Wednesday, January 5, 2011

At the Bookshop

Amid all the debates about publishing deaths and e-book revolutions, I always wonder about how far said revolutions can go simply because of aesthetics. I was wandering around the mall with my brother yesterday before taking him to the airport. We did some browsing in the Apple and *shinynew* Microsoft stores - which, by the by, are facing off against each other in the mall, both sporting futuristic all glass fronts and both feature employees wearing oppositional colors: Apple - all red shirts, Microsoft - all blue shirts.

My brother and I decided that someone needs to stage a YouTube flash of a mid-day mall rumble between these two stores.

But despite all the shiny, futurey goodies, I get tired of looking at screens, flashing lights, and consoles. The only place I spent money yesterday was at the bookstore. And the bookstore is also where we spend the bulk of our time.

There's something so wonderful about wandering through aisles of books, not knowing what you'll pick up, what you'll discover. As much as I'm used to reading books by author friends or books recommended by booksellers or blogger, it's still incredibly exciting to pick up a book you've never seen or heard of only to be captivated by its premise and prose.

Instead of waiting to post reviews of some new books, I decided that today I'd post about recent books I've purchased, but have not yet read, and why I picked them up. It's a mix of books I'd been anticipating and a few I just found and am really excited about.

David Levithan's Lover's Dictionary
David is not only an incredibly talented writer and editor - he's a genuinely exceptional human being who I am honored to call my friend. I've been super excited for his first adult novel. It's beautiful and so creative. I've only read a few pages (I just got it!) but I'm in love!

Cynthia Hand's Unearthly
I haven't met Cynthia in person, but she is a friend of my friend - the amazing poet and scholar Kristin Naca - and Kristin introduced (via the internet) Cynthia and I to each other. Like me, Cynthia is an academic trying to balance teaching and writing and so I feel instant kinship with her. I also loved this review of Unearthly and Nightshade together.

Matt Haig's The Radleys
The cover snared me on this one. And then I read a few pages. Suburban vampires. Commentary on abstinence and the repression of animal instincts. Wow. Yes.

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker
Zombies. Alternate Civil War. Steampunk. My next project is steampunk, as well as being alternate history. I'm psyched about this book.

Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men
I adore Terry Pratchett and this series has been on my TBR list forever. Finally picked it up.

Andrew Shaffer's Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love
Maybe wins best title ever?? Andrew is a fantastic columnist for Huffington Post, a master of wit, and I have been really looking forward to this book.

So what makes you pick up a book? Have you been surprised by any recent literary purchases?


  1. Unearthy is SO good, and the Radley's looks amazing. And Boneshaker...that cover is freaking awesome and totally makes me curious. The Apple vs. Microsoft setup in the mall is hilarious. I would enjoy seeing a flash mob dance off between them :)

  2. I also really want to read Boneshaker and Wee Free Men. Also, I didn't realize David Levithan was coming out with an adult novel, but I'll have to pick it up. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing your recent finds with us!

  3. I want to read all of these!! Thanks for sharing :)


  4. Nothing more blissful than wandering in a bookstore (please, don't go away brick-and-mortar!). I love the list you shared. I'm intrigued by them all. One book I picked up in a store because the cover intrigued me was M.T. Anderson's FEED. After I read the opening lines, I was a goner. It's still among my faves.

  5. You know what I find sad, around my area and when I lived in GA they closed up the bookstores I went too - only place I could order is online now. I miss walking down the aisles like you do snagging up whatever catches my attention.

  6. Boneshaker has been on my 'to read' list for ages now and Unearthly looks great, so thanks for the recommendation!

    I too get seduced into buying books by great covers. That's one of the first things I noticed about Nightshade actually - it's got such a beautiful cover. Matched by Ally Condie is another book I just bought - and again, I was first attracted by the cover. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it looks great (inside and out!). One novel I can thoroughly recommend is A Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. It's a few years old now, but not many people seem to have heard of it. Which is a shame, as it's fabulous.

  7. I gladly accept the award for Best Title Ever. I'll be over to pick it up shortly.

  8. Gah! I'm so excited you're writing a steampunk novel! I can't wait!

    Unearthly was amazing! I hope you love it =) The purple kind of reminds me of Nightshade -- you are cover twins!

  9. I haven't heard of The Radleys... sounds interesting. And I've heard good things about Unearthly too.

    I do so love bookstores... I hope they don't do away with them. . .