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Book Banter — Afterlife

afterlifeTitle: Afterlife

Author: Marcus Sakey

Genre: suspense/sci-fi

Length: 320 pages

Where Bethany’s copy came from: ARC from NetGalley; releases on July 18.

Plot Basics: FBI agent Will Brody has found the woman of his dream, his boss, Claire McCoy. But they are caught up in a manhunt for a sniper who’s terrorizing Chicago. But when Will gets caught in a bomb blast, he wakes up, in an alternate Chicago, utterly alone. Or so he thinks, until he finds others in the echo. The manhunt spans life and death and not even that will stop Will from reuniting with Claire.

Banter Points: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While I tagged it as suspense/sci-fi, it’s really a love story (sort of like Passengers, in that regard). Yes, it’s set in a cop-plot with crazy, big worlds and elder gods, but ultimately, the story is about how far Will and Claire will go to be with each other.

Sakey mentioned in his afterward that he kicked this idea around for years. I’m glad he did. This plot in the hands of a younger writer — even a younger Sakey — would probably have come off as corny as heck. Sakey’s always had suspense chops, but in the last few years as evidenced in his Brilliance trilogy, he’s developed a finer emotional edge that makes a story like this work.

Bummer Points: Certain readers will not be able to handle the theology of this book. For me, it was still an enjoyable read even if it didn’t align at all with what I believe happens after death. For potential readers with strong views about Heaven/Hell, this isn’t the book for them.

Word Nerd Recommendation: If you haven’t read any of Sakey’s work, this is a fine place to start. Afterlife is going to be a movie, but like with most adaptations, it’s probably best to do the book first.

Etymology + Physics

Velociraptor

This must be true, right?

Vacation Reading List and Other Priorities

It’s official, I have too many potential books to read for my upcoming vacation and now I don’t know which to read.

I’d read the whole time except I get to meet this fluffy-face while I’m away.

reggie

This is my new dog-brother, Reggie, and I’m sure playing with puppy might actually beat out reading books.

Imagine It

Hey Indianapolis readers in particular —

You know what would make me REALLY happy? If you bought a ticket to the Library Foundation’s new Imagine It! event.

Here’s the deal: For $30, you get to join us for a fun evening at Ash & Elm Cider Co. You Imagine It Cider Logoget some drink tickets, some refreshments and you get to vote on a new Library program that will be funded by YOUR ticket proceeds. That’s right, you pick. It’s like American Idol meets Library programs.

If you read just one adult book/month from your public Library, that’s approximately an annual value of $204. If you read more, or listen more, or download more, you save more by using the awesome free resource that is the Library.

Which means, for all the things you love about the Library, a $30 ticket is a bargain compared to all that the Library gives you. I know the last time the hubby and I did dinner and movie, we spent nearly that on an evening’s entertainment. And trust me — as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy might be — it won’t make you feel as good as supporting a Library program. (Seriously, they’ve done brain scans. Making a philanthropic gift lights up the same part of your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex. It feels that good.)

The projects you’ll get to hear about are amazing. The librarians involved have busted their tails for these awesome ideas.

They just need you — the Library needs you — to help implement their idea.

Buy your ticket here.

Trust me. If you don’t love it, find me, and I’ll buy you a Snickers bar to make your brain feel better a different way instead.

 

Hello again

Hi again! So that was an unintended two-week Word Nerd hiatus, but hello again world!

helloWe’ve been reading, but nothing super exciting. I, Bethany, spent a good chunk of yesterday reading the last 200 pages of “East of Eden” for book club. I’m actually looking forward to the meeting to see what others thought. That is 600 dense pages, but I know exactly what the Salinas Valley in California looked like at the turn of the 20th century.

We’ll be back with more regular posts, we promise.

 

Book Banter: Miranda and Caliban

mirandaTitle: Miranda and Caliban

Author: Jacqueline Carey

Genre: fantasy

Length: 348 pages

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: IndyPL

Plot Basics: Miranda knows only life on the island with her Papa, though she has fragments of memory from before. When Papa binds the wild boy — Caliban — to serve him, Caliban and Miranda become good friends. But their friendship stands in the way of Papa’s magical plans and it could threaten to destroy them.

Banter Points: If you haven’t guessed, “Miranda and Caliban” is a retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” I think I saw a live production of the Tempest when I was in high school, but my memory is foggy at best.

I think not knowing the play actually increased my enjoyment of Carey’s retelling because I didn’t know what was coming. My recollection is that Carey’s book spends a ton of time before the Shakespeare story actually starts and the part that’s the play takes up just a fraction of the book.

Carey’s story is a beautiful picture of the innocence of early friendship and how the world can taint it. Miranda is lovely, Caliban is loyal, Prospero is deceiving, Ariel is tricksy — just as expected, but the way she tells the story, it’s all rich. I just sank into this book and wish I could go back.

Bummer Points: I don’t have much here, other than I wish it could have ended differently for the characters.

Word Nerd Recommendation: This is a strong, strong contender for a top 10 book of the year.

Bonus: Also, my May Reading Challenge Book! While I didn’t quite find it on the new book shelf, I had it on hold from Wowbrary from before it was released.

Washington DC

Last week, I jetted to DC for a work related conference and had the bonus of staying for Saturday, which meant trying to cram in all the museums in to the six hours between museum opening and my flight.

I spent most of my time at the American Musuem of Art and the National Gallery, first exploring new to me artists, then exploring new to me works by familiar artists.

It was a breath-taking day of art, and enriching.

Now, back to my regularly schedule work week.

Vader Cat

vader cat

Vader Cat finds your lack of reading disturbing.