Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Spending Spree!

I've really been working on taming the big spender that takes over my body from time to time.  I've been listening to and reading Suze Orman and Dave Ramsay (which reminds me that I haven't reviewed their books) and have decided to get debt free at the ripe old age of..well...older than I should be to have made this resolution.  I mention this only to emphasize just how dang excited I was to receive a $25 Amazon gift card and how thoughtful I wanted to be about spending it.  I decided to get some books for my Kindle that I couldn't get from any of the local libraries.  I also downloaded samples of each of the books I was considering to see if we were a compatible match.  Frankly, it was a bit like internet dating. I went over the $25 a bit but, I'm still really pleased with my haul.  

Links are to the book's page on Goodreads.

1. Wild Comfort: the Solace of Nature By Kathleen Dean Moore 
I've had this book on my TBR for a long time, probably since my father died 5 years ago this month.  It is a series of essays that focus on how our connection with nature is essential to our mental well-being and specifically how it can help us understand loss and deal with grief.  I've also been told that Moore is a beautiful writer and the sample I downloaded clearly illustrates that.  Two passages in the 15-20 odd pages provided made me catch my breath and think.  Both are from an initial chapter on snakes in spring time:

"The human mind has that many vomeronasal genes too, five hundred. But all but six of them are broken and degenerate.  I can hardly bear to think of this loss: four hundred and ninety-four ways to drink in the world are lost to us, crumpled in our exalted minds."
That last idea makes me think.  We humans did have to pay a price for our extraordinary intelligence and what might the cost truly be?

"Rain that fell like dead weight all winter long defies gravity in the spring.  Mist floats over the river and drifts away east. Even my own spirits are lifting, as if heavy snow has melted off my shoulders. I would not be surprised to see Persephone herself crawl on her elbows from under a mat of dead grass, dirt in her hair and snakes in her hands."
I love this image of Persephone rising from her winter in the underworld, not on a beam of light but coated in the newly thawed earth.  If I have gained anything from the past 8 years living in the Upper Midwest, it is the absolute giddiness of spring after a winter that just had to be endured.

I am looking forward to curling up with this book off and on throughout the winter, especially when my job as a wildlife biologist/conservationist starts to feel too much of an up hill slog.  I think this book will inspire.  It's also on my 100 Books Reading Challenge.

 Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings

I love the Murdoch Mysteries TV series and just finished watching the 5th season.  The show is based on a series of mysteries by Maureen Jennings that focus on a police detective in late 19th century Toronto.  I've been wanting to dive into the written source of the show for years but oddly my library, which would normally be all over this and in fact carries the DVDs of the show, doesn't have these books on the shelf.  Murdoch on the show is this rather serious, super smart detective who has embraced many of the new techniques in solving crime and even invents some of these forensic techniques.  He develops an enthusiastic partnership with a rare lady coroner who also has ideas beyond the times.  They are really interesting characters and have an interesting relationship and I'll be curious as to how close they are to the characters in the books. Also on my 100 Books Reading Challenge.

 A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

This and the next one very recently joined my TBR based on recommendations by Kristen of The Fantasy Cafe as part of the Smugglivus event on The Book Smugglers.  There were so many books on her favorites list that just seemed to call my name.  I was very intrigued by the sample for this book.  It is set in England/Europe just after the First World War. This time period is fascinating and as Kristen mentioned the "big bad" is intriguing.  What convinced me that I should buy this though was that I immediately engaged with the heroine, who is out of place in the society of her time.  Scholarly and curious but painfully introverted and shy to the point of being afraid of the world, she finds it difficult to mix in superficial society.  I'm interested to see where she'll go!

Transformation by Carol Berg

Along with Freda Warrington,  I had never heard of Carol Berg so Kristen's assertion in her post on The Book Smugglers that this is an amazing author who deserves more attention, made me take notice.  After reading the sample, which completely sucked me into a world of conquering hordes, slavery and magic, I am on board.  The set up in the few short pages of the sample promises a great story.

THE B TEAM...Sort of

There were a couple of books that didn't make the cut for a couple of reasons but I'm still excited about them.   

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

This was another recommendation from Kristen's Smugglivus post where she describes this series as her favorite Urban Fantasy.  I've had trouble connecting with Urban Fantasy, so hearing that it's somebodies' favorite, particularly when that person reads a LOT of fantasy, made me want to give it a whirl.  Plus, I'm curious about the lion. He looks mysterious. This was available at the library so I didn't buy.  

Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield

It has been on TBR for a couple years now and is on my 100 Books Reading Challenge. It looks charming, funny and poignant and very British all of which make it a book I am likely to adore.  Unfortunately, my library doesn't have it so I eyed it very longingly when making my purchase.  The kindle version doesn't come out until May of next year and it was on the expensive side so these things swayed me away from it.  But it will definitely be on the list of the first thing to buy the next time a gift card comes my way.

So this has likely completely derailed my winter reading list . This is a great example of how I don't really have the discipline to be making such lists.  I see something shiny and completely lose focus.  But in the grand scheme of things I think it hardly matters:)!

Any splurgey spending going on elsewhere?  What are your favorite new treasures?

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