Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reading lists - Mommy Lit

Mommy Lit = Chick Lit for moms!

Babes in Captivity by Pamela Redmond Satran
Satran weaves together the stories of four women who have been friends since their children were infants.  When one of the women announces her intention to revive her dream of becoming a singer, the rest of the group admits to feeling trapped by the confines of motherhood.  Together they decide to give in to the impulses they’ve long held in check, and the results are totally unpredictable.

Babyville by Jane Green
Julia thinks a baby will restore her flagging relationship with her boyfriend.  Maeve is a successful television producer with no intentions of starting a family.  Sam is a happily married homemaker who is thrilled at the prospects of having a baby.  See how their lives are changed in unexpected ways once they become mothers.       

Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center
Uprooted from Texas to Massachusetts so that her husband can attend grad school, Lanie feels the pressure of raising her three sons in a strange new environment.  As a respite from housekeeping she enrolls in a photography class and finds much needed fulfillment, but sparks fly when her husband disapproves of her new hobby. 

The Hazards of Sleeping Alone by Elise Juska
Divorced mother Charlotte must adjust to an empty nest when her daughter goes off to college.  After dedicating the last fifteen years to raising Emily, Charlotte now feels adrift and purposeless because of her daughter’s absence.  A great Mommy Lit title for readers with grown children. 
I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson
Wickedly funny and unflinchingly honest, I Don’t Know How She Does It is a wonderful portrait of the working mother in the 21st century. Heroine Kate Reddy attempts to balance her career as a fund manager with her duties as a wife and mother of two children. A perfect introduction to the genre of Mommy Lit.    

Julia’s Child by Sarah Pinneo
Pinneo’s first novel is a heartwarming and humorous narrative about the difficulties of juggling family and career.  Julia starts an organic toddler food business from her home because she wants to provide the best for her children, but as the business grows in popularity she seems to have less time to spend with her husband and two sons.  Fun Mommy lit with a culinary twist.

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner
Little Earthquakes follows the budding friendship of a group of women who meet at a yoga class in Philadelphia.  Becky, Kelly, and Ayinde at first seem to have little in common, yet the women are able to bond over their struggles as new mothers.  With relatable characters and realistic situations, Little Earthquakes is a masterful depiction of motherhood and its many challenges.

Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter
Taylor Young appears to have everything— a charming husband, three outstanding children, a beautiful home, and all the other symbols of suburban achievement.  She’s the envy of all the mothers in Bellevue, but little do they know that Taylor’s carefully manufactured image hides a life that is on the brink of falling apart.

Momzillas by Jill Kargman
This clever satire of elite upper-class mothers tells the story of Hannah Allen, who moves from San Francisco to Manhattan when her husband receives a lucrative job offer.  Despite feeling wildly out of place amongst all the designer clothing, private preschools, and maternal one-upmanship, Hannah initially attempts to play the game, only to find the flaws beneath the façade.

Multiple Choice by Claire Cook
Cook comes up with a clever conceit for this novel: a mother who is returning to college after 20 years and a daughter who is beginning her first semester at a different university in the same town both become interns for the local radio station.  Cook imbues this story of intergenerational conflict with a winning sweetness.

Piece of Work by Laura Zigman
Zigman puts a different spin on the Mommy Lit genre with her delightful tale of a contented housewife who must return to the workplace when her husband loses his job.  As Julie restarts her career as a publicist, she must overcome her longings to be at home again with her son and her slight jealousy at her husband’s natural talent for homemaking.

What Do You Do All Day? by Amy Scheibe
Jennifer is a SAHM— Stay At Home Mom— who is left to care for her two children while her husband is gone for three months on a business trip to Singapore.  Scheibe’s characters are a combustible combination of sass, style, and wit, and the novel reads like a mix of Desperate Housewives and Sex in the City

The Yummy Mummy by Polly Williams
Amy is suffering an identity crisis after having her first child.  She’s not sure if she wants to return to work, she suspects her boyfriend of cheating, and she feels chubby and unattractive.  Enter the confident and sexy Alice, a ‘yummy mummy,’ who leads Amy on a whirlwind ride of Pilates classes, makeovers, and shopping sprees.  Will she find happiness with her new life?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reading lists - Locus Award winners

Each year, the readers of Locus magazine vote for their favorite science fiction and fantasy books, among other categories. Ballots are sent in the February issue of Locus, along with a recommended reading list featuring titles published during the preceding year. Here are the nominees in the three biggest categories—the winners were announced in June.

Science Fiction Novel

Embassytown by China Miéville (winner)
Retaining a tenuous peace on a distant planet in the far future, humans and aliens work together through a mutually beneficial economic arrangement that is threatened by the arrival of a new group of humans that destabilizes the world's balance. (F Mie)

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
When Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race. (F Cor)

11/22/63 by Stephen King
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? The author's new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. (F Kin, BCD F Kin, LP F Kin)

Rule 34 by Charles Stross
Head of the Rule 34 Squad monitoring the Internet for illegal activities, Detective Inspector Liz Kavanaugh investigates the link between three ex-con spammers who have been murdered. (PB SciFi S, ebook)

The Children of the Sky by Vernor Vinge
Ten years have passed on Tines World, where Ravna Bergnsdot and a number of human children ended up after a disaster that nearly obliterated humankind throughout the galaxy. While there is peace among the Tines, there are those among them—and among the humans—who seek power, and no matter the cost, these malcontents are determined to overturn the fledgling civilization that has taken root since the humans landed.(F Vin)

Fantasy Novel

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (winner)
New threats emerge to endanger the future of the Seven Kingdoms, as Daenerys Targaryen fights off a multitude of enemies, while Jon Snow faces his foes both in the Watch and beyond the great Wall of ice and stone. (F Mar, BCD F Mar, ebook, e-audio)

Snuff by Terry Pratchett
The 39th installment in the New York Times bestselling "Discworld" canon from Terry Pratchett, "the purely funniest English writer since Wodehouse." (F Pra)

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero as he attempts to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm where he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist. (F Rot, ebook)

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
Set in an alternate version of St. Petersburg in the first half of the twentieth century, Marya Morevna, a clever child of the revolution, is transformed into the beautiful bride of Koschei the Deathless, a menacing overlord. (F Val)

Among Others by Jo Walton
Seeking refuge in fantasy novel worlds throughout a youth under the shadow of a dubiously sane mother who dabbled in magic, Mori Phelps is forced to confront her in a tragic battle and gains unwanted attention when she attempts to perform spells herself. (F Wal)

First Novel

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (winner)
A fierce competition is underway, a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. (F Mor, ebook, Book Club in a Bag)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world's creator. (F Cli, ebook, e-audio)

God’s War by Kameron Hurley
Nyx is a former government assassin who makes a living cutting off heads for cash. But when a dubious deal between her government and an alien gene pirate goes bad, Nyx's ugly past makes her the top pick for a covert recovery. The head they want her to bring home could end the war—but at what price? (F Hur)

Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh
In a near-future America that is slowly succumbing to anarchy due to scarce resources, diseases, and economic depression, Jasper, a college graduate, leads a group of former middle-class Americans across the Southeast to find a safe haven. (F McI, ebook)

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine
As a circus of performers recreated with mechanical parts treks across a chaotic world, a government man asks for the ringmaster's help in building a world of order, while two performers desire a pair of cursed magical wings. (F Val)