Monday, August 29, 2016

City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

I was hesitant to pick up Justin Cronin's trilogy, which began with The Passage, because I was vampired out.  But it's different. It combines science fiction and westerns and spans about 1500 pages and 1000 years and generations, upon generations of people.  It's dystopian and hopeful all at the same time! The vampires don't sparkle, thankfully, and the story isn't just told in prose - it's told via letters, journals, scientific journals, flashback, the whole nine yards.
As the book opens, we find our beloved characters in a time of peace and relative prosperity.  There have been no viral attacks for twenty years. The main characters are all struggling with something that has broken them and they each struggle. And there was also Zero, the ultimate bad guy, that wants his say and his ultimate revenge. This book is wonderful in the sense that it is Cronin at his absolute best - he is a storyteller on par with perhaps the best of the fantasy writers - of any writer actually.  The books are detailed and thoughtful and speak to the souls of people.  What is also wonderful is that this book can be treated as both a standalone novel or as the last book in the trilogy. While it would be nice to have read the previous two books - I found that the previous two books gave me emotional connections to the characters that I might not have had otherwise - this book does not require it in the way that, say the Outlander books or the Fire and Ice books do.  A reader can come to this book totally cold and can enjoy it.  At the same time, the reader of the trilogy will not be let down by what Cronin accomplishes in the end with this book-  believe me, it's everything that you will hope it will be. Definitely worth it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In Memoriam

One of my most favorite bookish podcasts, Books on the Nightstand, has ended its tremendously successful run.  It has been around seemingly forever and was one of my staples in book recommendations. It will be sorely missed and leaves a space in my podcast listening zone that I'm striving to fill.  While I understand that the podcast em-cees, Michael and Anne, have their own lives that they probably want to continue with (and podcasting takes a lot of time, particularly when you're as popular as they are and, for example, as popular as the Manic Mommies are/were), they will be sorely missed.  However you can find them on both Goodreads and on Twitter.

In anticipation of their ultimate decision to end the podcast, I found a number of other really awesome podcasts to fill the void, some of which are bookish and some of which aren't.  For your listening pleasure:

  • BookRiot - more of a news in the publishing industry podcast but still pretty awesome;
  • All the Books - a weekly podcast about new book releases
  • Boy Vs. Girl - a short weekly podcast that looks at gendered things. Love this one!
  • This American Life
  • Dear Sugar - a weekly advice podcast hosted by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond
  • Book Lust by Nancy Pearl
Please feel free to leave your recs here as well!!

The Power by Naomi Alderman

If you liked The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, you will want to read this dystopian novel, which has won a number of awards in th...