Tag: Saunders

My Top of the First Half of 2013

Posted July 4, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top 5 / 0 Comments

top-5It’s that time of year, like most serious readers, we get to half way through the year and we start to reflect on what we liked most in the past six months of reading. I thought I might as well do a post about what I thought was great, but I always struggling with posts like this. Do you pick the best books you’ve read in the past six months or the best books released in that period? So normally I do a bit of both; a top five list of each to make a top ten list (which seems the norm).  When I started doing top five lists on this blog, I picked the number five because I thought I hadn’t read enough books to necessitate a top ten list, but it turns out maybe it was just easier, so I stuck with it.

Top Five Reads Released In the First Half Of 2013

5. TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

4. The Love Song to Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

3. Tenth of December by George Saunders

2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

1. The Son by Phillipp Meyer

Top Five Reads Of the First Half Of 2013

5. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

4. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

3. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu

2. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With honourable mentions to Black Vodka, Gentlemen & Players, Main Street, The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Seating Arrangements. Also some great rereads include Lolita, The Great Gatsby and Heart of Darkness (which I really got a lot out the second time around).

Now it’s your turn to let me know of your favourite books, the new releases and the older books. It doesn’t matter; just what you discovered and loved.


Monthly Review – March 2013

Posted March 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 2 Comments

Happy Easter everyone, hope you are all enjoying the long weekend. I hope everyone has had a wonderful month of reading and had time to fit Lolita into their busy schedule. I’ve noticed a lot of mixed reactions to this book which would mainly be a result of the controversial nature of this book but it really is one of those books that have helped shape twentieth century literature, so well worth checking out. Still a lot of action happening with the reading challenge as well; looks like two hundred books been added this month. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

A reminder that next month’s book will Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami for our Japanese literature theme. I haven’t read much Murakami but expect some great discussion on this book, hopefully with some thoughts to the Magical Realism genre.

Highlights for my month’s reading included Infinite Jest which I’ve finally finished; the beautiful painting of Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding; Lolita; and In a Lonely Place. I would like to mention two other books that really blew me away. First, Pride and Prejudice which I finally got around to reading after putting it off for far too long (also have you seen the Lizzie Bennett Diaries?). Also Tenth of December; while I’m not much of a reader of short stories George Saunders showed me just enough to change my mind. What have you been reading this month and what were the highlights?

My Monthly Reading


What Books Have Been Trending – January-March 2013

Posted March 29, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book Trends / 0 Comments

It seems to me that 2013 has been off to a great start in the world of literature. I have already managed to read a fair few books released this year and for the most part they have all been wonderful. Most of you will already know how much I enjoy this series, so I hope I do not disappoint. I know I will have missed some books but for the most part this is just the five books that I think have gotten the most buzz each month. I do try to offer a cross section of different genres, so if you feel a book has more buzz then one I’ve picked, chances are that I cut it for already picking something in that genre already.

January

The Wheel of Time series finally comes to an end with A Memory of Light. Brandon Sanderson has been praised for his job in finishing the Robert Jordan series. Now we can finally have the conclusion for this extraordinary saga upon us; fourteen books later.

 

Gun Machine is the result of Warren Ellis’ reimagining of New York City as a puzzle with the most dangerous pieces of all: GUNS. This blends Ellis’ humour and takes on crime novels with another quirky mystery from this twisted mind known mainly for his graphic novels.

 

Tenth of December is another collection of short stories from one of the biggest living legends in this medium, George Saunders. The collection sees the return of the thought provoking and satirical style that this man is known for. Deliciously dark while packed with some clever humour.

 

The Aviator’s Wife pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows.

 

Y by Marjorie Celona is the highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. The ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.

February 

Etiquette & Espionage is the latest book from Gail Carriger and a brand new series. It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to the Finishing School series. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy.

Scarlet is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. This is not the fairy-tale you remember, but it’s one you won’t forget.  Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing; the police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

 

If you are an Australian, then you would have seen The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion everywhere you look. A moving and comic novel, sustained by a remarkable narrative voice, takes the reader on an immensely satisfying journey as Don seeks to see more within himself than he ever thought was possible.

 

The Storyteller sees Sage Singer befriends an old man who is particularly beloved in her community who asks her for a favour: to kill him. What do you do when evil lives next door? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?

 

Bestseller Lisa Gardner returns with a heart-thumping thriller about what lurks behind the facade of a perfect family; Touch & Go. Justin and Libby Denbe have it all: a beautiful daughter, a gorgeous house, a great marriage, admired by all. Arriving at the crime scene of their home, investigator Tessa Leoni finds no witnesses, no ransom demands or motive – just a perfect little family, gone.

March

Calculated in Death sees a well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta on someone’s hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood, the lieutenant knows Marta’s murder was the work of a killer who’s trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

 

Clockwork Princess has danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

 

Fade to Black by Francis Knight is about the city of Mahala–where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under. Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic

He makes things disappear. It’s what he does. This time he is tidying up the loose ends after a casino heist goes bad; The loose ends being a million dollars cash. But he only has 48 hours, and there’s a guy out there who wants his head in a bag, if he can find him. They don’t call him the Ghostman for nothing…

 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is Mohsin Hamid’s spectacular, thought-provoking novel of modern Asia. Fast-paced, vivid and emotionally absorbing, this novel creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.

 

I know there are many more books that have been trending, I actually started out with fifteen books from each month but thought that would make for a very long post, so I culled. Now is your turn to tell me what books I’ve missed and think deserves to be mentioned and also what do you expect from the next few months coming. I suspect Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman  will be on everyone’s radar already, but what else?

 


Tenth of December by George Saunders

Posted March 7, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Short Stories / 0 Comments

Tenth of December by George SaundersTitle: Tenth of December (Goodreads)
Author: George Saunders
Published: Bloomsbury, 2013
Pages: 272
Genres: Short Stories
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

American journalist George Saunders is often known for his short stories; a finalist for the 2006 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for his first collection of stories, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. His second collection In Persuasion Nation was a finalist for The Story Prize (2007).  So when his third book of short stories came out this year Tenth of December you can bet it received a lot of buzz.

I’ve personally not read George Saunders before but when people keep calling him one of the best writers in this medium I knew I had to check him out. Tenth of December reminded me firstly of Deborah Levy’s collection of short stories Black Vodka, simply because it had that same feel to them (at least for me); that contemporary and witty flavour with an element of darkness.

Tenth of December blends ten thought provoking stories with his own blend of satire that is often heading towards a cliché but always manages to avoid it. The humour mixed with the bittersweet and sometimes dangerous plots are clever and unpredictable. I never really thought of myself as a fan of short stories in the past but I’ve discovered so many really great contemporary collections well worth exploring. Tenth of December will be joining that list along with Black Vodka by Deborah Levy and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa.

Nothing like reading a short story before bed, especially when you have no idea where the author is going to take you. George Saunders does a great job at this and I’ve heard this is the weaker of his short story collections; if this is the case I can’t wait to read some more. Highly recommend this to people interested  into something complex and satirical that deals with  ludicrousness, fear and rescue. Most stories originally appeared in The New Yorker and highlights for me include Escape from Spiderhead, The Semplica Girl Diaries and Home.