Book Review: City of Stairs

The City of StairsThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

At first look, City of Stairs did not appeal to me.  I decided to read it based on a review on npr.org.  It was the headline of the review that caught my interest and City of Stairs may be the best book I’ve read this year.

Robert Bennett Jackson’s city is cold, dark and grey.  He does a wonderful job of conveying the nature of Bulikov (the city of stairs) to the reader through his writing.  Only when Shara, the Saypuri spy, meets an Olvostani monk did I realize the genius of Jackson’s use of language (or the absence of it) to convey the bleakness of Bulikov.

Bulikov, center of Continental government, was once the most prosperous and powerful city in Bennett’s imagined world. The Continent ruled the world and Bulikov was the seat of the gods who ruled the Continent until Saypur, a neighboring nation, figured out a way to do the impossible.  The Saypuris discovered a weapon that could kill  gods and they did just that.  Bulikov was reduced to a city subjected to new rulers and new rulers have to make sure that the new ways they introduce are followed.  No mention of the former divinities was allowed and to requirement abandonment of your new citizen’s faith is to ask for trouble.

Fantasy is not a genre I read often and don’t always likeCity of Stairs ranks with Justin Cronin’s The Passage in terms of fantasy literature however.  It is a must read in my book and as the book jacket says  just wait till you meet Sigrud.

Book Details:  Published by Broadway Books (September 9, 2014), 448 pages, ISBN:  978-0804137171.

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Bookish Millennials

A wonderful report on Bookish Millenials aired on Tuesday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition program.  The report starts with some wonderful news — a  recent Pew study found that millennials are more likely to have read a book in the past year than Americans over the age of 30.  The report then goes on to tell about all of the wonderful content that millennials are creating for the Internet.  Booklovers should definitely check the NPR report and the associated links out.  It will brighten your day!

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Book Review: The Penguin Book of Witches

Book of WitchesThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As few days ago, I was perusing books on the Internet and The Penguin Book of Witches caught my eye.  The cover is interesting, but what really caught my attention is that the book was edited by Katherine Howe.  Yes, the Katherine Howe of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  Immediately, I ordered my copy of the book.

When ordering, I didn’t pay much attention to the specifics of the book, so when the book arrived, I was surprised at it’s slimness.  I was looking for a tome.  Nonetheless, the book is full of writings from the 16th and 17th century writings on witchcraft and make for interesting reading on how accusations of witchcraft grew and spread.  The Penguin Book of Witches is a wonderful choice of reading material for the season!

Book Details:  Published by Penguin Classics (September 30, 2014), 320 pages, ISBN: 978-0143106180.

 

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Book Review: The Bone Clocks

The Bone ClocksThe Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Let’s start with the outside of this book — the cover is enticing and the title is subtle and wonderfully descriptive. The whole package makes you wonder what is inside. The book is written in five sections spanning several decades from the late twentieth century to the mid-twenty-first century. Each section is written from the point of view of different characters.  The story begins with teenaged Holly Sykes, the protagonist of the novel, finding her boyfriend in bed with her best friend.  Holly makes an appearance in each section in the middle of the book with the last section also told from her point of view.

David Mitchell is a superb storyteller and can take the reader to the scene like no other writer. This is especially exciting and interesting for the reader when Mitchell invents a post-apocalytic world as in the final section of The Bone Clocks or in Cloud Atlas or when Mitchell invents a place that exists only in his imagination and then takes the reader there. His descriptions are vivid and detailed.

The Bone Clocks is not my favorite Mitchell novel. That position is still held by Cloud Atlas. Although The Bone Clocks is probably the best book I’ve read thus far in 2014, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and The Bone Clocks are tied for second place in my personal ranking of David Mitchell novels.

My only gripe about The Bone Clocks is Mitchell’s propensity for sharing his personal viewpoints through his novel. (Note: Mitchell was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2007.)  For example, the reader can surely glean his feelings about religion from the last section.  Or can they?  Does Holly consider the horologists gods when she says a prayer asking for salvation for her two charges?  Is her prayer answered?  You can decide when you read The Bone Clocks.  It is worth your time and your effort at over 600 pages.

Book Details:  Published by Random House (September 4, 2014), 640 pages.

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Business Insider: Classic Books Every Modern Gentleman Needs To Read

Business Insider has posted a slideshow of 39 Classic Books Every Modern Gentlemen Needs To Read new books to read this fall. Note the word “needs” versus “should” in the title!

There are some real gems for everyone on this list. The slideshow is definitely worth checking out.

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One Step Too Far Sweepstakes

seskisIf you enjoyed Gone Girl or The Husband’s Secret, then you’ll love One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis.  One Step Too Far is due out in January, but the publisher is giving away 1,000 Advanced Reader’s Editions of the international bestseller months before it is available in the United States.  You can enter the sweepstakes here.

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We Have a Winner!

pearl-that-broke-its-shellCongratulations to the winner of our The Pearl That Broke Its Shell giveaway!   The  sequence generator at random.org choose Katie S. of Antioch, TN as the winner of the giveaway.  Thanks to all subscribers to this blog! 

 

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