A Different Take On Mainstream

TOP 5 BOOKS ON MY TBR LIST & GIVEAWAY CHALLENGE

Salutations People of Earth:
       Before I get to my books that I need to read ASAP list, I want to talk about a little giveaway challenge I am hosting on this here blog. You see, you guys seem to enjoy guessing the little literary quotes I throw out here and there, and I very much enjoy handing out Duchess Points to the people who guess those quotes correctly. I mean, it means that you are actively reading my blog, participating in it, enjoying my words, and for that, I really just want to give back to you. Therefore. I am hosting a giveaway challenge!
— From this post on, I will be throwing out a literary reference somewhere in every post. Your job is to find it, and be the first to guess the literary reference down in the comments below. Don’t worry, you will know when I’m referencing something because I will mention “10 Duchess Points to whoever guesses…” next to the quote.
— Each quote, as you can see, will be worth 10 Duchess Points.
— The first person who guesses the reference down in the comments will be linked to and mentioned in the next post, so you know how many Duchess Points you have.
— The first person to reach 30 Duchess Points wins the Giveaway!
THE REWARD:
 You can choose a category from Books, Shoes, Clothing, Makeup, or RANDOM SHTUFF, from there, I will sending you a surprise something from the category you chose for $20 and under. Because I am a college student. And this thang is just for fun. And because my thrifting tendencies are killer. If I do say so myself.

JUST ONE RULE TO ENTER THO:
— You must be following me on either my twitter, Instagram, or Bloglovin’. Because yah.
AND NOW, ONWARD–TO THE REST OF THE POST: 
Right, so disclaimer— these are books that I’ve been wanting to read for a very long time, but have never had time to. They have been recommended by people whose judgement I trust (when they aren’t drunk or temporarily insane), and whose summaries make my heart pound with the excitement of it all. All these books have a very sophisticated or quirky feel to them– they are not your typical YA read, which is a post for a later time. Therefore, if you are looking for unique, quirky, or vocabulary-rich books, please, read on, you have come to the right post. 
I. THE NAME OF THE WIND–PATRICK ROTHFUSS

The following is taken from the Patrick Rothfuss website. I will not be adding my own summaries, as I have not read these books yet. I will however, add a sentence or two of commentary:

My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.“The Flame” is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.
My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them. I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned. 
So begins the tale of Kvothe—from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic. In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But The Name of the Wind is so much more—for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend.

I have not wanted to read a fantasy series this bad since I was 15. The writing is like poetry, the world is achingly crafted in beauty, and the plot seems so vivid, so out there, so unique– and, there are THREE OF THEM. THANG G-D. My friend K, from The Geek Post, recommended it ;). 
II. THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR– YOKO OGAWA 
The following summary is taken from Goodreads: 
He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem–ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory.  She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him.  And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor’s mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities–like the Housekeeper’s shoe size–and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away.  The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.

Me: Translated from the Japanese, this book seems so delicate in its attitude to the fragility of relationships. Something so precious, as a budding piece of love, just seems ever that much more beautiful and complex when it’s only yours for 80 minutes. May Cho, from The Mayden, actually mentioned this book in one of her posts, and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since. It just seems too beautiful not to devour. 



III. THE HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT OF THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED– JONAS JONASSON 

The following is taken from Goodreads:
It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. The Mayor is going to be there. The press is going to be there. But, as it turns out, Allan is not… Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed (in his slippers) and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we learn something of Allan’s earlier life in which – remarkably – he helped to make the atom bomb, became friends with American presidents, Russian tyrants, and Chinese leaders, and was a participant behind the scenes in many key events of the twentieth century. Already a huge bestseller across Europe, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a fun and feel-good book for all ages.

Me: Another translated beauty, this time from Swedish, this is one of those books which you will probably pass multiple times in your local books store, something which you will continuously pick up, and then put down again, until you finally take the plunge and decide to read it– and ultimately fall in love. That is, that is my expectation from this outrageously quirky sounding novel. Courtesy of my friend K, once again. She always recommends the most unique novels. 



IV. BILGEWATER– JANE GARDAM

Taken from Goodreads:
Marigold Green calls herself ‘hideous, quaint and barmy’. Other people calle her Bilgewater, a corruption of Bill’s daughter. Growing up in a boys’ school where her father is housemaster, she is convinced of her own plainness and peculiarity. Groomed by the wise and loving Paula, upstaged by bad, beautiful Grace and ripe for seduction by entirely the wrong sort of boy, she suffers extravagantly and comically in her pilgrimage through the turbulent, twilight world of alarming adolescence. 

Me: I stumbled upon this little treasure in the modern classics section of Barnes and Noble. Originally published in 1970, in Britain, this book takes on a James Joyce-ian air as it dips and trills through the craziness of adolescence. I actually have, in fact, borrowed this book from the library–and from what I’ve read so far, the book sounds like a teenage poet who is slightly high on marijuana. Which is exactly my kind of book. Me mucho excited.  



V. BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS–DAI SIJIE

Taken from Goodreads:
“Picture if you will, a boy of nineteen still slumbering in the limbo of adolescence, having heard nothing but revolutionary blather about patriotism, Communism, and ideology, and propaganda all his life, falling headlong into a story of awakening desire, passion, impulsive action, love, of all the subjects that had, until then, been hidden from me”
In this enchanting tale about the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening, two hapless city boys are exiled to a remote mountain village for reeducation during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There they meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, they find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.

Me: There are two things that I especially love in a book– the mention of banned books, and a peek into another culture. I actually just discovered this book 5 minutes ago, as I was scrolling through Goodreads, trying to find a replacement for the French book I originally had on the list. The French book has been on my TBR list for too long, and I just simply lost interest. The idea behind hidden knowledge, subtly tasted behind closed doors and from prying eyes, simply makes my heart flutter. It’s the reason why I enjoyed Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 so much, or even Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Banned books always have something to say. Also, Chinese Cultural Revolution. I’m intrigued.  

  And that is all folks, for this here post. Also, here is my literary reference to describe what I am feeling right now: 
I HATE DATING. WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS. Ten Duchess Points to whoever knows that reference. 


So, ’till nest Sunday Folks, 
love, 
Cynical Duchess


What’s on your TBR list? 
Leave a comment below!