Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays: The Collector of Dying Breaths

This week my teaser lines come from one of the books I finished last week: The Collector of Dying Breaths, the latest novel in the Reincarnationist series by M.J. Rose (book number 6). Read this one on the Kindle, so I'm not sure about page numbers; but it shows up fairly early in the book, in Chapter 14, at Location 1581. Also, since this comes from an advance reader's edition and I haven't been able to check it against the published edition, please remember that the finished version could differ slightly.
Jac kept moving at a steady pace, hoping the sense someone was following her was all her imagination. She didn't dare turn around....What if this was her reckoning?

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by mizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Awards: 2014 Man Booker Long List

The Long List for the U.K.'s Man Booker Prize has been announced. This year, for the first time in its history, the prize is admitting titles from countries "around the globe" (not just Britain and the Commonwealth) as long as they're written in English. (Seems fair, right?)

Four of the books on the list are by American authors: Richard Powers (Orfeo), Siri Hustvedt (The Blazing World), Joshua Ferris (To Rise Again at a Decent Hour) and Karen Joy Fowler (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves). Of the other nine books, six are by Britons, two by Irish writers, and one by an Australian.

Wouldn't it be nice if an American author won this time?  Most of the books on the list are new to me. I did give Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World a go earlier this year, but after the 50-page test it just wasn't holding my interest, so I put it aside and moved on. Maybe I should pull it out and give it another look.

The shortlist of six titles is due to be rolled out on September 9, and the winning novel will be announced on October 14.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays: The High Window

Well, thanks to Raymond Chandler and the Vintage Mystery Bingo Challenge, my annoying several-month-long reading slump seems to have ended.  This week I've finished two of Chandler's Philip Marlowe novels, and I'm getting set to start Trouble Is My Business, one of the story collections. I've always loved the Marlowe character in films, but I had only read two of the novels. So I'm planning to read all the rest of them this year.

This snippet is from The High Window, the third book in the series, first published in 1942. I'm not sure about page numbers, since I read this one on the Kindle, but it's from around the middle of Chapter 5 (Location 546, if that helps).
From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away.
Such a wonderfully typical Marlowe line!  (A few sentences on, he adds "Her hair was as artificial as a night club lobby.") And a little like Jim Rockford, too. (So sad, losing James Garner this week.)

An early paperback edition

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by mizB at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Beginnings: Midnight in Europe

One of the books I finished this week was Alan Furst's Midnight in Europe. The novel is set mainly in Paris in the years leading up to World War II, but it begins in New York. Here's the opening paragraph:
On a soft, winter evening in Manhattan, the fifteenth of December, 1937, it started to snow; big flakes spun lazily in the sky, danced in the lights of the office buildings, then melted as they hit the pavement. At Saks Fifth Avenue the window displays were lush and glittering -- tinsel, toy trains, sugary frost dusted on the glass -- and a crowd had gathered at the main entrance, drawn by a group of carolers dressed for a Dickens Christmas in long mufflers, top hats, and bonnets. Here then, for as long as it lasted, was a romantic New York, the New York in a song on the radio.
Initial Thoughts: I liked it: This opening paints a really attractive picture, and stirs several very pleasant memories. As a kid growing up in the 1950s, I was always amazed and delighted by those wonderful Christmas windows the major department stores produced, with Santa and elves and model trains, and toys that seemed to come to life. (Just like the opening of "A Christmas Story," one of my favorite holiday movies.) And even though I really don't like snow, I do have some great, snowy memories of visiting Manhattan around Christmas or New Year's Eve -- it's a very busy, very vibrant season in the life of a city I love. So, I was sort of pulled in, right from the opening page. Of course, this is a novel about war and espionage, so we know the idyllic holiday scene definitely can't last. This was an enjoyable read, but not quite what I was expecting -- review to come soon (I hope).

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.