The Sunday Salon: 2010 in Review

It’s the last Sunday in 2010, so you know what that means—it’s time for my annual top ten list, taken from the books I’ve read this year, not books only published this year. (I don’t think I’ve even read ten books that were published in 2010.) Here’s last year’s, if you’re so inclined. I have to admit, having an entire year to pull from (as opposed to last year, when I had about four months’ worth of sparser reviews to pick through) made things a bit difficult; there some books I wanted to include, but ultimately ended up deciding against. If you’re interested in what I left off the list, feel free to rifle through the 5 and 4.5 Stars subcategories under Ratings. That said, let’s dig in.
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Review: So Long Been Dreaming

So Long Been Dreaming ed. by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan

I first stumbled upon So Long Been Dreaming over at The Hathor Legacy, where Maria gave it a glowing review. Its subtitle is Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy, something which intrigued me. While I look for science fiction and fantasy that doesn’t involve the colonization narrative or are based on medieval Europe, I think only The Gaslight Dogs addressed a colonial narrative at all. (Karin Lowachee, who wrote The Gaslight Dogs, actually contributed a story to this collection.) I checked the Georgia PINES library system and discovered that there was exactly one copy of So Long Been Dreaming in circulation in all of Georgia. That, to me, is a bingo.

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010

I have to admit, I’m a bit tentative about registering for Book Blogger Appreciation Week–it feels a bit presumptuous on my part. But the website says, very firmly, that you’re simply registering yourself as a blog in a certain category, and then, a lot of fellow book bloggers are doing it. So why not?

The Literary Omnivore is what Book Blogger Appreciation Week terms an eclectic book blog, in that I don’t specialize in any one genre and make an effort to read widely. Besides reviewing books, I also review films adapted from books (whether I’ve read the book in question or not), feature books on my ever-increasing reading list in my weekly feature, The Literary Horizon, and try to use my Sunday Salon posts to address issues in the book and publishing world that I’ve been contemplating or just talk about the joy of books. As an ace woman, I also hope I can provide an interesting and fresh perspective on romance and sex in literature.

I feel the following posts from this year are representative of my blog as a whole.

  1. Review: The Gaslight Dogs
  2. Review: Friday Night Lights
  3. Review: Mirror Mirror
  4. Page to Screen: The Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy (Extended Editions)
  5. The Sunday Salon: Bookmarks

(We now return to your regularly scheduled posts.)

The Sunday Salon: Imprints

While perusing the fabulous T. J.’s new digs at Dreams and Speculation, I noticed that her tags included something else beyond the usual rating system and authors–the publishers were tagged as well. Editing and publishing is what I want to do with my life, but I never paid much attention to who published the things I love before I decided on that fact. This week, I took it upon myself to clean up my tags, so I decided adding the publishers couldn’t hurt. (Fun, irrelevant fact: WordPress doesn’t do spaces between periods for tags, which is why poor Professor Tolkien’s tag looks so squished to your right.) Anyway, I wanted to see–who publishes what I like?

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Review: The Gaslight Dogs

The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee

I usually don’t buy newly published titles, even if I really want to read them; I’m always worried that I won’t like it enough to keep it. (This worry can be directly traced to Gregory Maguire’s A Lion Among Men.) But a Barnes & Noble in my area closed recently, and as I scooped up some lovely half-price Austens, I saw The Gaslight Dogs and made a decision–the eight dollars I’m saving by boycotting The Last Airbender ought to be used to support multicultural fantasy. It was a good decision.

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Teaser Tuesday: The Gaslight Dogs

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

They traced her ancestry of the little spirit straight back to the First Female, the great Dog that now resided in her and paced in the pit of her chest. She felt the paw steps behind her ribs, beating softly like a drum, like a heart.

pg. 3 of The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

The Sunday Salon: The Book Cover Archive

There comes a moment in a reader’s life when she realizes that pretty book covers lie. This can come quite early for some, or quite late. As recent as my junior year of high school, I was so taken by an Art Nouveau book cover that I read the sub-par book it clad. I have since forgotten the name, for good and obvious reasons. But I’ve never really learned my lesson, to be totally honest. My head is still turned by particularly becoming or striking book covers, but I do try and at least see if the story sounds good or interesting before I add it to the list. But I’ve discovered a new way to satisfy the undeveloped graphic designer in me–the Book Cover Archive.

The Book Cover Archive is exactly what it says on the tin, folks–it’s an archive of book covers. But each entry for a cover also includes information about the people that designed it. This is absolutely fascinating. Some designers play with different styles for different books, while others have a more or less steady style applied to each cover. The Book Cover Archive has a randomize button, and it’s fun to weave your way to a certain designer’s work through that. But what really sets my heart aflutter is the fact that the Archive also lists the typefaces used on the covers, allowing me to find them (as well as pray that they’re free or affordable) and look at all the covers that use the same font.

I have noticed that I tend to have a pattern in what book covers I gravitate towards. Especially for speculative fiction, few things beat wonderful art for the cover, be it illustrated or photographed. While I do love covers that get creative with text, they’re just not as effective as art, especially art commissioned for that work in particular, although I have nothing against the use of classic art on the covers of, well, classics these days. But that does lend itself to copies–a book blog that I cannot remember off the top of my head actually has a consistent feature highlighting reissues of classics or historical fiction that use the same piece of art. Still, as long as there’s no doubles in my collection in the end, I’m happy.

In other news, I’m traveling at the moment, which I’m none too happy about. I’m actually writing this last Tuesday so it can go up in time–I never know about my access to the Internet when the family is traveling. I ought to be working my way through The Far Traveler at the moment, but if my reading is going very well, then I’m reading The Gaslight Dogs. (And if it’s going really well, I’m reading The Silmarillion.) Hopefully, I’ll be back soon so I can hit up the library for more and finish Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s third season.

What kind of book covers do you prefer?

The Literary Horizon: The High Crusade, The Gaslight Dogs

Guys, I miss fantasy. I think the last fantasy novel I read was The Magicians, and that was a deconstruction, so it barely counts. Fantasy and science fiction novels remain on hold at the library while historical fiction and nonfiction have set up housekeeping in my dorm room. (Joke’s on them–I have to move out in a few weeks!) So when Tor.com featured two fabulous fantasy novels recently, I knew it was no accident–it was my beloved genre crying out to me.

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