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An Almanac For The 21st Century

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A Peek at My To-Be-To-Be-Read Pile

A Peek at My To-Be-To-Be-Read Pile

This year I decided to write down every book I read. I'm sort of doing this through Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge (I gave an update on my progress here, and I plan to do more as I go along), but I thought it would be interesting to keep track of every book I read, not just the ones that are part of the challenge. It's been so interesting that I've recommended it to numerous people - and not just people that I know. I've told a checker at Trader Joe's and a Starbucks barista about this simple yet eye opening exercise. Just as one example, I would have guessed that I read four books a month on average. in February I read six, and in March I've read ten. I also tend to forget books very quickly after I've read them, and the simple act of just writing down the title and author of a book in my journal has helped me retain information about books weeks and months later. Because of this new habit that I'm surprisingly very into, plus my added reading challenge for the year, I'm paying more attention to upcoming books I want to read this year more than any year in recent memory. I have two or three preorders already, and it's only March! And I never buy books! (Use your public library, kids. It's the best.) I thought I'd share some of my most anticipated books of early 2017, in case you're looking for a few tidbits to add to your reading list.

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River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

River of Teeth is one of the books I have on preorder, based solely on the synopsis. Seriously. I read it, went to Amazon, and placed my order. So I'll just give the synopsis I read and you can see for yourself:

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

I MEAN. Don't you want to read this book like, YESTERDAY?! Well, we have to wait till May 23.

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

The original release date of Hunger was September of last year, but it got moved to June 13 of this year because, according to Roxane Gay, this was a hard book for her to write. Also, she's a very busy woman. I don't know how many jobs Roxane Gay has but it seems to me that she's never not working. I think it was around June 2016 that I started getting really excited about Hunger, and when I found out that the release date moved I thought, "I'll wait as long as it takes!" But I'm glad it was less than a year. This is another one of my preorders, and I think I'll probably hibernate in my room and read it like a teen loner. I can't wait!

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Waking Gods: Book 2 of the Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel

I don't have too long to wait for this one, as it comes out April 4. And THANK GOD, because I gotta know what happens. I didn't read Sleeping Giants, the first book in the Themis Files, that long ago. Actually, I'll tell you about it, because it's a good example of how amazingly immersive and compelling Neuvel's series is. I was horribly sick this December. I went to my Grandma's house for Christmas and was basically just sick in bed the whole time. Periodically people would come in and check on me and I'd be like, "Oh, death is coming for me very slowly, but hey while you're here, I GOTTA TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED IN MY BOOK." That book was, of course, Sleeping Giants. (As of me writing this, the Kindle edition of Sleeping Giants is $1.99, and of course I bought it so that I wouldn't have to wait for a library copy to re-read in anticipation of Waking Gods.) I'd write a little synopsis of Sleeping Giants here but, honestly, I'd go on for 1.000 words. I'll say that Sleeping Giantsstarts with a girl falling in a hole onto a huge metal object and when rescuers come to get her the find that she's in the palm of a giant metal hand.

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South and West by Joan Didion

South and West is already out, so the wait is over! This is a book I'm considering reading for the Read Harder Challenge to fulfill the travel memoir requirement. It's actually two selections from Didion's notebooks from the 70s. The "South" part is a road trip she took with her husband through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in 1970. The "West" bit is Didion's coverage and thoughts on the Patty Hearst trial in San Francisco in 1976. Though this is a slender volume, I'm interested to read about two seemingly disparate parts of America in the 70s, and I'll admit, my interest was significantly peaked at the mention of Patty Hearst.

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Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

I've mentioned Jeff VanderMeer before, for his Southern Reach Trilogy. His latest novel, Borne, comes out April 25. Because I haven't read this book yet, it's hard to me to provide a synopsis (anyone who's read VanderMeer can understand that even after reading his work it can be hard to boil down into a few quick sentences). Because I enjoyed the Southern Reach Trilogy, I'll be adding Borne to my to be read list, but also because of this Publisher's Weekly review:

VanderMeer, author of the acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy, has made a career out of eluding genre classifications, and with Borne he essentially invents a new one . . . Reading like a dispatch from a world lodged somewhere between science fiction, myth, and a video game, the textures of Borne shift as freely as those of the titular whatsit. What's even more remarkable is the reservoirs of feeling that VanderMeer is able to tap into . . . resulting in something more than just weird fiction: weird literature.

And Another Brow Product is Added to My Menagerie

And Another Brow Product is Added to My Menagerie

Wear, Watch, Want #46: The Geometric Beastly Stain Edition

Wear, Watch, Want #46: The Geometric Beastly Stain Edition