Top Ten Tuesday – “sequels I can’t wait for…”

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful folks at The Broke and the Bookish

“Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait to Get my Hands On” I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I thought I’d better make an effort to “keep my membership current” :-A) Then I saw this topic and thought, “No way I can come up with ten. I don’t read series!” Looking over my “Read” list on Goodreads, though, I realized that more accurate would be “I don’t finish series!” There are some I wouldn’t mind continuing with, and a few that I’m re-reading, so although I think the spirit of this week’s topic is meant more to be ‘sequels that haven’t been published yet that I’m waiting on,’ I’ll go ahead and be a rebel. In fact, that’s the only way I’d come up with ten anyway… 🙂

Here we go, from least anticipated to most anticipated:

10. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson


I found the first book in this series, “The Name of the Star,” surprisingly good. Good enough to recommend to a few friends who have now also read it and proceeded on in the series. Maybe I will too…

9. Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo


The first book, “Shadow and Bone” was one I read after a gushing NY Times review by Laini Taylor (author of the confusingly similar – to me, anyway – titled, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”). It is somewhat standard YA fare, but I found the setting intriguing, with all the Russian-sounding names and places. This one I’ll likely read, but not sure when it will reach the top of the batting order.

8. Speaker for the Dead (Ender’s Game #2) by Orson Scott Card


Probably gonna see the Ender’s Game movie here this upcoming weekend. I hadn’t gotten around to reading the original Ender’s Game until this year, but thought it was very good. Somewhat afraid that a weaker sequel might “ruin” it for me, but we’ll see. Other trusted reader friends have enjoyed the whole series, but I’m not generally a Sci-Fi/”space wars” kinda guy…

7. Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins


Yes, I’ve already read this series, but re-read the first one before the movie and want to do the same with book 2. Plus a gang of friends is organizing a group outing to go see the movie soon, and I’d like to be able to remember what the heck is going on… 🙂

6. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth


I liked the first one well enough and am kind of curious where things end up for Tris and the Dauntless (and the other factions). Like a lot of other series on this list, this is one that I’ve recommended to some of my friends who are “recreational readers.” It has been well-liked by all so far.

5. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer


The first book, “Cinder,” was perhaps my favorite YA read of the year (not that I read that many), but I found the premise of having the protagonist be a cyborg to be fascinating. I even forgot she was in just a few pages! I’ve recommend this to others too and it’s been popular with them, so why not press on with the series?

4. Taran Wanderer (The Prydain Chronicles #4) by Alexander Lloyd


Another re-read. The Prydain Chronicles were a favorite of my junior high reading years. Earlier this year I started re-reading the 5 books and only made it up to book #3. I’d like to go on, though, and I remember that number 4 was a favorite back in the day… The Prydain Chronicles are kind of like a younger person’s Lord of the Rings. Fun reading for any age, though. You should check them out. THe picture above is of the actual old edition I have from the 70s(?)

3. The Daylight War (The Demon Cycle #3) by Peter Brett


The first two books were awesome. I don’t often read this genre, but I found the characters in this series to be very well done. And the world plagued by demons was awesome. I couldn’t wait for this one to come out when I finished #2, but when it finally did, I didn’t get to it right away and still haven’t. I have no idea why. I wrote an earlier post praising this series. You can find it here.

2. The Shift Omnibus (prequel to the Wool Omnibus) by Hugh Howey


Are “prequels” allowed for this list? I’m assuming they are – as long as they are published after the original. The Wool Omnibus was a surprise favorite read of earlier this year for me. I always meant to write an epic post praising it, but never have (story of my blogging life). Maybe it’s time to do that too. I’ve kind of been waiting for the opportunity for a significant stretch of uninterrupted reading time/days where I could read this one in just a few days, like I did the first one…

1. Whatever “new” J.D. Salinger work comes out…


This is the only one on the list that I really “can’t wait” to get my hands on. This was BIG news  when it came out recently that previous unpublished works will be released. Salinger’s “The Laughing Man” was one of my favorite short story reads of 2013.

Well, that’s it for me. What are you unable to wait for?

The Remarkable Case of Davidson’s Eyes

This short story is another tidbit from H.G. Wells’s collection, “The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents.” It is one of my favorites and showcases the stupendous imagination of this famous author. I’ve been pondering about imagination lately, as I was also quite impressed with its being on vivid display in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games Trilogy,” and was reminded again at the Kurt Vonnegut Book Club meeting on September 30th, where several club members marveled at Vonnegut’s “imagination” and “How did he come up with that?” sort of questions. At first I (internally, anyway) dismissed this as a case of the non-artist (as in me or my colleagues in the book club) not easily understanding the artist. I still believe that is largely true, because such things “might never occur to us” as non-artists. We often need, I think, things to be “closer together” before we can make a connection. It’s as though the artist has stronger “pattern recognition” muscles than the rest of us. He can see similarities that the rest of us cannot. The neat thing is, once he trail blazes those connections for us, we usually – or at least often – have an “oh, yeah..” moment as realization dawns.

The premise/setting of this story starts with an accident in a lab resulting in a temporary experience of a sensory trans- or dis-location: the sight of the unfortunate Davidson is mapped to a point the other side of the globe. Wells speculates that Davidson’s condition was brought on by accidentally “stooping between the poles of some big electromagnet” and had “some extraordinary twist given to his retinal elements.” Other curious symptoms of his affliction are that he can hear and feel those around him in the “real world”, even though he sees another world, which is apparently on the other side of the globe since when it is daylight where his physical body is, it is nighttime “wherever his eyes are” and vice-versa. Also, as he gains or loses altitude in his local landscape, he does the same wherever his eyes are, even going underwater at one point. Another odd twist is that Davidson cannot taste tobacco as he smokes, and our narrator comments that now neither can he, unless he can see the smoke(!)

An interesting little story, written in 1895, no less. Oh, and I even saw somewhere on-line that some view this as one of the earliest descriptions of “remote viewing” – a popular pseudo-scientific phenomenon.

H.G. Wells

Now reading: “The Stolen Bacillus and other Incidents” by H.G. Wells

This collection of short stories is the October selection of my book club, The Indy Reading Coalition. Usually, in October we have a seasonal theme of ghost stories, or – last year – we read a collection of Edgar Allan Poe works. We struggled to decide on something this year but finally went with H.G. Wells who, though not a writer of the horror genre per se, did write a lot of off-beat, unusual stories. Plus, our club had read and enjoyed one of his other stories (“The Flowering of the Strange Orchid”) as part of our “Short Story Month III” in July of this year.

In addition to this collection, I’m looking forward to a busy reading month in October. I plan to finish Mockingjay (the final installment in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy) and also read “Cold Mountain” by Charles Frazier to count toward my personal Project: Civil War reading. Then, late in the month I have another meeting of the Kurt Vonnegut Book Club, which is reading “Welcome to the Monkey House” – another short story collection. That’ll be a lot of short stories to read in a month, but Im looking forward to it. That would make four “books” in October, which is kind of my “par score,” but if I read anything else this month it might by The Sparrow, or A Prayer for Owen Meany, which I’ve wanted to get started on for a long time.

That’s me. What’s on your agenda…?

Finished “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins…

…and I’m already starting the third and final book in the “Hunger Games Trilogy,” Mockingjay. The second book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m glad that I didn’t discover this series until all three had been published (I similarly lucked out earlier this year with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books). I won’t review Catching Fire separately, but intend to write a longer post about my impressions after I’m done with the final installment. One review of the second book at I read online (I think it was mentions something like ‘Collins has joined J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer as authors who have written books for children that adults want to read.’ I’d have to agree with that. I’ve been reading some ‘deeper’ stuff lately so these books have been a refreshing change.

“Bread and Circuses” – Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  One of the many benefits of my joining the blogging community this year is that I’ve been made aware of many more books than in previous years.  This book, and the Hunger Games Series was frequently touted by the book blogs that I browse.  It’s another YA book (I seem to have read a lot of them this year: Beastly, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Twilight, etc.) that is told in the first person by a young, teenaged girl.  Maybe hard for me to relate to – but this was a good, quick-moving story that held my attention.

Described in one place online as “Gladiator meets Project Runway” (well, that’s catchy but not really accurate), it is a “dystopian novel” set in a future North America, where the tyrannical capital city oppresses twelve provinces (“Districts”) that once had the audacity to rebel, an action that reduced the number of districts from thirteen to twelve.  As punishment, there is an annual “Hunger Games” where two youths (one boy, one girl) from each district are chosen (by a complicated lottery) to participate in a battle to the death (nice central government, huh?).  The result is an imaginative story which, though not wholly original in concept, is very well done (reminiscent of, for example, the Theseus & the Minotaur myths, with similarities to the gladiator contests of ancient Rome, with bloodthirsty tv audiences – think of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The Running Man.  I was also reminded of the classic Shirley Jackson short story, The Lottery).

Oh, and the term “Bread and Circuses” comes down to us from the original satirist, Decimus Junius Juvenalis (commonly known as Juvenal) who lived in the 1st & 2nd Century A.D. who lamented that the once great Roman populace who “once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddle no more and long eagerly for just two things – bread and circuses.”  Read “gladiatorial games” for circuses.  This is a sentiment those in the Capital City of “Panem” (the fictional country in these novels) would be familiar with.  In fact (wow) I just realized that panem is the latin word for bread, as in “panem et circenses”… I’m sure that’s intentional.  At least I think I am.

below: a close-up of Katniss’s “Mockingjay” pin.  In the novels, the Mockingjay is a new species of bird, resulting from the unintended breeding of the government’s genetically engineered “Jabber Jays” and female Mockingbirds.

The book is the first of three in the series, followed by Catching Fire (which I’ve already downloaded and begun reading) and Mockingjay, which was released just over a month ago, and for which the buzz about pointed me to Hunger Games.  I won’t spoil any more of the plot in this post, but I would recommend it as an entertaining and diverting read, no matter what your age.

Author Suzanne Collins