With July fast approaching, I thought this might be a good time to remind you all of the upcoming Book of the Month Club discussions:
The week of August 11th, we’ll be discussing Cordelia’s Honor. Author Lois McMaster Bujold will be dropping by to answer your questions so all you Bujold fans (I know there are plenty of you out there), start reading (or re-reading as the case may be).
From the publisher: “In her first trial by fire, Cordelia Naismith captained a throwaway ship of the Betan Expeditionary Force on a mission to destroy an enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, treachery within treachery, she was forced into a separate peace with her chief opponent, Lord Aral Vorkosigan—he who was called “The Butcher of Komarr”—and would consequently become an outcast on her own planet and the Lady Vorkosigan on his.
Sick of combat and betrayal, she was ready to settle down to a quiet life, interrupted only by the occasional ceremonial appearances required of the Lady Vorkosigan. But when the Emperor died, Aral became guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne of Barrayar—and the target of high-tech assassins in a dynastic civil war that was reminscent of Earth’s Middle Ages, but fought with up-to-the-minute biowar technology. Neither Aral nor Cordelia guessed the part that their cell-damaged unborn would play in Barrayari’s bloody legacy.”
The week of August 18th, we’ll be discussing: The Orphan’s Tale: In the Night Garden. Author Catherynne M. Valente will be joining to answer your questions. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this collection (stories within stories within stories). Don’t miss out!
From Publisher’s Weekly: “A lonely girl with a dark tattoo across her eyelids made up of words spelling out countless tales unfolds a fabulous, recursive Arabian Nights-style narrative of stories within stories in this first of a new fantasy series from Valente (The Grass-Cutting Sword). The fantastic tales involve creation myths, shape-changing creatures, true love sought and thwarted, theorems of princely behavior, patricide, sea monsters, kindness and cruelty. As a sainted priestess explains, stories “are like prayers. It does not matter when you begin, or when you end, only that you bend a knee and say the words,” and this volume does not so much arrive at a conclusion but stops abruptly, leaving room for endless sequels. Each descriptive phrase and story blossoms into another, creating a lush, hallucinogenic effect.”
Finally, the week of August 25th, we’ll be discussing The Church of Dead Girls. Author Stephen Dobyns will be coming by to answer your questions. This one sounds very intriguing, a thriller that delves into the psychological ramifications of a heinous crime…
From Library Journal: “Despite the lurid title, Dobyns’s latest novel (he is a poet and author of the “Saratoga” mystery series) is a compelling mystery that shows how the people in a small town change because of a series of murders. First, a promiscuous woman is murdered. Then three girls disappear in succession. The narrator reports how the symptoms of fear escalate into a raging disease consuming the community. Cloaking prejudice and fear with righteousness, certain citizens target individuals who are on the community’s fringe. By the story’s end, no one escapes suspicion. Many characters and the complexities of human interactions receive well-rounded treatment. This absorbing tale, fit for any general collection, is highly recommended.”
So start your reading engines.
My reading engine is, of course, on cruise control. But in spite of the significant number of books I’ve read of late, I don’t seem to be putting much of a dent in my To-Read pile since I tend to pick them up faster than I can put them down. Last week, I received a shipment from Night Shade Books. This weekend, I purchased a buch of titles. And then today, I received a shipment from Solaris Books. Still, I’m not complaining. I’ll get through them all eventually. And, while I do, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give all of you the heads up on some of the titles I found particularly enjoyable. To that end, I’m going to start posting a Monthly Top 5 that will, as the title implies, offer up bullet reviews of five of my favorite (non-BOTMC ) reads over the last four weeks.
Speaking of our little BOTMC, here are the titles of next month’s line-up for those of you looking to get a head start:
In the SciFi category, we’ll be reading the first book of Justina Robson’s Quantum Gravity series: Keeping It Real. Discussion will begin the week of September 15th.
From Booklist: “Robson lets loose and has fun with this tale, a rock ‘n’ roll saga including elves, magic, and cyborgs. After the Quantum Bomb of 2015, Earth proper has coexisted with alternate dimensions peopled by elves, demons, elementals, faeries, and the dead. Government agent Lila Black was nearly killed by elves while on a diplomatic mission, and now she is mostly machine. She has been assigned to guard the legendary band the No-Shows, especially lead singer Zal, who’s precisely opposed to every elf stereotype out there, first and foremost in his music. Lila becomes trapped with him in a game caused by wild magic and, in the process of protecting him, discovers some of the complicated plots swirling just under the surface of Alfheim, the elves’ dimension. Robson creates fascinating characters and worlds for them to inhabit, meanwhile sacrificing none of her other strengths and not once succumbing to the easy genre cliches, at least not without keen irony.”
In the Fantasy category, we’ll be reading the first book of Glen Cook’s Chronicles of the Black Company: The Black Company. Discussion will begin the week of September 22nd.
Finally, in the horror category – well, not so much horror as a mix of horror, fantasy and then some in a genre that has been coined “New Weird” – we’ll be reading Jeff Van Dermeer’s City of Saints and Madmen. Discussion will begin the week of September 29th.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Set in the haunted city of Ambergris, with its Borges Bookstore, these stories feature bizarre recurring characters and intensely self-referential plots. Among the highlights are the World Fantasy Award¤winning Transformation of Martin Lake, the tale of a talented painter who’s obsessed with a great composer; The Strange Case of X, which concerns an incarcerated lunatic found wandering the streets of Ambergris carrying the very book being discussed in this review; the wonderful new story The Cage, in which an antiques dealer becomes infected with a fungus that’s slowly taking over much of the city; and, oddest of all perhaps, an untitled short story, which fills the entire dust jacket and concerns an unnamed traveler who has a close encounter with a giant squid in the river that runs through Ambergris. Other pieces take many forms, including a history of the city complete with footnotes, psychiatric records from a local hospital, an amazingly funny work of pseudo-biology entitled King Squid and entirely bogus bibliographies and glossaries. This beautifully written, virtually hallucinatory work isn’t for every taste, but connoisseurs of the finest in postmodern fantasy will find it enormously rewarding.”
Hey, in addition to today’s book shipment from Solaris, I also received some other wonderful gifts. Chelle DB sent me the terrific bookmark pictured above, while actress Tamlyn Tomita brought me back some goodies from California: gourmet pappardelle and some of that black truffle sottocenere cheese she was raving about last week (http://josephmallozzi.com/2008/07/21/july-21-2008-special-guest-bloggers-and-office-happenings/). I am truly spoiled.
I’ve lined up our next guest blogger. Special Features Producer Ivon R. Bartok informed me that he’d be more than happy to field your questions. So, got a question for Ivon who is presently shooting/editing/producing dvd extras for Atlantis‘s fifth season? Yes? Well then post away. I’ll collect your queries over the next couple of days and send them Ivon’s way.
Finally, since someone asked – yes, we did receive the live +7 numbers for our season premiere today. Search and Rescue got a bump to a little over a 1.7 rating.
Today’s entry is dedicated to belated birthday gal Anne Teldy.