Bout of Books 14 Challenge: What to Read Next

I’m participating in the What to Read Next challenge for the Bout of Books 14 readathon. This challenge is hosted by Sarah from Sarah Reads Too Much. To make an entry, I need to recommend three books that I’ve read this year and say a bit about them. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ve probably seen me gooing and gaaing about these books earlier in the year. So here we go~ :”D

Trigun: Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action!! # 1 (Trigun, #1)My first recommendation was a reread for me this year and is for those who have recently discovered they like graphic novels, maybe have read through two or three series and now aren’t sure where to turn. If you’re in this situation, I highly recommend you check out Trigun by Yasuhiro Nightow. This is a manga that is set in the future on a desert planet colonized by humans. It follows the main character Vash the Stampede, who is a wanted man with a $$60,000,000,000 bounty on his head for the destruction of several towns and cities. It seems no matter where this man goes, chaos follows, earning him the nickname ‘The Humanoid Typhoon’. The funny thing is though, through all the ruin and rubble, Vash has never taken a life. It turns out he’s a goofball with a donut obsession. A sharpshooter and a teddy bear. Always alert and always hungry.

The genre for Trigun is a mix: Sci-fi, western, comedy, action… it has a bit of everything. Aside from those just getting into graphic novels, I also recommend this series to anyone who has been into them for a while and is just looking for the next thing, fans of Firefly, fans of spaghetti westerns and fans of comedy. Trigun is considered a classic by manga standards and it certainly earns its’ title. It also comes in anime form, so if you’d rather check that out, go for it. Both the show and the manga are of excellent quality.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)

My second recommendation is a book that a lot of people have probably already read but I just got to earlier this year. It is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. This is a classic sci-fi comedy about a man named Arthur Dent who is whisked aboard as stowaway into an alien vessel when Earth is destroyed to make way for a new super highway across the galaxy. Apparently the plans had been in the Galactic meeting hall for hundred of years and none of us humans had though to check on it.

This book is full of quick wit and dry humor. Often times a joke is delivered before you realize it’s being set up. Arthur Dent is a wonderfully bleak character and in combination with his friend Ford and his copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that has the large words ‘DON’T PANIC’ written on the front of it and the super depressed and cynical robot named Marvin, the book is filled with colorful characters that drive the plot forward. To give you an idea of some of the humor in this book, read this excerpt from it:

Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought. Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?

No. Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation … Or is it the wind? There really is a lot of that now isn’t it? And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.”

Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)And finally, my third recommendation is for those who like weird, dense fantasy and it is Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. If you’ve never read anything by this author before, I recommend starting here. Perdido Street Station is the train station that sits in the city of New Crobuzon, which dwells in the middle of the giant ribcage of some long-dead creature. This book I feel is more about the city than the characters. The characters are definitely interesting, don’t get me wrong – a mad scientist, an ambassador from hell, a woman with a beetle for a head, multiple creatures with wings, and a garuda – a large bird-like creature that has appeared in both Hindu and Buddhist writings – that has lost his wings and his honor. But I feel these characters would be nothing without the complex, winding city the book takes place in. New Crobuzon to me feels like a bazaar, always busy, always foreign yet at the same time, enticing and foreboding. There are a couple subplots that happen throughout this book that tie in together in a way that is fascinating and bizarre. Reading this book is like blowing life into this city. You’ll think about it when you’re done, you’ll pine to wander its streets. I read this book back in January, finished it on the 2nd or 3rd of the month, and I still think about it. I miss this book, if that makes sense. So yes, this is my third rec. Hope you enjoy.

March TBR

I’ve decided I’m going to flip my TBR around a bit, because I noticed that basically every time I decide ‘I’m going to read a book this month’ I end up reading everything except that book. So my TBRs now I feel are going to include my TBR Jar Challenge for the month and basically anything I’m in the process of reading already. And at the end, I’m going to say what I feel in the mood for, if that makes sense. This way I’m not locked into reading any certain book and essentially read what I want while still making a post like this worth typing.

My TBR Jar pick for this month is “Read a Classic Novel”. This one is both exciting and daunting for me. I’ve been wanting to get more into classical literature, but honestly the field of it is so huge, I don’t know where I would begin. I own a few already, but none of them are sticking out to me too much at the moment. I feel the one that most catches my interesting is 47 Ronin, which is a collection of classic Japanese stories. I might end up saving this one for another challenge though, so don’t quote me. I know I can read a classic this month, but at the moment, I’m not settled on which.

Other than that, I plan to continue reading the books/series I’m currently reading:

Saiyuki – I borrowed the entire series from my sister so I should zoom through it.

Life, the Universe, and Everything – I’m very much enjoying this. I want to chase couches across prehistoric earth, it’s not fair.
Monsters of Men – the last book in the Chaos Walking series.

Game of Thrones – This one I’m listening to on audiobook. There are sooo many chapters, man. Really enjoying it, though 😀

And if I get to anything else this month, the more the better. I’m feeling epic fantasy.

What are you reading this month?

January Wrap-Up 2015

If you follow my blog, earlier in the month I wrote a TBR for January. I kinda-sorta-alittlebit stuck to it. My goal was to read five books. Well, I read six books! Which is unheard of for me. Only problem is they weren’t all on the list of stuff for me to read.

My TBR Jar Challenge for January was to read a book that was not a novel. I had decided to pick up Keepers of the Garden by Dolores Cannon. This book is written by a regressionist who logs her sessions with a man whom she is regressing. Regression is a form of hypnosis in which one can go so far under that it’s claimed they can recall past lives. So first of all, you need to decide whether or not that you believe this is possible (or at least, decide whether you will accept it as being a possibility). I fall into the parentheses category. Without getting too much into spiritualism and so on, I feel like anything is possible and a human being does not have the brain capacity to understand everything. So I can’t 100% deny that regression is possible. So I went into it with as open of a mind as I could muster.

So I sat down to read the book and soon enough, the man being regressed recalled a live that was not of human origin. An extra-terrestrial past live. It. Was. Awesome. The man went into how his life had went, what energies were used in space, etc. I found it all very fascinating. But, I ended up putting the book down. Why, but I thought you were enjoying it Emily?! Well I was, but it got to the point where it seemed to, I don’t know, drag I guess? Like, it was one of those books that had me thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it, which is great, but I found myself feeling like it was a chore to read it after a while. I guess I felt like the author’s message was taking too long to get across. I got bored, which spells defeat when reading a book. I found myself skimming, and if I’m skimming, I’m not reading. And if I’m not reading, why read the book. So I put it down.

Keep in mind, I’m a child of the age of technology so my attention span is shit. If this book sounds interesting to you, by all means pick it up. Don’t let my lack of focus deter you. The bits that I did read I would easily read 4.5/5 stars. And who knows, maybe I’ll pick it up again. But for now, I’m giving it a break. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with my next TBR Jar Challenge month.

Otherwise, I did complete six books, three of which were on my January TBR post. The one above I feel was my only failure (as of yet, huhuh) Those would be:

Perdido Street Station by China Mievielle. This one is a steampunky fantasy-y, sci-fi-y book set in the most intricately written city that I’ve ever come across. This one took me a while to get through, but I’m so glad I did. I rated it 4.25/5 stars and my review can be found here.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Easily my favorite book so far. Loved it, solid 5 stars. I don’t know why I never read this before. I think I’m goofy. One thing to note though – in my tbr list, I mentioned wanting to read the compilation of all 5 books as one book. Well, I’m breaking them up. I’ve read the first one (so there). Currently on the second, which will show up in my tbr for january.

The Diviners by Libba Bray. This one I read as part of the Reading Adventures Book Club on goodreads. I rated this one a 4.5/5 stars. My review for it can by found here.

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit volumes 1 and 2 by Motoro Mase: This is a manga that I’ve had on my shelf for a long time. I own the first 6 volumes I belileve out of the 9 that are out – I don’t know if that’s the end of the series or not, but that’s how many there currently are. I read them a long time ago when I was in high school and decided to do so again (plus, a book came out that I wanted to buy, and i needed to read two more books to be able to buy a book, as per my read-five-buy-one rule, so these were perfect.) Ikigami is a strange bird. It has a very 1984y premise and it feels very dark and twisted. So far, both volumes have been 3 stars (which is a ‘I like this, will continue it’ rating from me). If you’re into messed up things, read this.

And the final book I read this month (which is the one I bought with my five other books being completed) was:
Saga volume 4 by Brian K Vaughn. Easily, easily easily five stars. If you have not read this yet, I highly suggest doing so. If you like Star Wars or sci-fi or cool creatures or anything like that, you will love this. It’s what is folding out to be an epic space opera, and I can’t wait for the next volume (I might even buy individual issues, I don’t know. We’ll see how long my withdraw symptoms from this series last).

So that’s what I read this month. I know my reading is going to slow down, if the last two weeks of classes are anything to go by, so I think my February tbr will be shorter. It’ll be posted up next. Thanks for reading!

Rest-of-the-year TBR

Good morning! I’ve decided that since I’m a slow-ass reader that my first post should be a TBR for the rest of the 2014 year instead of one for each month, because it just makes more sense for me.

I plan to continue (and hopefully finish) everything on my currently reading list, which is as follows:

1. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

This book I’ve been reading for a long, long time. Originally, it was rather slow for me. And then, I fell in love with the city New Crobuzon, and the book took off and has been keeping me on the edge of my seat since. The book mixes together fantasy and science fiction and action and mystery and all sorts of fun stuff, I’m loving it. As of right now (I’m half way through) it stands at a 4 star rating. If the ending is wonderful, I can easily see it being pushed up to 4.5.

2. Daredevil Volume 1 by Kevin Smith, David Mack and Joe Quesada

This one I’ve been reading even longer. This is the book that’s by my bedside that I pick up when I’m not really in the mood to read anything else. I’m liking it so far, but I don’t know, it’s just something about the illustrations that’s putting me off it, I think. The plot is great, but I can’t seem to get myself into it. As of right now, it stands at 3 stars.

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray

I just started this one what feels like a couple days ago, but it’s been more like half a month ago. I’m really enjoying this book right now, but I haven’t been able to read much of it lately – I blame Nanowrimo. I’m hoping to pick this back up again in December and finish it up.

4. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Honestly I’m kind of ashamed I haven’t read this one sooner. Right now it’s sitting at a solid 5 stars and I’m only half way through the first book in the collection! I have a feeling this will definitely be going on my all-time favorites list by time I finish it. This one is going to take me a good long while to read though. My boyfriend and I are currently reading it aloud to each other, alternating chapters. We usually get through one or two each night and read every few nights, so I can see this one stretching into spring. I highly recommend it, just having read the little bit that I have, to basically anyone who likes to laugh.

5. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku

I actually got this book when it first came out. I pre-ordered it as soon as it became available, which I typically don’t bother with. And it’s signed! On the rare occasion I wonder out of fiction books, I tend to lean towards book like this. I’m a fangirl for Michio Kaku, totally and completely. He’s just so much fun! So if you like reading about brains and lasers and consciousness, pick this up!

So that’s my currently reading list. I feel like if I can get through at least three of these by the end of the year I’ll be happy. Once my final exams have passed, I’ll be home alone all day errday, so I’ll have plenty of time to read, in theory. Let me know what you plan on reading before the year is out!