Sunday, February 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: February Releases and To Be Read

It seems my first blog of this monthly feature was such a hit that it will continue! Here are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February.

New Book Releases for the month of February
1: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Three words -- MY FAVORITE AUTHOR. The title of Neil Gaiman's new short story collection, Trigger Warning, is, according to the book's introduction, a term used online to warn people about content that "could upset them and trigger flashbacks or anxiety or terror." Although I prefer the more delightful Gaiman (like Stardust), his last novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was, in fact, a little terrifying. This latest collection includes some previously published work and a new American Gods story. This title is set to be released on February 3, 2015. Here is the book description: In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection. Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In Adventure Story—a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane—Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience A Calendar of Tales are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year—stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale The Case of Death and Honey. And Click-Clack the Rattlebag explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

2: The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty: A Novel by Amanda Filipachi
When I read the description for this book, my inner fangirl started screaming ITS THE MASKS EPISODE FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE!! You read this description and you tell me if I am right. Very excited about this book. It is set to be released on February 16, 2015. Here is the book description: A magical and comedic take on modern love, the power of friendship, and the allure of disguise. In the heart of New York City, a group of artistic friends struggles with society's standards of beauty. At the center are Barb and Lily, two women at opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, but with the same problem: each fears she will never find a love that can overcome her looks. Barb, a stunningly beautiful costume designer, makes herself ugly in hopes of finding true love. Meanwhile, her friend Lily, a brilliantly talented but plain-looking musician, goes to fantastic lengths to attract the man who has rejected her--with results that are as touching as they are transformative. To complicate matters, Barb and Lily discover they may have a murderer in their midst, that Barb's calm disposition is more dangerously provocative than her beauty ever was, and that Lily's musical talents are more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty serves as a smart, modern-day fairy tale. With biting wit and offbeat charm, Filipacchi illuminates the labyrinthine relationship between beauty, desire, and identity, asking at every turn: what does it truly mean to allow oneself to be seen?

3: Get In Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link
One of my reading goals for this year is to read a short story collection. Granted my favorite author is coming out with another short story collection, but I can not choose him all the time. Plus he has praised this collection so it can not be all that bad? This book is set to release on February 3, 2015. Here is the book description: She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll. Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

4: My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
There is one thing I can not stand is people who think they are charmed and entitled to everything. So when I read the description, my heart jumped with glee. Plus it is a crime novel -- a genre that my love has gotten me addicted to. This book is set to release on February 10, 2015. Here is the book description: It was the summer everything changed.… My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too. In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

What I Am Reading in the month of February
1. Revival by Stephen King
One of the things that the boyfriend and I have in common is our love of Stephen King. He was out shopping for Christmas presents and he asked me what I thought of him, said I liked his writing and that I wanted to read his new book titled Revival. I got the book the next day. :) Here is the book description: A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life. In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

2. Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin
I have had a lot of things happen to me recently that have changed my mindset, most importantly the fact that while I am always there for others and will do anything for them -- the same attitude is not represented back to me. Case in point: the "blizzard" New Jersey was supposed to have -- my school building had a half day. I did not want my father to come out and drive in it so I asked a couple of people in my school building, who I have gone out of my way for in the past, only to be met with a song and a dance and a excuse. I hardly ask anyone for favors or for help. This one time I thought they would reciprocate but alas I was wrong. I was severely disappointed and hurt. Just ask the boyfriend and my family about it. Other things have happened as well that finally led me to just say "fuck it" but I need coaching. This is where this book comes into play. Here is the book description: In this inspiring and humorous book, John C. Parkin suggests that saying F**k It is the perfect Western expression of the Eastern spiritual ideas of letting go, giving up, and finding real freedom by realizing that things don’t matter so much (if at all). It’s a spiritual way that doesn’t require chanting, meditating, or wearing sandals. And it’s the very power of this profanity that makes it perfect for shaking us Westerners out of the stress and anxiety that dominate our daily lives. With the help of this book, people around the world are now saying F**k It to their worries and concerns, to the “shoulds” and the “oughts” that dominate their lives, and finally doing what they want to, no matter what others might think. “Self-help for the time-poor and psycho-babble intolerant.”

3. I did receive the January Releases I wrote about last month so I might read those too this month.

There you have it. These are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February. All of these books can be found at your local bookseller or conveniently right on Amazon or Book Depository. Happy reading!