My Giveaway + Announcements

*My first foray into an Author Interview with Andrew Xia Fukuda is up! (Should I do more?)
*My first manga review for Natsume Yuujinchou V.1 - please let me know what you think

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In My Mailbox - 01/10/2010

(Meme from The Story Siren)

So I'm dropping the total book count from my title, because I've been informed that it's too confusing to see random letters there next to the date and the last thing I wanna do is confuse people who see my posts, so... Voila!

Pictures of the bought only. I'd take a pic of my library books but my camera is not cooperating so... ETA later? lolETA: Top Photo is books bought, bottom photo is books borrowed. Books will be discussed from Top to Bottom, Left to Right (when applicable)

The Tally:
Bought: ETA 9
Borrowed: 7
Received: 0
TOTAL = ETA 16!!

NOTE: All summaries (with the exception of the Floating World, which is from Amazon.Com) are from GoodReads.Com


Romance of the Three Kingdoms Vol. 1 and 2. by Luo Guanzhong (Lo Kuan-Chung), trans. C. H. Brewitt-Taylor
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is Lo Kuan-chung's retelling of the events attending the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220 A.D., one of the most tumultuous and fascinating periods in Chinese history. It is an epic saga of brotherhood and rivalry, of loyalty and treachery, of victory and death. As important for Chinese culture as the Homeric epics have been for the West, this fourteenth-century masterpiece continues to be loved and read throughout China as well as in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

Random note: Aren't the two covers AWESOME?
So I’m finally gonna read one of those Great Four Classic Chinese Literature things. I found them for $9.99 each and seriously, that’s SUCH a steal. I find that publishers always jack up the prices with translated novels, and when they’re novels of Classics Literature it’s like they go all price happy by separating the novel into a gazillion volumes and slap a 50 buck price tag on each volume. Yes, I’m aware that there are apparently some discrepencies in this particular text I bought, but this site gives a translation that corrects this aspect. (And then you might wonder, gee Ah Yuan, why don’t you just read it off the internet if it was going to be for free anyways? My reply would be: it’s easier to read things in printed form. End of story.)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Taking readers deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when a cousin arrives at their estate.

I finally bought it! Got a glimpse at the first chapter and I’m liking it so far. Creepily awesome.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress who grew up in the West Indies on a decaying plantation. When she comes of age she is married off to an Englishman, and he takes her away from the only place she has known--a house with a garden where "the paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched."

I’m looking forward to this, to be honest. I didn’t think I would, since this is, in a way, a fanfiction of Jane Eyre and I was NOT fond of Jane Eyre AT ALL. (Mostly because Rochester creeps me out and the romance makes my skin crawl. This is so gonna be an unpopular opinion, I can tell. That and the fact that Charlotte Bronte is my least favourite writer out of the three Bronte sisters.) But I heard good things about this novel and from what I've seen, the subversions were done nicely.

Memory of Fire: Genesis by Eduardo Galeano, trans. Cedric Belfrage
From pre-Columbian creation myths and the first European voyages of discovery and conquest to the Age of Reagan, here is "nothing less than a unified history of the Western Hemisphere . . . recounted in vivid prose."--The New Yorker . A unique and epic history, Eduardo Galeano's Memory of Fire trilogy is an outstanding Latin American eye view of the making of the New World. From its first English language publication in 1985 it has been recognized as a classic of political engagement, original research, and literary form.

I finally own the whole trilogy! (lol I bought this trilogy backwards, from the 3rd to the 1st book) I just finished the Creation parts and my gawd, the writing is too beautiful for words. Galeano makes me wish I could read in Spanish so that I can read his delicious, beautiful words in their original form. After I’m done with Genesis, I’m doing a reread, in order this time.

Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
Here, in this compelling assembly of writings, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard explores the world of natural facts and human meanings.

I did an essay on Dillard’s “Sojourner” piece, which is collected in this essay collection here. Now, I find that when I do school assignments on so-and-so written literature, my two reactions are either that I end up hating it or love it. And Sojourner definitely falls along the “love it” reaction. I just needed to own my own copy and shove this collection at people for them to read

Floating World by Cynthia Kadohata
Olivia, the young narrator of this beautiful novel, and her Japanese-American family are constantly on the road, looking for a home in the 1950s. Then traveling becomes a kind of home, a place for her parents to work out their difficulties, in towns that barely linger in memory, hanging in the air among them as the part of a family history that reaches further back than they care to recall, but can't help remembering....

... I can’t believe I found this novel in a secondhand bookstore. Seriously it’s like, out of print EVERYWHERE. I don’t know who’s out there watching me but whoever you are, I LOVE YOU. ♥

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, two ranch hands, come together when they're working as sheepherder and camp tender one summer on a range above the tree line. At first, sharing an isolated tent, the attraction is casual, inevitable, but something deeper catches them that summer.

Because I own the movie and now I can have the short story to match it! Also, I've read the short story in the past (I read it before the movie, methinks) and I like the way Proulx writes so I'm proud to have her books displayed on my shelf. =D



Library: (Pics will be added later in the day)

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Her new summer job comes with baggage
Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City, and Scarlett lives there with her four siblings - Spencer, Lola, and Marlene.
When each of the Martins turns fifteen, they are expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite, and a permanent guest called Mrs. Amberson.
Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn.
Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deceptions. But in the city where anything can happen, she just might be able to pull it off.

Featured on my Wishlist Wednesday Post. I finished reading it actually and thought it was cute. This is one of those novels though that I enjoy while reading it but feel like I have to read more of the series before I decide whether or not it will “get good”. Or, in other words, it has potential. At any rate, I’m waiting for the sequel to see how it goes.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. He's also a washedup child prodigy with ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a passion for anagrams, and an overweight, Judge Judy-obsessed best friend. Colin's on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which will predict the future of all relationships, transform him from a fading prodigy into a true genius, and finally win him the girl.
Letting expectations go and allowing love in are at the heart of Colin's hilarious quest to find his missing piece and avenge dumpees everywhere.

Featured on my Wishlist Wednesday Post. I’m gonna read this on simple blind faith in Sarah Rees Brennan’s taste. *crosses fingers* That and John Green’s rep. It’s about time I started trying a novel by him, y/y?

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it’s all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.
But Annika’s plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly fi nds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

Tried the first chapter, it was cute. Am optimistic about this one.

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can't help admitting, maybe he's right. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn't so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won't even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don't talk, there's a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

So I read the whole first chapter and I just love the voice. It’s the kind of writing that conveys the character’s personality by just the simple turn of phrase in the narration. Also, female football players! Take that, Eyeshield 21. (er, don’t mind my random manga references. Let’s just say I have issues with the portrayal of women in that series which will lead to a rant about women in shounen manga and it’s just not going to end well.) *COUGHS* Anyhow, Dairy Queen proves to, so far, be very promising. =D

Exposure by Mal Peet
A massive soccer star has it all, but someone is plotting his downfall...Revered as a national hero...married to the desirable Desmerelda...cherished by the star, Otello, has it all. But a sensational club transfer sparks a media frenzy, and when he is wrongly implicated in a scandal, the footballer's life turns into a tragic spiral of destruction. South America's top sports journalist, Paul Faustino, witnesses the power of the media in making and breaking people's lives.

Normally I don’t read Shakespearean play retellings. I was never big on Shakespeare, my reactions to his plays mostly ranging from meh to omg the characters suck I can’t take reading this play anymore. But then I saw how this novel was going about retelling Othello (which, incidentally, is actually one of my least favourite Shakespeare plays…) with the whole Othello + Soccer + South America thing and my response was ‘huh, really?!” and was immediately intrigued. Like Wide Sargossa Sea, I can read retellings of works I don’t care for if the retellings promise an interesting revamp and/or maybe even an interesting critique on the original work. And I'm hoping Exposure delivers.

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he'll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragoneye, the human link to an energy dragon's power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and if discovered Eon faces a terrible death.

To be honest, I’m nervous about this novel. Let’s just say that the majority of my encounters with Asian fantasies written by white people haven’t gone down well. (if I see another white dude meets cool samurai/ninja/whatever and gets trained in their awesome magical power skills stuff and beats out the Asian antagonist later etc etc etc , I could MURDER something.) But sometimes I get all masochistic and decide to try my luck again. We’ll see how it goes.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father's antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise–she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.
Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.
As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.

Featured on my Wishlist Wednesday Post. I read the first chapter and am totally sold on the writing style. I have a lot of hope for this story.


Also, I was at the Toronto signings for the debs and got my copy of Shine, Coconut Moon and Give Up the Ghost signed! Um, I could upload photos of the signed pages, if anyone cares, plus the swag I snagged.


Michelle said...

oh!! Love your copies of Romance of the Three Kingdoms!! Absolutely LOVE that cover art!! I'm like so jealous now........

(And I haven't even read the rest of your post yet... Went hyper when I saw how awesome those books are.)

brizmus said...

Those Three Kingdoms books are AWESOME!!!! The covers really are amazingly beautiful together like that. I didn't know these books existed, but now I'm thinking I have to read them.

Michelle said...

Finally read the whole post! And I say you did the right thing to buy those two books (I'm still gushing about those beautiful covers..). If I saw them, I'd buy them in a second!

Glad you liked Brokeback Mountain. I've not read the book or watched the movie, if you'd believe it. But all that's going to change very soon (hopefully..)

Would love to find out more about that Galeano trilogy.. *Off to Google..*

It's interesting. You buy books that you've read and loved, just so they're on your shelf. I am EXACTLY the same. =)

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

Wow! You have so many good books here. I loved Dairy Queen -- it's one of my favorite YA novels. I read Wide Sargasso Sea in high school, and from what I remember it is a gorgeous novel. Annie Dillard and Annie Proulx look intriguing, too.

This is my first visit to your blog, and you've really piqued my interest. :-) I am adding myself as a follower.

ninefly said...

so you actually bought Three Kingdoms? I've got the original Chinese text in a notepad file on my computer looks intimidating =T but yes OMG THE CHINESE OPERA COVERS <3<3<3 (I did mention I was a big big fan when I was a kid right? lol)
meh, Brokeback Mountain was kinda boring...the acting was fine, just...I've seen the plot a thousand times in yaoi manga lol
is the book supposed to be better?

Laura (The Bookie Bunch) said...

Great books! We Have Always Lived in the Castle looks SO good! I love creepy books like that.

Here's what I got this week:

Take care! :D

April said...

Suite Scarlett rocks!

I definitely want to read We Have Always Lived In the Castle.

Great week :-)

Cleverly Inked said...

bleeding violet sounds great

Corrine said...

I think you've got a great selection here, I hope you enjoy them! :)

Rebecca said...

Great books you got this week. Suite Scarlett is a pretty good book. Hope you enjoy reading all your books.