Posts Tagged 'lauren beukes'

2015: A Bookish Year in Review

Yes, ideally a reflection on the year’s reading gone by is done before the year is over, but better late than never, right?

In 2015, I read 86 books in total, which is an all-time record for me, and blew past my annual goal of 65 books! I’m not really sure what to credit for this huge leap in numbers, other than 1) I received a Kindle, which makes it easier for me to immediately begin a new book after finishing an old one, 2) I have a long subway commute to work, and 3) a loss in my family resulted in me reading near-constantly for a week or so in order to cope with some of the stuff I was thinking and feeling. Reasons both good and bad, then.

The average length of the books I read in 2015 was 341 pages, with the shortest read being Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant, and the longest being The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. My average star rating was a 3.3, or pretty average. (Still wishing there were half-star options on Goodreads, argh!)

There are a ton more interesting stats on my Goodreads Year in Review page. I encourage you to check it out!

What I think is a bit more telling of me and my reading style, though, are the 2015 books that I gave 5 stars to, 6 out of 7 of which were written by women. Mini-reviews of each can be found after the jump!

Continue reading ‘2015: A Bookish Year in Review’

Book Review: Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes

I have waited a long time to read Lauren Beukes’ sophomore offering, Zoo City–it was one of my first TBR adds on Goodreads–and happily, I was not disappointed! In just a few words, Zoo City is a creative, unique, and un-put-downable entry in the urban paranormal/sci-fi thriller genre.

In a futuristic Johannesburg, South Africa, our protagonist Zinzi December is eking out a living by finding lost objects with her burden and companion Sloth by her side. Like hundreds of other people around the world, Zinzi is ‘animalled’–after an incident of wrong-doing and the ensuing guilt, an animal has appeared and has become physically and psychically linked to the offending human. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of order to the type of animal that becomes linked to each guilty person; there is a brief mention of someone in prison with a butterfly companion, for example.

Continue reading ‘Book Review: Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes’

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2013 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created to share lists with other bookish folks! For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list, we were asked to list our top ten 2013 debuts to look forward to! I chose to interpret “debut” loosely, to include new books by already-established authors. I don’t know enough about debut authors to complete a list of them, unfortunately!

1. Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
Advance praise for this novel has been high, and it was one of the only books that leapt out at me on io9’s preview of 2013 fantasy and sci-fi novels.

2.  The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
It’s been described as The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo…how could I resist? Also, she wrote Zoo City, which has been on my TBR forever.

3. Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Ron Rash
I like fiction set in Appalachia, and Rash is supposedly one of the best there is. (He’s also a PEN/Faulkner Finalist, so he is definitely one of the best there is.) His latest book is a series of interlocking short stories, a format I tend to enjoy.

4. The Fall of Arthur, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Edited and annotated by his son Christopher, this is the last, great unfinished work of Tolkien’s. I would  read this no matter what the subject. Who could turn up their nose at a new, previously-unpublished work of Tolkien’s?

5. Red Moon, by Benjamin Percy
Ahhh, werewolves. They are easily my favorite paranormal creature, and have been for decades. (I’m 26; am I allowed to say “decades?”). In Percy’s novel, werewolves live among us, but are required to take a transformation-hindering drug. Neat!

6. Clare of the Sea-Light, by Edwidge Danticat
I’ve only read one or two novels by Danticat, but her use of language as a way to both reveal and scourge the power of memories is wonderful. I also really just like this title.

7. Dissident Gardens, by Jonathan Lethem
Haha, okay, I could write endlessly about this. But I’ll make it quick. I’ve read two books by Lethem and was unimpressed. However, this book is about the neighborhood in Queens, NY, where I currently reside and about which I feel very proprietary. For Lethem, someone who fairly screams Brooklyn, to write about Queens immediately makes my hackles rise; I love Queens for its history and its diversity and its gritty scrappiness, and it feels like an “outsider” is writing about it. So I will definitely read this, if only to protect and defend my fair borough.

8. NOS4A2, by Joe Hill
Hill, the son of Stephen King, has a talent all his own for suspense and horror. While I thought his previous effort Horns was just okay, Heart-Shaped Box was excellent. Here’s hoping this tale of kidnapping and and fantastical horror is, too!

9. The Intercept, by Dick Wolf
I don’t know that I will actually read this, but I had to include it! The novelty value of a book written by the creator of the Law & Order series is high.

10. I’ll leave this space open, for the books of 2013 I have yet to have heard of!


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