D.E.A.R. (D.E.A.L.) February 2013 – Sound Bytes

Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day or, in the case of my audiobooks Do Everything and Listen.

So, one thing I’ve noticed about working from home with three children under 4 around is that I have less time to devote to audiobooks. Shocking, I know. I used to have a least an hour in the car every day, most of it alone. I do listen some of the time when I feed babies and often when I do housework if everyone is occupied or sleeping. Of course, cleaning competes with reading and writing during those times, so it is a bit less time for everything all around. As a result, I’m getting ever farther behind on audiobooks to which I’m dying to listen. When it is audio time, audios for freelance review and an upcoming project come first. These audios I have received for review, though, are just about burning a hole in my ipod, so much do I want to listen. Here are the ones which are proving most enticing (links go the the publishers’ pages, where you can listen to samples):

Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart, narrated by Jef Brick (Harper Audio 1/8)

Truth in Advertising: A Novel by John Kenney, narrated by Robert Petkoff (Simon and Schuster Audio 1/22)

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, narrated by Scott Brick (Random House Audio 2/26)

What audiobooks are you particularly excited to listen to?

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

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D.E.A.R. – January 2013

Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day.

How is it that we’re less than halfway through January and I’m already behind and having to skip over some books I really wanted to read? Below are some books from January that I’m dying to read, but haven’t started yet. Links below to go Indiebound, but are not affiliate links because, frankly, I was too lazy to bother with them.

The Merlin Prophecy Book One: Battle of Kings by M.K. Hume
January 1, 2013

Not only is this a new historical fantasy novel about the Arthurian legend, it is also a trilogy and ALL of the books will be out by this summer, the third comes out in August. I believe it was first published in Australia, so we don’t have to wait for the author to write more – my favorite kind of trilogy. Unfortunately, I have a conflict and just can’t start it yet.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
January 2, 2013

I mean, this book opens with a confession from a teenage girl that she spent that day, her fifteenth birthday, burying her parents. I’m pretty sure that sold me right there. I also happen to know that Nicole read the whole thing in a day, and she has a great interview with Lisa O’Donnell.

Driver’s Education by Grant Ginder
January 8, 2013

I went to high school with Grant and he was in probably, oh, say, 1/3 of my classes. That is reason enough for me to want to read his book, but it is also getting nice reviews, like this from the Boston Globe. At one point I had this as an egalley on my Nook, but I wasn’t able to get to it over the holidays as I had hoped and it expired, so I’ll have to get another copy.

Fear of Beauty by Susan Froetschel
January 15, 2013

Fear of Beauty is a thriller set in an Afghan village, told from the point of view of an Afghan mother and a US Army Special Ranger. What interests me is that this seems to be deeper and more literary than a typical military thriller. Also, the cover is just gorgeous and haunting.

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri
January 31, 2013

Iran! Twins! Yeah, this isn’t a happy, joyful story, but it sounds beautiful and wonderful and OMG WHY HAVEN’T I READ IT YET?

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D.E.A.R. – Audiobook Week-Inspired TBL Pile (Sound Bytes)

Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day.

The thing about Audiobook Week, it wreaks havoc on your audiobook wishlist. The good news for me is that in the next few days I’m going to have two infants, and I’m thinking that my ipod will be easier to balance while feeding them than my Nook – let alone than something in print.

Here are some of the audiobooks that most intrigued me as I perused Audiobook Week posts last week, in roughly the order I discovered them:

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, narrated by Khristine Hvam
Mentioned by: Oddophile, Alaskan Bookie, A Patchwork of Books, Reading Thru the Night
Bonus: This will be a free download from SYNC from August 2-8.

 

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, narrated by Tai Sammons
Mentioned by: Bay State RA

 

 

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, narrated by Rebecca Soler
Mentioned by: Unabridged Andra

 

 

 

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, narrated by Libba Bray
Mentioned by: My Little Pocketbooks

 

 

 

 

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, narrated by Charlie Thurston
Mentioned by: Books and Wine

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Plus, a whole mess of books mentioned by Literate Housewife. I wanted to listen to everything she mentioned that I hadn’t already heard, because our tastes tend to be quite similar:

Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor, narrated by Bronson Pinchot, Karen White, Mark Bramhall, and Lorna Raver
American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar, narrated by Ayad Akhtar
Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian, narrated by Mark Bramhall

I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

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Oh, D.E.A.R. – Pre-baby Reading

Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day.

It is that time again! Time for me to show you the unreasonably large piles of books I hope to read in an unreasonable short period of time. This edition brought to you by me wanting to read ALL THE THINGS before the twins come and make that much more difficult. I’m 35 weeks pregnant as of today. My actual due date isn’t for 5 more weeks, but twins are considered to be full-term as of 38 weeks, so it is possible that my doctors would want to induce then if the girls haven’t come on their own. My son was so late that I’m hoping they won’t really be here much before that, because we have a fair amount to do around the house (plus I have lots of things to read and write).

I actually tried to be slightly more realistic than I was at Christmas. Here’s my primary/first priority pile:

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
A Calm Brain: Unlocking Your Natural Relaxation System by Gayatri Devi
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham
The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks
The Afterlives of the Saints by Colin Dickey
Harry Lipkin, Private Eye by Barry Fantoni
Jack 1939 by Francine Matthews
The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis[/wpcol_1half_end]

And my secondary pile:

The Divorce of Henry VIII by Catherine Fletcher
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman
The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written in Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
Pure by Andrew Miller
The Dark Monk by Oliver Potzsch
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Overseas by Beatriz Williams
Only One Life and Call Me Princess by Sara Blaedel

All this would seem pretty reasonable, if not for the giant list of ebooks I ALSO hope to get to:

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields
The Absolutist 
by John Boyne
Alif Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Grammar Girl’s 101 Troublesome Words You’ll Master in No Time by Mignon Fogarty
Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck
A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]In the Shadow of the Banyan Tree by Vaddey Ratner
The Mirrored Worldby Debra Dean
The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner
Rabid by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
The Second Empress by Michelle Moran
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Daughters by Mary Hart Perry[/wpcol_1half_end]

Guess it is time to finish up my current books and get reading!!

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D.E.A.R. – Heavy Books

Do you remember D.E.A.R? At my elementary school that meant “Drop Everything And Read,” something we typically did for 10 or 15 minutes every day. Best part of my day, really. As my TBR and Library piles are battling for supremacy and trying to sneak in around the review copies who have staked out places on my calendar, I’m thinking back to the simpler days of D.E.A.R., when I believed I had time to get to any book I wanted. And that, of course, got me fantasizing about a world where I really could just Drop Everything And Read for more than just 15 minutes a day.

For the last 10 weeks or so, my reading has very much been dictated by the fact that pregnancy with twins is making me tired (and for quite awhile, rather sick). I’m still reading, yes, but there has been more Agatha Christie in my life than you could possibly know, much of my other reading has also consisted of mysteries, particularly cozies – hence me catching up on the latest three books in Julie Hyzy’s fabulous White House Chef series – and other things on the lighter side. Now, these books have all been great, but there are a number of heavier books (or books I perceive to be heavier, for all I know some of these characterizations could be off) on more serious topics that I want to get to as well. I typically like a balance between fabulously fun and seriously thoughtful, and I’m having a hard time achieving that right now. Here are a few of the books I’m still trying to figure out how to get to, along with descriptions from the publishers:

A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor  – Released Jan 3, 2012 from Palgrave (Macmillan)

Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. He died a free man in northwest Washington at 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the mores and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals; French General Lafayette who was appalled by this idea; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly sold Paul after her husband’s death; and many other since forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil right activists.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar – Released Jan 3, 2012 from Harper Books (HarperCollins)

Thrity Umrigar, acclaimed author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven, returns with a breathtaking new novel—a skillfully wrought, emotionally resonant story of four women and the indelible friendship they share. Fans of Jennifer Haigh’s Faith, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, and Katrina Kittle’s The Kindness of Strangers will be captivated by Umrigar’s The World We Found—a moving story of bottled secrets, unfulfilled dreams, and the acceptance that can still lead to redemption, from a writer whom the New York Times calls “perceptive and often piercing.”

From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry – Released January 9, 2012 from Viking Books (Penguin)

Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of design school in Manila. With dubious financing and visions of Fashion Week runways, he sets up shop in a Brooklyn toothpick factory, pursuing his goals with monkish devotion (distractions of a voluptuous undergrad not withstanding). But mere weeks after a high-end retail order promises to catapult his (B)oy label to the big time, there’s a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-Catholic Boyet is brought to Gitmo, handed a Koran, and locked away indefinitely on suspicion of being linked to a terrorist plot. Now, from his 6′ x 8′ cell, Boy prepares for the trial of his life with this intimate confession, even as his belief in American justice begins to erode.

With a nod to Junot Diaz and a wink to Gary Shteyngart, Alex Gilvarry’s first novel explores some of the most serious issues of our time with dark eviscerating wit.

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – Released January 10, 2012 from Random House (Random House)

An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.”

Part breathless thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, The Orphan Master’s Son is also a riveting portrait of a world heretofore hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, stolen moments of beauty, and love. A towering literary achievement, The Orphan Master’s Son ushers Adam Johnson into the small group of today’s greatest writers.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo – Released February 7, 2012 from Random House (Random House)

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl”—will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

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