reading list as of august 31

when i woke up this morning, i had no idea that today would turn out to be a most excellent day. it’s hump day. nothing ever happens in the middle of the week. then i walked into the starbucks across from my office, intent on picking up some pumpkin bread, and what do i see but the new album by zee avi? i had no idea she’d released her second album, and since i enjoyed the first one so much, of course i had to buy it.

then i settle down at my desk, to, you know, actually get some work done. a co-worker comes dashing up and thrusts a book at me: it’s an ARC of the newest chicagoland vampires, which isn’t due out for another three months. i’m not ashamed to admit i let out a little fangirl squeal of excitement. getting to read a book i’ve been waiting impatiently for three months before everyone else? woohoo! (except i have to wait about a week while she reads it, then passes it off to another co-worker who’ll get to read it before me. boo.)

this all almost makes up for the fact that the seattle public library is closed for the week, on furlough due to budget constraints. the BF pointed out i don’t lack for reading material…but the library is currently holding the latest gail carriger novel hostage, and i can’t pick it up until next week. poop.

speaking of reading material:

brooklyn colm toibin – eilis lacey, unable to find a job in the tiny irish town of enniscorthy, emigrates to post-WWII brooklyn, joining the thousands of irish who have settled there. away from her family for the first time, she slowly adjusts to life in america, taking bookkeeping classes by night, working in a department store by day, and finding time to fall in cautious love with a young italian american. when a family tragedy forces her to return to ireland, she becomes torn between two worlds. toibin’s story made me think of francie nolan, the heroine of a tree grows in brooklyn (my all-time favorite book) and how her story might have sounded if she’d come to america instead of having been born there. on the surface, it’s a simple story, until you begin to dig down into the lives of the characters. i read it in two days. LOVED it.

firespell/hexbound chloe neill – lily parker gets uprooted and sent to an all-girls boarding school in downtown chicago while her parents are on a two year research project in germany. becoming fast friends with her suitemate scout drags her into a world where magic, werewolves, and vampires exist in the underbelly of the second city. firespell has lily discovering her own magic, while hexbound throws her into the middle of a turf war between two vampire covens. along they way, they have to deal with the reapers: kids just like them, only instead of giving up their powers as they start to wane, they siphon off the very essence that makes humans so vital. neill’s YA series is just as smart and sassy as her chicagoland vampires series, and i’m looking forward to book three, charmfall, out this winter.

the madonnas of echo park brando skyhorse – stories tangle together to give us a picture of the echo park neighborhood in los angeles. from a illegal immigrant who thinks his wife will take him back so he won’t be deported to an elderly woman who holds herself as an exemplary christian (but really isn’t), you feel like you’re intruding on something extremely private and intimate. that said, i didn’t enjoy the book. the hardcover version is only about 200 pages, but i’d get so distracted by his language that i had a hard time finding the plot. skyhorse writes beautifully, but he has a tendency to pile it on.

the fountainhead ayn rand – i have issues with books that are longer than say, 400 pages. i’m a fast reader, and i can rip through a book in anywhere from a matter of hours to a week. if it takes longer than that, i tend to get frustrated and give up. not so with the fountainhead. i’m actually only about halfway through, but the story of dueling architects is fascinating. howard roark is a rather unsympathetic character, but he’s incredibly interesting, whereas peter keating is just a douche.

*images via scribner publishing and signet books

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