Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2011 Guest Blogger: Ana of Things Mean a Lot

Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.

Who: (The Other) Ana from the excellent blog Things Mean a Lot, one of our favourite bloggers around, also responsible for many books in our wishlists. As of 2011, she’s been also writng for Lady Business (a blog co-edited by the Awesome Trinity of Renay, Ana and Jodie).

Please give it up for The Other Ana!

Can I please haz them now? 2012 releases I’m looking forward to

When the Book Smugglers invited me to join their wonderful Smugglivus celebrations again this year, I had to stop for a moment before I could decide what I was going to write about. I knew I didn’t want to repeat last year’s topic (favourite reads of the year), but as I’m mostly a back catalogue blogger I wasn’t sure if I was on top of new releases enough to be able to share an enticing list with you. Well, was I ever wrong. It turns out that several of my favourite authors have new books out next year, and before I knew it I had come up with thirteen titles I’m ridiculously excited about. 2012 already promises to be an excellent year for books. Here’s what I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on:

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:

Half the Internet has pre-ordered this novel (well, the bookish corner of it anyway), and not just because the whole of the first edition has been signed (seriously, how awesome is John Green?). I’ve watched videos of John Green reading the first two chapters and I strongly suspect this is going to be his best book yet. I don’t say this lightly – I love his previous novels to bits, and I’m as wary of unreasonably high expectations as any other reader. But in this case I really don’t think I’ll be disappointed. The day when a copy of this is finally in my hands will be a joyful, joyful day.

2. The Brides of Rollrock Island (aka Sea Hearts) by Margo Lanagan:

Finally! The selkies novel! If the book blogging world knows one thing about me, it’s probably my undying love for Margo Lanagan’s writing. So as far as I’m concerned, Christmas 2012 is scheduled for the 2nd of February.

3. Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality by Hanne Blank:

Who can resist a title like this? Hanne Blank, author of the brilliant Virgin: The Untouched History, turns her attention to the history of our current understanding of heterosexuality, and draws attention to how surprisingly recent ideas and patterns of behaviour many claim to be “natural” and “inevitable” really are.

4. Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand:

A novel with a dual storyline – one about an art student in the late 1970’s; another about the poet Arthur Rimbaud. I adored Hand’s Mortal Love and Illyria, and this promises to be just as brilliant.

5. Reflections by Diana Wynne Jones:

I don’t think I’ve ever been as sad about an author’s passing as I was about Diana Wynne Jones’ earlier this year. I’m so thankful we still have a new book of hers to look forward to – but how bittersweet it will be to have read it and know there are no more. Reflections is a collection of essays on “the magic of writing”, and it includes a foreword by Neil Gaiman.

6. Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by Mary Talbot and Bryan Talbot:

Mary Talbot is an academic whose wonderful work on language and gender I’ve had the pleasure to encounter before. Her husband, Bryan Talbot, is the author of the fantastic comics Alice in Sunderland and The Tale of One Bad Rat (and also the Grandville steampunk series, which I still need to read). The two teamed up to produce this book, which is both a memoir about Mary’s relationship with her father, an eminent Joycean scholar, and a biography of Lucia Joyce, James Joyce’s daughter.

7. The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss:

First there’s the beautiful cover; secondly, the original concept (you can read the book in either direction and thus decide which of the two lovers’ perspective you’ll start with); and finally, the author. I’ve only read a couple of short stories by Theodora Goss, but I suspect she could easily become a new favourite of mine. How could I fail to be excited?

8. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang:

Wheee! Gene Luen Yang does Avatar! Renay has been introducing me and Jodie to the wonderful Nickelodeon series this book is based on. I’m only one season into it, so it will be a while before I can actually read the books, which take place after the series ends. But nevertheless, I’m so incredibly excited that this exists.

9. The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter:

A new Terry Pratchett book is always one of the highlights of my reading year. This one is a science fiction collaboration based on the idea of parallel universes.

10. The Son by Lois Lowry:

The fourth and final book in the Giver series, which is supposed to be out in late 2012. Who doesn’t love The Giver? Although I had mixed feelings about the two sequels, I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

11. Homeland by Cory Doctorow:

A sequel to Little Brother. Let me say that again: A sequel to Little Brother. Are you jumping up and down yet? No publication date for this one yet, but I really hope it will be sometime next year.

12. Flora’s Fury: How a Girl of Spirit and a Red Dog Confound Their Friends, Astound Their Enemies, and Learn the Importance of Packing Light by Ysabeau S. Wilce:

Speaking of awesome sequels, the third Flora Fyrdraaca book will be out in May! Also, Ysabeau Wilce’s books have the best subtitles ever.

13. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey:

This one is Vivienne’s fault. Fairy tales, a 1920’s setting, and gorgeous covers for both the American and British editions were all it took to convince me. I suspect this is going to be one of the big titles of 2012.

Bonus: Other Media

Because I do things besides reading from time to time (What? I really do), I thought I’d include a bonus list of other media I’m excited about:

– First of all: Pixar’s Brave.

Finally, a heroine from Pixar! About freaking time. That alone would be enough to get me excited, of course, but it certainly helps that the trailer looks so promising.

– Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Yes, my Professor Obvious choices continue. Seriously now, roll on, Christmas 2012. I know the LOTR movies are not perfect, but I credit them with rekindling my love for fantasy and will always love them to pieces. I absolutely can’t wait to watch this.

– Studio Ghibli’s Arrietty on DVD:

I missed this when it was in cinemas because I wanted to read Mary Norton’s The Borrowers series, on which the movie is based, before I watched it. I still haven’t read it, but in the meantime I’ve changed my mind. I think the best way to make sure I love both book and movie is to either watch it first, or to leave a long interval between them (such was the case with Howl’s Moving Castle). You know all the things everyone keeps wishing Pixar would do? Studio Ghibli has been doing them for decades. I can hardly think of a movie of theirs that doesn’t feature an awesome heroine.

– Last but certainly not least, I’m looking forward to the second series of the BBC’s Sherlock series.

Curse you, evil cliffhanger of doom! Also, please don’t mess up Irene Adler, dear series. Please? I will bake you cookies if you do this right.

So, what are you looking forward to in 2012?

Thanks, Ana!


  • Nymeth
    December 3, 2011 at 3:17 am

    My pleasure! Thanks again for having me :mrgreen:

  • sakura
    December 3, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Ooh, lots of wonderful suggestions, some of which are new to me and some I’ve been meaning to read for while. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Hand (although I’ve only read Waking the Moon) so I really should read more by her. And Flora Segunda looks like someone I need to get to know.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy)
    December 3, 2011 at 6:14 am

    So many great looking books! My wish list just grew!

  • Michelle
    December 3, 2011 at 7:11 am

    The John Green book sure is popping up in a lot of posts. Loads of anticipation! Looks like Ana put together a great list of reads.

  • rhapsodyinbooks
    December 3, 2011 at 7:19 am

    The Snow Child reminds me a bit of the cover for Breadcrumbs, which I really loved.

  • vivienne
    December 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I saw my name mentioned and laughed! I am sorry. I was going to say that over here The Brides of Rollrock Island is definitely called Sea Hearts in the UK as an ARC for it arrived this week. There has been some confusion over the name of this book.

  • Michelle
    December 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Definitely looking forward to John Green’s new title. And YAYY!! Avatar: The Last Airbender!! I just finished watching that series about a month ago and fell head-over-heels in love with it. Seriously one of my favorite television shows ever. I’m very excited to see there are going to be novels that take place after the end of the series, so thank you for putting that on my radar!!

  • azteclady
    December 3, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Sherlock–oh my lord and Benedict Cumberbatch! *sigh*


    sorry, what was that?

    And while I’m intrigued by Brave, I think the Arriety DVD is a priority.

  • Heidi
    December 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I am over the moon to hear about The Brides of Rollrock Island! I have been dying for selkies to pop up ever since I saw The Secret of Roan Inish as a kid. Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions.

  • Jenny
    December 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Ugh, my heart is still broken that Diana Wynne Jones has died. I absolutely loved her. I can’t wait to see what she says — I read an essay she wrote on Fire and Hemlock and I feel like anything she ever has to say about writing would be infinitely worth reading.

  • mems
    December 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    OMG there’s a FOURTH book in the Giver series?!

    Ana, I love you.

  • Heather
    December 4, 2011 at 5:57 am

    I am so with you on the John Green book! CAN NOT WAIT!

  • Debi
    December 4, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Wow! This is the first I’ve heard of most of these! (Yeah, the cave thing.) Oh Ana, the damage you’ve just done to my wish list…you evil girl, you. 😉 I think I may be most excited about Straight—sounds fantastic!!! In fact, I think I shall go add it to my preorders of the Avatar book and John Green’s.

  • Vasilly
    December 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Ana, this is an amazing list! I’ve just pre-ordered The Thorn and the Blossom. There’s so much to add to my reading lists!

  • Na
    December 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    I’m going to add Margo Lanagan’s book to my list. The cover has caught my eye and it sounds great.

  • Chachic
    December 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I still haven’t pre-ordered John Green’s latest book! But since the entire printing will be signed, maybe I should just wait for local bookstores to order copies. Excellent list, I’ve added to The Snow Child and The Thorn and the Blossom to my wishlist because they both look interesting.

    Can’t wait to watch Brave and The Hobbit too. 😀 This is the first time I’ve heard of Arrietty and I want to watch that as well. I actually want to watch all of Studio Ghibli’s films.

  • Marg
    December 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Can’t wait for the new Lanagan to come out. Then again, I haven’t actually read the old Lanagan novel yet.

  • Iris
    December 5, 2011 at 3:09 am

    I just blindly added most of these to my wishlist (some will have to wait until I read the actual titles preceding them). Lovely lovely list. Not very good for my wallet..

    And I CANNOT wait for the new Margo Lanagan.

  • Jodie
    December 5, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I haven’t read a back to back alternative narrative book since I was a teen. Really want that one now. Great selection Ana and I will now add many of these to my wishlist (not my basket, am avoiding poverty).

  • Amy
    December 5, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Ummm wow, that is an awful lot of new books that sound fantastic. Dangerous looking at what is releasing!!

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  • Lu
    December 6, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    This list!

    ESPECIALLY SHERLOCK. Just saw the season finale Sunday. Cannot. handle. the. cliff. hanger.

  • gavin
    December 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Lanagan, Hand, Goss (get your hands on In The Forest of Forgetting) and The Snow Child. I can’t wait. And somehow I missed Arrittey, maybe it wasn’t released in the theaters here.

  • Sheila (Book Journey)
    December 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Wow! You have just added so many books to my TBR that I may need to ask for an addition to my home for Christmas!

  • SandyG265
    December 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    A Lee Martinez has a new book out in 2012 that I’m looking foward to.

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