. I’ve read other great scriptwriting books but SAVE THE CAT has some nuggets of wisdom that have helped me with my story structure. Some people criticize Snyder for presenting structure as a formula. I say he is showing us the bones of all good stories.

  • All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. Not only I’d it time travel and alternate Earth’s, but the characters are full and realistic. Mastai has an unconventional approach to storytelling which makes it refreshing.

  • I just finished Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I don’t read YA very often, but him, I like. (I’m really enjoying all these recommendations. My Kindle is going to fill up!)

  • I just finished Empire’s End making it my fourth star wars book I read this year and by far the best!

  • Recently read Lilah Bowen’s Conspiracy of Ravens which was fantastic. Right now would definitely recommend Marissa Myers’ Cinder series. Like a post apoc/science fiction Cinderella retelling with cyborgs and moon people.

  • I loved Daniel Jose Older’s Half-Resurrection Blues so much, I am now reading Midnight Taxi Tango. Part of the appeal is the New York setting and I enjoy getting out of Manhattan and into Brooklyn. Carlos Delacruz has a wry humour yet he does things that makes this half-dead guy all the more human. The cast of supporting characters have their own voice, especially Kia who now features prominently in the next book.

    Another thing, this book does have a beat as if it’s music and I, as the reader, use my imagination to dance. It sounds corny but I stand by those words. By the way, you guys name your blizzards?! I am from Winnipeg and we don’t name out storms.

  • Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly. Haunting. Harrowing. Beautiful written. A fantasy set in an alternate world, but so like the 1920s/30s Europe and the rise of the Nazis. Don’t know if this debut is the beginning of a series, but the ending is somewhat ambiguous. One of those books you never forget.

  • I am re-reading Gene Wolfe’s Shadow and Claw, about a torturer’s apprentice. It has a great Hieronymus Bosch-type atmosphere. It’s fascinating what one remembers and what one forgets; to have the memories and false memories re-surface as you read. Parts of this story had become mixed up with a totally different book and I discover new interpretations along the way.

  • I’ve been enjoying the Last Policeman books by Ben Winters. Very well written mysteries in an apocalyptic setting.

  • No Snow day for me, alas.

    BROTHER’S RUIN is just out today, but I got to read an arc. Gaslamp fantasy from Emma Newman, in a world where a young woman, secretly a magician, must protect her father, her brother and herself in 1850’s England. Its tasty.

  • Oh ye ghods, do I need this thread. I’m 1/5 of the way through a book that’s annoying me so much that I’m considering not finishing a book for once (Not because it’s a bad book, but the characters & overall themes are ANNOYING THE CRAP OUT OF ME. After finally reading Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series I came across his The Haunted Storm, and now will probably never risk reading another Pullman book again ever).

    I’m putting a lot of books on my list from over on the literary Cage Match at Unbound Worlds (where Miriam Black is battling and needs votes!). It’s a great mix of older and newer characters. We all have those ones we’ve been MEANING to read forever, but great new books keep coming out to distract us! Thank goodness.

    Since I have no newly read books to recommend, let me go back in time and suggest “Blaze” by Richard Bachman (Stephen King). This is one of those books that stayed with me – you know, one you find yourself thinking of at random times. I’m not even going to go into the plot or anything. I just highly suggest you look it up, and if it sounds interesting to you, read it *immediately*.

  • Sapiens by Noah Yuval Harari, a history of our species that made my draw drop on every page. Non-fiction, but he’s a brilliant story-teller.

    Also The Last of Us by Rob Ewing – pandemic apocalypse aftermath told from the POV of a small tribe of children alone on a Scottish island. Tremendous stuff.

  • I just finished a second read of “Alys” by Kiri Callaghan. It’s a loose retelling of Alice in Wonderland, where a troubled young woman (the titular Alys Carroll) finds her way to Terra Mirrum (aka Dreamland) and becomes embroiled in a war to save it from encroaching evil. It’s fantasy with heart and brains, with connections to the author’s personal life (she’s a good friend of mine), sprinklings of Shakespeare and all sorts of delightful whimsy.

  • I just binge-read all of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, and really enjoyed them. Celtic Mythology in an urban fantasy setting with multiple other pantheons, a nice breezy pace, and a semi-sentient Irish Wolfhound.

    I also just finished Blackbirds, and am going to continue on in the series. So gritty, so real. Great plotting.

  • Hereabouts it’s not snowig, it’s ‘gaupeling’. I am lulled by its soft ticking against my windows.
    I’m re-reading all of Stuart Kaminsky’s wonderful Porfiry Rostnikov mysteries set in pre-Putin Russia. Keepers, one and all.

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