Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sneak Peak... The Archived by Victoria Schwab

A most unusual library...

We all have histories, that's what makes us human. But what if you were a Histories? Imagine a vast library, so beautiful and filled with... the bodies of the dead! In this new book, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, the library is just that... a repository for the dead and their histories- their lives preserved by the librarians that are chosen to oversee and guard the library...

Of course you have the occasional escape, where one of the undead wakes up and tries to make their way back home... that's where the Keepers come in. Their job is to find them and bring them back to their final resting place.

"Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out."

The idea of a library that houses our bodies and preserves our histories intrigued me, so I was eager to download the sample ebook from Disney Hyperion. What I didn't know was how much I was going to enjoy The Archived! I couldn't put it down! The writing is wonderful. It's vivid and honest, almost heartbreaking at times, and it simply resonated with me. Elements of the supernatural mixed in with a secret Dystopian type society, add up to a great story! Our protagonist, Mackenzie, is an awesome character with lots of spunk and heart, and I really felt empathy for her as she shared her feelings about everything and everyone around her, especially how she missed her younger brother Ben and her Da.  And it's nice to see another good female protagonist walking across the pages!

I was only able to read the first 108 pages, and now need MORE! And there will be more- this will be a series, with the next book being released in 2014. But for now, we'll all have to wait until Jan. 22nd to get our hands physically on this book- that's its release date.

I want to thank Hyperion for the opportunity to have a sneak peak and read the first part of this great new series!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Memoir Monday

I've always said that female friendships are intense & passionate. We are Mothers, Sisters, Best Friends and the Girls Next Door. We are Lovers and Haters, Care takers and Bitches. We are complicated.

Susanna Sonnenberg tackles her "girl" friendships that have made her the woman she is today in her new memoir, She Matters: A Life in Friendships. This book has gotten a lot of positive buzz in the reading community and after reading just a small sample, I can see why. 

The best friend who broke up with you. The older girl at school you worshipped. The beloved college friend who changed. The friend you slept with. The friend who betrayed you. The friend you betrayed. Companions in travel, in discovery, in motherhood, in grief; the mentor, the model, the rescuer, the guide, the little sister. These have been the women in Susanna Sonnenberg’s life, friends tender, dominant, and crucial after her reckless mother gave her early lessons in womanhood. Searing and superbly written, Sonnenberg’s She Matters: A Life in Friendships illuminates the friendships that have influenced, nourished, inspired, and haunted her—and sometimes torn her apart. Each has its own lessons that Sonnenberg seeks to understand.

One thing I can say from reading a handful of pages is that Susanne Sonnenbergs' writing is wonderful. It ebbs and flows beautifully, and her ability to capture the true nature of her friendships is what makes She Matters captivating. She helps us to put into words what our female friendships have meant to us through the years. 

I'm looking forward to cracking the spine on this one! She Matters by Susanna Sonnenberg was published on Jan. 8th by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. P.S. This is Kindle Ready! AND Nook Ready!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Sunday Salon and... The Night Reserved for Readers

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Pour yourself a cup of java, pull up a chair and relax. It's that time of the week we chat about books and bookish things! And today we are talking a load of books...

Imagine a night devoted to readers... All over the world, just one night that book lovers spread the joy of reading to one another. A night to encourage non-readers and sometimes readers to read a good book. A book you just think everyone should read! Could there be such a night? YES!

World Book Night is an event to spread the love of reading! Authors waive their royalties and publishers pay the costs of producing special editions of pre-selected books to be distributed that special night, which is April 23rd of each year. April 23rd happens to be Shakespeare's birthday & UNESCO International day of the book. It was chosen in honor of Cervantes, who died on this date, and whose death inspired the Catalan region of Spain's tradition of giving a book and a flower to a loved on on this date.

World Book Night U.S. is a celebration of books and reading held on April 23, when 25,000 passionate volunteers across America give a total of half a million books within their communities to those who don’t regularly read. In 2012, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, Ireland, and Germany and saw over 80,000 people gift more than 2.5 million books.

Each year 30 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. Readers fill out an application to become a volunteer to hand out 20 copies of a particular book they have read and feel passionate about. Volunteers will pick up their books from a preselected drop off spot, usually a local bookstore or library, the week before. And it is a lot of fun! Last year 3 of my book club members and myself were approved to distribute books. We landed at a local grocery store, had special t-shirts made up for the occasion, brought a table, made posters and talked books with everyone who went in and out of the store. We distributed 80 books... The Hunger Games, The Lovely Bones, The Book Thief and Little Bee!

I've filled out my application to be a volunteer this year, AND YOU can too! Applications are being accepted until January 25th! You can find the details at World Book Night 2013. Included in the details  are the rules & guidelines, a link to the 30 books, and at the very bottom of the page is a link to the application, which you fill out online and submit.

Curious about the books? Here's the list of this years books...

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
La Casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros -translated by Elena Poniatowska
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
El Alquimista by Paulo Coelho
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Playing for Pizza by John Grisham
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
Population 485 by Michael Perry
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Look Again by Lisa Scottoline
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Favorite American Poems in Large Print edited by Paul Negri

This years selections seem to be broader than last year, with a romance, and murder mystery included among the usual classics and popular fiction.

Did you volunteer last year? Thinking about applying this year? It's a great opportunity to spread the joy of reading! Share your experiences with World Book Night! I'd love to hear about what books you gave away that night! And if you're new to all this, I'd be more than willing to share what I did last year!

Happy reading.... Suzanne

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Is Love Eternal? Cadaver, a bittersweet love story by Jonah D. Ansell... a Review

OK, I'm a true romantic... I envision true love not bound by time or circumstance. So, I was curious when I read a blurb about  Jonah D. Ansell's graphic novel Cadaver...

A cadaver wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife, but discovers a truth in death he didn’t know in life.

Maybe not so romantic because it's literally a corpse that comes back to life, but how about a love so strong that the man just can't lie quietly on the table until he says one last goodbye to the love of his life... his wife.

Creepy, but tender and absolutely hilarious. The graphic novel is written in rhyme, reminds me of Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes' book, Go the F** to Sleep, not for the profanity, but for the dry humor. The accompanying artwork by Carina Simmons, Eric Vennemeyer & Abe Dieckman is great. And how it all came about is sweet... Jonah D. Ansell wrote this as a gift to his kid sister who was going to be doing what all beginning med students eventually do... working with cadavers. Jonah "simply sought to lighten her mood and mitigate her understandable fears on what was then the biggest day of her life on her path to becoming a doctor."

I don't want to ruin the punchline on this slim graphic novel (my ebook was 114 pages), so I'll just say that an adventure ensues that has a bittersweet ending to a lifetime of togetherness. If you appreciate a bit of sarcasm with your romance, Cadaver should be right up your alley. I give it 4 scalpels!

I want to thank Academy Chicago Publishers for giving me access to the ebook! I really enjoyed reading it! If you'd like to read it, it will be published Feb. 1st! ( Shouldn't that be Feb. 14th?!)

P.S. Cadaver started as a short poem for a kid sister in med school and went on to become an award winning animated short long listed for the 2013 academy awards (here's the trailer!) Now we get to enjoy it close to it's original form.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Let's Get Graphic!

The Graphic Novel Challenge 2013

Ready for our first reading challenge? Here it is... The Graphic Novel Challenge 2013 hosted by Nicola of Back to Books! The details are as follows...


Level 1: read and review 12 books during the year (you could spread them out and read one a month or have a blast and read all 12 in a row!)

Level 2: read and review 24 books during the year (same as above only you would read two a month for the slow rate)

Game Play

Basic: no change from last year. just read any book generally considered a graphic novel, manga, or collection of comics, write a review and link to your post.

Advanced:  For advanced play we are going to play categories.  Players will pick 1 book from each of the 12 categories below.  If you are playing at Level 2 you could double up, choosing two from each category, or use the remainder as free picks.  You only have to read one book from each of the 12 categories.

1. manga
2. superhero
3. classic adaptation (a classic work adapted into the graphic format)
4. memoir
5. fantasy
6. translated from a foreign language
7. a single-issue comic book
8. science-fiction
9. crime or mystery
10. fairytale or mythology (true to the original or fractured, such as Fables series)
11. children's book (specifically written for children)
12. anthology (a collection of short stories by different authors/artists)

I'm challenging myself to read 12 books, so it's the basic challenge for me. How about you? Up for a little reading outside your normal reading box? If so, follow the link above to the Graphic Novel reading challenge signup page. In the meantime, I'll be posting my reviews of any graphic novels I've read... and I've already got two reviews coming soon! 

Happy reading... Suzanne

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reading Resolutions & A Happy New Year

2012 was a year of transition for Chick with Books. Ok, maybe  just for the girl behind Chick with Books. I was here, I was there, but I still usually had a book in hand and never lost my love of talking about great books! 

The start of a new year is always exciting to me. Fresh starts, new ideas, and plenty of great reading on the horizon. I always look forward to my favorite authors writing wonderful new books, discovering new authors whose words wrap themselves around my reading soul, and finding books that transport me to places I've never been. Chick with books is coming back Sundays with The Sunday Salon, where I'll be highlighting some great books wrapped around a theme, or covering bookish happenings from around the world. I'll be reviewing some great new books, but also some books that we might have missed when they were first published, a.k.a."oldies but goodies". If you enjoyed my coverage of memoirs, Memoir Mondays will pop up monthly, covering memoirs and maybe some great nonfiction thrown in too. I haven't forgotten about the new way we read either... eReaders! There are some great reading bargains to be had, but also plenty of new ways to get those new ebooks and we'll talk about  what's new in the electronic world of the printed page (and I'm so tempted by a certain HD reader we'll be talking about that too!) Author interviews, bookish news, and some great giveaways are all on the Chick with Books reading horizon! 

Talk is cheap, so what's a reader to do in 2013 besides chatting about books? How about joining a reading challenge?! Join a group of people virtually and challenge yourself to get reading! What kind of books do you like to read? Classics, fantasy, or historical fiction? Dystopian, romance, or YA? How about Banned Books? There's a challenge for you! And not only does a reading challenge encourage you to read books you like, it also can challenge you to read books in a genre you would never normally crack the spine on... here are some of my challenges....

Japanese Literature! One genre I started to read and absolute love is Japanese literature. There are many authors, Haruki Murakami being one of the more popular, but they all share the same beautiful and yet simple writing. Every year, Dolce  Bellezza hosts The Japanese Literature Challenge, with great reading suggestions I enjoy joining in on this one. The 2012 will be wrapping up the end of January, and I'll be looking forward to joining in on the next (7th Year!) challenge. Generally the challenge starts in the summer, but that doesn't mean I can't start reading sooner than that!

Dystopian fiction! In 2009 I joined the Books on The Nightstand Dystopian YA challenge (or DystopYA challenge) I had never really read Dystopian fiction, or "fiction about a world that is attempting to be perfect but contains a fatal flaw. It's the opposite of a utopia. This can take the form of a fascist government, a failing environment, corporate rule - anything. In it, life is miserable and people have to strive to rise above.", but once I did, I was hooked. I still can't recommend The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist enough! (click on the title to read my review) There are plenty of other books in this genre that are captivating, challenging and well worth your time! (The Hunger Games falls in this category too!) More details to follow about where to sign up for this challenge. 

Graphic Novels! This was a reading challenge that was really out of the box for me when I first started participating. Graphic novels are often overlooked by readers who have never read one. Sometimes I hear, "Oh, you mean comic books". No, graphic novels have grown up. Now I admit, I don't like all graphic novels. I look for certain things... beautiful artwork... a good story. Basically what I'd look for in a good literary book with the addition of visuals. I might also mention that a graphic novel actual won a Pulitzer Prize! (Maus by Art Spiegelman in 1992). I'll be challenging myself to find some more great Graphic Novels and joining in on The Graphic Novel Challenge hosted by Nicola of Back to Books hosts . BTW, I just finished a great graphic novel called Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel,  look for my review coming soon, and my official post about this reading challenge!

I'll be reading plenty of other genre's of books through out the year, but these challenges kind of nudge me to make sure I take time to read from books I don't normally find myself reading. I might be nudging my book club to take up a few of these challenges too!

Are you challenging yourself to read outside your comfort zone? Or joining a reading challenge to get some of those books gathering dust on your shelf to be cleaned off? (Off the Shelf reading challenge).  How about just planning some great reading for 2013? Share your reading plans for 2013! Maybe it will inspire someone to open a book!

Happy New Year! and Happy Reading.... Suzanne

FSB Media Book Blogger Directory
my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)
First To Read
Reviews Published
Professional Reader
Challenge Participant