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I have had the most bookish birthday of my life today, you guys, and I could not wait to share it with you, so I’m posting it now. All of the above are books I either got or purchased with gift cards. For my birthday. I’m still pinching myself. Here are the deets, from left to right, top down:
Ha’Penny by Jo Walton – because Ana loves her and I recently got Among Others as well.
In 1949, eight years after the “Peace with Honor” was negotiated between Great Britain and Nazi Germany by the Farthing Set, England has completed its slide into fascist dicatorship. Then a bomb explodes in a London suburb.
The brilliant but politically compromised Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard is assigned the case. What he finds leads him to a conspiracy of peers and communists, of staunch King-and- Country patriots and hardened IRA gunmen, to murder Britain’s Prime Minister and his new ally, Adolf Hitler.
Against a background of increasing domestic espionage and the suppression of Jews and homosexuals, an ad-hoc band of idealists and conservatives blackmail the one person they need to complete their plot, an actress who lives for her art and holds the key to the Fuhrer’s death. From the ha’penny seats in the theatre to the ha’pennies that cover dead men’s eyes, the conspiracy and the investigation swirl around one another, spinning beyond anyone’s control.
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean – ditto the above
In the ancient Scottish ballad “Tam Lin,” headstrong Janet defies Tam Lin to walk in her own land of Carterhaugh . . . and then must battle the Queen of Faery for possession of her lover’s body and soul. In this version of “Tam Lin,” masterfully crafted by Pamela Dean, Janet is a college student, “Carterhaugh” is Carter Hall at the university where her father teaches, and Tam Lin is a boy named Thomas Lane. Set against the backdrop of the early 1970s, imbued with wit, poetry, romance, and magic, Tam Lin has become a cult classic—and once you begin reading, you’ll know why. This reissue features an updated introduction by the book’s original editor, the acclaimed Terri Windling.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – can’t quite remember why, but I’m thinking it’s because of Kelly.
History has all but forgotten…In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.
Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.
But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her..
King Rat by China Mieville – I’ve been dying to try Mieville. This seemed as good a place as any to start and goodness, it sounds so good.
Something is stirring in London’s dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul Garamond’s father, and left Saul to pay for the crime.
But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into Saul’s prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat, who reveals Saul’s royal heritage, a heritage that opens a new world to Saul, the world below London’s streets–a heritage that also drags Saul into King Rat’s plan for revenge against his ancient enemy,. With drum ‘n’ bass pounding the backstreets, Saul must confront the forces that would use him, the forces that would destroy him, and the forces that shape his own bizarre identity.
Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson – honestly, I love these covers. I’m kinda collecting them.
The heroine of Love’s Shadowis the delightful Edith Ottley. She lives with her husband Brace and her two children in a very new, very small, very white flat in Knightsbridge. As we follow Edith’s fortunes we enter the enchanting world of Edwardian London, bewitched by the courtships, jealousies and love affairs of Edith’s coterie – Hyacinth, Eugenia, Charles and Cecil, Vincy, Madame Frabelle and many more.
A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz – ditto above, plus, unicorns? Hello!
A six-year-old boy in the British immigrant community of Whitechapel believes he has discovered a unicorn for sale at the market. Though it looks to most people like a white goat with a bump on its head, young Joe is certain it will make the dreams of his friends and neighbors come true—a reunion with his father in Africa, a steam press for a tailor shop, a ring for a girlfriend. Others may be skeptical of the unicorn’s magic, but with enough effort, Joe believes he can make it all real.
Seedfolk by Paul Flieschman – on my list from Debi
A vacant lot, rat-infested and filled with garbage, looked like no place for a garden. Especially to a neighborhood of strangers where no one seems to care. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise: To Curtis, who believes he can win back Lateesha’s heart with a harvest of tomatoes; to Virgil’s dad, who sees a fortune to be made from growing lettuce; and even to Maricela, sixteen and pregnant, wishing she were dead.
Thirteen very different voices — old, young, Haitian, Hispanic, tough, haunted, and hopeful — tell one amazing story about a garden that transforms a neighborhood.
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury – was looking for The Halloween Tree, which is on my list from Debi. They didn’t have it, so I got this.
The tattooed man moves, and in the arcane designs scrawled upon his skin swirled tales beyond imagining: tales of love and laughter darkness and death, of mankind’s glowing, golden past and its dim, haunted future. Here are eighteen incomparable stories that blend magic and truth in a kaleidoscope tapestry of wonder–woven by the matchless imagination of Ray Bradbury.
The Nun by Simonetta Agnello Hornby – I was browsing and goodness gracious, this sounded GOOD.
August 15, 1839. Messina, Italy. In the home of Marshall don Peppino Padellani di Opiri, preparations for the feast of the Ascension are underway. This may be the last happy day in the life of Agata, the Marshall’s daughter. She and the wealthy Giacomo Lepre have fallen in love. Agata however must forsake her beloved Giacomo for the good of her family. Unfortunately the extended families of these illicit lovers cannot come to an agreement in their efforts to put the tawdry matter of their offspring’s affair to rest and when Marshall don Peppino dies, Agata’s mother decides to ferry her daughter far from Messina, to Naples, where she hopes to garner a stipend from the King. The only boat leaving Messina that day is captained by the young Englishman, James Garson.
Following a tempestuous passage to Naples, during which Agata confesses her troubles to James, Agata and her mother find themselves rebuffed by the king and Agata is forced to join a convent. The Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Stilita is rife with rancor and jealousy, illicit passions and ancient feuds.
But Agata remains aloof, devoting herself to the cultivation of medicinal herbs, calmed by the steady rhythms of monastic life. She reads all the books James Garson sends her and follows the news of the various factions struggling to bring unity to Italy. She has accepted her life as a nun, but she is divided by her yearnings for purity and religiosity and her desire to be part of the world. She is increasingly torn when she realizes that her feelings for James Garson, though he is only a distant presence in her life, have eclipsed those for Lepre.
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse – have you seen the cover? I arrest my case.
The founding of a unique Paris bookstore triggers jealousies and threats in Cossé’s intriguing follow-up to The Corner of the Veil (1999). Former comic-book seller Ivan “Van” Georg and stylish Francesca Aldo-Valbelli team to establish the Good Novel, a bookshop that will stock only masterpieces in fiction, which are selected by a secret committee of writers. At first, the warm welcome of the bookstore results in soaring sales. Then attacks in the press, the opening of rival bookstores, and attempts against the lives of committee members by persons unknown sour the atmosphere for the Good Novel’s community of readers and writers. Cossé poignantly depicts characters who have turned to literature for solace against the pain in their lives, creates ongoing speculation as to the shadowy first-person narrator, and furnishes sly commentary about gatekeeping in the literary world. Though purists may be disappointed with the solution to the mystery, there’s plenty of food for thought.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – I loved Fledgling, so it’s been my mission to read more Butler. Now I have this and Kindred!
When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.
A stirring portrait of 21st-century America by the author of Wild Seed. Forced to flee an America where anarchy and violence have completely taken over, empath Lauren Olamina–who can feel the pain of others and is crippled by it–becomes a prophet carrying the hope of a new world and a new faith christened “Earthseed.”
Snow White, Blood Read by Datlow and Windling – fairy tales, Datlow and Windling, and on the discount shelf. It was a no-brainer.
Once upon a time, fairy tales were for children–but not anymore.
In Snow White, Blood Red, some of today’s most acclaimed fantasy authors present stories that evoke the spirit of classic fairy tales, but that are decidedly for grown-ups. Here you will find magical tales of enchantment and delight, but also stories with a dark, sinister edge in which heroes and heroines are flawed and fallible, fairies and fey beings pursue their own wicked schemes, love lists toward lust, words and actions are weapons that draw blood, and not everyone lives happily ever after. Passionate, erotic, violent, and brutally honest, these stories simmer with emotions that their disarmingly charming fantasies can barely contain.
Edited by award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, and featuring the work of Neil Gaiman, Charles de Lint, Gahan Wilson, Patricia A. McKillip, Steve and Melanie Tem, and fifteen other leading fantasists, Snow White, Blood Red is a connoisseur’s collection of fairy tales that have outgrown the nursery.
This provocative collection of magical tales explores the darker side of classic fairy tales. Penned by some of the most acclaimed fantasists of our day, here are tales of trolls, ogres, bewitched princesses and cursed kingdoms.
The Secret History of Fantasy ed. by Peter S. Beagle – I need more magic in my life.
Step Right Up and buy your ticket to the impossible marvels of the Barnum Museum. Take a highly caffeinated ride through the Empire of Ice Cream. If you dare, hunt feral archetypes deep within a haunted English forest. Or conquer the New World with a band of geographically-challenged Norsemen.
Tired of the same old fantasy? Here are the stories that you’ve never imagined possible. Nineteen extraordinary writers offer much-needed antidotes to clichéd tales of swords and sorcery. Combining the best of the old and the new, these instant classics will inspire even the most jaded of readers. Beloved author and anthologist Peter S. Beagle reveals the secret: fantasy is back and it’s better than ever.
The Homesick Texan by Lisa Fain – I loooove her blog, so glad my BIL got me this! PS: This book is gorgeous.
When Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan, moved to New York City, she missed the big sky, the bluebonnets in spring, Friday night football, and her family’s farm. But most of all, she missed the foods she’d grown up with.
After a fruitless search for tastes of Texas in New York City, Fain took matters into her own hands. She headed into the kitchen to cook for her friends the Tex-Mex, the chili, and the country comfort dishes that reminded her of home. From cheese enchiladas drowning in chili gravy to chicken-fried steak served with cream gravy on the side, from warm bowls of chile con queso to big pots of fiery chili made without beans, Fain re-created the wonderful tastes of Texas she’d always enjoyed at potlucks, church suppers, and backyard barbecues back home.
In 2006, Fain started the blog Homesick Texan to share Texan food with fellow expatriates, and the site immediately connected with readers worldwide, Texan and non-Texan alike. Now, in her long-awaited first cookbook, Fain brings the comfort of Texan home cooking to you.
Like Texas itself, the recipes in this book are varied and diverse, all filled with Fain’s signature twists. There’s Salpicón, a cool shredded beef salad found along the sunny border in El Paso; Soft Cheese Tacos, a creamy plate unique to Dallas; and Houston-Style Green Salsa, an avocado and tomatillo salsa that is smooth, refreshing, and bright. There are also nibbles, such as Chipotle Pimento Cheese and Tomatillo Jalapeño Jam; sweet endings, such as Coconut Tres Leches Cake and Mexican Chocolate Chewies; and fresh takes on Texan classics, such as Coffee-Chipotle Oven Brisket, Ancho Cream Corn, and Guajillo- Chile Fish Tacos.
With more than 125 recipes, The Homesick Texan offers a true taste of the Lone Star State. So pull up a chair—everyone’s welcome at the Texas table!
My hubby also got me a beautiful green cover for my Nook Tablet. It says “Choose an author as you choose a friend. Sir Christopher Wren. And I love it.
Now, the question obviously is; where do I begin?????