Sunday, August 2, 2015

The vacation reading list

Oh, right, I forgot that I do this. I forgot because I didn't know that I do do this. I did it last year. It turns out that I do it this year too.

Yes, I am talking about the vacation reading list.

I am a little cautious about including a lot of reading lists here at clerkmanifesto. I update a master list of my favorite books occasionally (here). And that's chock full of my taste and influences, but what I really believe in is the fervent, personally tailored, confident recommendation. That's the sort of thing that requires being well read, understanding through discussion, consideration, and comparison just what overlaps in your taste with another reader, and an unreserved regard for the book being recommended.

That all is not a "list" sort of thing.

But I know it when I see it. Marcus may recommend a hundred books to me. He is incredibly well read and we have many overlapping interests. But those are more accounts of books, mini reviews. The real recommendations feel different. And they are rare, lean. and rarely convenient. That's why all that "if you liked this you'll like that" is a bunch of artificial intelligence garbage. Play that game on your computer if you like, but you'll do better roaming the stacks of your local library looking things over. That golden book you are dreaming of is an arrow flying out of a deeper place.

Though, of course, luck can come into it too. Maybe you and me both will strike it big somewhere on today's list.

But my list isn't recommendations. It's merely the books I painstakingly gathered together in the week or two before vacation. My last lunch hour at work was not the usual blogging, rather it was editing, researching, and pouring over my gathered up piles of library books. What I do with them is I list them here. Then I report on them at the other end. Do I read them? Do I like them? Did I drop any of them in Lake Superior? What did I read that wasn't in my collection below? You'll have to tune in later for that.

1. Goblin Emperor by Addison 

Recommended to me at the library! I was cautiously convinced by the recommendation.

2. Way of Kings by Sanderson

Skeptical, almost left it behind. Looking like a longshot to me now. As a side note this book is 8 billion pages long!

3. The Troupe by Bennett

Circuses! Fire! This is one of those books I am drawn to because I keep picking up circus books that disappoint me and each one that does disappoint only seems to increase my investment and unwillingness to cut my losses.

4 and 5. Whiplash River and Gutshot Straight by Berney

Elmore Leonardesque crime thriller comedic novels. I am at a loss as to why I have two or even why I have these since it's not a sub genre that generally works out for me. Like, it's not as if I've ever successfully read Elmore Leonard. I just like him in theory.

6. Dragon's Bait by Vande Veld

Girl sacrificed to dragon. Girl and dragon get revenge. Okay. I'll bite.

7. The Sea of Tranquility by Millay

It was about, er, something. I guess I'll see if I read it. I think romance comes into it.

8. A Snicker of Magic by Lloyd

I'm totally blank here too. This is a Juvy book. It has a picture of an ice cream cone on the cover. Does that help?

9. I Shall Wear Midnight by Pratchett

Already started, this is a reread in preparation for the last in the series coming out in a month. This is book four and I have begun thinking of a blog post on my theory of trilogies.

10. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by North

I am currently reading this (it's day two of vacation for me!). It's pretty riveting, though the jury is still out. I'll be zipping upstairs to read more when I finish here.

11. Living in a Foreign Language by Tucker

One of those there moving to the idyllic countryside of Italy because I have a lot of money but not an unbelievable amount books where it turns out it's not like the dream they thought it would be until it's sort of like the dream they thought it would be. I'm always up for one of those, especially when I can read it in a place where my jealousy will be tempered by my own lush situation.

See you on the other end.

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