In My Mailbox #03

In my mailbox is a meme that can be found over at The Story Siren, intending to share any books bought/gifted/borrowed over time. I’ve decided to post these on Wednesdays sporadically, with the intention to  share what I’ve got my hands on recently. Thanks to primarily Goodreads and Amazon for blurbs and covers. The cover images link to the books’ Goodreads page.

This week I’ve tried to blog a little but I spent what little time I could hear myself think reading. I would love to finish Assassin’s Quest by the end of Sunday but we’ll see how that goes. We’re going out tonight for a meal, which will be nice. Since last week, the rest of my Amazon books arrived, and I found a few in the charity shop, but I figured I’d break them into 2 posts, use the charity shop books for next week’s post, because hopefully I won’t have anything new next Wednesday. Hopefully!

The Alchemy of Stone – Ekaterina Sedia

“Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets – secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. However, this doesn’t sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart – literally!”

I found The Alchemy of Stone when I went looking for steampunk novels. The blurb here perfectly grabbed my attention and I absolutely had to check it out! It’s pretty high up on my TBR list. I haven’t read any steampunk before really so want to look into the genre a little. If you happen to have any other decent recommendations for me, they will be more than welcome.

Un Lun Dun – China Miéville

“What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up… and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.”

Another apparently steampunk novel, though it was the pure insanity of the blurb that drew me into this novel. I found it on Goodreads quite a while ago, but I’ve only recently had the money to get my hands on it. I’m very interested in getting into Miéville’s work, as I’ve heard he is fantastic, so I’ll see what this one is like.

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

“After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the days, then the hours, then the minutes, then the seconds until his release tick away, he can feel a storm building. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in apparently adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr. Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But they are being pursued by someone with whom Shadow must make his peace… Disturbing, gripping and profoundly strange, Neil Gaiman’s epic new novel sees him on the road to finding the soul of America.”

In my attempt to finally get reading Neil Gaiman’s stuff, I read The Graveyard Book earlier in the year. I picked it up in an independent bookshop in South Wales. It’s a YA novel which was very entertaining, and a nice quick read with constant noise and distractions, but I would like to read his adult stuff. To choose which one, I basically used a series of eenie meenie minie moe and picked American Gods to start with, no real reason for why I picked that one specifically, ((I’m still not even sure what it’s about)) I’ve heard good things about all of them.

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori #1) – Lian Hearn

“In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the murderous warlord, lida Sadamu, surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard. Brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people, Takeo has learned only the ways of peace. Why, then, does he possess the deadly skills that make him so valuable to the sinister Tribe? These supernatural powers will lead him to his violent destiny within the walls of Inuyama – and to an impossible longing for a girl who can never be his. His journey is one of revenge and treachery, honour and loyalty, beauty and magic, and the passion of first love.”

Funnily enough, this one is vaguely connected to American Gods for me. As I mentioned, I bought The Graveyard Book in a small shop in South Wales back in October, a lovely little shop owned by a lovely old man who sold second hand books, and brand new books, and I couldn’t not buy something. It had so much character. I came out with 4 new books to my name that day. When I mentioned which genres I liked to the man who owned the shop, he suggested this series to me as a piece of historical fiction, though he didn’t have part one in just then, and I’ve been waiting to see what it’s like since then.

Lust For Life – Irving Stone

“Lust For Life is a fictionalized biography of the Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh and is based primarily on Van Gogh’s three volumes of letters to his brother, Theo. Van Gogh was a violent, clumsy and passionate man who was driven to the extremity of exhaustion by his fervor to get life – the essence of it – into paint. Irving Stone treats the artist with great compassion and gives us a portrait that is sympathetic but fair.”

I have always found Van Gogh interesting since we studied him a little in primary school, obviously not in such great detail as kids, but even so. I’m not sure why specifically I find Van Gogh any more interesting than any of the other famous artists, but I seem to and when I went searching for a decent biography on Amazon and came across this novel, fictional of course, but still detailing his life in some way, I had to read it. I’m still looking for a decent biography of him.

To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

“One of the greatest literary achievements of the 20th century and the author’s most popular novel. The serene and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, together with their children and assorted guests are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. From the seemingly trivial postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, Virginia Woolf constructs a remarkable and moving examination of the complex tensions and allegiances of family life, and the conflict between male and female principles.”

Okay, I actually spotted this one in the charity shop on Saturday. I want to read more of the classic literature, and the “must reads”, and Ms. Woolf is one of those. I do have Mrs. Dalloway on my bookshelf, but this was 50p, guys. Could you say no to a 50p “must read” that would otherwise cost about £5? In all honesty, this will probably be shelved for a while, but it’s there for when I’m ready to dive in.

3 thoughts on “In My Mailbox #03”

  1. “The series by Lian Hearn is amazing. Calling it historical fiction might a stretch, I would go for fantasy with more inspiration from Japan than from the traditional western world.” Even better! I love speculative fiction.

    Thanks for the suggestions too 🙂 I do have Boneshaker in my wishlist, maybe I’ll get around to reading it sometime in the year.

  2. Lots of interesting books on your list here. Love reading these little lists, to give me ideas as to what I should read next 🙂

    The series by Lian Hearn is amazing. Calling it historical fiction might a stretch, I would go for fantasy with more inspiration from Japan than from the traditional western world.

    American God’s is a good book, as anything by Gaiman is, but I find most of his other books to be better. Once you have finished that one I would recommend Anansi Boys or Neverwhere. Both great books that really show of his storytelling capabilities.

    Never read much steampunk, but I just finished reading “The Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest as my second book in that genre and it was really good. A fast paced book with nice characters and a very interesting setting.

    I haven’t heard of the “The Alchemy of Stone” before, but now it is on my to be read list. It sounds like a very fun read. Fits well with my current dive into steampunk.

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