I needed a book to read and didn’t have my TBR list with me. So, I decided to wander the library. Sometimes I can’t find anything that looks appealing, but this book happened to catch my eye. I knew it had a lot of good buzz around it, but didn’t know much beyond it was a WWII story. I decided to take a chance and go in otherwise blind to the plot.
Genre: historical fiction
Length: 531 pages
Setting: Germany and France, 1934-1945 with an epilogue Continue reading
This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer. This story also won the World Fantasy Award in 2017.
Published: December 2016 in Strange Horizons (read it free online at the link)
Genre: fantastical historical fiction
Setting: Germany, just before the start of WWII
Summary: Out narrator is a journeyman Schopfer – he trained to carve and repair Steingeschopfe (animated statues carved from Queckstein). He is sent to his first commission and discovers it is repair work on a Steingeschopfe originally carved by one of the 17th century masters. Our narrator agrees to do the work, which involves pouring some of his energy and memories into the statue as he works.
Final thoughts: This story managed to pack quite a bit into a small plot – someone comes to fix a statue. However, we get the rise of racism against Jews in Germany, a bit of a love story between our narrator and one of his fellow apprentices, the conflict between art and practicality, and the specter of death hanging over it all. Not bad for a short story!
Title comes from: It’s the German name of the animate statues that our narrator works on
This was our book club choice for October. Many of us had read it already (it’s really hard to find a book that 1/3 of us haven’t read. That’s what you get for having a group of dedicated readers in a book club), but we had never done it as a book club book. The library had enough copies so we decided to read it again.
Length: 274 pages
Setting: London and Guernsey, just after WWII Continue reading
This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.
Published:January, 2017 in Mothership Zeta: Issue 2
Genre: alternate history fantasy
Setting: Japan, post-WWII
Summary: Our narrator is a Tengu, a mythical Japanese bird soldier. Japan has been conquered, so he’s trying to make a living as a detective. Really, his goal is to make enough money to drink himself into oblivion. But, he’s been hired by a murder of jungle crows to recover a Buddha that was stolen from Crow Castle at the end of the war. He’s slipping into kyodatsu – a general state of depression because Japan lost that can be seen in people across multiple every aspect of Japanese society. However, the crows shame him into trying to recover the Buddha.
Final thoughts: Interesting because of the setting and new mythology. Our narrator was transformed into a Tengu to work off a debt to karma. He’s not doing a very good job at it at the beginning of the story. He’s slipping into despair, like so many people around him. He won’t even fly anymore – the skies are for the victors. But, he decides to do something instead and recover the Buddha and even takes to the sky to do so. We are left hanging – the thief has taken a ship to America, but he’s going to chase her. He’s got a purpose again in life.
Title comes from: The bird is our narrator – a crow-like creature; the broad is the thief of the Buddha; the kyodatsu is the state of mind of everyone around our narrator.
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It’s Mr. Curiosity’s time to add some books to the reading list. He got some great suggestions from a GeekMom summer reading list. The list is organized by age group, with an emphasis on middle grade and up. We got quite a few suggestions from the list, including:
Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale by Ashley Poston. This is a modern retelling of Cinderalla, with a strong side of geekiness.
Norse Mythologyby Neil Gaimen. This was a no brainer. Both kids are loving Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, so this was a no-brainer. Miss Adventure wants to read this as well, although I might need to read it first to make sure it won’t scare her. It is a modern retelling of the Norse saga.
31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter. I’m not sure what drew Mr. Curiosity to this book. It sounds like a good relationship story, more in the realistic fiction side of things.
The final book from this list is The Berlin Project by Gregory Benford. This is an alternate history book set during WWII. The basic premise of the book is the atomic bomb was ready for the D-Day invasion, and how would things have changed.
One last book to add from a different source: We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Chan and Daniel Whiteson. I became aware of this book by reading their webcomic, PhDComics. It looked like the book would be in the same vein as xkcd’s book, What If?. The authors discuss all the parts of the universe scientists still don’t have a complete explanation for, and provide our current best hypothesis. Plus there are lots of illustrations and amusing comics to keep you wading through the science.
And those are the new books for Mr. Curiosity, although I’ll probably end up reading several of them as well. Any others that a geeky 14-year old boy would enjoy? Tell me in the comments!
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!
This was a summer reading guide suggestion from The Modern Mrs. Darcy, back in 2014. I’m finally getting around to it. Bonus, I even read it in the summer!
Published: 2009 in Spanish, 2011 in English
Genre: historical fiction
Length: 615 pages
Setting: Spain, Morocco, and Portugal, between the Spanish Civil War in 1923 and the end of WWII Continue reading
This was one of the spring SheReads book choices. I was provided a copy of the book, but all my opinions are my own.
Length: 368 pages
Setting: California, present day, and Europe, 1944-1946 Continue reading