The end of the year is near, so to celebrate not buying waaaay too many books these past few months, I bought waaaay too many books! Its great. I love it. The first part of my end of the year book haul contains everything from classic crime novels to sci-fi and fantasy. I’m extremely pleased with all of the books I’ve acquired this winter. The only problem I face with this stack of books, is where to put them all. I might need to do a culling of my shelves, or perhaps buy another. What a wonderful idea!
Double Indemnity by James M. Cain is classic crime noir. It was published in 1943 and adapted for the silver screen the year after. James M. Cain is said to one of the original creators of the roman noir genre. With its’ femme fatales, murder and portrayal of humanity’s flaws, noir remains enticing and seductively timeless. I read the author’s first novel in November. It had its faults, but the atmosphere of the story and writing made me want more. Thus purchasing Double Indemnity.
Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West. I’ve heard of both the stories in this combined book. Only very brief mentions here and there, but I wasn’t even sure of what either is about. Now I’m more enlightened, and as such, I can tell you a little bit. Miss Lonelyhearts is about a man who writes a column at a newspaper. Under the pseudonym of Miss Lonelyhearts, he receives letters from desperate New Yorkers and give them advice. His column is seen as a joke by the other staff at the paper. At one point he falls into a depressive cycle, which I believe is the central focus of the novel. The second novel in the bind-up, The Day of the Locust, follows a young artist in Hollywood. It’s about the elusiveness of the American dream as all hell breaks loose.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Like Double Indemnity, this is a classic roman noir novel. And just like the aforementioned, it was also made into a movie. It was published in 1929, and has actually had several movie adaptions made of it. The most famous is the one from 1941 starring none other than Humphrey Bogart. I believe I’ve heard that Raymond Chandler’s famous fictional detective, Philip Marlowe, was heavily inspired by the main detective in this novel.
Dreams from Bunker Hill by John Fante. Fante is quintessential Los Angeles, even to this day. His most well known work, Ask the Dust, has been classified as one of, if not the best fictional book about L.A.. I can’t confirm nor deny as I have yet to read it. But, when I was in Los Angeles in the beginning of December, I had to buy a book by John Fante. Since I already had Ask the Dust at home, I decided to get this one.
Metamorphoses by Ovid. After listening to the audiobook of Stephen Fry’s new Greek mythology book, Mythos, and visiting the Getty Villa, it felt natural to graduate to reading some of the original material of the myths. I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, Norse mostly, but also Greek and Roman (thanks Rick Riordan!). Since I haven’t read any classical/antique literature since high school, I think it’s time.
Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides is a short story collection, which features stories about characters experiencing both personal and national crises. It sounds intriguing. Although the main reason why I decided pick it up is because I adore one of his other books, The Virgin Suicides.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I picked this one up right before watching the movie. The movie was great in my humble opinion, which made me want to read the book even more. I’d only read one Agatha Christie novel prior to Murder on the Orient Express, but I grew up watching the TV adaptions of Poirot and Miss Marple. So, you can imagine my excitement over the new adaption. I don’t want to go into too much detail of the plot. You really have to read it (or watch the movie) without knowing too much to fully appreciate it. With that said, it’s basically about a murder on the orient express. No shit.
Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray. It’s time for Star Wars yet again. I’ve never read a Star Wars novel, and I wasn’t planning on it. That was, of course, until I learned that this was a thing. Leia is a great character in the franchise. And it was a great loss for the fandom and the world in general when Carrie Fisher passed away. I see this book as an honor to her, as well as to one of the best female characters in sci-fi ever.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco has been on my radar since it came out sometime last year. From what I know is it’s about a girl, who pretends to be a boy in order to complete her studies as a pathologist. Somehow she crosses paths with the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. I don’t know more than that, and frankly I’d rather not know any more going in. The sequel centeres around Dracula. I desperately want to read that one, so even if I didn’t plan on reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, I would have just to get to the Dracula one.
Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. From what I can tell from the synopsis, it’s about a virtual reality paradise that turns out to be much more than anyone bargained for. I believe I heard it was a tiny bit like Westworld. In which case I’m all in. Westworld is an amazing TV show, and if you haven’t watched it yet, what are you doing? I really hope it’s good, because I really need to experience a good YA sci-fi book for once.
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden is the sequel to one of my favorite books of the year, The Bear and The Nightingale. It’s such a fantastically intriguing world of Russian folklore, which is simply a delight to experience. I have no doubt this one will amaze me as much as the first book in the series. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I imagine all of the emotions and goodness ahead when I start reading The Girl in the Tower.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, I rarely go into books knowing very much about the content. Regardless, I always have a reason for why I want to read a certain book. In some cases it’s because I want to dive deeper into a subject or genre, while in other cases, it’s about how the cover caught my eye, ect. I’m curious to know how you pick out books, and how you prefer to go into books?