thinking out loud

thinking out loud / 22nd December

Christmas is near! I don’t celebrate Christmas, but it’s one of the two major promotional periods at work, and many of my friends do celebrate it, so I do spend a lot of time thinking of gift ideas – and which books should go home with my favourite people. When I choose books to highlight and promote, I think about a lot of things, from what I want my selection to say overall (it has to have niche titles, but I want popular titles to be in too; it has to include books with diverse protagonists; it has to be new, etc.) but I also think about two other things – one, would I want to receive it as a gift? And two, do I know someone who would love to receive it as a gift?

This year I haven’t been buying the books I wanted (the trip to Japan ate up all my book money) but there are a lot of books from our selection that I absolutely love, like Jo Walton’s My Real Children, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun, Patricia MacLachlan & Hadley Hooper’s The Iridescence of Birds, and Dana Alison Levy’s The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher. I’m thinking about this now because I’m already starting to plan for the other big event at our store – Kinokuniya KL’s anniversary. And our January picks, which will include some of my favourite reads from this year, like Erin Bow’s Sorrow’s Knot, and the first volume of the new Ms. Marvel. And a whole table highlighting YA & middle grade fiction with disabled protagonists.

Under the cut – a couple of 2015 not-challenges, and books I added to my TBR.

In the meantime, I recently added these to my TBR:

books20141220 * Debikuro-kun no Koi to Mahou (Devil Claus’ Love & Magic) by Nakamura Kou
I’ve been interested in this book since it was first out in hardback, because the cover’s so pretty (I’m shallow like that). But I know that it takes me forever to read novels in Japanese, so it didn’t seem like it’s worth getting it in hardback. Then I heard a movie was being made (starring Aiba from Arashi, too!) so I thought, okay, I’ll just watch the movie first. And I watched it when I was in Japan, and ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would, and ended up getting the book – which is thankfully now in a cheaper bunko format. I guess I’ll be reading this throughout 2015 – instead of continuing Kamisama no Karute 2, which I stopped halfway this year.

* 3gatsu no Lion 10 (March Comes in Like a Lion v10) by Umino Chika
Honestly, I got this because the limited edition came with a single by BUMP OF CHICKEN, and I’ve been a huge fan of BUMP since 2002. Having said that, 3gatsu no Lion is one of those manga that I’ve always meant to pick up, but never did – because Umino Chika wrote Honey & Clover, which I’m obsessed about, and there’s a part of me that’s afraid that nothing else would ever live up to it. But when I started on the first volume, I wondered why I was so afraid in the first place. This manga is BEAUTIFUL. And the main character is a shogi pro, which I don’t like, but it’s close enough to Go (which I do like) that I can understand it – the tournaments, rankings, etc – without having to do more background research. And now at the back of my head I’m thinking of doing a Sendagaya walking tour next year…

* A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
One of the YA trilogies I always meant to read was Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass books, so when I was offered an arc for her new book, I took it. This is a fairy court story, with possible Tam Lin references, so I’m looking forward to reading it!

* Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton
Our sales rep passed this to me saying “this is a girlxgirl story”, and then grinned and said, “see? I knew you’d want to read it!” She knows me well.

* The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I think this, and Laura Ruby’s The Bone Gap, are two of the books I’ve been looking forward to the most from Harper. I’m just starting on it now, and it’s exceeding expectations so far!

* The Jewel by Amy Ewing
I received a copy from the UK publisher awhile back, and then this international US edition copy. And then I received this again – but signed, this time. I gave my other copies away to my colleagues and I’ve been basically telling anyone who’d listen to read this.

* The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
The new paperback edition of AJ Fikry – isn’t it GORGEOUS? I love the spine and the paper and the matte cover and the cover itself, which has the hardcover edition in a bookstore window.

rereadI’m joining The Re-Read Challenge because I’ve been re-reading a lot for the DWJ project, which made me think of re-reading other old favourites as well.

I’ll be listing the titles as I read them, and linking to reviews when posted.

* The Spellcoats, Diana Wynne Jones
* The Magicians of Caprona, Diana Wynne Jones
* The Four Grannies, Diana Wynne Jones
* The Time of the Ghost, Diana Wynne Jones
* The Dreaming Place, Charles de Lint


2015sfexp275I haven’t joined in any of Stainless Steel Droppings‘ challenges (or not-challenges) in years, and I remember them being a lot of fun, always. This January marks the 2015 Sci-Fi Experience, which isn’t really a challenge, but a way to enjoy and share the wonder of science fiction, whether in literature, art or gaming. I like sci-fi, but I have to admit that most of the sci-fi books that I’ve been adding to my TBR this year just… stayed in my TBR. So I’ll be using January as a personal challenge to go through that. Here are some of the books I’d like to read; I hope to finish at least three of them in January!

* The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson
This has been in my TBR for over a year. I don’t remember why I got it – either because of Jo Walton’s column, or because of my friend Daphne.

* Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand, Samuel R. Delany
Another book that’s been on my TBR shelf for over a year. Definitely picked this up because of Jo Walton’s column.

* Leviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey
See above, haha. Most of the SF I pick up is because of Jo Walton and/or! I actually did start reading this earlier this year, but got distracted by Ancillary Justice.

* Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
The only book in my list that I don’t own yet. But I just really want to read it, so I hope that I somehow manage to slip this in my book budget next month.

* My Real Children, Jo Walton
Daphne gave me this for Christmas, so I’m reading it IMMEDIATELY, because this is Jo Walton.


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