Recently, I read an article in the Washington Post summarizing a study that involved modeling the number of spiders in the world and the amount they eat each year. What the scientists found was a bit, ah, disturbing. Average global density of spiders? 131 per square meter. Combined weight of the world’s spider population? 29 million tons. Annual consumption of prey? 400 to 800 million tons. By way of reference, the estimated combined weight of all adult humans on Earth is roughly 287 million tons. So spiders could eat all the adults on Earth and still be hungry. Which brings me to The Hatching. Look at the book cover to the left. Think about what I just wrote above. If you decide you’re ready to read what you know is in there, set aside a good block of time. Trust me, you are not going to be able to put this one down unfinished. And be prepared to jump every time you feel the slightest tickle on your skin.
I use Goodreads to keep track of what I’ve read and to get recommendations for new books and authors (it’s great!). Readers rate books on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, which is fine for the most part. Sometimes I find it confining because I have occasionally run across books that I’d like to give zero stars and, though much more rarely, I’ll read a book like Tyrant’s Throne for which 5 stars is just not enough. A word of caution: it’s the fourth and final book in the series (Traitor’s Blade, Knight’s Shadow and Saint’s Blood are the first three), and you should absolutely read them in order. I hesitate to describe the books for fear of spoilers (lots of plot twists and surprises!) but also because I don’t think I’m enough of a wordsmith to do them justice. These books combine the swashbuckling adventure of the Three Musketeers with the witty banter and fabulous heroes of The Princess Bride but also the cruel villainy and political machinations of Game of Thrones. Books just don’t get much better for fantasy fans, in my opinion. Give Traitor’s Blade a try and I believe you’ll be glad you did!
Because I am responsible for purchasing science fiction, fantasy and horror books for the library, most of my reading is concentrated in those areas. I also like to read non-fiction, especially history, politics and psychology. After that comes mysteries and thrillers. So I don’t have much time for what you might call general fiction but I recently made an exception for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I am incredibly glad I did! Library Journal wrote “Eleanor Oliphant, the friendless 29-year-old finance clerk in a small Scottish graphics design firm, feels safest in the cocoon of strict routines both at work and at home. Unfazed by office gossip about her peculiarities (she acknowledges that her coworkers have a point), Eleanor’s careful firewalls start to crack. She simultaneously develops a crush on a bar musician and is reluctantly drawn into a tentative friendship with Raymond, the new IT guy, and with Sammy, an older man whose life she and Raymond save. Without a shred of self-pity and lacking nearly all social skills (but willing to learn them) owing to her shocking, savage past, Eleanor is unaware of her ability to charm and inspire those who want to help her and those who grow to care for her. Honeyman’s exquisite, heartbreaking, funny, and irresistible novel brings to life a character so original and pitch-perfect that it is nearly impossible to believe this is a debut. Surprises abound as the author boldly turns literary expectations upside down and gives to her readers Eleanor Oliphant, who, yes, is completely, beautifully fine.” I LOVED this book. The review described it perfectly: “heartbreaking, funny, and irresistible.” If you can get through this book without tears welling up you’re a tougher person than I am!