[This post is done as part of GaCoWriMo, my own personal twist to NaNoWriMo.]
As I mentioned, I visited the newly reopened library@orchard two weeks back. Their selection is pretty insane and I found so many books from my wishlist that I maxed out my loan limit with just half the stack I was clutching all Gollum-like the whole time I was there. Plus, because it’s a new library, all the books there are brand new, in totally mint condition *feelingfaint*.
Confessions by Kanae Minato
Her pupils killed her daughter. Now, she will have her revenge.
After an engagement that ended in tragedy, all Yuko Moriguchi had to live for was her four-year-old child, Manami. Now, after a heartbreaking accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.
But first, she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that will upend everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.
Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming,Confessions probes the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in harm’s way. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again.
The first book in my haul is also the star find of the trip. This book is so new that when I first added it to my Book Depository wishlist a while back it was still in Preorder mode. Definitely didn’t expect to find it in a library so quickly.
I’m not normally a fan of dark, edgy books but I heard so many great things about this one and I’ve always been fond of the way Japanese authors whacko the heck out of their books so I’m pretty excited about it.
Legend by Marie Lu
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Every Booktuber I follow speaks of this book with reverent awe and I’m a dystopian maniac so naturally this has been on my library wishlist for ages but all the copies I’ve found, when I found any at all, have been hardcover ones (too big and heavy) which were so yellowed and crummied I could feel the rot coming off them. Along with the above book, this one was an instant grab the moment I saw it in its clean, white, paperback glory.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.
I wasn’t really all that impressed with Westerfeld’s Uglies series. I thought the premise was interesting but executed mediocre-ly, with the final book as the only one that I really felt compelled to finish. Still, I’ve heard good reviews about this series, even from the Uglies detractors, so I’m going to give it a go.
Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.
While I don’t know much about Andrea Cremer, David Levithan is a pretty big name that I’ve come across often in my book interwebzing and his pedigree and the premise of the book were reasons enough to add this book to my wishlist. I’m pretty happy that the version I came across in this library was not only clean and pristine, but the smaller paperback version, which makes for much easier carrying around.
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
Brendan Doyle, a specialist in the work of the early-nineteenth century poet William Ashbless, reluctantly accepts an invitation from a millionaire to act as a guide to time-travelling tourists. But while attending a lecture given by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1810, he becomes marooned in Regency London, where dark and dangerous forces know about the gates in time. Caught up in the intrigue between rival bands of beggars, pursued by Egyptian sorcerers, befriended by Coleridge, Doyle somehow survives. And learns more about the mysterious Ashbless than he could ever have imagined possible.
I’ve seen this book (and Powers) hogging space on many “best of” science fiction lists and while I’m usually more of a fantasy fella’ and have given this one a miss several times before, I decided to grab it this time around not only because it was so minty fresh, but because a little scifi would do well to break up the barrage of young adult titles I’ve been marathoning lately.
The Outsorcerer’s Apprentice by Tom Holt
A happy workforce, it is said, is a productive workforce.
Try telling that to an army of belligerent goblins. Or the Big Bad Wolf. Or a professional dragonslayer. Who is looking after their well-being? Who gives a damn about their intolerable working conditions, lack of adequate health insurance, and terrible coffee in the canteen?
Thankfully, with access to an astonishingly diverse workforce and limitless natural resources, maximizing revenue and improving operating profit has never really been an issue for the one they call “the Wizard.” Until now.
Because now a perfectly good business model — based on sound fiscal planning, entrepreneurial flair, and only one or two of the infinite parallel worlds that make up our universe — is about to be disrupted by a young man not entirely aware of what’s going on.
There’s also a slight risk that the fabric of reality will be torn to shreds. You really do have to be awfully careful with these things.
Along with Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore, Tom Holt was one of my most frequently checked-out authors during library visits in years past. I mean, who doesn’t like their comedies with a dash of magic? Still, I haven’t read a book from him in ages because all the libraries only offer the same few (crummy and bogey-filled) copies. All libraries, that is, except this one, apparently.
A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins
Settled back into the San Francisco singles scene following the implosion of his young marriage just months after the honeymoon, Neill Bassett is going through the motions. His carefully modulated routine, however, is soon disrupted in ways he can’t dismiss with his usual nonchalance.
When Neill’s father committed suicide ten years ago, he left behind thousands of pages of secret journals, journals that are stunning in their detail, and, it must be said, their complete banality. But their spectacularly quotidian details, were exactly what artificial intelligence company Amiante Systems was looking for, and Neill was able to parlay them into a job, despite a useless degree in business marketing and absolutely no experience in computer science. He has spent the last two years inputting the diaries into what everyone hopes will become the world’s first sentient computer. Essentially, he has been giving it language—using his father’s words. Alarming to Neill—if not to the other employees of Amiante—the experiment seems to be working. The computer actually appears to be gaining awareness and, most disconcerting of all, has started asking questions about Neill’s childhood.
Amid this psychological turmoil, Neill meets Rachel. She was meant to be a one-night stand, but Neill is unexpectedly taken with her and the possibilities she holds. At the same time, he remains preoccupied by unresolved feelings for his ex-wife, who has a talent for appearing at the most unlikely and unfortunate times. When Neill discovers a missing year in the diaries—a year that must hold some secret to his parents’ marriage and perhaps even his father’s suicide—everything Neill thought he knew about his past comes into question, and every move forward feels impossible to make.
With a lightness of touch that belies pitch-perfect emotional control, Scott Hutchins takes us on an odyssey of love, grief, and reconciliation that shows us how, once we let go of the idea that we’re trapped by our own sad histories—our childhoods, our bad decisions, our miscommunications with those we love—we have the chance to truly be free. A Working Theory of Love marks the electrifying debut of a prodigious new talent.
I have no idea how this book ended up on my wishlist (or how I came to know about it in the first place) but I’ve never seen it in any other library and, since the one here was obviously brand new and ungermified, it became the final book I checked out.