Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recommended for the Fantasy Anti-Hero Crowd

Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

I chose this cover instead of the new release cover since that one is more likely to make people think of Lord of the Rings. After all, there is a ring of power involved. But this isn't your happy Hobbit sort of story. The main character, Thomas Covenant, is an asshole. No joke. He's a definite anti-hero, and I think my first ever anti-hero story. Despite his jerk power, he manages to do the right thing, and maybe not even be such a jerk in the end. What I really loved the most about this book though, were Donaldson's descriptions of The Land. It had been a while since someone had painted such a gorgeous picture for me with words. That's another reason I used this cover, because I think it's a more accurate represnation of just where Covenant goes.

This is the first in a trilogy, but if you really wanted, you could just read this book and leave the rest alone. The trilogy is pretty good though, so I think you ought to keep reading. However, beyond this is a second and, yes, a third trilogy, but I would forgo those entirely for a number of reasons that are too extensive to outline here.

Notes from the playlist: "This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home" by Murray Gold

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Recommended for People Searching for Hope

703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life by Nancy Makin

This was a book a customer was searching for. She found it, but I remember seeing her put it back. Intrigued, I took a look myself and made a mental note: Read. In case you missed it, this has been in my Reading List off to the left for quite some time.

I finally got to it (and while reading it, it caught the interest of one of my managers as well). It's a fascinating story that will make you angry, make you smile, and yes, even perhaps shed a tear or two. I know, that all sounds awfully cliche, but it's true. When my manager asked how the book was going, I told her I'd finished it. Was it worth reading? Emphatic "Yes" on my part. Honest to heavens, if you're running out of hope for whatever reason, read this book. Understand that it's not impossible to love life again and escape from whatever dark prison you or others have managed to build around you. This book is actually in the Health/Diets section of our store, but it really can give you a boost no matter what you weigh.

Notes from the playlist: "When She Loved Me" by Sarah McLachlan

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Recommended for A Bit of AWESOME!

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

When I first came upon this book one day at work, I had two thoughts. 1.) I need to read this book. 2.) Why is it in the Self Improvement section?

Though I never did quite figure out why it's in that section, I most certainly ended up reading it and I had a good time in the process. The concept is simle: Awesome Things. Those little things in life that are, well, awesome. Like walking past a bakery and snorting up that delicious smell of baking bread and cookies and yummy things. Or freshly fallen snow. Or, everyone's favorite, popping bubble wrap. There are literally hundreds of yippee-skippee things in here that will, at some point, jog a delighted part in your brain that makes you say, "Omigod, YAY" as you suddenly remember just how awesome that particular thing is. One of those for me?

The smell of the coffee isle in the grocery store. AWESOME!

Read the Epinions review here!

Notes from the playlist: "The Kraken" by Hans Zimmer (AWESOME!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recommended for Travelers and History Hunters

Hunting Pirate Heaven by Kevin Rushby

I actually had to read this in college when I took a course on pirates (yes, you heard me. A college course on pirates). But that doesn't mean it was a boring textbook. Instead, this is actually one man's account of trying to find the one place that pirates were rumored to stop and make their paradise with all their gold and plunder. Somewhere off the coast of Africa, near Madagascar. Rushby takes off from England, and from there goes on trucks, boats, and experiences some friendly--and some very questionable--people as he tries to find this fabled pirate heaven. This is also one of those stories where, as I read, I thought (admittedly in a very biased manner), "This is the sort of thing that only an English guy could get away with. If this were an American, he probably would have been shot by now."

A final note? Most college books I sold back. This one I kept.

Notes from the playlist: "Cheeseburger in Paradise" by Jimmy Buffet

Friday, September 10, 2010


After pondering over the idea for a while, I finally decided that what's the point of recommending books to people and never dishing any of them out so the folks at home can see for themselves?

So, after just a year of recommending books, I'm having my first book giveaway contest. So what's on the table?

Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison (Advance Reading Copy)

It's a cool take on the whole concept of the banshee, as well as some soul-sucking, wraith-hunting fun. Throw in a bit of romance and it's a date. But wait, that's not all! I'm also throwing in another surprise book with this one! Ooooooh! So if you're interested in some urban fantasy that crosses the line into the land of faerie and romance from time to time, then this is right up your alley.

How do you enter? Easy! Just leave a comment anywhere on this blog - mention a book you think I should read, tell me how you loved or hated one my picks, whatever you like. It doesn't matter which post you comment on - I get notifications and I'll know which comments are new so no worries. The contest will run until September 30th so word has time to spread throughout the net. The more people visit, the more likely I'll be to post more books in the future! So tell your friends, tell your family, tell your pets (wait...), and leave a comment (only one comment per person please! Let's try to keep it cool). Once the 30th hits, I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner.

**Note: Please understand that because this ARC came through my place of work, in order to keep people from reselling them, the edges of the book have been marked (the way libraries or publishers do with remainder books) with numbers. If you like your ARCs completely clean, it's best not to enter this contest. :)

**Second note: I realized after a few comments that I'd never mentioned how I'd get into contact with the winner. People have pretty much solved this for me. While I could just announce the person and then say, "Email me 'here' with your info," someone could step in and pretend to be said person in order to swipe the book first. I honestly don't think that's going to happen, but better safe than baboozled. So in your comment (it's okay if you didn't do so), you can either leave your email in any coded form you want (bookgrlATgmailDOTcom, bookgrl-gmail, bookgrl(at)gmail(dot)com, whatever works to keep away the email boogeymen) or link to a website/blog that has a way for me to contact you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recommended for Music Lovers and Students

This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin

When I saw this book and read the back blub, I knew I had to read it. The idea of how my brain functions when listening to music, why some people like one kind of music and others don't, and why it's possible to "kill" a song (as I put it - basically it just loses its impact after too many repeat listens), were all things I wanted to know. I'm a soundtrack junkie, and can't fathom how people don't goggle over pieces by Hans Zimmer or Basil Poledouris. And I love such a range of music from Loreena McKennitt to Korn, it's crazy. This is a pretty in-depth book if you're not familiar with a lot of the nuances of music, but it's still good. It's the sort of book you read slowly, mulling over it while drinking a cup of good coffee and nibbling on a scone. So, if you've ever wondered about music and why some notes hit your brain just right, allow Mr. Levitin to enlighten you.

Notes from the playlist: "Breakeven" by The Script

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...