New Fiction Roundup, May 2019

With a trio of new releases by local authors (Chiang, McGuire, Bauermeister), a selection of contemporary romances, several short story collections, and the long awaited latest from Thomas Harris, May should have a little something for every reader.

5/7: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang – Khai Diep, on the autism spectrum, is mortified when his mother plays matchmaker and returns from a visit to Vietnam with Esme, a potential bride. A romance from the author of The Kiss Quotient. A Peak Pick!

5/7: Exhalation by Ted Chiang – Chiang’s long awaited second short story collection gathers together nine stories that examine what it means to be human, and the ways that meaning is complicated and enhanced by our experiences with ever advancing technology. A Peak Pick! Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup, May 2019”

Why you should read Les Misérables

You’re watching it on PBS, and maybe you can hum all the tunes from the musical – but there’s nothing quite like reading the book itself.

But it’s so looong!

True. Compared to the miniseries adaptation‘s six-hour running time, the unabridged audiobook – read by master narrator George Guidall – runs for over sixty hours, and the Modern Library edition is 1,330 pages long, with 365 chapters. One reason that many 19th Century novels are so long is that they were originally read serially, in weekly installments, rather than straight-through. Read this way, the novel’s length becomes an asset, stretching out the narrative across time. Prolong the pleasure! Set out to read one chapter a day, for a year – and enjoy binging ahead when you just can’t stand the suspense.

What suspense? I already know the story! Continue reading “Why you should read Les Misérables”

New fiction roundup, April 2019

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, and the books actually coming out this April. In the fiction realm, you have several options for revisiting high school and its lasting impacts; stories of immigrants trying to forge their lives in the United States; and much more. Happy Reading!

Continue reading “New fiction roundup, April 2019”

Historical fantasy – the best of both worlds!

I appreciate the way genre designations can make books easier to find, but I confess that I love the bleeding edges where books shade from one genre into another; my current bailiwick is historical fantasy. I find that it brings the best elements of historical fiction – a strong sense of time, place, and culture – and melds it with the fantastical elements that make anything possible. Here are a few recent titles that I’ve been thrilled to find.

Book cover image for The Bird KingThe Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – In 1491, Granada, the last remaining vestige of Muslim Spain, has been surrounded and besieged by the Catholic Spanish forces of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. When a delegation comes inside the walled city to negotiate, young concubine Fatima is charged with welcoming the female delegates, including a member of the Spanish Inquisition. After Fatima accidentally reveals that her friend Hassan, the court’s mapmaker, can draw places he’s never seen and reshape reality, she realizes she has put him in danger. Aided by jinn, Fatima and Hassan flee the city. Continue reading “Historical fantasy – the best of both worlds!”

New Fiction Roundup – March 2019

March sees several new books by Seattle writers, the newest from a former Seattle Reads author, masterful debuts, and the latest from some blockbuster literary fiction authors.

3/5: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – A novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group, their mesmerizing lead singer, and the mystery behind their infamous breakup. Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – March 2019”