I know it's been awhile, but I am still here... still reading.
It's been a tumultuous year - which happens. Earlier in the year we dealt with another bout of Cancer in our household, this time it was my partner who was diagnosed. Appendix Cancer. (I know, no one has ever heard of Appendix Cancer). It's rare. Her case especially so - rarest of the rare Appendix Cancers. The treatment is surgery... actually, two surgeries in her case. The good news is, after 16+ weeks of recovery she's doing fine and is back to work. But that is the main reason why I've been away from my blog so long.
Now I'm back and hope to make a more regular appearance as things, once again, normalize.
I received two advanced readers from HarperCollins this week - both debut novels, and both of which I'm excited to read.
The first one, How To Build a Girl is written by the UK's version of Tina Fey (or so says the jacket cover). The tag line that got me was "Imagine The Bell Jar -- written by Rizzo from Grease." Okay, hooked.
(release date: 9/23/2014)
What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself.
It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes—but without the dying young bit.
By sixteen, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.
But what happens when Johanna realizes she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?
Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease. How to Build a Girl is a funny, poignant, and heartbreakingly evocative story of self-discovery and invention, as only Caitlin Moran could tell it. [HarperCollins]
The second is written by a printmaker (so, you know I'm biased - having studied printmaking myself) and is getting a lot of buzz (including a starred review from Kirkus)
Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie.
(release date: 9/23/2014)
Youthful, ambitious Peter Schoeffer is on the verge of professional success as a scribe in Paris when his foster father, wealthy merchant and bookseller Johann Fust, summons him home to corrupt, feud-plagued Mainz to meet “a most amazing man.”
Johann Gutenberg, a driven and caustic inventor, has devised a revolutionary—and to some, blasphemous—method of bookmaking: a machine he calls a printing press. Fust is financing Gutenberg’s workshop and he orders Peter, his adopted son, to become Gutenberg’s apprentice. Resentful at having to abandon a prestigious career as a scribe, Peter begins his education in the “darkest art.”
As his skill grows, so, too, does his admiration for Gutenberg and his dedication to their daring venture: copies of the Holy Bible. But mechanical difficulties and the crushing power of the Catholic Church threaten their work. As outside forces align against them, Peter finds himself torn between two father figures: the generous Fust, who saved him from poverty after his mother died; and the brilliant, mercurial Gutenberg, who inspires Peter to achieve his own mastery.
Caught between the genius and the merchant, the old ways and the new, Peter and the men he admires must work together to prevail against overwhelming obstacles—a battle that will change history . . . and irrevocably transform them. [HarperCollins]