Top Ten Tuesday is a blog hop created by the book loving crew at The Broke and The Bookish. Every Tuesday is a different topic and everyone is invited to join in the fun by creating their own top ten list.
I’ve joined Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. This is a read-a-thon geared toward making me read outside my comfort zone. It includes 24 reading tasks. Some task are easy, such as read a Indie book. Others take a bit more shelf surfing, like reading a novel set in Asia. All my picks fit the Read Harder Challenge task list in one way or another. I’ll be reading them all over the course of the year.
It’s only January, if you want to join in here’s a link to the full details. Book Riot’s 2015 Read Harder Challenge!
Warning: Entry number 10 is the second book in a series and that blurb contains spoilers.
1. SALSA NOCTURNE STORIES by Daniel Jose Older (Adult)
This book meets my task of reading a collection of short stories. I’ve been looking to add more cultural diversity to my reading list, so when I stumbled on a review of Older’s new book (Shadowshaper – which also sounds amazing) I added him to my list.
The story: A 300 year-old story collector enlists the help of the computer hacker from next door to save her dying sister. A half-resurrected cleanup man for Death’s sprawling bureaucracy faces a phantom pachyderm, doll-collecting sorceresses and his own ghoulish bosses. Gordo, the old Cubano that watches over the graveyards and sleeping children of Brooklyn, stirs and lights another Malagueña. Down the midnight streets of New York, a whole invisible universe churns to life in Daniel José Older s debut collection of ghost noir.
2. THE DOUBT FACTORY by Paolo Bacigalupi (Young Adult)
This book fits my book requirement because it’s written by an author of a different gender. Yes, that really is a category, one I don’t require Book Riot’s incentive to deal with, but any reason to read one of Bacigalupi books is fine by me.
The story: Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that’s what a mysterious young man who’s stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses–and his radical band of teen activists–is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?
3. FEED by M. T. Anderson (Young Adult)
This book fits my National Book Award finalist category. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive the honor in the last decade (which is also part of the requirement) but I’m not changing my pick. Somehow I missed reading this book when it came out, and I want to read it.
The story: For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon – a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.
4. ARMADA by Ernest Cline (Young Adult)
This book is not out yet, (Pub date July 28th, 2015) so it fits my book published this year requirement. I loved Ready Player One, and the wait for a new book by Cline was too long.
The story: Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull class when the dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming. But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming. As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.
5. PRUDENCE (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger (Adult)
Not out yet so I will have to wait a while, but it takes place in Asia! Okay fine, it takes place in India, so I’m stretching a bit. I really want to read this book. After all it’s Gail Carriger, the undisputed Steampunk Queen.
The story: Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible. She does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances – names it the Spotted Crumpet and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?
6. IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY by Ned Vizzini (Young Adult)
This book fits the author who was under 25 when they wrote the book category. It’s one of those books I keep meaning to read, but it gets shifted around on the to read stack and I end up reading another book instead. This is the year!
The story: Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
7. LAVINIA by Ursula K. Le Guin (Adult)
This book works to fill the category of an author over the age of 65 when they wrote the book, and it’s also a retelling of a classic story – yet another task to cover.
The story: In Virgil’s version of The Aeneid the king’s daughter, Lavinia, never speaks a word. Now, Ursula K. Le Guin gives Lavinia a voice in a novel that takes us to the half-wild world of ancient Italy. Lavinia grows up knowing nothing but peace and freedom until her suitors arrive. Her mother wants her to marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. But omens and prophecies spoken by the sacred springs say she must marry a foreigner, that she will be the cause of a bitter war, and that her husband will not live long. When a fleet of Trojan ships sails up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to take her destiny into her own hands and tells us the story of her life—and her life’s greatest love.
8. MARINA by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Young Adult)
This book fits my book originally published in another language. I read a lot of Spanish fiction, so this category isn’t a big deal for me. However, this book sounded pretty darn good and it is YA, my preferred read type.
The story: When Fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in Barcelona, no one knows his whereabouts for seven days and seven nights. His story begins when he meets the strange Marina while he’s exploring an old quarter of the city. She leads Oscar to a cemetery, where they watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the last Sunday of each month. At exactly ten o’clock in the morning, a woman shrouded in a black velvet cloak descends from her carriage to place a single rose on an unmarked grave. When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her, they begin a journey that transports them to a forgotten postwar Barcelona–a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons–an reveals a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.
9. HAUNTED by Lynn Carthage (Young Adult)
This is another book that will be published this year, and it’s a young adult novel, another category to fill.
The story: Moving to my stepfather’s English country mansion sounded so promising. But the Arnaud Manor is neglected and unwelcoming, and I get the feeling it isn’t exactly uninhabited. Something wants to hurt us–especially my little sister. Okay, so I might be a little sensitive lately. My parents act oblivious to me, my old life is far away in San Francisco, and the gorgeous guy I just met tells me terrible stories about the infamous Madame Arnaud who lived here long ago, and about missing children and vengeful spirits. The kind of stories that are impossible to believe–until you’re living in one of them, fighting to protect everyone you love…
10. FIREFIGHT (The Reckoners #2) By Brandon Sanderson (Young Adult)
This is my science fiction novel, and it’s written by a man, and it was just published this month. I loved the first Reckoners, and the ending left so many questions, while still giving the reader a true ending. Sanderson gets a huge shout-out from me for not messing that up. I’m so sick of series books without endings.
The story: Newcago is free.They told David it was impossible, that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet Steelheart–invincible, immortal, unconquerable–is dead. And he died by David’s hand. Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers.
Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it’s the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Entering a city oppressed by a High Epic despot is risky, but David’s willing to take the gamble. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic–Firefight. And now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.
So that’s a sample of the books I’ll be reading this year. 2014 was not a great reading year for me. I’m much more optimistic about my reading selections this year. And I think the Book Riot Challenge is going to help. I’ve already started HAUNTED. I love a good ghost story!