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[personal profile] bookgazing
cover of The Mussel Eater shows a woman with blood on her lips craddling a dying man


“You smell like the sea,” says Karitoki.

“What else would I smell like?” she says, and beneath the salt and the brine and the under-tang of shellfish is a faint, sweet odour of rot, of mussels left too long on the beach and under the sun, of the torn fragments left by seabirds, breaking open calcium carbonate and leaving fleshy feet to spoil. When he is done with her hair, he sits back and watches her coat herself with oil.

As part of their quest for world domination, The Book Smugglers opened their new publishing arm Book Smugglers Publishing in 2014. The theme of their debut collection was Subversive Fairy Tales and they published six original riffs on older stories from "Red Riding Hood" to Scheherazade's story in One Thousand and One Nights. So, far I've read two of these stories and I'm impressed by Ana and Thea's selections.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
My book buying ban is almost up! Yeah, no more standing outside Waterstones pawing at the window for me (ok, so I didn’t do, but in my mind I was pressed up against the glass). The dilemma: what to buy first? The crazy answer in my economically careless mind: EVERYTHING.

I must be stopped and I have nominated you, Renay and Ana, to stop me. Friends don’t let friends blow their growing house deposit on books. But I don’t want to make this all ‘Tie me down with chains people’ and I do want to buy some books. So let's play a game here in the land of net sleepovers.

Below is a list of books I would really, really love to own. The list contains twelve books with female protagonists.You get to pick two books each and I will definitely buy them at the start of June. I know, the power! I’ve added some vague comments that will explain what I expect to find in each book. So much awesome, just to make your decision even harder.

Oh and I have deliberately removed books that I know you want me to read, because that would make the choosing too easy for me to predict. I am mean now – not being able to buy books will do that to you.

On with the game! 

List of Fate 

'Tricks' – Ellen Hopkins: It’s inappropriate to describe a book about kids struggling with really hard lives as awesome, but ‘Tricks’ sounds like an amazing story. It contains five intersecting teenage lives and if the author can write five main characters centre stage without compromising the character development of any of them, then I would like to see that circus trick. 

'Reavers Ransom' – Emily Diamand: Drowned worlds, sea-cat companions, girls on boats and sea fairing raiders. I like books that involve sailing (understatement of the time space continuum).

'Plain Kate' – Erin Bow: A female woodworker, who goes a questing. Apparently this has been retitled ‘Wood Angel’ or summit in the UK, to which I say, weva. If you chose this one, I’ll be putting my money down on the US edition, which has the courage to imply that it contains a plain girl. 

'The False Princess' - Ellis O’Neal: A different twist on the commoner becomes princess, trope. A princess finds out she’s just a regular girl, who was used as a princess impersonator, to shield the real royal gal from a curse. Off she must go to spin wool in a shack. I can just imagine the rich adults all ‘Gawd, be cool’ while she weeps. This rec reached my eyes via The Booksmugglers who bring the rec-ing ball repeatedly to bear on my TBR list (oh terrible puns, will I ever tire of you?). It also has a pink cover that I actually like! 

'The Princess Curse' - Merrie Haskell: The story of the dancing princesses is one of my favourite fairytales and it doesn’t get adapted enough. The princesses must escape their rooms at night and dance in the woods, because they are cursed. That set up is so ready for some feminist deconstruction. The cover of this reimagining is made of tooth crumbling sweetness.

'Tell Us We’re Home' - Marina Budhos: Shameless promotion – this book is on the Nerds Heart YA 2011 short list. Three female best friends, whose mothers work as housekeepers, find their relationship rocked when one mother is accused of stealing. I predict complicated, but loving relationships, which are my favourite kind. 

'Dirty Little Secrets' - C J Omololu: Another NHYA book. This one is about hoarding and teenagers dealing with parental mental illness. Personally I think the cover on this one is special. It draws you in through the key hole to the girl, clutching her knees. The black surround makes the eye focus, until puzzling out the girl’s situation (is she locked in, has she locked herself in?) is all important. 

'Huntress' - Malinda Lo: I keep reading about Ash, but the more I read, the more I feel I’ll be disappointed by it. Huntress, on the other hand sounds action, adventure, romance awesome. In my opinion a journey quests should always lead to the characters falling in love/forming deep, deep friendships (ok maybe I’ve seen LadyHawke more times than is healthy).

'Diary of a Chav: Trainers vs Tiaras' - Grace Dent: I have to admit I’m kind of repelled by the glaring colours of the covers, although they’re a deliberate tie in with ideas about chav culture. Bookshelves of Doom tells me that this series about a girl growing up on an estates is fun and thoughtful. As, like a lot of British people I have chav issues it’s probably time to expand my empathy.

'Chains' - Laurie Halse Anderson: I’m a new LHA convert, which means I’ve got so much to catch up on. I kind of worry that this book will hurt my heart a bit. Hard things happen in LHA books and slavery is an institution that gives an author space to show really awful things happening to their characters. 

'Wrapped' - Jennifer Bradbury: Victorian high society meshes with spies and secrets at the unwrapping of an Eygptian mummy. I found out about unwrapping parties last year (rich people had mummies unwrapped at their evening parties). Number ten thousand on the list of why being rich would be cool. 

'Steel' - Carrie Vaughn: Female pirates, female pirates, female pirates, fencing!

So what am I going to buy ladies? My money is in your hands.
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
I feel like it's appropriate to post this now, a day late because instead of posting I passed out and slept for 12 hours because I could as I have no more school assignments. Leading off my summer being late, awesome, but the 12 hours of sleep felt so nice. School is done, I went from two D's at midterm (which is failing for me) to a 3.5 at term end (hence my disappearance from Lady Business and well...everywhere I do creative work). But now it is summer and summer is full of endless possibilities, Ana finally watching Inception (ANA. WATCH IT. OR ELSE), me finishing my co-review with Kelly (ugh seriously I am a terrible person), writing ridiculous fanfiction without feeling guilty, POSTING ON TIME COUGH COUGH.

This idea was brought to you because I heard younger friends and co-workers talking about summer reading lists from their school. I see it in books I read and movies I watch as well and this has always intrigued me because, what? There are schools which actually follow up on this? They give students book lists and say "GO FORTH!" and then...check back with hopes it will actually be done? I could barely get my high school English teachers to write the kind of pretentious, dripping-red-ink-comments I wanted on my papers beyond a one-line opinion and a grade, even when I begged. There are schools that provide lists of books with the expectation that students will read and test/report/talk about them upon their sucessful survival of family holidays, water sports equipment, alcohol drinking on the lake and all other perils and misfortunes of the summer months?

My mind was blown when I first ran into this concept years ago. Welcome to living in the rural south, land of no summer reading, plenty of physical labor and older relatives who thought spending the morning reading a book was a waste of time if you could be bushhogging a field before it got to be over 100 degrees or shelling peas or canning tomatoes (don't even start on how they reacted all the time I got caught reading teen romance novels during children's worship before I blew that Popsicle stand). Maybe it was because there would have been nowhere to get the books. That town's public library is the size of a bathroom in a house in Hollywood. I think my current apartment is bigger than the public library there and that's without considering that the library was filled with Sweet Valley books, Stephen King's entire back catalogue, Danielle Steele and nonfiction all published before 1993, plus approximately seven picture books covered in scribble and drool. Not so great for summer reading for students.

So I've never had a summer reading list. I tried, once, a few years ago when Susan wanted me to read some Stephen King with her, but I forgot how wordy King was and how much my public library in my new hometown doesn't seem to like keeping his books in stock after they inevitably get lost and/or stolen, so there went that plan. But this summer, SUMMER 2011!, it's all going to change...mostly because I've read one book since July 2010 and the one book I did read I didn't like that much and I am a little ashamed of myself. Therefore, an extremely easygoing list.

Chime by Franny Billingsley: this can be blamed on Ana and Thea and their review of this title. Smuggler!Ana and I tend to have pretty similar tastes, until we don't and it's an the exact extreme opposite (see: Soulless), but those don't happen too often. I get a lot of recommendations from her. I saw this in the bookstore a few days after their review and read the first chapter and knew I had to have it. It's been waiting for me to finish school since April 5th. Soon. Also, wow, look at that, a book blogger hand selling a book, oh god, someone get the detractors some smelling salts and a lounge chair, and possibly a cool cloth.

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell: zombie fiction! Thea's fault. What I need here is a tag that says "ana and thea's fault" because it's clearly going to be a theme, maybe they should get a price break or something from publishers for how many books I buy because of them. I used to be really into zombie fiction and this has gotten a lot of nice press. It's also by a dude (writing under a pseud) but that's okay because it seems like the main character is a lady and I am all about supporting dudes writing ladies, even if they happen to be writing apocalyptic zombie novels (or maybe especially because).

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Ana reviewed this! She loved it, and the way it pulled apart complicated relationship dynamics and addressed them. I have come to a point in my life where I can admit that I don't really do heterosexual romance when it's just...romance...I will go on a Nora Roberts or Jennifer Crusie binge every so often, but for the most part heterosexual romance and nothing else, no matter the genre/category, bores me to tears, but I couldn't resist when I saw how in love Ana was with this title. Possibly I may make eyes at her when I finish, for co-reviewing purposes. >.>

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes: I waited on this book forever! I bought it practically on its release day! It's now on tons of award lists and people are flailing about it! It has an AWESOME COVER. WHY HAVE I NOT READ THIS YET?? I am a terrible person.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin: of all the books on the list, this may be the one I save until last. I have heard nothing but awesome things but with fantasy I have to warm up, a bit, with easy stuff, before I hope into complicated world-building...and from what I hear, the world building here is very intricate.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente (Ana Juan): this was a web-published novel that tons of people were reading that was eventually picked up to be traditionally published. I didn't read it as it was being written. This was totally before Inception fandom made me a slave to works in progress (SOB). But now it is a book and it has gorgeous art to go with it, it was like Valente did a big bang project and hit the jackpot. Also: long titles, my nemesis! I AM SO WEAK TO YOUR SIREN CALL.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce: I am honestly reading this book, and trying to drag Ana and Jodie into our very first tri-review, because People Were Wrong On The Internet and I want to troll them as I think their behavior is incredibly indicative of just how Not Feminist the book blogging community actually is. Terrible Person Redux! \o/ Also, I am pretty disappointed because I waited for this book for ages (she's supposedly writing an entire remix fairy tale series of books) and I am a sucker...it would feel like quitting to wait so long and then not read it because it's gross. I am a weird person.

Eon: Dragoneye reborn & Eona by Alison Goodman: I am reading the first because I saw the cover of the second and it was gorgeous. Also, I am a sucker for stories like this, there's a reason my favorite Shakespeare is Twelfth Night.

It is an extremely simple, small list and I honestly don't know how it will go. I love MAKING lists, but not so great with the crossing off of items. I own most of these, will get the rest from the library, and will actually get to walk into my library for the first time in several months without twitching and thinking about all the reading I'm not doing for class. No more class! Only books!

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