Wishes for My TBR Pile #10: Discovery, Curiosity, and Convincing Gave Me These

Wishes for My TBR Pile is a monthly post where I list and sometimes discuss the books I’ve discovered and would like to get.

Year of Yes

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed ― and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life ― and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes. (Goodreads)

I don’t consider myself a Shonda Rhimes fan. I’ve watched some of her shows and liked some episodes (Grey’s Anatomy is my comfort food) but I don’t consider myself a fan since I’m not dedicated to them. So when I first heard of this book, I didn’t intend to pick it up. However, after reading a review of it over at Brown Girl Reading, it seems like a book I should read and now I’d like to give it a try.

Mystic

Mystic by Jason Denzel (November 3, 2015)

For hundreds of years, high-born nobles have competed for the chance to learn of the Myst.

Powerful, revered, and often reclusive, Mystics have the unique ability to summon and manipulate the Myst: the underlying energy that lives at the heart of the universe. Once in a very great while, they take an apprentice, always from the most privileged sects of society.

Such has always been the tradition — until a new High Mystic takes her seat and chooses Pomella AnDone, a restless, low-born teenager, as a candidate.

Commoners have never been welcomed among the select few given the opportunity to rise beyond even the highest nobility. So when Pomella chooses to accept the summons and journey to Kelt Apar, she knows that she will have more to contend with than the competition for the apprenticeship.

Breaking both law and tradition, Pomella undergoes three trials against the other candidates to prove her worthiness. As the trials unfold, Pomella navigates a deadly world of intolerance and betrayal, unaware that ruthless conspirators intend to make her suffer for having the audacity to seek to unravel the secrets of the Myst. (Goodreads)

I found out about this book when I read an interview with its author on Tor.com. I like the way he describes it as “a cross between A Wizard of Earthsea and The Hunger Games,” which are two books I enjoyed reading. Denzel is the founder of Dragonmount, a fan website dedicated to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I hope Denzel’s books aren’t as long-winded.

Einstein's Dreams

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman (December 1, 1992)

A modern classic, Einstein’s Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar.

Now translated into thirty languages, Einstein’s Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence. (Goodreads)

I discovered this one in a magical realism recommendations video over on Jen Campbell’s YouTube channel (see below). I highly suggest you watch it because of the great selection of books she presents. This one caught my attention because one of the stories features time as a physical thing so one can walk to a particular year. Jen describes it better.

Tricks

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins (August 25, 2009)

Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching…for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don’t expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words “I love you” are said for all the wrong reasons.

Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story — a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, “Can I ever feel okay about myself?” (Goodreads)

It’s really the second novel — Traffick — in the (thus far) duology that I added to my TBR list, but since I prefer to start with the first book in a series, I went ahead and placed Tricks on my TBR as well. I forgot what made me want to read Traffick. Probably the subject matter. The books seem like they will be a hard read, emotionally.

Gods Behaving Badly

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips (December 2007)

Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse — and none too happy about it. And they’ve had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ.

Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and even turning mortals into trees — a favorite pastime of Apollo’s — is sapping their vital reserves of strength.

Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives, but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed-but can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world? (Goodreads)

I discovered this one in a YouTube video by Ke-sha (below). The idea of gods in the modern day with jobs like phone sex operator and TV psychic intrigued me.

Jackaby

Jackaby by William Ritter (August 12, 2014)

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary — including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local authorities — with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane — seem adamant to deny. (Goodreads)

This one’s on my TBR purely because of curiosity. I’ve heard it mentioned often, especially since the second book, Beastly Bones, came out this year, so I would like to see what it’s about.

If you’ve read any of these books, or would like to, please share your thoughts on them below. Or share a the title of a book you recently added to your TBR pile.
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