Last Thursday, I went out to midtown for an important meeting and figured that since I’m already here and since the ride in (and back out) was about 2ish hours each…I couldn’t just leave the hustle and bustle of all these stores without stopping in at least one of them! With the commute time and another major meeting that same afternoon, I had all of one store’s worth of time to wander through, so I chose the Barnes & Noble that was closest to the bus stop home.
My intention was to grab the book I really wanted first (The Scar by China Miéville) and pick up any other books as a little extra self-gift. Of course, with my luck, it was out of stock…but I did walk out with four other books, one of which was a Blind Date With A Book with the hints on the cover, all wrapped up to hide the book inside. That piqued my interest the most because I had wanted to grab one of these mystery books back in the BN near my house, but when I’d gone in they’d already been sold out. Imagine my elation in finding them again!
People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry
The last book I’d grabbed on my way to the counter was the blind date book. It was wrapped in a nice Kraft paper and tied with a cute little string as well. The string wasn’t necessary since the book had been wrapped with tape, but along with the sheet they’d stuck to the front, it really added a nice touch to it, almost like a Christmas gift. I had thought it was a fiction, so was pretty surprised that it came out to be a nonfiction true-crime book with the most brilliant ruby red shiny cover ever. I think the cover is gorgeous, if not a little off-putting. Knowing the subject, the red adds a very eerie feel to it.
Blind Date With a Book Hints:
- WOMAN FALLS PREY TO LETHAL SERIAL KILLER
- GRITTY, THRILLING, UNFORGETTABLE
The City & The City and Iron Council by China Miéville
I really want to say I made a beeline to China Miéville’s area to grab the book I came for, but I had wandered around aimlessly trying to figure out whether it was technically sci-fi or fantasy and when I’d gone to both, each section was so big I was lost within the lost! It’s under a subgenre called New Weird and when I first picked up Perdido Street Station it sat near the sci-fi aisle, but I ended up finding China Miéville in the fantasy shelves this time.
Disappointment ate into my already limited shopping time when it turns out that The Scar (book 2 of the Bas-Lag series) was actually out of stock, so I grabbed book 3 (Iron Council) and The City & The City before heading off to explore the rest of four (five?) story tall bookstore.
I actually started to read The City & The City before realizing I was going to want to annotate it like I did with Perdido Street Station. I was on a bus so…that didn’t happen. I didn’t have any pens, stickies, or flags on hand.
The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
I don’t know what made me pick this one up besides the neat title and the fact that I had this draw towards it. Another book that went in the basket only on my way to the register, it caught my eye from pretty far away. The simplicity of the cover, the title, the blossoms, and the summary all came together to just make me pick it up. It sounds interesting, and I can’t wait to read it.
The Scar by China Miéville
Separate from my BN haul, I had this ordered on Amazon. It had been the one book I’d gone into the bookstore to find, only to have it out of stock. It’d already been sitting in my cart for a while now, but I’d gone in to see if I could happen across it. I didn’t, and so off I had it shipped…It arrived the very next day aaand…for all the excitement of it, I can’t seem to get started in reading it. Peridodo Street Station was phenomenal if not extremely dense and the language and prose was superb to the point where starting anew with book 2 just feels so intimidating. Prologue so far has been amazing though!
The Scar by China Miéville
Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of Nova Esperium. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passage—and escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.
For Bellis, the plan is clear: live among the new frontiersmen of the colony until it is safe to return home. But when the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are summarily executed. The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of pirated ships, a floating, landless mass ruled by the bizarre duality called the Lovers. On Armada, everyone is given work, and even Remade live as equals to humans, Cactacae, and Cray. Yet no one may ever leave.
Lonely and embittered in her captivity, Bellis knows that to show dissent is a death sentence. Instead, she must furtively seek information about Armada’s agenda. The answer lies in the dark, amorphous shapes that float undetected miles below the waters—terrifying entities with a singular, chilling mission. . . .
Iron Council by China Miéville
Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Miéville returns with his hugely anticipated Del Rey hardcover debut. With a fresh and fantastical band of characters, he carries us back to the decadent squalor of New Crobuzon—this time, decades later.
It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming city to the brink. A mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places.
In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope.
In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon’s most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the iron council. . . .
The bold originality that broke Miéville out as a new force of the genre is here once more in Iron Council: the voluminous, lyrical novel that is destined to seal his reputation as perhaps the edgiest mythmaker of the day.
The City & the City by China Miéville
When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.
Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel’s equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them and those they care about more than their lives.
What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.
Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.
People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo–and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry
An incisive and compelling account of the case of 21-year-old Lucie Blackman, who stepped out into the vastness of Tokyo in the summer of 2000 and disappeared forever. The following winter, her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave.
The seven months in between had seen a massive search for the missing girl, involving Japanese policemen; British private detectives; Australian dowsers; and Lucie’s desperate, but bitterly divided, parents. As the case unfolded, it drew the attention of prime ministers and sado-masochists, ambassadors and con-men, and reporters from across the world. Had Lucie been abducted by a religious cult, or snatched by human traffickers? Who was the mysterious man she had gone to meet? And what did her work, as a “hostess” in the notorious Roppongi district of Tokyo, really involve?
Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, followed the case since Lucie’s disappearance. Over the course of a decade, he traveled to four continents to interview those caught up in the story, fought off a legal attack in the Japanese courts, and worked undercover as a bartender in a Roppongi strip club. He talked exhaustively with Lucie’s friends and family and won unique access to the Japanese detectives who investigated the case. And he delved into the mind and background of the man accused of the crime–Joji Obara, described by the judge as “unprecedented and extremely evil.” With the finesse of a novelist, he reveals the astonishing truth about Lucie and her fate.
People Who Eat Darkness is, by turns, a non-fiction thriller, a courtroom drama, and the biography of both a victim and a killer. It is the story of a young woman who fell prey to unspeakable evil, and of a loving family torn apart by grief. And it is a fascinating insight into one of the world’s most baffling and mysterious societies, a light shone into dark corners of Japan that the rest of the world has never glimpsed before.
The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
The international bestselling novel sold in 21 countries, about grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected “wind” phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the 2011 tsunami
When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain.
Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around.
Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother’s death.
Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after.