Recommend a… (book with a character who plays a sport)

Recommend A… is a weekly meme run by Chick Loves Lit. Click here to check out future prompts and take part!

I looked and looked, and I have yet to see a book I have read in which a character plays sports! Predictable. I suppose Harry Potter is a possibility (“And here is how one plays Quidditch…“), but I prefer — most of the time — suggesting books that receive less attention. Hence, this week’s recommendation might be considered somewhat of a cheat. The main character refers to his “sport” of preference as a “mental sport,” but I hope no one minds, as it is an enjoyable book.

The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker by Louis Sachar
Published May 11th, 2010 | Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Young Adult Fiction

Summary from GoodReads:

From Louis Sachar, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Newbery Medal for HOLES, comes the young adult novel THE CARDTURNER, an exploration of the human condition.

How are we supposed to be partners? He can’t see the cards and I don’t know the rules!

The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner—whatever that means. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich.

But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him.

Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.

Through Alton’s wry observations, Louis Sachar explores the disparity between what you know and what you think you know. With his incomparable flair and inventiveness, he examines the elusive differences between perception and reality—and inspires readers to think and think again.

Yeah, yeah, no real sports! I’m sorry. Yes, I present a book entirely void of any physical exertion, unless I count Uncle Trapp — the old man tires simply by walking, but he is an amazing bridge player. I should hope the card game does not throw anyone off, because the story itself — the true heart of it — has less to do with bridge and much more to do with character history and relations.

I found Alton’s narrative voice difficult to dislike, as Sachar makes an agreeable character out of him. The atmosphere is notably light and fun, yet balanced by sincerity. The romantic aspect flickers faintly most of the time, just at the edge somewhere in peripheral view, but the emotions are there and felt. The main focus centers on Alton’s developing relationship with his uncle, Trapp, as well as Trapp’s history. As the reader, I loved learning Trapp’s backstory: a tale that involves bridge, of course, but elaborates on a different and tragic love that I think can fill a novel of its own. Reading The Cardturner turned out to be a relaxing experience that holds more than one gripping attribute. I recommend Sachar’s book for fans and players of bridge, and even to those who are not. (Only the former party will show greater appreciation, and for obvious reasons.)

  • You can read my review here.

Since my book list falls short in sporty characters, I’d love to hear recommendations — if you’ve got any.

Advertisements

Top Ten Tuesday #3

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT prompt is to list your 10 favorite books during your blog’s lifespan. Is this a joke? No one can make me choose only 10 favorites. There are too many books, and too many I’d love to share with everyone! This list — which I wrote in no particular order — has undergone countless changes. Even now, I continue to make mental changes by switching and swapping titles. I want to list every book I’ve read and loved since — and even before — my WordPress blog forced itself upon the Internet.

Without further delay (because at this rate, I will keep my list under scrutiny and the post will never see publication), here are my top 10:

1. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Here is a book I recommend everyone of any age read. In a wordless graphic novel, Tan artistically expresses — and with dazzling cinematic beauty — an immigrant’s tale. Most of us are familiar with this story: a foreigner makes a long journey to new lands, and all in hope to establish a better life. No matter how old and rehashed one might believe this story to be, Shaun Tan’s work is a refreshing gust of air that also took my breath away. I think many can appreciate the chronicle of a man braving a new world, while all (particularly children) will feel enthralled by the drawings and curious creatures. Overall, The Arrival is an imaginative piece of well-executed craft, and I can always go back and expect to feel same amazing enchantment.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green hit my radar in late 2009 — a Nerdfighter enthusiast was ecstatic about an upcoming book (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), and even that was not enough to entice me. It sounds pathetic, but I needed a push and many reminders before I would step foot into the crazy realm of John Green hysteria. I waited a few years until I read Will Grayson, which — seeing as how I enjoyed the read — piqued my curiosity. Jeez, finally. After a so-so experience with Paper Towns, someone highly recommended I try LFA, and I am happy I went along with the suggestion. An Abundance of Katherines remains the only Green novel I haven’t finished, but I suggest LFA to those who haven’t encountered his books before. To this day, it remains my personal favorite of his work.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I cried. This book made me cry, which isn’t an easy task to accomplish. I’m more easily impacted, emotionally speaking, by cinema rather than literature. And yet: two rivers ran their course down my cheeks, and I found myself carrying out that whole stiffing-my-tears business. I try to regulate breathing until it steadies, and then I repeat some mental incantation, like, “It’s just a book; stop it. It’s just a book. …Stop it.” (I’m not a public crier, alas.) Death amused me, Rudy’s end crushed all my joy, but I will always look at Liesel’s relationship with Hans — as well as with Max — with sentiment. The Book Thief deserves attention for its sweet but wrenching coming-of-age story, and I hope you all should attempt it at least once — especially with a film in the works! (Yay or nay? I stand on uneasy but expectant ground.)

4. Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés)
I can’t say I will later look at this list and regret making Manbach’s picture book a part of it, but I think of other books I’ve read. Books with more sustenance, you can say. The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, is a classic I love, and I could list Suzanne Collins’s THG series as well. THG, in fact, would be rather fitting since the DVD and Blu-ray were released this weekend. In the end, I love all of these books, and although Go the Fuck to Sleep is quick to read, it’s also entertaining. This book is worth a smile and a laugh, and I’d read it again for the sake of amusement. Samuel L. Jackson’s audio, however, wins my favor.

5. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
A laugh-out-loud satiric observation of the aristocratic life, The Importance of Being Earnest oozes formidable wit and illustrates why Oscar Wilde is perfection. No, Dorian Gray did not make my list despite how much I love that story — and don’t get the wrong impression. I nearly added Mr. Gray, but what it comes down to is mood and how Wilde effortlessly makes me laugh. I will certainly visit more of Wilde’s writing in the future, but I am just as likely to revisit this play time and time again. Even though I am past the wonderful first read of The Importance of Being Earnest — an experience I can never re-create (lest amnesiac misfortune befalls me) — I love how I can still return and get the same kick.

6. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
It’s no secret: I’m a YA book junkie, and this happened to land a spot on my YA favorites shelf. Second to Hartman’s Seraphina, I look forward to this book’s sequel. Prior to decking bookstores and libraries, hype that surrounded Shadow & Bone hooked my curiosity and raised expectations. Disappointment typically follows once I set a piece of literature to higher standards, but I find that Bardugo’s style owns an attractive quality that engaged me from the get-go.  Absorbed into the text — sitting there, reading — I hated life for butting in. When I had some place to go, I’d sit up from my comfy reading nook and walk with my faced still crammed inside the book. I wanted to carry on reading, but I didn’t wish the story to end, either. Emptiness replaced eagerness once I reached the end, so… Come on, 2013.

7. We Thought You Would Be Prettier by Laurie Notaro
Laurie Notaro, particularly her older and non-fictional work, hardly disappoint when I feel in need for a mood-boost. If Laurie’s humor suits you, I recommend the humorous essay collection of We Thought You Would Be Prettier. Laurie puts ridicule on display, exaggerating and poking fun at her own faults and everyday life. What sounds like an embarrassing and hectic life make priceless stories that are perfect for sharing. I think her latest book fails to match the humor in her previous work, but I can always count on her to tell relatable stories that put a smile on my face.

 

8. What the Living Do by Marie Howe
Because I chiefly read YA literature and review little else, I don’t believe many people know that my love for poetry dates beyond my YA obsession. 50 percent of my first few top 10 lists consisted of poetry, in fact: Umberto Saba, Rilke, Komunyakaa, Hilda Morley, and Kevin Young (to give some names). I wound up removing them all save for Marie Howe’s What the Living Do. This collection moves me, as I still see it as powerful with the great ability to bear itself raw through artistic, gentle appeal. From a childhood marked by sexual abuse, then growing up to see death (especially that of Howe’s brother), love and more, Howe explores relationships among the living and dying. Her language is plain but never dull; rather, it’s all at once striking, conversational, and effective.

9. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
I’m surprised I still feel affection for Standiford’s book, because it has lasted such a long time! (Which is to say that it’s been months.) There are books I read, and although I enjoy and continue to adore them, the exact feeling of adoration returns like a weak tide, growing fainter every time they cross my mind. The laughter at the similarity between Bea and I, the frustration toward Jonah, and my upset over the bittersweet ending for  How to Say Goodbye in Robot remains fresh. Compared to other YA contemporaries, this is one of few I claim holds a unique trait. Where else do you find a friendship like Bea’s and Jonah’s?

 

10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Please. As if no one saw this coming. I would feel genuine shock if even a single person thought Seraphina wouldn’t make the list. Likewise, I imagine the people who are familiar with me skimming my top ten, chanting, “Where is it? Where is it?” And here it is! Gosh, have I tired anyone from my Seraphina-related banter yet? I fell in love with this book. As I normally do with something I love, I share and obsess and gush until I meet a new fascination. I just haven’t found a new fascination, but I am very eager to read Stormdancer

Recommend a… (book by a debut author)

Recommend A… is a weekly meme run by Chick Loves Lit. Click here to check out future prompts and take part!

Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5th, 2012 | Henry Holt and Co.
Fantasy

Summary from GoodReads:

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.

I admit that I would like to give Shadow & Bone a second read, because I’m almost — almost! — embarrassed to say that I love the Darkling. Go ahead: you are free to make fun, but I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Bardugo does well in getting readers to like the villain, and while I would hate for this news to spoil anyone, I don’t believe it’s difficult to pick up on the Darking’s intentions. I spent time thinking about his character — his future role, how it would clash with Mal’s position, and not to forget how the Grisha age is dying. Where does that leave him? It leaves him as the antagonist, and dammit, I like him. So maybe I was infatuated (ahem), but new perspectives come with second readings.

Regardless, Shadow & Bone took me on a light fantasy adventure, and I would readily read it a second time.  Bardugo sucked me into Alina’s story quickly and with ease, and I maintained interest until the last page. This is a book I didn’t want to end, although it is not difficult to get so absorbed into the text that, in consequence, I didn’t realize the speed at which I stormed through it.

If Shadow & Bone has at all roused your interest, you can read an extended preview of the book: Chapters 1 – 5. In relation to Bardugo’s Grisha world creation, The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale is something else to read as well.

Find my review here, and check out the book trailer below!

Now, one book recommendation is to be expected, but I could not resist the temptation to suggest a second book:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Published July 10th, 2012 | Random House Books for Young Readers
Fantasy

Summary from GoodReads:

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

In 2002, Rachel Hartman did publish a comic book, Amy Unbounded — which takes place in the same universe as Seraphina — but the debut fantasy is the author’s first novel. What can I say about Seraphina that I haven’t said already? Even before the book’s release, pure excitement radiated off me in frightful blasts, and it has only worsened now that I have read it. Much to the dismay, perhaps, of everyone around me — and to my wonderful followers — I enjoy praising this book (a lot). In contrast to Bardugo’s novel, Seraphina is undoubtedly much more high fantasy. (It is also, I would like add, more developed in world-building aspects than Shadow & Bone.)

Rarely do I ever stray into high fantasy, as I prefer grounding myself in worlds similar to my own. Throw too many strange creatures and made-up languages with odd pronunciations my way, and my brain says it is time to step away. The likes of J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis were as deep as I dared to venture into the fantasy genre for years, and even then: our primary world still exists. As a result of reading Seraphina, I am more friendly with this genre. Hartman crafted an entire world I think readers will enjoy exploring, and I am quite fond of the Vulcan-like dragons.

My review can be read here. I warn, however, that Hartman’s pace is indeed steady and slow. Seraphina takes some time to read, which appears to be one of the chief complaints among reviewers.

These are my recommendations this week! If you have read either book, I would love to hear your thoughts.
x

Friday Finds #6

  • Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. It’s a chance to share and show off books you discovered (online, at the library, or in a bookstore) and added to your TBR list.

My TBR list and I share a frivolous love-hate relationship, and it’s entirely one-sided. My list is a non-sentient, book-infested tumor and could not be any less aware of how I feel towards it. On the one hand, I love stuffing it. I can stuff it all I want, because it has no limit. At no point will it cease growing and swell into the danger-zone of bursting.

Then again, there’s some disappointment in watching my TBR list stretch without control. Too many books and certainly never enough time, but not enough memory to remember all these books! A TBR list is essential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoy discovering new books, which means an unknowable amount of published and to-be published literature will find a spot on my TBR list — but it’s where cobwebs form. It’s so large that I can’t possibly read them all, but I did manage to cut my TBR list down (if anyone recalls). I’m just surprised that I haven’t stuffed it back up by now. In any case, these are my Friday Finds — my shortest FF list yet, I’m sure.

TGIF & happy finds!
x

Library Loot #6

  • Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Hello, everyone — subscribers, blog-hoppers, lurkers, and passersby alike. It’s another week, which predictably entails another Library Loot post. I picked this haul up on Monday, just as a reading slump was about to hit. Weekly readings of 200 – 400 novels bear a toll, especially when multiple book stacks decorate the house. I want to read, but then I don’t want to read. I’m sucked dry of interest, which feels crummy for any avid reader. I feel pressure to read, and that sucks all the fun out! Sometimes I need reading breaks, and other times I simply need lighter material. Thankfully these are all children’s books and short novellas — I do love eye-catching artwork, and many children’s books have magical tales. They are also quick and stimulating, and I’m not waltzing through a 300-page novel with an attention span that refuses to focus.

I first read The Lady & the Lion in early June and now, three months later, I still feel enchanted by the tale and by Long’s illustrations. Ogburn notes:

This Grimms’ fairy tale is also known as “The Singing, Springing Lark.” It is an Aarne-Thompson tale type 425, “the search for the lost husband,” a type that also includes animal bridegroom tales. The story combines “Beauty and the Beast” and “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” Our retelling condenses the action, but we chose to follow the dramatic spirit of the ending of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” in our treatment of the villain.

The Lady & the Lion was requested for a second reading, but I naturally felt curious about Ogburn’s and Long’s other work. Hence, you see  Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Laurel Long on almost everything this week, and I must say that disappointment is far from anything these books offer. The Magic Nesting Doll  illustrations rest on equally impressive ground as the ones found in The Lady & the Lion, and I find both tales individually enjoyable. Some collective nouns in A Dignity of Dragons aren’t particularly creative and more of a let-down, but Ceccoli’s artistic style makes it difficult to peel my eyes away.

I recommend checking out each of these books, if only to ogle at the drawings. **I scanned a page from The Lady & the Lion  and A Dignity of Dragons for curious people (click the respective links), but a copy fails to represent the real-life image.

More children’s books, of course. The Twelve Days of Christmas is nothing more than the traditional festive song accompanied with attractive pages. Cullen’s book, The Mightiest Heart, narrates the life-long friendship between a prince and his dog. If you are unfamiliar with it, I warn that it is a sad story with happy (or bittersweet, depending on perspective) twist for an ending. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cupid & Psyche, but I think Cupid and Psyche’s love story is well-told and nicely illustrated for a child’s picture book. (And yes, I recommend these three as well.)

The last two were an extreme disappointment after the books before it, and it comes down to illustrations. Beauty & the Beast is a personal favorite, considering how I over-watched Disney’s version and played often with the Barbie dolls — the tale is special to me, as is Sleeping Beauty, since they dominated my growing-up years. The story itself is fine, but I don’t fancy the art. Beast has a beast’s form, all right, but with no neck and such an awkward, silly head I couldn’t over-look. I checked Mayer’s book out for its high ratings on GoodReads while I wait on Max Eilenberg’s take, which Angela Barrett illustrates… I hope it’s a step up from this version.

Just I have issues with Mercer Mayer’s illustrations, I also don’t like Mansell’s artwork for Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. I do like the story, but I found my mood punched down by the drawings — very cartoonish, which doesn’t seem to fit Wilde’s words. Personal preference, perhaps.

Novellas! I hardly glanced at the text, but I’m excited to start Chiang’s book. I discovered it through GoodReads not long ago and couldn’t resist the pretty cover or the positive reviews. C.S. Richardson’s novella is a random find, picked off from one of many adult fiction shelves way far away in the back of the library — as I’ve joined Sara’s challenge, I had to find something and decided on The End of the Alphabet. The premise sounds promising, and — as I’ve discovered — the book is not widely known. I read The Alchemist last year and very much enjoyed it, but I never read the companion novella by Buckell. So far I am liking The Executioness, although I prefer Bacigalupi’s story.

That’s it for me this week! As a side-note for my regular visitors: apologies for the apparent lack of book reviews and blog activity. I caught a flu-like bug last week that will not leave me alone, so this is my excuse for slow-response time, falling behind on other bloggers’ posts, and any hideous typos that may mar your computer screen.

Recommend a… (book with a blue cover)

Recommend A… is a weekly meme run by Chick Loves Lit. Click here to check out future prompts and take part!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Published February 14th, 2012 | Knopf Books for Young Readers
Realistic Fiction

“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels

Palacio’s Wonder proves itself a tender story that deserves to be read not only for theme, but for value. It produced no effect at first, and August’s young sense of humor — though I hate to admit this, because it will assert me as a downer — felt dull. My sympathy owns a tough coat, though penetrable, while my perspective has become jaded. (Fussy taste, it seems, extends beyond the realm of food.) I wondered how well, if at all, I would warm up to August Pullman. Few stories like Wonder manage to stand out among the heap and bedazzle me. While others may sound preachy or campy, few touch on a deeper, realistic level if only because I’m human. Needless to say, August grew on me — and quickly. (In fact, I found myself attached to the majority of characters.)

I feel shock and disgust, yet I also expect these emotions, when I am a witness to cruelty — whether I play the bystander or victim role. Sitting opposite of cruelty’s nature, however,  is kindness, and how overwhelming it can feel to be surprised by it! Palacio presents a story heavy in affliction but writes with humor balanced by keen sensitivity. This book reminded me that while life throws punches, goodness still exists. These are moments to appreciate and not sweep by unnoticed. I laughed and I cried, and I felt uplifted. For me, Wonder is not about the ending’s accuracy to real-life situations. Wonder is about the lesson I sometimes forget I have learned, and the importance of it.

Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.

Kindness, after all, does not simply affect the person it is directed at, because kindness also invokes change in the one who gives it.

Library Loot #5

  • Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Whoa, I have about 15 books too many right now, more on hold, and even more I’m waiting on to be held. Eight or so library books accompanied me home last week, and with 14 items that needed pick-up, some were let go and returned. (Of course, I’m now keeping a list of these unread/unfinished books so that I can check them out at later dates… because that’s realistic with the crazy amount of requests I put in. I did feel a twinge of “Nooo!” when I returned 2 Molière books — likewise with The Postmortal (aka The End Specialist, UK edition — also with a prettier cover) and Sea of Shadow, and they’re all on my for-later list.) Ideally, I want my Loot Tower down to at least 5 books. At least 5… one day.

The following 4, with 2 extra (not pictured), are what remain from last week; I returned everything else. (Pause for feeling resentful. Does anyone else hate returning unread library books, or is that only me?)

First up, I got a couple dystopian novels and a few poetry collections:

**I need a post-it note that reads “CHECK OUT MAZE RUNNER” — it will stick right on my desk so that I don’t forget! I marked it to read before I discovered Karr’s and Westerfield’s novels, and — like I said in my last Library Loot post — I’m still impatient for YA dystopian male narrators. (I’m neglecting the fact that I have The Knife of Never Letting Go to read.)

For anyone curious, the other book not pictured is The Snark Handbook by Lawrence Dorfman — I forgot it was on the living room couch with Young’s collection and  A Picture of Dorian Gray. So far I’ve read a quarter of the way through Dorfman’s book, and it serves mildly entertaining but not too laugh-out-loud funny. It is witty, blunt, and insulting — not bad, but I’m in the mood for plots (and, as it may seem, good poetry)!

I also read Saba’s The Dark of the Sun (twice, now going on a third time), and I don’t think I’ve felt this interested in a poet since discovering Rilke and Morley. I don’t review poetry — I read lots of it, however, and I read enough to know what I like and dislike in poetic styles. Still, I feel extremely amateur in reviewing poetry, but I want to share my new love for Umberto Saba with someone. So: if you have any interest in poetry, I highly recommend that you test Saba. (Afterward, you must instantly decide that you love his work, too, and then talk to me so that we can squee together… or something.) This collection is the only Saba book my library has, so further reading will be on my dime, but it will be money worth spending.

Excerpt from A Memory by Umberto Saba (trans. by C. Millis):

What if —
I thought — he doesn’t like me and tomorrow doesn’t show up?
Tomorrow he did not show up. Then there was pain,
a kind of spasm toward night;
(today I know) that was no friendship,
that was love;

the first, and there was joy in it
between the hills and the sea of Trieste.
But why can’t I sleep, today,
when this happened, I think, fifteen years ago?

Moving on to what I picked up this week:

I recently saw the trailer for the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, and 3 thoughts came into realization: a) It’s a series? b) I never watched the first film and c) I never read the book. The book is highly rated, although I read Greg fails to undergo character growth… This worries me, since I checked it out with the intention of reading it as well as liking it. Alvin Ho is lumped in a list of books similar to Kinney’s, so a request was put in — I’ve read positive reviews, so I hope to like Alvin’s story. (I very much adore the characters and humor found in Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon, which resulted in a restored appreciation for juvenile fiction. Come at me, middle grade.)

The one book I am most eager to read, though, is Ness’s A Monster Calls! You can bet I’ll have it read by today, even. I have high expectations, which usually scares me: what if the book fails to live up? Disappointment ensues! I’m not worried — I still have the first Chaos Walking book checked out and unread, but I have faith in Patrick Ness.

Ooh, classics. On the left sits Austen’s Northanger Abbey, requested as part of my “Austen in August” participation. My schedule with Pride & Prejudice is moving slower than I’d like — either I overwhelm myself by staring at the high book stack (poor me), I’m busy, or I’m lazy from being busy and hence do nothing (and not reading is part of doing nothing). Hopefully I can finish Pride & Prejudice by the end of this week so that I can start the next Austen novel! I’d like to read A Study in Scarlet (pictured right) now, but I will wait until I’ve finished my current Oscar Wilde book.

Last to enter my loot list is Quiet  by Susan Cain. I heard a whispering hype before its released, which shot into loud praise. Really, I’m personally excited to start reading it. As an introvert, I imagine I may find this book a comforting read, if anything. One element I have bet against is dry text — when presented with an informative book, I sometimes face information-overload. The style essentially lacks as the voice drones robotic-like, and I lose will to continue reading. Many reviews compliment Cain’s style, and from a sneak-peak read, I think I can agree.