So it’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Top Ten Tuesday last – mostly because the topics haven’t really spoken to me. But this week it’s all about which books we’re looking forward to in 2014 and looking forward to the new releases is very much on my mind, this time of year. So of course I had to participate. And of course there are lots of great reading experience to come out in 2014!
As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Haruki Murakami: Colorless Tsukuro Tazaki and his Year of Pilgrimage. So the newest Murakami novel is supposed to be published in English next year and of course I’m looking forward to that. It’s supposed to be a bit like Norwegian Woodwhich I really liked so this is definitely one I’m looking forward to.
Joyce Carol Oates: Carthage.Of course there’s a book by Joyce Carol Oates on the list – there is every year. This year it’s about the disappearance of a young girl and what it means to her community and family.
Stephen King: Mr. Mercedes/Revival. It seems we get another Stephen King novel next year – or maybe more than one. There have been several titles mentioned and it’s all on a rumor basis right now but here’s hoping that 2014 will be another big King year (even though I haven’t read Dr. Sleep or Joyland yet).
Patrick Rothfuss: The Doors of Stone (The Kingkiller Chronicle #3).I’m am so eager for this one to come out because then I can finally start this series. From what I’ve heard, this is a series with serious cliff hangers so I have forced myself to wait. But now the final novel is coming out and I can finally begin reading it!!
Lev Grossman: The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3). This is the series heralded as being a combination of Narnia and Harry Potter, but for adults. I liked the first book in the series so now I’m looking forward to reading the entire series.
Leigh Bardugo: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy #3).This is another trilogy I’ve been waiting to read so I could read it all at once. It sure does look like I’m going to read a lot of series next year!
Blake Crouch: The Last Town (The Wayward Pines #3).Both my boyfriend and I are intrigued by this series and I hope we’ll get around to reading it. It sounds intriguing with a small town completely shut off from everything around it and with no one knowing what’s going on.
Torben Munksgaard: I virkeligheden. I studied philosophy together with Torben so I’m always intrigued whenever he publish a new book. This is his fourth novel and I own his first three. If I could just get around to actually reading any of them … They all sound good – I just don’t read a lot of Danish literature…
Diana Gabaldon: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8). I’ve read the first two in the Outlander series and really enjoyed them. I need to pick up my pace and get this series read!
Jim Butcher: Skin Game (Dresden Files # 15). I read the first two in this series and liked them, but didn’t love them. However, I’ve been told that they improve so hopefully I will stick with this series and find out if this one is worth having hopes for!
So there’s my list. I’ve been trying to google a bit and finding some good titles for next year but this is the best I’ve found. It annoys me to have a list filled with books from series – especially from series which I either haven’t started or where I’m far behind – but these are the books I know about, which I’m the most intrigued by.
‘Don’t mess with a wizard when he’s wizarding.’ (location 3055)
So immediately after finishing Storm Front, I picked up Fool Moon. In part because I was intrigued and wanted to keep on reading about Harry Dresden and in part because I just wasn’t ready to dive into anything more serious.
I had a good time reading Storm Front but didn’t love the book. But there’s no question about it – Fool Moon is the better book.
As usual – or can’t you say that when it’s only book two? – Harry is in serious need of work and money. But luckily he is called in to help the police and finds himself at the scene of a rather grizzly murder. A scene with large paw prints, a victim which seems to have been halfway eaten – and it’s a full moon. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that werewolves play a part in the plot.
But if it were just werewolves, it would be too easy. So as it turns out, there are different kinds of werewolves – and they don’t necessarily look with friendly eyes on each other. Or on the private eye wizard trying to figure out what’s going on…
There’s not much new under the sun. The plot follows roughly the same pattern as in the first book. There are several recurring characters who do pretty much the same as in the first book and Harry seems to react in the same ways. But there’s is something about these books and as the writing has improved from the first book, I’m still game.
Something I really like about this series is, that Harry doesn’t always seem to always know exactly what he’s doing and even though he’s a trained wizard, he sometimes overestimates his own abilities. And that works well for creating some great action. Another clever move is that Dresden can’t use modern technology so he can’t just look things up online because anything electric basically self-destructs whenever he gets near. This is such a smart move on Butcher’s part.
I also really like that Butcher doesn’t fully explain a lot of things. We are still left guessing about what a lot of things are and how the magic really works. Like the Nevernever. I’m pretty sure that Harry will go there at some point and I like that we are kept waiting.
But I think my favorite part of this book was the potion making. He makes a fade-into-the-background potion as well as a pick-me-up potion and the ingredients just makes sense – in a funny way. The fade-into-the dark potion is filled with boring stuff – like lettuce for taste and elevator music to camouflage the spirit whereas the pick-me-up potion contains morning doughnut, fresh soap, dawn sunshine, a to-do list, some bright cheerful music – and coffee! I’m really not sure it makes sense if you think too hard about it but it doesn’t have to. It works in the book.
So all in all, this book has more humor and feels better written than the first book in the series. Oh, and he mentions Benji too, a childhood favorite of mine. So again, an enjoyable read and I’ll definite read further on in the series at some point. Probably soon because I’m starting to fall asleep again when reading in bed at night…
So lately I’ve been struggling so much with my reading. I have hardly any time to read, except in bed, and when I do that, I read about 5 pages, take a nap and then read 5 pages more, nap, give up. This has gotten so bad that I’m starting to feel stressed about it. Books and reading are such a big part of my life that it has a negative influence on me when I don’t have time to spend on it. My new job is taking up a lot of time and energy and that’s fine. I love my new work place, my colleagues and the challenges I face every day. Each day is different and I enjoy that. At the same time though, I really need to have my reading and my escape into books and the inspiration they give, to be the best employee, mother and person. So the only possible solution I could think of, was changing my reading material. I was reading literary fiction as well as philosophical non-fiction and this simply wasn’t keeping me awake – despite my interest in it. So I have changed my strategy – even though it might mean that I will be unable to complete my reading goals for the year. But so be it – there’s nothing else I can change right now. So because of that, I dived into a new genre to me, urban fantasy, as well as a new series, The Dresden Files.
I’ve had these recommended by a friend who shared quotes on Facebook and then we got to talk about them and she got me to reconsider my previous position of having absolutely no interest in this series.
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a P.I. in Chicago. But he is also a wizard. Dresden is struggling to make ends meet for himself and his cat, Mister. So when he gets hired by a woman to find her husband as well as called in by the police to assist in a double murder with a seemingly magical origin, he feels that his luck has changed. However the murders are somewhat more grizzly than Dresden and the police are used to and soon, there’s a lot more at stake. Not least because the White Council, a sort of board ruling the wizards, is after him, claiming that he has broken the wizard laws and used black magic – and because the local mob boss and the vampire queen are both involved in the affair and neither seem particularly happy about Dresden’s involvement. Oh, and then there’s the demon. And the scorpion. And women who wants to go out with him. It’s a mess!
So what I liked about this book, is the world. I like the idea of supernatural beings living alongside humans and humans not knowing about it. I know there’s nothing new about it and it has been done in lots of other series and shows, but for me, this was what I needed now. Even though I don’t think the writing is all that good, I was intrigued by the story – and more importantly, kept awake for the most part. I like Harry Dresden and I especially like that wizards aren’t all powerful but get burned out if they do a lot of magic as well as need wands, amulets and more to better control their magic – as well as talking craniums.
So as pure brain candy but with the potential to evolve into something both darker and more sinister as well, this is a good thing. Harry Dresden is a character who isn’t yet all that fleshed out but who can become something really interesting. I’m hoping his huge fan base isn’t wrong and that the already 13 further novels published in the series will continue to keep my interest. Wizardry is all about thinking ahead, about being prepared. Wizards aren’t really superhuman. We just have a leg up on seeing things more clearly than other people, and being able to use the extra information we have for our benefit. Hell, the word wizard comes from the same root as wise. We know things. We aren’t any stronger or faster than anyone else. We don’t even have all that much more going in the mental department. But we’re god-awful sneaky, and if we get the chance to get set for something, we can do some impressive things. (location 1261/65).