stacked: monthly book picks

True to my ever dorky self, I keep a list of books to watch out for every month. I have slight tendency to go haywire in a bookshop because of the need to purchase everything I get my hands on.

Does that happen to anyone else or is that just me?

If it happens to you too, then this list might help. These are books you can check out first so you don’t get lost in the sea of perfection that is books. If not, then these may be books you wanna start with. They’re all fun reads with a certain degree of social significance. Although all of them are already available, I’m aware that some books stores may not carry them yet, so you might want to check online to get them (e.g Amazan, Goodreads, etc). Anyway, onto the list.

1. The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis

If you’ve read any of Tregillis’ work, then you must be expecting a lot (like me, obviously). The first thing I read of his was the Milkweed Triptych where the retelling of the second World War was so vivid and believable; I could almost imagine British warlocks and Nazi super soldiers being introduced into history textbooks. After that, I just got every single book he wrote, and he has never failed to deliver the same amount creativity and intrigue since. I would go so far as saying that he’s one of my favorites from this genre.

At the core of The Mechanical, which is a new imagery for steam punk, is the age-old question of determinism versus one’s free will and how it relates to artificial intelligence. Despite the complexity of that, it’s told in a very engaging context where ‘clakkers’, mechanical men, are powered by alchemy to protect and defend the Brasswork Throne – now, the only superpower. Trust me, even if this isn’t usually a genre you go for, this book is a worthy read. It delves into a lot of different topics which I think you’ll enjoy.

2. Find Me by Laura van den Berg

It’s for the scifi-loving book lovers who gravitate towards strong female leads and a steady dose of mystery. The book chronicles Joy’s life after she discover she’s immune from an Alzheimer’s-like pandemic that wipes out most of the population and how she makes sense of the world by studying survivors of that disease.

3. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi

If you follow me on twitter, you would know that I’ve been raving about this book for awhile. The humorous and quirky writing style that Amanda took was so strategic and appropriate in delivering a stance on a very prominent social issue (that you all know I feel strongly about), the concept of beauty.

The book is about two friends, one ‘objectively’ beautiful and the other not (for lack of a better word), who attempt to make the people around them see who they truly are. Here’s the catch: they do it while masking their appearances. It’s a light and funny read with an undertone that persuades you to question your personal identity and how other people see it and shape it.

4. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Much to my dismay, I have not read this book yet, but my recommendation is based on the massive postive reviews it got and the summary I was sent to read. I’m definitely getting a copy soon though. Also, I’ve supported ALL the books this author wrote which includes Never Let Me Go.

Personally, I loved the intimacy of the relationship between Axl and Beatrice as they remember their past and see how much effect it has on their future. I’ll definitely tell you on a different post if the book holds true to the summary I got.

5. Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet

Faudet’s writing style and content is definitely not for everyone. There has been polarized views on the ‘dirty’ aspect of it. Personally, I thought it was sensual, but delivered with a certain degree of sophistication and humor that reads Faudet all the way.

I could keep describing this book to you and how it must have looked when I read this while walking around, shopping with a few friends, but I’d much rather leave you with quote that I think underlines how he was able to deliver a book that a lot of readers can keep referencing back to.

“She was a curious girl who loved the smell of old books, chasing butterflies and touching herself under the covers.”

So those are the books that are breaking my bank – okay, maybe just some of them. I tried to give you as much diversity as I could to cover everyone’s preferences. If you want more entries like this, you can email me or comment below. You know I love talking about my favorite books so if you enjoy reading about them too, I’d love to make more.

Also, there will be a massive announcement on the post after this so stay tuned – especially my fellow book geeks. You’ll love it.

the MAZE RUNNER trilogy

Allow the inner book-beast in me to rejoice in finally finding the time to finish the Mazerunner trilogy written by James Dashner. I recommended the first book to you guys a few weeks back along with a few other must-reads with the highest praises and yes, with the slight disappointment that it’s just 3 books.

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I knew from the first 10 pages it was gonna be an interesting read. You could say it’s a personal prejudice of mine since I’ve always openly said that I LOVE DYSTOPIAN NOVELS (let the caps be a guage as to how much) and the reviews have described it as such but to be quite honest, I don’t think you’ll realize that it belongs to that genre until much later, much much later (as in last-few-chapters later).

Personally, the complexity of logic behind the story presented in the simplest, most relatable but exhilirating manner allowed me to empathize with characters (Thomas, Minho and the Chancellor Paige especially) and understand the plot as if it was happening to me. I believe that to be a difficult feat particularly in futuristic books where the scenarios are often exaggerated and unimaginable.

The trilogy reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984 and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go only targeted to a different demographic, much younger. That allowed the plot to zoom in on responses of teens to extreme situations which would normally make you question the significance of a moral high ground. Also being relatively young, you do ask, ‘What would I have done in their position?’

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*A word of warning: the indented text is a rough retelling of the trilogy (Mazerunner, Scorch Trials and Death Cure)

It follows the life of Thomas who woke up aboard a lift, memory swiped and purpose unclear to a group of around 50 boys living in what they call the ‘Glades’. He soon discovers that the high walls surrounding the Glades doesn’t just keep the people in but keep Grievers, advanced technological killing machines, out. As he fights to regain his memory, make friends and find a way out, he realizes the biggest problem yet- they’re trapped in a maze and the only hope of freedom is to brave running through the moving walls, past the grievers and into the exit they’re yet to find.

When the first girl, Teresa, was sent to the Glades only a day after Thomas came, she triggers a set of forces that make their home unlivable- no sun, walls to protect them or food supplies to get them through. They’re forced to escape the Glades once and for all. After an ordeal of an escape and many lives lost, they finally thought they were safe only to find out that Phase 2 begins after just a long night’s rest.

They were soon told that they were expected to journey 100 miles north to the Safe Haven, through the abnormally excruciating  heat, across a city filled with incurable, disease-infected and crazed inhabitants  the world calls cranks to obtain a promised cure to the now well-spread pandemic that wiped out most the population and turned the rest paranoid. All these, they’ll later on find out is but an experiment implemented by WICKED to find a cure to the very disease most of the Gladers are immune to.

In a world victimized by the Sun’s angry outbursts, where governments have fallen, the only hope of humanity is riddled with questionable morals, every city is quarantined and cranks crawl every unprotected structure, how would anybody cope?

Again, sorry for the few spoilers. I managed to avoid the names, some crucial details and the actual ending of the last book but I hope you do get a relatively clear picture of the plot and the intent of the author.

Trust me when I say that it’s one of the best dystopian novels out and available but even if that’s not you’re kind of read, you’ll love the wit and sarcasm of the characters balanced out by their humanity in an obviously inhumane situation.

Happy reading! Good that.