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March CATWoman: Genres

2017 Category Challenge

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Edited: Feb 15, 12:13pm Top

For March, we'll be reading women writing genre fiction, and we certainly aren't at a loss for choices. There are well-known classics by women in pretty much any genre you can think of, all of which would be terrific reads for this topic.

However, I'm going to focus on more contemporary authors and titles in this introduction. All of these authors recently won or were short-listed on the American Library Association's Reading List, which seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merits special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them. I have found this list to be a terrific source for discovering new authors in my favorite genres. As a bonus, these books will also qualify for the AwardsCAT, which is also featuring genre awards this month. (Here is the LibraryThing list of all the winners and nominees.)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (winner, 2016)
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (winner, 2015)
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (winner, 2014)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (winner, 2012)
The Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins (winner, 2009)

Historical fiction:
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (winner, 2016)
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth (winner, 2015)
The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent (winner, 2014)
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (winner, 2013)
Doc by Mary Doria Russell (winner, 2012)

The Family Plot by Cherie Priest (short list, 2017)
The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James (short list, 2013)
The Unseen by Alexandra Sokoloff (short list, 2010)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (short list, 2010)

Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (winner, 2015)
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (winner, 2013)
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (winner, 2011)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (winner, 2010)
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (winner, 2008)

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins (winner, 2017)
Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl (winner, 2016)
A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (winner, 2015)
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare (winner, 2014)
The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne (winner, 2009)

Science fiction:
Crosstalk by Connie Willis (short list, 2017)
Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach (short list, 2015)
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (short list, 2012)
Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress (short list, 2010)
In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan (winner, 2008)

Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton (short list, 2017)
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (winner, 2016)
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (winner, 2015)
Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes (short list, 2013)
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (winner, 2013)

Women's Fiction:
I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan (winner, 2017)
Re: Jane by Patricia Park (winner, 2016)
My Real Children by Jo Walton (winner, 2015)
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (winner, 2014)
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (winner, 2008)

Note: Some of these novels could easily be considered to fit in more than one genre. You could select any of these authors' other novels as well.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so please share your selections here and on the wiki.

Feb 15, 1:00pm Top

Ooh, I can read The Trespasser by Tana French and fill this CAT and the RandomCAT. I'd also like to get to The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes.

Feb 15, 2:35pm Top

I haven't gotten around to the CatWoman this year, but a couple of friends of mine had highly recommended Uprooted, and I've just picked up a copy, so I think I'll do my best to fit in for March!

Feb 15, 2:38pm Top

I anticipate no trouble in finding a lot of books for this CAT. :) Right now I'm planning on The Confession of Brother Haluin by Ellis Peters (mystery), A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (fantasy), Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow (science fiction), and The Likeness by Tana French (mystery).

Feb 15, 3:21pm Top

>4 christina_reads: I know, there's an abundance of riches. If I only pick books by women, it's likely all my March reads will fit this month's topic. :-)

Feb 15, 4:38pm Top

I'm generally much more of a non-fiction reader than fiction, and I can't off the top of my head think of any of the fiction on my TBR pile which would fit this theme, so unless I remember something I may give this month a miss. However I did want to second christina_reads suggestion of The Sparrow which is a stunning book, one of my all time favourites. I think Emilio is my biggest ever literary crush (hmm, celibate Catholic priest - I think I'm doing literary crushes wrong!).

Feb 15, 4:59pm Top

I think Blue Willow by Doris Gates will fit as children's lit. If I have time I'll also read A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie.

Feb 15, 5:23pm Top

>6 Jackie_K:, non-fiction is also a genre--right?

Feb 15, 6:27pm Top

I'll be following RidgewayGirl's lead with Tana French, only I'm one book behind her; I'll be reading The Secret Place.

Feb 15, 6:54pm Top

Well, if my hold comes in at the library, I'm already planning to read:
- Faithful Place / Tana French (mystery/thriller)

If not, I'll be reading:
Scarlet Feather / Maeve Binchy (would that one maybe fall into "romance"?)

I still have a few groups where I don't know what the theme will be, but I bet some of them could fit in here, as well.

Feb 15, 6:56pm Top

Oh! Maybe I'll finally get to The Secret Keeper or The Lake House / Kate Morton

Edited: Feb 16, 2:33pm Top

I have oodles of books that will fit this Cat! As of right now I am planning on reading:

- Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool – Children’s Literature
- The March Hare Murders by Elizabeth Ferrars – Mystery
- The Hearth and the Eagle by Anya Seton – Historical Fiction
- The Samurai’s Wife by Laura Joh Rowland – Historical Crime
- The Dead by Ingrid Black – Mystery
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - Fantasy

This is excellent for pulling books from my own shelves.

Feb 15, 7:52pm Top

I'm hoping to get to The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin in March. I don't usually read science fiction, but I've heard this is a good one so I'm going to try something out of my comfort zone.

Edited: Feb 15, 10:04pm Top

I'm looking at an omnibus of the first four Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters, the genres being crime and history

Feb 16, 5:26am Top

>8 Kristelh: Well I think so too - I had originally assumed that this theme might include eg poetry as a genre (in which case I have the perfect book to read), but the OP specifically talks about genre fiction, so I'm not sure.

Feb 16, 10:13am Top

>15 Jackie_K: I think you are free to interpret "genre" however you'd like. It is not a very precise term and could be used to refer to poetry, etc.

Feb 16, 2:02pm Top

>16 sturlington: thank you - I'll include the poetry book in next month's reading in that case. :)

Feb 18, 2:24pm Top

I'm planning to read The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny. With a couple of weeks to go, that still gives me plenty of time to change direction, we'll see what happens.

Edited: Feb 19, 4:55am Top

This one is no challenge :-). I intend to read The Giver for the AwardCAT, or it could be Haunted Ground for the RandomCAT.
This could be a good month to make a bit of headway on a yearly challenge where I need to read from a short list: The Girl on the Train / Station Eleven / The Golem and the Jinni / Doc / Kindred

Feb 19, 7:59am Top

The LIkeness, Element of Fire , Jaran and The Mirror Empire are the ones I hope to read in March.

Feb 21, 12:21am Top

I'll also be reading The Secret Place by Tana French. Using it for here, RandomCAT & AwardCAT!

Feb 21, 5:40pm Top

>21 luvamystery65: Woot woot! Actually, I started it early... couldn't wait! :D

Mar 2, 7:43am Top

Starting the Amelia Peabody Omnibus by Elizabeth Peters. A Victorian woman Egyptologist turns to solving murders.

Mar 2, 9:33am Top

I'm reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I had planned for February, but didn't get to. Lucky it also fits for March. :)

Mar 5, 1:54pm Top

I read The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin, a mix of 'straight' fiction and fantasy & sci fi.

Mar 5, 10:44pm Top

Historical fiction

The Winter Palace / Eva Stachniak
3.5 stars

This book primarily follows Polish orphan Varvara, who has come to Russian Empress Elizabeth’s court after her father died. She ends up doing some spying for the chancellor, then the Empress herself, before she becomes friends with Prussian princess, Sophie, who would later become Catherine the Great. This follows the time frame from just before Sophie’s arrival to shortly after she becomes Empress of Russia.

I liked it. Not quite as much as I’d hoped I would, but I still enjoyed it. There is a sequel that I will definitely plan to read. I was disappointed, though, that there was no author’s note, which I always appreciate in any historical fiction I read.

Mar 6, 3:49pm Top

I finished Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand. Could be horror, thriller, or gothic, depending on your take. I enjoyed it.

Mar 9, 9:09am Top

All of my reads for March so far have fit for this month's cat:
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik, historical fantasy
Doll Bones by Holly Black, YA horror
The Lake by Tananarive Due, horror short story
I enjoyed all three of them.

Mar 9, 2:13pm Top

Finished the YA horror And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich... what a strange, haunting read! Full review written.

Mar 9, 7:20pm Top

I reread via audiobook a Miss Marple mystery by the Grand Dame of Mysteries, Agatha Christie -- The Moving Finger...

Mar 10, 10:01pm Top


Naked in Death / J.D. Robb
3.5 stars

This is the first in the series. Sharon is a “licensed companion” (i.e. an upscale prostitute) who has been murdered. Her grandfather is a high-ranking conservative politician, who doesn’t want detail of the murder to get out. Eve Dallas is the lieutenant investigating the murder.

I really liked the story, and would have given it 4 stars, if not for the love interest, who I really, really disliked. If he’d been there, but not as a love interest, or not been there at all, or had a completely different personality, I would have liked it better. Oh, there was a big reveal “scene”, but I was slightly lost with the use of familial terms, as somehow I had missed some of those familial connections and how some of them were connected to others, so until the end of the reveal, I wasn’t quite sure who was doing what to whom! The ending was very good, with some edge-of-your-seat moments right up until the end and there was a little twist. I have the next two books in the series, so I will read them, but if this love interest sticks around, I’m not sure if I’ll continue beyond the books I have.

Interesting… with my review written (except for this little extra bit), I’m perusing other reviews. I see I’m in a minority for not liking the love interest. Also (though a few things confused me and this explains it), I seem to have missed that this was set in the future… Even worse, I see that someone (though they seem not to think it’s a spoiler… seems to me it’s a pretty big one), has spoiled the rest of the series for me, and apparently I may not be reading much beyond the next two books, unless something changes

Mar 11, 11:24am Top

I finished Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans, which is historical fiction set during the Blitz in London. Light-hearted and charming.

Mar 11, 2:41pm Top

I have just finished The Dead by Ingrid Black which was a fairly average police procedural.

Mar 11, 7:47pm Top

I have read a mystery, Pardonable Lies, a Maisie Dobbs novel, by Jacqueline Winspear.

Mar 12, 12:12pm Top

Mystery genre: I just finished Finding Nouf (alternative title to The Night of the Mi'raj) by Zoe Ferraris. This is a 2009 Alex award winner, and is a murder mystery set in a repressive society where women have very few rights, and are always supposed to be subservient to men. Saudi society is very slowly transitioning away from traditional norms to a more modern culture where women have more rights. The author lived in Saudi for awhile with her then Muslim husband and his traditional family. She now lives in California with her daughter. She does a good job of portraying this not well known culture as it is in the midst of this painful transition. At the same time this was a good mystery with a surprising ending.

Mar 13, 11:35am Top

Women's Fiction, or really Pym Fiction: I read A Few Green Leaves for this challenge - my favorite Pym novel! Oh, I also read One True Loves as well which would probably be another Women's Fiction.

Mar 13, 3:36pm Top

I liked the satire Ennui by Irish author Maria Edgeworth.

Mar 13, 9:26pm Top

I read The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez. This would fit children's or juvenile literature genre.

Edited: Mar 14, 10:56am Top

This wasn't the book I intended to read (The Dispossessed has a long ebook queue at my library), but I did read Penelope Fitzgerald's The Golden Child which is a mystery so it counts. I liked it quite a bit, but I don't think it made enough of an impression on me for me to remember much about it in a year or so.

Mar 15, 5:16am Top

I'm counting C. V. Wedgwood's non-fiction biography of William the Silent as a genre, for now.

Mar 15, 10:00am Top

I just finished and enjoyed the third installment in the cozy spy series by Dorothy Gilman, The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax.

Mar 16, 2:29am Top

COMPLETED The Amelia Peabody Omnibus by Elizabeth Peters (genres: historical, detective, comedy)

My review:

Crocodile on the Sandbank
Left unexpectedly rich on his death by her scholarly father, Amelia Peabody decides to travel to Egypt. Having replaced her companion in Rome with Evelyn Barton-Forbes, she takes a cruise down the Nile to El-Amarna where they meet the Emerson brothers, who are Egyptologists excavating there. Unfortunately the expedition is disturbed by a mummy who wanders the site at night.

Written as a stand-alone but later expanded into a series, I found this rather disappointing as I'd heard/read so many good things about the series. I enjoyed Amelia's outlook on life and her repartee with Emerson, but felt the mystery element was a failure since I worked out what was behdind the goings-on very early on. Perhaps I've seen too many episodes of Scooby-Doo.

The Curse of the Pharaohs
Lady Baskerville hires Emerson to continue the dig interrupted by her husband's death, which certain newspapers are playing up as due to a curse from the owner of the tomb Lord Baskerville was excavating. Naturally Peabody comes too to investigate what she is sure was murder.

I felt this one worked better as a mystery with lots of suspects. Although I did wonder about the guilty party from time to time I was sufficiently distracted by red herrings to not be at all sure. And this installment was very, very funny.

The Mummy Case
Emerson and Peabody return to Egypt, this time with their son, Ramses. Peabody goes to meet a Cairene antiques dealer who may have some demotic manuscripts, only to find he has been murdered. Who was the mysterious man she saw him with earlier and what is he doing in the labour force on the Emerson-Peabody excavation?

Another very funny episode, though I shall be glad when Ramses learns to talk properly.

Lion in the Valley
Another year, another dig, another body. The Emersons are back in Egypt but it appears the mysterious Sethos is out for revenge.

I don't like criminal masterminds so I do hope this is the last we see of Sethos. But apart from that these mysteries continue to keep me chuckling away.

Mar 16, 9:10am Top

In the crime fiction genre, I have finished King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell)...

Edited: Mar 16, 6:22pm Top

I have read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes which falls into the genre of Children's Fiction. I have also completed the historical fiction novel of The Hearth and Eagle by Anya Seton.

Mar 17, 10:46pm Top

Historical fiction

Copper Sun / Sharon M. Draper
3.5 stars

It is the 18th century. Amari is a 15-year old girl in her village in Africa when the village is attacked by white people and the survivors are chained up and taken away. Amari has a boy she was intending to marry, but obviously that will no longer happen (though he survived the initial attack, as well). To no surprise to the reader, they are shipped to the United States where they become slaves. On the plantation that Amari goes to, she becomes unlikely friends with a white girl around her age - Polly is an indentured servant.

It’s a YA book, so it doesn’t go into as much detail as adult books might, nor is it as complex, but it was still good. I’m still not sure if Fort Mose in Florida is real, though. It’s someplace I hadn’t heard of.

Mar 18, 9:05pm Top

Read The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill, winner of the Newberry. Children's lit. Great coming of age story told through Fairy Tale.

Mar 19, 8:15am Top

Completed Martha Wells's debut novel, The Element of Fire. Definitely enjoyed it.

Mar 19, 5:11pm Top

I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and absolutely loved it. Genre: fantasy / magical realism.

Mar 19, 5:56pm Top

I think I would categorize the novel The Color of Our Sky as women's fiction. It was written by a woman, about women with two main women characters. The story deals with the tragedy of child prostitution in India.

Mar 20, 9:16pm Top

Just finished The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny and I really enjoyed it - more than any of her books so far. I'm giving credit to Ralph Cosham's reading of the audiobook that gave it more of a sense of place. Add my name to the long list of Louise Penny fans!

Mar 21, 12:24am Top

Also COMPLETED The Deeds of the Disturber and The Last Camel Died At Noon by Elizabeth Peters (genres: historical, detective, comedy)

Mar 21, 7:33am Top

I've just started The Trespasser by Tana French, which is a mystery novel, for this month's CAT.

Mar 21, 9:16pm Top

Finished Mister Monkey by Francine Prose; literary fiction

Mar 22, 4:43am Top

Starting The Wind's Twelve Quarters by Ursula K. Le Guin (Science Fiction)

Mar 23, 4:06am Top

Finally finished The sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I enjoyed this, it has cleverly built suspense and is very well written. I must say, though, that towards the end the characters felt more and more like ciphers and the whole like a thought experiment.

Mar 23, 12:36pm Top

I just added The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to the Wiki as a fantasy.

Mar 28, 10:39am Top

I finished The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters yesterday. A really well-written gothic novel which I think would also be considered historical fiction. Very well done - still not sure exactly what happened - was it a haunted house, were one or more people possessed, was it a family 'taint' (madness)? And along with it being a gothic novel, there was an examination of life among the landed gentry and what life was like for them after WWII, and how they interacted with the 'common' folk (and even a doctor is considered part of the 'common' folk!).

Edited: Mar 29, 1:08pm Top

Yesterday I finished Jill Paton Walsh's Fireweed which is a YA* book I remember reading in school and being really taken with it at the time. It's set in London in WW2 and is about two teenagers, Bill and Julie, who are essentially runaways in wartime London avoiding the authorities who would try to re-evacuate them. It's a short book, with a not-especially-happy-although-not-tragic ending, unusual for YA books particularly at this time (the book was written in 1969). I know that the author has since dismissed the book as juvenilia, but my googling suggests that there are a lot of people who are really fond of it and like me have memories of it packing quite a punch at an impressionable age. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it. 4/5.

* I had it earmarked as a possible read for later in the year for the graphic/YA/children's category, but I have quite a lot to choose from and needed a short read, so possibly cheated by including it here!

Mar 29, 3:48pm Top

I finished Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh, which could be categorized as noir/suspense/psychological thriller.

Mar 29, 9:58pm Top

Starting This Night's Foul Work by Fred Vargas (police procedural)

Apr 1, 10:08pm Top

This was a really easy challenge for me, as I love mystery, science fiction and fantasy! I finished the following books in March:
A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King (historical mystery)
The Drowning by Camilla Läckberg (mystery)
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (mystery)
In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany (mystery)
Company Town by Madeline Ashby (science fiction)
Darkest Powers Bonus Pack by Kelley Armstrong (paranormal, urban fantasy)
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (steampunk, fantasy)

Edited: Apr 2, 8:56am Top

I read All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anderson which fits this CAT for Fantasy/SciFi and Romance.

Group: 2017 Category Challenge

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