It’s October and we’re excited. Not only do all of us love cool weather, crisp leaves, and fall hikes, but we completed our first short story contest. It was a wild ride and we loved reading the submissions.
Here are the other printed words we managed to put in front of our faces lately. Let us know if you read, liked, or loathed any of the following.
I’m happy to announce that this month’s picks are all pretty happy reads. I’ve been accused of liking overly depressing and literary books before and I’m trying to shake that off. Not that I don’t enjoy crying in a public Bruggers while reading Jhumpa Lahiri, but it’s worth remember that reading is enjoyment.
Bloody Rose by Nicolas Eames
Bloody Rose is the sequel to Kings of the Wyld. Kings of the Wyld is all about the old guard. Clay Cooper and his band were giants, but their time is over. It was over before Kings of the Wyld even started really. Bloody Rose is all about that young blood. Rose leads a new band who is thirsty to prove themselves — to be not just as good, but better than the bands before them. Even Saga.
I loved the youthful eagerness of this novel. Clay may be tired but Tam is just getting started. She’s a much more dynamic main character but she’s just as honorable and loyal. Bloody Rose continues that plot that Eames sets up in Kings of the Wyld but it also builds upon the theme and the world in interesting ways.
Severance by Ling Ma
Imagine a hyper-millennial novel (complete with millennial pink cover) with the soul of a French existentialist, it drives by bildungsroman territory and picks up sprinkle of zombie thriller for flavor. That’s Severance. Candace Chen is going through the motions of life as an office worker drone when Shen fever wipes out Manhattan. Victims of the fever fall into a zombie like state where they waste away unable to do more than act out the motions of their old routines.
It’s not laugh out loud funny, but it sure is clever. And surprisingly ambitious. It’s a slim novel that reads quickly but it gives a searing critique of global capitalism, New York City, modern romance, and immigrant experience.
House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
I think I mentioned it before, but I purchase tickets to a local lecture series. It gets me in to see a bunch of authors that are coming to town and who I might have otherwise not read. It’s been a fun literary challenge. Urrea set the bar with his talk. He was an incredible speaker (lively and funny with moments of true emotion) who spoke about his family and his experiences growing up on the Mexican American border. I seriously cannot stop telling unwilling co-workers how much I enjoyed his lecture.
In House of Broken Angels, Big Angel, the patriarch of the family, is dying but he’s also throwing a birthday party. Relatives and friends are summoned to town to celebrate Big Angel’s last birthday and pay their respects while he’s still well enough to receive them. It’s inspired by true life events in Urrea’s own family and I think that you feel that emotional verisimilitude when reading it.
I’m behind this month. Like, really behind. Right now, I’ll still getting through some books from month’s past, such as Bloody Rose, which I aim to finish in the next few days. So, with that in mind, my shelf this month is all about what’s coming after I play catch-up.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
I’ve had this book on my list for some time now. I find McNamara’s story incredible and can’t wait to find out what everyone’s talking about in this book. This selection goes hand-in-hand with the drop of Making a Murderer, which drops seasons two on Friday. What better time to read about true crime than when the temperature drops and the sunsets earlier and earlier?
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
As anyone who reads this often can tell you, I’ve been steadily going through all of the Discworld novels this year. But, again, I’ve been in sort of a slump with Going Postal, and I don’t know why. So, when that’s all wrapped up, I’m moving on to Small Gods. From everything I’ve read about it, Small Gods is a nice, complete arch that is a bit removed from the other Discworld novels. It’s going to be a blast.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
This bad boy just came out today, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The Library Book starts by taking a look at the 1986 fire that engulfed the Los Angeles Public Library. From there, it explores how library's and librarians have shaped and changed the world. As a lover of libraries — if they sold a library scented candle, I’d pick it up — this seems like a perfect fit. It combines a love and passion for books with an equally strong passion for history. My Amazon shipment can’t arrive fast enough.
Autumn is my favorite time of year, because some of my favorite things seem to be around every corner. Warm sweaters, hot tea, steaming bowls of ramen, and, of course, good books abound as the leaves change. So, even as the weather cools, my spirits are high, and my reading list for October reflects them.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
I have a lot of feelings on this book, and, perhaps unpopularly, quite a few of them are negative. That said, it’s rare to find a book that translates the author’s genuine emotion that went into creating it. Put simply, The Name of the Wind is a fun read, and Rothfuss’s heroes, monsters, bards and mages translate that feeling of absolute fun perfectly.
Plus, Kvothe, the protagonist, is an arcanist, so I had to show this book a little love. His journey of loss, disillusionment, and revenge is every bit as entertainingly enthralling as you’d expect it to be, and it’s not just the arcanist in me talking.
Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
The highly anticipated new novel from Haruki Murakami had me hooked from the first line. Killing Commendatore begins with a professional portrait painter, living in the mountains after having just divorced from his wife. Join him as he confronts a faceless man, failed Nazi assassination plots, daunting double metaphors, and many other speculative obstacles.
Alongside his stark, poetic syntax and hyper-focused dialogue, Murakami’s ability to meaningfully signify the banal and utterly commonplace is fully on display, shedding new light on such basic acts as buying a used car, or looking at the ocean. Seriously, believe the hype.
Kings of the Wyld by Nicolas Eames
This is a title that’s been floating through our editorial selections one by one, so I couldn’t let myself be the only one left out.
Like my partners in fiction, I’ve found very little not to love about this book. The characters are relatable, yet entirely unique and discrete, the world they inhabit is vast, yet eerily familiar to our own, and the motivations that drive the heroes are not so different from what drive our own lives. The prolific, expertly layered homages to the rock and roll lifestyle are simultaneously charming and clever, without falling into kitsch or cringe-worthiness. This tale will have you reaching for your favorite Zeppelin record and a strong mead.
Cyborg 009 by Shotaro Ishinomori
Largely considered the godfather of the superhero-team genre that would give rise to international phenomena like Sailor Moon and Power Rangers, Cyborg 009 is both poignant and action-packed, intelligent and accessible. The series follows nine ordinary people who awake to find themselves technologically altered against their wills. Naturally, our nine heroes must join forces to bring the organization responsible for their cybernetic alterations to justice. Along the way, all nine must confront their own personal struggles, haunting pasts, and uncertain futures. Much like Ishinomori’s cult classic Android Kikaider, Cyborg 009 forces the reader to consider just what it is that constitutes humanity and human identity, all the while leading them down a multicultural, world-spanning adventure.