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lycomayflower reads with intent in 2018 again (part 2)

This is a continuation of the topic lycomayflower reads with intent in 2018.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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1lycomayflower
Edited: Yesterday, 5:17pm Top



Welcome to the my 2018 reading thread, part two! Click here to go to my introduction post. The picture above is of my shelf o' Arthurian and Robin Hood lit. It might be looking to expand into neighboring territory. ;-)

This first post contains an on-going list of the books I've read this year, with the most recent reads at the top. Click on the book title to go to the book's post within the thread, where you will find a review. Numbers in parentheses are page counts for each book. Click here to visit my 2017 thread. Click here to visit the first of my 2018 threads.

Total Pages: 20,866

140.) Milly and the Macy's Parade
139.) Don't Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table
138.) The Memory Cupboard
137.) Squanto's Journey
136.) 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
135.) Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey
134.) The Wondering Years (221)
133.) A Private Gentleman (375)
132.) Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast
131.) Kindergarrrten Bus
130.) The Man Who Fell to Earth (209)
129.) Grumpy Monkey
128.) Paperback Crush (243)
127.) Seven Days of Us (380)
126.) This Is How It Always Is (327)

125.) We Were Eight Years in Power (367)
124.) Matilda (audio)
123.) The Horse Mistress (209)
122.) Convenience Store Woman (163)
121.) I'll Be There for You (243)
120.) Giant Days volume 4 (~100)
119.) Giant Days volume 3 (~100)
118.) Giant Days volume 2 (~100)
117.) A Sharp Solitude (356)
116.) Room on the Broom
115.) The Rough Patch
114.) Giant Days volume 1 (~100)
113.) Quiet Girl in a Noisy World (178)
112.) Nobody Likes a Goblin
111.) The Adventures of Beekle
110.) Hello, Lighthouse
109.) Wolf in the Snow

108.) An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (341)
107.) Runaways: Find Your Way Home (~100)
106.) Green Arrow: Hunters Moon (~100)
105.) You Learn By Living (208)
104.) Ex Libris (audio)
103.) The Duke I Tempted (297)
102.) The Secret History (559)
101.) The Understatement of the Year (304)
100.) Hudson's Luck (334)
99.) Out of Nowhere (254)
98.) In the Middle of Somewhere (332)
97.) Bury Me Deep (211)
96.) I'd Rather Be Reading (145)
95.) Meg Jo Beth Amy (221)
94.) The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
93.) Interstellar Cinderella
92.) Last Stop on Market Street
91.) The Day You Begin

90.) Parable of the Sower (329)
89.) The Longbow Hunters (153)
88.) The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh (49)
87.) Bridge of Sighs (528)
86.) Miss Rumphius
85.) Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
84.) Kitten's First Full Moon

83.) Over and Over Again (700)
82.) Arrow: Vengeance (448)
81.) Edwin Morgan New Selected Poems (179)
80.) Bear and Wolf
79.) Autoboyography (407)
78.) Green Arrow: Year One (~100)
77.) Old Hat
76.) Grandma's Purse

75.) Art & Max
74.) Still Life (312)
73.) I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing (audio)
72.) Pashmina (169)
71.) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (441)
70.) The Ulysses Delusion (181)
69.) When Katie Met Cassidy (264)
68.) Dragon Was Terrible
67.) Waiting for the Biblioburro
66.) Interrupting Chicken
65.) The Secret Footprints
64.) The Duke and the Domina (358)
63.) If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don't!

62.) A Game of Crowns (299)
61.) Texts from Jane Eyre (227)
60.) Page by Paige (~150)
59.) The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs (355)
58.) Time Was (142)
57.) The Tea Dragon Society (71)
56.) The Color Purple (289)
55.) Time of Wonder
54.) Return
53.) Quest
52.) The Empath's Survival Guide (245)

51.) The Uncommon Reader (audio)
50.) Educated (audio)
49.) Akata Witch (349)
48.) The Wilder Life (331)
47.) In Conclusion, Don't Worry about It (audio)
46.) Witch, Please (audio)
45.) The Female Persuasion (454)
44.) The Princess and the Pony
43.) The Name Jar
42.) The Different Dragon
41.) Journey
40.) This Is the Rope
39.) A Gentleman in Moscow (462)

38.) The Stranger in the Woods (203)
37.) All Out (353)
36.) Harry Potter's Bookshelf (286)
35.) Camp Austen (audio)
34.) The Quotidian Mysteries (88)
33.) The Prince and the Dressmaker (277)
32.) Feel Free (435)
31.) Grabbling
30.) Boat of Dreams
29.) SkySisters
28.) Dragons Love Tacos
27.) Triangle
26.) The Good Boy (310)
25.) A Wrinkle in Time (245)
24.) The Daughter of Time (205)
23.) The Lawrence Browne Affair (304)

22.) Romancing the Beat (78)
21.) The Water Is Wide (258)
20.) The Big Snow
19.) White Houses (218)
18.) Whereas (101)
17.) Peter Darling (204)
16.) A Perfect Day
15.) Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match
14.) Not Quite Narwhal
13.) Prelude to Bruise (103)
12.) Bound to Be a Groom (186)
11.) Dryland (216)

10.) Q's Legacy (177)
9.) No Time to Spare (215)
8.) Sated (172)
7.) Eliza and Her Monsters (385)
6.) The Homecoming (115)
5.) A Story for Bear
4.) The Gentle Lion and the Little Owlet
3.) A Wolf's Tale
2.) How to Blow it with a Billionaire (356)
1.) A Is for Alibi (307)

2lycomayflower
Edited: Jul 6, 12:31pm Top

Hello! My name is Laura, and this is the eleventh year I've kept an LT thread tracking and reviewing my reading. I read pretty widely, but I'm most likely to read romance, memoir, mysteries, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and literary fiction. I'm in my mid-thirties, recently worked as an editor, am married to a fellow reader, and carry on living in the south (it's been the majority of my adult life now) despite constantly missing winter and wanting to move back north (I grew up in north-east Pennsylvania). When I'm not reading, I like to do photography, write, crochet, bowl, swim, and watch TV. I also keep a bookish blog at https://wonderatsix.blogspot.com/. Please feel free to talk to me there or here on LT. I love a good bookish conversation!

3lycomayflower
Edited: Yesterday, 5:23pm Top

As part of my goal in 2018 to read with more intent, I'm aiming to read (at least) ten books I've been meaning to read. I have a tentative list of books to choose from, but essentially this is another way of saying "books that came onto my TBR sometime in the last couple of years."

Ten Books I've Been Meaning to Read

1. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle
2. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles
3. The Wilder Life, Wendy McClure
4. Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor
5. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
6. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
7. Still Life, Louise Penny
8. Green Arrow: Year One, Andy Diggle and Jock
9. Edwin Morgan New Selected Poems, Edwin Morgan
10. Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo
--
11. We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates
12. The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walter Tevis

4lycomayflower
Edited: Yesterday, 5:24pm Top

As part of my goal in 2018 to read with more intent, I'm aiming to read (at least) ten books by authors of color. I have a tentative list of books from my TBR to choose from, but I will count any book I haven't read before by a person of color.

Ten Books by Authors of Color

1. Sated, Rebekah Weatherspoon
2. Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones
3. Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match, Monica Brown
4. Whereas, Layli Long Soldier
5. SkySisters, Jan Bourdeau Waboose
6. Feel Free, Zadie Smith
7. The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang
8. This Is the Rope, Jacqueline Woodson
9. The Name Jar, Yangsook Choi
10. Akata Witch, Nnedi Okorafor
--
11. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
12. The Secret Footprints, Julia Alvarez
13. Waiting for the Biblioburro, Monica Brown
14. Pashmina, Nidhi Chanani
15. Grandma's Purse, Vanessa Brantley-Newton
16. Arrow: Vengeance, Oscar Balderrama
17. Over and Over Again, Cole McCade
18. Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler
19. The Day You Begin, Jacqueline Woodson
20.) Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, Debbie Tung
21.) Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata
22.) We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates
23.) Don't Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table, Vanessa Brantley Newton

5lycomayflower
Edited: Aug 3, 2:32pm Top

As part of my goal in 2018 to read with more intent, I'm aiming to read (at least) ten books by LGBTQIA authors. I have a tentative list of books from my TBR to choose from, but I will count any book I haven't read before by an LGBTQIA author.

Ten Books by LGBTQIA Authors

1. Dryland, Sara Jaffe
2. Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones
3. Peter Darling, Austin Chant
4. White Houses, Amy Bloom
5. All Out, various
6. The Different Dragon, Jennifer Bryan
7. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
8. Texts from Jane Eyre, Daniel Mallory Ortberg
9. When Katie Met Cassidy, Camille Perri
10. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
--
11. Autoboyography, Christina Lauren (Lauren Billings)
12. Edwin Morgan New Selected Poems, Edwin Morgan
13. Over and Over Again, Cole McCade

6lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 11, 10:58am Top

As part of my goal in 2018 to read with more intent, I'm aiming to read (at least) three books of poetry, three books in translation, and four nonfiction books that are not memoirs. I have a tentative list of books from my TBR to choose from, but I will count any book I haven't read before that fits these categories.

3-3-4 Books of Poetry, Translation, and Non-Memoir Nonfiction

1. Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jones
2. Whereas, Layli Long Soldier
3. Edwin Morgan New Selected Poems, Edwin Morgan
-
4. Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata
5.
6.
-
7. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
8. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, Steve Brusatte
9. The Ulysses Delusion, Cecilia Konchar Farr
10. I'll Be There for You, Kelsey Miller
---
11. We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates
12. Paperback Crush, Gabrielle Moss

7lycomayflower
Edited: Jul 6, 12:38pm Top

76.) Grandma's Purse, Vanessa Brantley-Newton ****

Picture book about a little girl who loves to see what's in her grandma's purse. Bright and fun.

77.) Old Hat, Emily Gravett ****1/2

In this picture book, a dog tries to keep up with the hat styles sported by all his friends. Ultimately he learns to wear what he likes. The characters leap to life off the page, in large part due to their humorous expressions. Recommended.

8laytonwoman3rd
Jul 6, 1:23pm Top

>7 lycomayflower: You didn't give #76 to the sprouts, did you? They don't need any new ideas!

9lycomayflower
Jul 6, 1:27pm Top

>8 laytonwoman3rd: LOL--no, it was just a library book for my own reading. It didn't hit quite a high enough standard for getting a copy for the sprouts, so no worries. ;-)

10jnwelch
Jul 6, 1:42pm Top

Happy New Thread, Laura!

11foggidawn
Jul 6, 1:54pm Top

Happy new thread!

12MickyFine
Jul 6, 3:12pm Top

Happy new thread, Laura! And congrats on surpassing the magic number!

14Familyhistorian
Jul 6, 9:00pm Top

Happy new thread, Laura. What happened to book 75? Congrats for reading it, whatever it was.

15drneutron
Jul 6, 10:17pm Top

Happy new thread!

16FAMeulstee
Jul 7, 11:49am Top

Happy new thread, Laura, and congratulations on reaching 75!

17Kassilem
Jul 7, 5:47pm Top

Yay for a new thread and reading 75+ books!

18scaifea
Jul 8, 8:49am Top

Happy new thread, Laura!

Is that Pascal on top of the bookshelf up there?
Also, I love the Frodo picture in the background.

19lycomayflower
Jul 11, 1:29pm Top

>14 Familyhistorian:, >15 drneutron:, >16 FAMeulstee:, >17 Kassilem:, >18 scaifea: Thank you, all!

>14 Familyhistorian: It's at the very tail end of the last thread. It was a picture book about which I only said a sentence or so--easily missed!

>18 scaifea: It is! Good old Frodo, lazing under a tree with a book.

20lycomayflower
Jul 11, 1:38pm Top

78.) Green Arrow: Year One, Andy Diggle, Jock ***1/2

I went into this comics collection knowing that the origin story here for Green Arrow would be completely unrelated to the origin story in the TV show Arrow (what I love), so it's not that I was disappointed that *this* Oliver Queen/GA is not *that* Oliver Queen/GA but I was disappointed in this story in comparison to that one. The story just seems flat (and a little rushed?)--I don't quite buy the transformation Oliver has to undergo. *shrug* Comics aren't wholly my bag, so this reaction might be partly because the format doesn't completely resonate with me. Some of the art, however, is absolutely stunning.

21lycomayflower
Jul 11, 1:50pm Top

79.) Autoboyography, Christina Lauren ****

In this YA contemporary romance, Tanner lives in Provo, Utah, not necessarily the easiest place to be bisexual. His father is Jewish, his mother is ex-LDS, and the family moved to Provo from California when Tanner was a teen, so he always feels somewhat like an outsider in town and at school, though he has a loving, supportive family and a best friend named Autumn. During his senior year of high school, Tanner finds himself falling for LDS golden boy Sebastian Brother, who TAs the creative writing seminar Tanner is taking. Eventually he discovers Sebastian reciprocates his feelings, and then thing get reeeally complicated. I loved all the characters here, as well as the format of the book (most of it takes the form of the autobiographical novel Tanner is writing in his seminar). The depiction of the complications that arise for Tanner and Sebastian is tender and lovely, and I really appreciated the way Lauren grapples with Sebastian's faith and never lets the story brush off how important it is to him, despite the difficulties it causes him. I thought the book dragged a little around the three/fourths mark, but on the whole this was a wonderful, engaging read. Recommended.

22MickyFine
Jul 11, 4:05pm Top

>20 lycomayflower: Green Arrow is The Fiancé's absolute favourite comics character. He had me read Green Arrow: Quiver, which is a decent read but also really embedded in the larger DCU so I definitely had questions to ask him to figure out larger universe things.

23lycomayflower
Jul 12, 1:20pm Top

>22 MickyFine: The Fiancé clearly has excellent taste in comics characters. ;-) Despite enjoying most of the comics movie/TV adaptations I've seen and liking graphic novels, I can't seem to make the leap over into the comics themselves. Partly it's definitely the lack of knowledge about the universes.

24MickyFine
Jul 12, 2:10pm Top

>23 lycomayflower: Comics is definitely an area where it's tough to make the jump in. I've been lucky to have a knowledgeable nerd guiding my reading experience and on-call for questions if I come across characters or plot references that I don't get.

26laytonwoman3rd
Jul 18, 7:05pm Top

>25 lycomayflower: I don't know why my comment isn't posting on the blog. I've done it twice now. It seems to do what it's supposed to....gives me no failure message of any kind...but it doesn't show up. So let me say here that I believe my favorite TV character (that being Frank Reagan) already reads rather widely and would probably be ahead of me on that front. If he hasn't read Bruno, Chief of Police, though, he might get a kick out of that.

27lycomayflower
Jul 21, 5:45pm Top

>26 laytonwoman3rd: I had that trouble trying to get the post to go up too. I had to log out and back in repeatedly to get it to go.

28lycomayflower
Jul 21, 5:48pm Top

80.) Bear and Wolf, Daniel Salmieri ****

Bear and Wolf come across one another on a snowy day in the forest and walk the forest together, noticing things. This is just lovely and the illustrations are perfect.

29lycomayflower
Edited: Jul 23, 5:32pm Top

DNF: Archer's Voice, Mia Sheridan

This romance started out well and then started annoying me so much with all its little details that made no sense. The thing that finally flung me so far out of the story that I couldn't get back in was the author's treatment of the characters' use of ASL. The hero supposedly taught himself sign language from a book? And has never used it with anyone until the heroine shows up but he can sign fluently with her? And they have great long conversations that are rendered in italics as if they are speaking those exact words in ASL? Despite ASL being its own language, not some kind of physical transliteration of English? I just didn't trust anything about the story anymore after this on top of so many other little things that felt off.

30Familyhistorian
Jul 25, 9:33pm Top

>26 laytonwoman3rd: I was able to post a comment on your blog with no problem, Laura. Maybe it was a momentary blip. I need to fix my pic though, it cuts off my head. *sigh*

31laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Jul 26, 10:49am Top

>30 Familyhistorian: It's still not letting me post. I don't get an option as to what profile to use, either. The menu just says "Google account" without my username, even though I am currently logged in to my Google profile. Puzzling. I may have grumbled to the mayflower before about my issues with Google.

32lycomayflower
Jul 30, 12:49pm Top

>30 Familyhistorian:, >31 laytonwoman3rd: Weird. I wonder what's going on with it.

33lycomayflower
Jul 30, 12:55pm Top

81.) Edwin Morgan New Selected Poems, Edwin Morgan ****

Of all the poetry collections I've read, this is probably the one in which I was engaged by the biggest percentage of the poems. There's still a lot here that just makes me do a *derp* face, but a lot of it also really struck me. For just pure awesome, you can't beat "The Loch Ness Monster's Song," and "The Video Box No. 25" is one of those rare poems (for me) that just absolutely knocked me on my arse. Recommended.

34lycomayflower
Jul 30, 1:06pm Top

82.) Arrow: Vengeance, Oscar Balderrama and Lauren Certo ***

This first tie-in novel to the CW TV series Arrow sounded like a neat premise but in execution it was fairly lackluster. This is meant to be read after one has seen season two of the show, and the novel provides background for the three major villains of season two and then retells season two from those villains' points of view. The villains in season two were great, and I see why doing a book from their povs was appealing, but unfortunately the book just doesn't add much to what we already know about them. We get a handful of details about their pasts we didn't have before and a couple of little moments that fill in bits we weren't privy to in the season, but it's definitely not 448 pages of new or interesting or compelling stuff about these guys. And all the stuff I love most about Arrow (Oliver and the rest of the main cast, the crime-fighting, the archery) is mostly off the page here (naturally, given the structure of the story). I feel like this would have been a *much* better idea for a comics tie-in. The writing was competent genre "get the stuff on the page," so I don't see any reason why I won't check out the other Arrow tie-ins, in the hopes that they have more interesting stories to tell.

35MickyFine
Jul 30, 2:12pm Top

>34 lycomayflower: Sorry that one didn't match expectations. That's always such a bummer.

36lycomayflower
Aug 3, 2:16pm Top

83.) Over and Over Again, Cole McCade ***1/2

This May/December romance taking place on a goat farm in the Yorkshire Dales follows Luca and Imre as they navigate their feelings for each other, Luca's attempt to figure out who he wants to be, and Imre's fears about entering into a relationship with somone so much younger then himself. The setting is very nicely evoked, the representation of Imre as demisexual is handled pretty well, and there's some great scenes between Luca and Imre as they sort themselves out. But on the whole I felt like I didn't know the characters as well as I should have (especially given how long the book was).

37lycomayflower
Aug 3, 2:17pm Top

>35 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky. Yeah, it is. :-/

38lycomayflower
Aug 3, 2:23pm Top

84.) Kitten's First Full Moon, Kevin Henkes ***

A kitten see the full moon and thinks it's a saucer of milk then tries to get to it. Cute and very simplistic. The art does a great job of capturing "cat."

85.) Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas ***1/2

Wilfrid is a little boy who lives next door to a care home. He has many friends amongst the elderly residents of the home, and when he learns that one of them is losing her memory, he tries to help her get it back. Nice and touching, if perhaps a little overly optimistic about how dementia works.

86.) Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney ****

Miss Rumpius's grandfather told her that one of the most important things she must do in life is make the world beautiful. This picture book follows her as she discovers how she will do that. Nice message and the illustrations (stunning) are absolutely the star here.

39laytonwoman3rd
Aug 3, 4:26pm Top

>36 lycomayflower:, >38 lycomayflower: Are these what you are meant to be reading???

40lycomayflower
Aug 3, 4:36pm Top

>39 laytonwoman3rd: I finished all these *days* ago

41laytonwoman3rd
Aug 3, 4:45pm Top

Mmmmm....k.

42scaifea
Aug 4, 8:03am Top

Oh, I LOVE Miss Rumphius!

43jnwelch
Aug 4, 1:25pm Top

Our house loves Miss Rumphius, too!

44foggidawn
Aug 5, 5:06pm Top

>38 lycomayflower: Aww, Kitten’s First Full Moon is one of my favorites.

45lycomayflower
Aug 6, 2:25pm Top

87.) Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo ***1/2

It's hard to deny that the scope of this novel, with its several points of view, depiction of a whole town, and portrait of three families living there, is impressive. And it all hangs together, which over the course of 528 densely-packed pages is no small feat. But I just didn't enjoy the novel much at all. I got more engaged in the last quarter or so, but it took some doing to get to that point, let me tell you. If this hadn't been a book club book I was determined to finish, I almost certainly would have quit *well* before I got to the stuff I kind of sort of enjoyed.

Much of the narrative, especially in the first half of the book, takes the form of Lou Charles "Lucy" Lynch recalling his childhood, and while there are some deft portrayals of characters and of what it was like to live in a small town in the 50s, not much of it is super compelling. Or at least it wasn't to me. Lucy is not a particularly interesting character, and Russo just failed to make me care about him (or most anyone else in the story, although some of them come much more to life in that aforementioned last quarter of the book). I felt throughout the book that Russo had made very strange choices about what to put on the page, especially when it's revealed that Lucy is an unreliable narrator to the point he has left out *the* most important, compelling, and telling piece of information about his childhood.

I was also sometimes impatient with Russo's use of symbolic actions on the part of his characters. For a book that spends so much time and effort trying to portray something real, it sure uses a lot of over-the-top and heavy-handed imagery to make sure we get something that was perfectly apparent from his storytelling.

On the whole, the portrait of the town and families and how class divisions work there and how they affect everyone's lives was well done, but other than that I was just exhausted by the book. If it had been two hundred pages shorter and Russo had focused his attention slightly differently on his characters, I might have enjoyed it quite a bit.

46lycomayflower
Aug 6, 2:36pm Top

>42 scaifea:, >43 jnwelch:, >44 foggidawn: :-)

Do any of you have picture book recs? I'm starting to run out of things I've noted to find.

47foggidawn
Aug 6, 3:44pm Top

>46 lycomayflower: Here are some that I particularly like:

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood
Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle
Supertruck by Stephen Savage
Waiting by Kevin Henkes
I Don't Like Koala by Sean Ferrell
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
All the World by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

I could go on, but I don't want to slow your thread with too many touchstones.

48lycomayflower
Aug 6, 3:52pm Top

>47 foggidawn: ! Thank you, foggi! This is great!

49foggidawn
Aug 6, 3:56pm Top

>48 lycomayflower: You're welcome! Any time you need more recommendations, just ask!

52lycomayflower
Aug 8, 3:21pm Top

>50 jnwelch:, >51 scaifea: Woot! Thanks. These'll keep me busy for a while!

53lycomayflower
Aug 8, 3:22pm Top

I'm thinking about those little moments in favorite narratives that just don't quite make sense at the blog today.

54laytonwoman3rd
Edited: Aug 8, 3:54pm Top

>53 lycomayflower: Naturally, there is the goat/promissory note sequence in The Hamlet, which no one I know has ever been able to figure out, math-wise. I couldn't even begin to describe it, but you know the one I mean.

55lycomayflower
Edited: Aug 8, 3:58pm Top

>54 laytonwoman3rd: Naturally. Prices have doubled around here since last year.

I know, I know, that's not The Hamlet.

56laytonwoman3rd
Aug 8, 4:30pm Top

Yeah, the math doesn't work in that one either, though. Maybe Uncle Billy simply couldn't be arsed to add?

57scaifea
Aug 9, 7:35am Top

Oh, also, have I pestered you to read The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore?

58bell7
Aug 9, 7:42am Top

Ooh, looks like I'll have to look for Miss Rumphius. I'm on the lookout for good picture books to add to Mia & Matthew's (my niece and nephew) library. Hello, Lighthouse was a recent favorite of mine (the illustrations are just stellar) and I need to get Mia a copy of The Paperbag Princess at some point. I missed it somehow, but what are you looking for in the picture books you're reading?

59MickyFine
Aug 9, 1:25pm Top

Adding to the picture book discussion, I've adored all of the Jon Klassen books I've read and purchased almost all of them for my nieces.

60lycomayflower
Aug 13, 10:25am Top

>57 scaifea: I don't think you have! *adds to list*

>58 bell7: Cool. I'll check those out! I think I read The Paperbag Princess when I was a kid, but I don't really remember it. As far as what I'm looking for, I'm really open to pretty much anything anyone recommends. I'm just trying to read widely in the genre. I respond best when the illustrations really work for me, but what works for me is super varied as far as style. Always on the lookout for books written or illustrated by people of color. I like sweet, or humorous, or poignant, but not twee.

>59 MickyFine: Added to the list! Thanks!

62norabelle414
Aug 22, 8:33pm Top

>61 lycomayflower: Yaaay Arrow!

I feel the exact opposite - I don't like watching more than 2 or 3 episodes of a show in a row. I like to sit with them in my head for a bit before watching the next one.

63laytonwoman3rd
Aug 22, 8:51pm Top

>61 lycomayflower: Berp-ber-der-derp!! "x" not "z"

65lycomayflower
Aug 22, 10:34pm Top

>62 norabelle414: Husbeast is like this! Luckily we are usually on the same-ish page about how fast to go through things we are watching together. Farscape was hard. I wanted to gogogo and he was like, "One episode at a time. Ooooonly one." He refuses to watch Arrow, which has probably saved us from misunderstanding one another with regards to how quickly one should get through a season of it. =P I know if I watch *too many* episodes in a row everything gets all muddled up in my brain. I try to find a balance for each show. It's harder to find a balance with some than others.

66MickyFine
Aug 23, 1:00pm Top

The Fiancé and I have taken to watching one show per evening (although the DC universe we're now alternating between season 3 Arrow and season 1 Flash based on a handy, combined universe viewing guide). Although I haven't yet started watching a show with him yet where I MUST watch every episode right now. We'll see how that goes in the future.

But I have definitely consumed many a show in binge fashion. Galavant is probably the most recent, as I devoured both seasons in 2 days last year. And then promptly watched it all again.

67lycomayflower
Aug 23, 2:15pm Top

>66 MickyFine: I had plans to watch Flash and Arrow concurrently on this rewatch. I got about four eps into Flash and realized that I wasnt enjoying it because I wished I was watching Arrow. So I gave that up and just watched the crossovers when they came around. Still planning on going back and watching all of Flash (and probably Legends of Tomorrow) at some point though.

68MickyFine
Aug 23, 3:05pm Top

>67 lycomayflower: I have to admit, I enjoy Flash more than Arrow. Tonally (at least for now) it's much lighter, which is much more what I need at the moment. Hopefully you and Barry get on much better the next time you attempt Flash.

69lycomayflower
Aug 23, 3:43pm Top

>68 MickyFine: The tonal difference is a big reason why I couldn't really get into Flash--not because I don't like it's tone. I actually quite like the tone of both shows. But they *are* so different. If I'm in the mood for Arrow, I'm pretty much definitionally not in the mood for Flash, I think. Looking forward to it when I get around to it though, as what I've seen from the crossovers does have me intrigued.

70lycomayflower
Aug 25, 5:46pm Top

88.) The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh, K.J. Charles ****

In this historical romance novella, gambling debts and long-standing animosity and attraction lead to an evening of revelations and sex between Gabriel Ashleigh and Francis Webster. Entertaining with a decent amount of characterization in so short a piece.

71lycomayflower
Edited: Aug 25, 5:57pm Top

89.) Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, Mike Grell ****1/2

A collected miniseries of Green Arrow issues from the eighties. Oliver Queen and Dinah Lance move to Seattle where Oliver begins to feel his age a bit. He tries to hunt down a serial killer while Dinah is on the trail of a drug ring. Bad things ensue, and a mysterious archer more skilled than Oliver is also on the scene. Great stuff here (though, jeez the violence towards women) and fantastic art. Also cool to see which elements of this story influenced Arrow.

72MickyFine
Aug 25, 7:48pm Top

>71 lycomayflower: The violence against women and Dinah's outfit as Black Canary... sigh.

73lycomayflower
Edited: Sep 1, 12:39pm Top

90.) Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler **1/2

This is my fourth read from Butler, and it's definitely the one I liked the least. The setting is bleak and dystopian, which is mostly not my bag but with which I can get on if I'm sufficiently intrigued by plot or characters. This doesn't have a plot? And I didn't warm to any of the characters. It honestly just felt like one brutal encounter after another until I ran out of pages. The religion the main character "discovers" is sort of compelling but not enough so to generate interest in the face of the other lack; likewise her ability to feel physically the pain of others, which just kind of sits there, being a nuisance when killing is inevitable but otherwise not going anywhere. I know this is the beginning of a duology, but unfortunately nothing about this prompts me to consider carrying on. This is the first time I've given an Octavia Butler book less than four stars, so I may just have been on the wrong wavelength or something for this one. YMMV.

***For Book Club

74karspeak
Edited: Sep 1, 6:56pm Top

I enjoyed Parable of the Sower (I tend to like dystopic novels), but the sequel was way more depressing and gristly/violent, so you are definitely making a good decision to skip it!

75karspeak
Edited: Sep 1, 7:00pm Top

Which books by Butler did you read and like? I also read Dawn, but I found it very disturbing, with themes of sexual involvement with one’s oppressors, etc.

76lycomayflower
Sep 10, 12:57pm Top

>75 karspeak: I read Dawn, Fledgling, and Kindred. I enjoyed Fledgling the most, but thought Kindred was the best book of those.

77karspeak
Edited: Sep 10, 2:44pm Top

78lycomayflower
Sep 20, 5:14pm Top

Sooo, it's been a minute since I've been here. For a while there it was looking like Hurricane Florence was going to absolutely smash us here--there was talk of rain measured in feet and catastrophic flooding worse than the city has ever encountered. Things aligned so that *didn't* happen--we got about four inches of rain over a long enough period that flooding was minor. Our house did not take on any water (we live in the flood plain of a boisterous stream coming out of the mountains), and we are relieved and grateful to have weathered this storm so comparatively easily, especially as we don't even have to look so far away as North Carolina (my goodness, the destruction there) to see *much* worse flooding. A neighboring county got ten inches to our four-ish, and they are faring worse than we are. All that means my attention was mostly elsewhere (so many books had to be moved *up* and then put back where they belong--and we were advised to evacuate, so we did, etc). But it's passed now, and I'm feeling pretty much just "whew."

I did get a lot of reading done (both just before the ramp up to the storm that I just didn't get here to mention and during the storm/down time in the hotel we decamped to), so a barrel of reviews coming soon!

79lycomayflower
Sep 20, 5:23pm Top

91.) The Day You Begin, Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael Lopez ****

Lovely picture book about finding the way and the space to be yourself.

92.) Last Stop on Market Street, Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson ****

Picture book about a boy riding the subway with his grandmother, meeting many kinds of people, and helping out in a soup kitchen. Very good.

93.) Interstellar Cinderella, Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt ****1/2

A retelling of Cinderella in space where Cinderella uses skill to impress the prince and rejects marriage because she's not ready. Loved this to bits.

94.) The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce ****

Very much enjoyed this story of Mr. Morris Lessmore and his custodianship of books. The illustrations are knockout.

80lycomayflower
Sep 20, 5:33pm Top

95.) Meg Jo Beth Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, Anne Boyd Rioux ****

Rioux provides a brief biography of Louisa May Alcott, traces the history of the writing and publishing of Little Women, then discusses the novel, its many adaptations through the years, and the effect it has had on literature for children. This was fascinating and very readable. I especially enjoyed the section on various adaptations and how they view the story/what they change, as well as the chapter on the influence the novel has had on later literature, especially YA. Recommended, especially if you have any fondness for Little Women.

81Caroline_McElwee
Sep 20, 6:31pm Top

>78 lycomayflower: Glad the deluge was less than expected for you Laura. Good you got some reading done though. I do enjoy settling in my chair with a good book and the rain lashing the window, but when we are talking of storms, of which there appear to be too many right now, that would be unsettling.

82lycomayflower
Sep 20, 6:31pm Top

96.) I'd Rather Be Reading, Anne Bogel ****

Anne Bogel of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next? has collected here a series of short essays about the reading life. This is mostly a quiet, pleasant collection that doesn't really ask many tough questions but rather lays out recognizable touchstones for bookish people. I might have liked it to have just a tad more substance, but there's no denying reading this was a purely delightful way to spend an afternoon.

83lycomayflower
Sep 20, 6:40pm Top

97.) Bury Me Deep, Christopher Pike, ****

Christopher Pike (like R.L. Stine) is one of those authors I steered clear of when I was in the target age demographic for their stuff because I thought they would scare the bejesus out of me (I was probably right--I was a sensitive kid, and I have never particularly like to be scared). I heard this book mentioned somewhere lately and had a "I think I'm brave enough to try some of that" moment. I loved it. It's just enough this side of horror not to scare me now, and I loved the intrigue and the slightly improbable plot populated by teenagers that are both too young and too old to be believably their stated ages. This book also knows a lot about scuba diving and put that on the page in a way that was fascinating. I may check out some more of Pike's books when I'm in the mood for something thriller-ish but want the read to be quick and not super likely to actually freak me out.

84lycomayflower
Sep 20, 10:17pm Top

98.) In the Middle of Somewhere, Roan Parrish ****1/2

When Philadelphia native Daniel nervously takes his first professor job at a school in the middle of nowhere Michigan, he doesn't plan on falling for Rex, a shy local. This romance novel follows the two as they negotiate an unexpected relationship and try to figure out how to work one another into their very different lives. I loved this story, not just for the relationship between Daniel and Rex (which was great), but for the spot-on portrayal of what grad school can do to a person and the exploration of Daniel's friendships and his complicated family life. Recommended.

85lycomayflower
Sep 20, 10:23pm Top

99.) Out of Nowhere, Roan Parrish ****

The sequel to In the Middle of Somewhere, this is Daniel's brother's book. Colin has hid his sexuality from his family and himself all his life, but Rafe makes him long for a relationship. This is very nearly as good as the first book in the series, and is absolutely aces at depicting Colin's complicated relationship with his family and his slow attempts at getting himself to a good place.

86lycomayflower
Sep 20, 10:33pm Top

100.) Hudson's Luck, Lucy Lennox ****1/2

Reeling from a break-up with his girlfriend over a mistaken marriage proposal, Hudson is on a business trip to Ireland when he meets and falls for Charlie, whose family owns the pub Hudson's boss wants to buy. Thing is, Hudson thought he was straight, and with a passel of brothers and a set of grandfathers who are all gay, he's had ample opportunity to think about it. Lennox does an excellent job exploring Hudson's self-examination regarding his sexuality and both Hudson and Charlie are vivid characters on the page. Both Hudson and Charlie have interesting family members who make appearances and flesh out this story wonderfully. Despite its sometimes heavy subject matter, Lennox writes the story with lightness and fills it with joy--I spent a lot of this book with a silly grin on my face. Recommended.

87lycomayflower
Sep 20, 10:47pm Top

101.) The Understatement of the Year, Sarina Bowen ****

John Rikker is the first out (not entirely by his choice) Division One college hockey player, and now he's on a team with his high school friend/boyfriend, Michael Graham--who is clearly not out and wants nothing to do with Rikker. They each have to navigate hockey, the team, their feelings for one another, a culture that is not welcoming to gay men, and their shared past. Good stuff, and as with a number of other romances I've read recently, part of what made it so good was how awesome the supporting characters were. There is a scene in this one between Graham and his mom that is just *clutches chest.*

88lycomayflower
Sep 20, 10:50pm Top

>81 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline! One of my absolute favorite things is to read while it weathers outside, but having to hop up every half hour to see if the creek is flash flooding takes some of the relaxing out of it. ;-)

89scaifea
Sep 21, 5:27am Top

I'll second that big "whew!" I'm so glad you and yours and your stuff are okay!

90lycomayflower
Sep 29, 5:35pm Top

>89 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

91lycomayflower
Edited: Sep 30, 4:40pm Top

102.) The Secret History, Donna Tartt ***1/2

This is the second time I've read The Secret History, and I feel much about it this time as I did the first time. I just don't really know what to *do* with it. The whole thing is compelling (even on a reluctant second read, it was often hard to put down), but I get to the end and go, "Yes?" Is it a character study? (It seems so, but also: several of the characters never really strikingly differentiate themselves in my mind.) Is it a thriller? (It's too slow and ambiguous for that?) Is it an exploration of evil? Or education? Or misplaced friendship? (If it is any of those things, it certainly doesn't get anywhere satisfying, even in an ambiguous, open sort of a way.) I also just want to leap into the pages and start handing out cookies to all the characters. Just. Have a moment with some sugar, yes? Be pleased for, like, just five flipping minutes, could you? And the campus setting strikes me as wildly, *wildly* unrealistic. *shrug* I know lots of people love this book. As this read was for book club, I'm hoping one of our members is one of them and can shed some light on why they love it. Because I honestly don't get it.

***For Book Club

92lycomayflower
Edited: Sep 30, 4:20pm Top

103.) The Duke I Tempted, Scarlett Peckham ****

Historical romance set in the mid-eighteenth century between Archer, a duke, and Poppy, a sort-of nearly aristocratic young woman whom his sister hires to design and execute a garden for her ball. The story revolves around secrets Archer is keeping about his past and his sexuality and Poppy's intense desire to remain an independent woman and build a successful nursery business. Each feels their desires for themselves make their desire for one another untenable, and therein lies the tale. I enjoyed this very much; the story is well written and delightfully paced. Archer and Poppy are great characters and their interactions are by turns compelling, intense, and sweet. And the setting and secondary characters are interesting. Recommended.

93lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:20pm Top

104.) Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman, read by Suzanne Toren ****

Enjoyed this reread (this time on audio) of Fadiman's collection of essays about the reading life. Toren does a good job reading it, and the essays feel slightly old-fashioned but in many ways timeless as well.

94Caroline_McElwee
Sep 30, 4:21pm Top

>93 lycomayflower: I love this little book Laura. Hmm, may be time for a reread myself, soon.

95lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:23pm Top

>94 Caroline_McElwee: It's a gem, isn't it?

96lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:24pm Top

105.) You Learn By Living, Eleanor Roosevelt ***1/2

I didn't enjoy this as much as I expected to, as I do somewhat consider myself an Eleanor Roosevelt fan. The book occupies some sort of space between a collection of personal essays and a self-help/self-improving book, and that in-betweenery didn't really work for me. Also, while I can certainly deploy my brain in one of its many intended uses and filter out what is good and useful here from what no longer feels relevant and/or now smacks of hurtfulness (teach children to cry to themselves in the bath so as not to bother others with their personal upsets?!), there was just a little too much I had to filter out for this to be a fully enjoyable read. Still, some good stuff here. Worth the read, if not as great a read as I'd hoped.

97lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:27pm Top

106.) Green Arrow: Hunters Moon, Mike Grell, Ed Hannigan, Dick Giordano ****

The first volume in Grell's long follow-up to The Longbow Hunters. I enjoyed this very much and am definitely falling for this version of Oliver Queen. (This version of OQ can be spotted wearing an ugly Christmas sweater what matches his socks. Be still my heart.) As with The Longbow Hunters, jeez the violence against woman, though. Also, TW for graphic gay bashing in the last set of issues collected here.

98lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:28pm Top

107.) Runaways: Find Your Way Home, Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka ****1/2

I didn't know thing one about Runaways until Rainbow Rowell started writing for it, and I only picked it up because of her. And I *loved* it. This picks up where the most recent run left off (sort of), and I could tell that there were bits that would have resonated more strongly if I had read those; however, Rowell does an excellent job of making the emotional moments land for a new reader. I was never confused, and I was immediately enamored of the characters. I'll be carrying on with this.

99lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:31pm Top

108.) An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Hank Green ****

Hank Green's debut has a sci-fi plot that was intriguing and enjoyable, but really it's about sudden fame and the interconnected, social- media-infused world we now live in. I didn't love any of the characters, which made the handful of draggy bits seem even more draggy, but that is really a personal reaction rather than anything approaching an objective criticism of the book. The main character, April May, is kind of unlikeable, and that is largely the point. Green does some really great stuff with allowing her to be flawed and exploring how her personality interacts with her circumstance. For anyone who has seen a lot of Green's content as himself (watched his Youtube videos, listened to his podcasts), as I have, it may sometimes feel like Green is talking at you out of the novel's pages (where it should be April May, as the pov is first person), but it still mostly works. If I have any real criticism of the book it is this: YOU CALL THAT AN ENDING HANK HOW DARE. Ahem. Mostly recommended, especially if you are a Hank Green/Vlog Brothers fan and/or if you are fascinated by the way the internet and social media are impacting our cultures. I think this would be a fascinating book to read alongside The Nix, incidentally, as I think they both get at much of the same things in some pretty varied ways.

100laytonwoman3rd
Sep 30, 4:56pm Top

>96 lycomayflower: So Eleanor Roosevelt raised the Everly Brothers, then?

101lycomayflower
Sep 30, 4:57pm Top

>100 laytonwoman3rd: That's in the rain, no?

102bell7
Sep 30, 8:54pm Top

>99 lycomayflower: I bought that book for our library collection largely because I thought it would be a good teen/adult crossover with our John Green fans. I'm glad it's mostly a good one, and I'm hoping to read it eventually myself. Fortunately (?) I've never seen any of the Vlog Brothers videos so I won't have his voice in my head instead of April May's ;)

103laytonwoman3rd
Sep 30, 9:32pm Top

>101 lycomayflower: Same concept.

104MickyFine
Oct 12, 1:36pm Top

*waves*

Lots of excellent, thoughtful reviews occurred in my absence, I see.

105lycomayflower
Edited: Oct 12, 3:22pm Top

>102 bell7: LOL. It was only mildly distracting, but I did kind of wish I could get Hank Green Voice out of my head!

>104 MickyFine: Hiya! Thanks!

106lycomayflower
Oct 12, 3:37pm Top

109.) Wolf in the Snow, Matthew Cordell ***1/2

A girl and a wolf find each other in the snow. I really enjoyed the illustrations in this one.

110.) Hello, Lighthouse, Sophie Blackall ***1/2

The story of a lighthouse keeper, how he does his job, and how he and his family live in a lighthouse. Neat. Pleasant illustrations, and I really liked peeking into the business of keeping a lighthouse going before automation.

111.) The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Dan Santat ***1/2

Amusing. Didn't quite do it for me fully.

112.) Nobody Likes a Goblin, Ben Hatke ****

Very much enjoyed the illustrations in this story of a goblin who is unwanted--until he finds other goblins! Fun.

107lycomayflower
Oct 12, 3:38pm Top

113.) Quiet Girl in a Noisy World, Debbie Tung ****

Collection of comics about an introverted young woman as she navigates the world as an introvert, struggles with the ways others don't understand her, and finds those who do. Funny and touching. Recommended.

108lycomayflower
Oct 12, 3:41pm Top

114.) Giant Days volume 1, John W. Allison ****1/2

In this comics collection, three girls room next to each other at university and have become one another's best friends. The navigate university, parties, significant others, getting the flu, and so on--all the stuff that feels so important in college, because it *is.* I just loved this to bits and will be reading all the rest of it. Recommended.

109MickyFine
Oct 16, 1:50pm Top

>108 lycomayflower: Hmmm, it's considered a readalike for Lumberjanes, which I adore so I think I'm hit.

110lycomayflower
Oct 19, 3:02pm Top

>109 MickyFine: Similar feel, I'd say, definitely.

111lycomayflower
Edited: Oct 19, 3:07pm Top

A blog post?! A blog post. Talking about my "core" books.

112mahsdad
Oct 22, 5:20pm Top

>99 lycomayflower: I think I liked An Absolutely Remarkable Thing a little more than you, but I agree with your sentiment. Interestingly, while I do watch a lot of the Brother's Green's content (including their podcast which I quite enjoy) didn't really have his voice in my head, even the Andy chapter.

As far as the ending goes, yeah, I'll give you that. It is his first book after all. I sort of knew what was coming, but it still got me in the feels a bit. Maybe he'll do better in the sequel.

It was a definite worthwhile read. IMO.

113lycomayflower
Oct 24, 2:32pm Top

>112 mahsdad: Definitely worthwhile. I hope he keeps writing fiction. I certainly enjoyed it enough to see what else he comes up with (either a sequel to this one or something else entirely).

114lycomayflower
Edited: Oct 24, 2:33pm Top

Two weeks in a row?! Amazing. At the blog today, I ponder the point of The Great American Read.

115lycomayflower
Edited: Oct 24, 3:23pm Top

115.) The Rough Patch, Brian Lies ****1/2

In this exquisitely illustrated picture book, an anthropomorphic fox loves his pet dog and does everything with him, especially gardening. One day the dog dies (of old age--no brutal accident or anything), and the fox falls into a terrible grief, which is chiefly represented by his letting his garden go to weed.

This slammed me right in the heart. It's a lovely examination of grief and how one can slowly move out of it, but it is *ahem* rough going. I found the choice of a fox for the main character given his pet was a dog slightly odd, but I got over it pretty quick. Recommended, but know what you're letting yourself in for.

116lycomayflower
Oct 24, 3:23pm Top

116.) Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson ****

A fun, silly picture book about a witch and all the animals she finds room for on her broom. I picked this up as a Halloween treat for the nieces, and found it a lovely, atmospheric (but not scary) read with fun illustrations.

117lycomayflower
Oct 24, 3:28pm Top

117.) A Sharp Solitude, Christine Carbo ****

An entertaining mystery that moves mostly like a light character study. I really don't see how you could have figured out who did it, but it feels like the point was more to know and understand the two main characters. I enjoyed this very much while I was reading it, but find most of the particulars have left me now, a week on. I remember the atmosphere of it, though, which I quite liked, so I may pick up more by Carbo.

118lycomayflower
Oct 24, 3:34pm Top

118.) Giant Days vol. 2, John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin ****1/2

119.) Giant Days vol. 3, John Allison and Max Sarin ****1/2

120.) Giant Days vol. 4, John Allison and Max Sarin ****1/2

The continued uni adventures of Daisy, Esther, and Susan and their friends Ed and McGraw. I'm just loving this comic to bits.The art, the situations, the supporting characters, and the heart at the core of all of it is just outstanding. 100% my kind of thing.

119scaifea
Oct 25, 5:21am Top

Staying away from The Rough Patch, for reasons.

Room on the Broom is one of our favorite Halloween reads!

120lycomayflower
Nov 4, 10:32am Top

>119 scaifea: I'm not sure how The Rough Patch ended up on my library list without me realizing what it was about, but I would have avoided it as well had I known!

121lycomayflower
Nov 4, 10:37am Top

121.) I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends, Kelsey Miller ****

I'll Be There for You is a well-researched mostly oral history of the TV show Friends, primarily focusing on how the show came about, how the actors fared during the whole process, and what the show meant (and still means) in American (and other) culture. It does a good job at all that, and I enjoyed it very much. (And I learned a lot of things that I think a lot of people at least a few years older than me probably just sort of absorbed in the early Friends days--I was too young to be paying attention at first). I might have wished for a little more analysis of the show as content, but the book never promises that, so. Does what it says it would and does it well.

122lycomayflower
Nov 4, 10:46am Top

122.) Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori ***

This short Japanese novel perplexed me, mostly, I think, because I don't know enough about Japanese culture to get which (if any) bits of the story were over the top and/or satire. Keiko works at a 24-hour convenience store and has done so for eighteen years--"too long," according to her family and co-workers. It's time she either got a "real" job or got married. But Keiko is perfectly content with her part-time job and tiny apartment. There's obviously commentary about conformity and cultural/societal expectations going on here, but Keiko also seems possibly on the autism spectrum? Or perhaps a sociopath? Or maybe not? And it is the ambiguity about that point that I can't quite read--and also the intensity of everyone's insistence that she cannot remain a convenience store worker. Is that exaggerated in service of the point? Or not? Ultimately I'm glad I read this and feel like it was entirely worthwhile, but I'm still not sure what to do with it. And that's okay.

123lycomayflower
Nov 4, 10:51am Top

123.) The Horse Mistress, R.A. Steffan ***1/2

A fantasy romance, The Horse Mistress follows three characters, all of whom do not conform to their society's norms regarding either gender or sexuality. The three eventually form a polyamorous relationship. I enjoyed the story well enough--the characters were all right, the representation seemed decent, and the world building was okay. But for a book that so fully lands in my wheelhouse, it just kind of sat there for me.

124lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 4, 11:06am Top

124.) Matilda, Roald Dahl, read by Kate Winslet ****1/2

I remember Matilda from childhood, but in listening to it this time I realized that mostly I remembered only the first half of it (about up to the chocolate cake). I had completely forgotten Matilda's supernatural abilities and all the particulars of how the villain is comeuppanced. I wonder if I only reread the bits that were so specifically about reading as a kid. Anyway, I enjoyed listening to this so very much. Dahl does his weird kids/terrible adults/singular awesome adult thing brilliantly here. And Kate Winslet does a spectacular job reading it. I did note a fair number of unfortunate characterizations (the villain is "large" and it's part of her villainy and we are. not. allowed. to. forget. it. there's some class stuff that's a little *grimace*. I suspect that someone who wanted to think about it a little harder than I can right now could come up with something pretty damning about lesbianism being associated with villainy too), but it mostly stays at the level of "we can talk about this" rather than "this completely ruins the whole book." For me at least. YMMV.

125lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 4, 12:02pm Top

125.) We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates ****1/2

We Were Eight Years in Power collects eight of Coates's essays originally published in The Atlantic--one from each year of Barack Obama's presidency--as well as an introduction, a reflection on each essay written for the collection, and an epilogue, written after the 2016 election. The essays are all about race, and a few of them are also about the Obamas specifically. This collection is required reading for any American who wants to understand where we are as a country and work to get to some reckoning with why. I found the pieces about the Civil War, reparations, mass incarceration, and the ascent of our 45th president particularly compelling and convicting. This is a hard read but a desperately necessary one. Recommended.

126Caroline_McElwee
Nov 4, 11:56am Top

>125 lycomayflower: that is very near the top of my tbr pile Laura. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

127lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 4, 12:26pm Top

126.) This Is How It Always Is, Laurie Frankel ****

This Is How It Always Is follows Rosie and Penn and their five sons, the youngest of whom begins to insist at age five that he is a girl. The story is more about parenting than anything else, and as such I thought was pretty marvelous. I loved all the characters and the conceit throughout where Penn tells the children an ongoing fairy tale which comments on their lives. (I gather that some readers were really impatient with this, but I thought Frankel used it to quite good effect, not just to comment on events in the story but also to explore story versus life.) In her author's note, Frankel makes clear a few things: she has a young child who is trans*, and this novel is in no way that child's story. It's important, I think, for us to know as readers whether we are reading own voices stories or not, so I appreciate this transparency. But I have some hesitant quibbles about the way this story seems more story than reflection of life. Claude (who for a long while is Poppy and then is Claude again for awhile before being Poppy again, it seems for good (?)--the ambiguity is intentional on the story's part) sometimes behaves in ways that don't line up with what I understand to be expectations for trans* children, and some of Rosie and Penn's decisions about how to parent Claude strike me as very unlikely (they talk to a counselor but never even consider whether Claude should? when Poppy starts to struggle with her identity after being outed at school, they never consider trying to connect her with any support groups? or reach out to other families with trans* children?). I also wasn't sure about the final fourth or so of the novel, when Rosie takes Claude with her to Thailand when she works there as a doctor in a remote village. This feels like it was entirely a way to introduce into the story Buddhism and the idea of there being a third path. This seemed "literary fiction-y" when I think the story needed something more grounded in straight realism. It's a story resolution to the questions the novel brings up, not a reality resolution. Despite this being a story, I think this was the wrong tack to take. So overall I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book, but I have problems with it as well.

128lycomayflower
Nov 4, 12:05pm Top

>126 Caroline_McElwee: Thanks, Caroline. Hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

129lycomayflower
Nov 5, 2:24pm Top

127.) Seven Days of Us, Francesca Hornak ****

The Birch family will all be together for Christmas for the first time in years--and they'll be spending it at their country house in quarantine as eldest daughter Olivia has just returned from a months-long aid trip to Africa to treat patients at the center of an outbreak of a hemorrhagic fever. As they are all cooped up together until Olivia is officially declared symptom free, their enforced proximity intensifies the pressure of the holidays--a situation made even more volatile by the fact that every member of the family is keeping something to themselves that they really probably ought to tell everyone about.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel that works like a character study of a family. All the characters were interesting and I cared about each of them (even the ones I found annoying). The tone is just the right mix of light and heavy--think a slightly heavier, slightly less overtly humorousThe Family Stone set in the UK rather than New England, and you'll about have it. Recommended if this sounds your kind of thing.

130foggidawn
Nov 5, 4:19pm Top

>129 lycomayflower: It does sound kind of interesting...

131lycomayflower
Nov 11, 10:16am Top

>130 foggidawn: I see on your thread you read it...

132lycomayflower
Nov 11, 10:51am Top

128.) Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction, Gabrielle Moss ****

A large format book with glossy pages, Paperback Crush is a light history of... teen fiction from the 80s and 90s. Moss traces the trends in "teen" fiction at the time, discusses how that fiction reflected the concerns of kids and parents in those years, and offers interviews with and insights into the authors of the books. A great deal of the books here strike me not really as teen fiction but more like late middle grade (protaganists so often seem to be twelve), although a fair number of them are about kids in their late teens dealing with weighty matters, like sex and drugs and violence. One of things that really struck me reading this was how very different current YA feels compared to the teen fiction of thirty years ago. A very high percentage of the books discussed have their covers reproduced here, and one of the chief pleasures of reading this was looking at those old book covers--they bring back my late tween and early teen years in a crash. This was an enjoyable read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in fiction for young adults (especially if you were a young adult in the 80s or 90s). My only quibbles with the book are that it is sometimes just way too snarky (the text is often humorous but often overshoots the mark) and that it leaves out a lot of teen books from the era that were marketed to boys. R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike are here (I think those were kind of marketed gender neutral, but my recollection was that a lot of boys read them, while pretty much no boys of my acquaintance read say, The Babysitters Club), but where are all those endless books about boys playing sports and/or discovering their teacher was an alien? The book feels lopsided, and I don't think the author cares (in the introduction she pretty much says she wrote about what she wanted to write about). That's fine, but it does feel like there's an important piece of this (admittedly light) cultural history missing.

133lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 11, 11:10am Top

129.) Grumpy Monkey, Suzanne Lang and Max Lang ****1/2

Jim the Monkey wakes up grumpy one morning. All his animal friends try to help him feel happy, suggesting all kinds of things, like smiling, unhunching his shoulders, hopping, and so on. Eventually Jim realizes that it's okay to feel grumpy and that if he just lets himself feel that way for a while, eventually he'll feel something different. I loved this book. The illustrations are great and very funny, and the message that it's okay to feel what you're feeling is presented perfectly.

One of several picture books I've picked up to give to the nieces for Christmas.

134foggidawn
Nov 12, 9:49am Top

>131 lycomayflower: Yep! I liked it.

136lycomayflower
Nov 15, 10:23am Top

130.) The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walter Tevis ***

Well, this was strange. Written in the sixties but set in the eighties, this is the story of an alien who comes to earth with plans to build a ship to send back to his planet to bring the rest of his people (which is a small number--they are dying out) to earth in order to manipulate the people of earth into not blowing themselves up with nukes. How he is going to do that is somewhat part of the story. Ultimately, he fails, partly because he is desperately lonely, partly because humans get in his way, and partly because he becomes an alcoholic. I was perplexed by this story from the beginning, maybe because Tevis gets the eighties so very, very wrong (I mean, he wasn't to know, of course, but if there was any real speculation on his part here, it was poor), and that made it quite hard to invest in the story. I also felt held at a distance from all of the characters, and the story worked out in pretty much exactly how I figured it would--which was not terribly compelling. Perhaps this is one of those books that really needed to be read when it was written. For me it was just this side of a dud.

137lycomayflower
Nov 15, 10:32am Top

131.) Kindergarrrten Bus, Mike Ornstein and Kevin M. Barry ****

In this picture book, the Kindergarrrten Bus is driven by a pirate. All the new kindergarteners are frightened about going to kindergarten for the first time, and the pirate insists there's nothing to be afraid of. When the pirate's parrot flies out the bus window when they hit a pothole, the pirate is too afraid to keep driving the bus without his parrot. The children convince him that it's okay to be scared and the thing to do is acknowledge his fear and do what he has to despite being scared, not pretend he *isn't* scared. A very important message for children (and adults!) here, presented perhaps just a *wee* bit heavy-handedly, but probably not so much so that kids of the intended age won't enjoy it. And the illustrations are great.

Another one for the holiday gift pile for the nieces.

138lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 15, 6:17pm Top

132.) Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney ****1/2

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are great friends... until they hear that there's only one drop of syrup left and they fight over who should get it. This picture book follows them as they race through a landscape of food to try to get to the syrup first. The text is rhyming couplets telling the story of their journey past (and sometimes into!) all the other food, and it is charming and funny. The illustrations are excellent. Of course in the end the two friends decide maybe sharing would be better than fighting, and the story does an excellent job of avoiding making the message in the end too (wait for it) syrupy. Heee. Recommended.

Another destined for the nieces.

139Caroline_McElwee
Nov 15, 10:41am Top

>136 lycomayflower: I'm sure I read this years ago Laura, but after I saw the film they made of it with David Bowie as the alien. I'm not sure what I would think about either book or film now, 30 years later, but I remember being heartbroken by the treatment of the alien at the end, and the ignorance of man. Sadly, I'm not so sure we would be any better now, still more interested in experimenting on him than in listening to his warnings.

140lycomayflower
Nov 15, 10:46am Top

>139 Caroline_McElwee: Yep, I think we would be just as bad now, if not worse. I think one of the reasons the book didn't fully work for me was that I recognized that what was happening was heartbreaking, but I didn't feel it.

141MickyFine
Nov 15, 5:17pm Top

>138 lycomayflower: Excellent pun! Also, that sounds super cute.

142lycomayflower
Edited: Nov 15, 5:23pm Top

>141 MickyFine: Hehehe. Thanks! The book was great fun.

143lycomayflower
Edited: Yesterday, 4:14pm Top

133.) A Private Gentleman, Heidi Cullinan ****

In 1840s London, Lord George Albert Westin prefers to keep his own company and to tend a variety of plants about which he is something of an expert. His social anxiety and a stutter make him a disappointment to his father and almost a complete social outcast. When he meets prostitute Michael Vallant, he finds a kindred spirit and begins to fall in love--as does Michael with him. But Michael has a secret that he believes means they could never be together, and the whole situation is further complicated by Westin's increasing reliance on opium to calm his nerves.

I enjoyed this romance novel, not least for the ways it carefully explores anxiety, addiction, and abuse. Westin and Michael were fun to hang out with, and I was invested in their journey to an HEA. It did maybe take a bit too long to get through its middle, but the end just about made up for it. TW for sexual abuse of a minor.

144lycomayflower
Edited: Yesterday, 4:55pm Top

134.) The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life's Biggest Questions, Knox McCoy ***1/2

Through a combination of memoir and analysis of pop culture, McCoy explores questions about God, his relationship with his evangelical upbringing, and how best to live in the world. Entertaining with some good insight--especially into what it looks like to be a socially liberal evangelical Christian. While I certainly enjoyed the book and tore right through it, I find myself struggling a bit to remember much from it having finished it.

145laytonwoman3rd
Yesterday, 4:26pm Top

>144 lycomayflower: A "socially liberal evangelical Christian"...you don't meet one of those every day. Interesting.

146lycomayflower
Edited: Yesterday, 5:01pm Top

135.) Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey, Joy Cowley and Joe Cepeda ***

When Miguel's father sends him a turkey to fatten up for Thanksgiving dinner, Miguel takes on the task--no easy feat in New York City--but starts to love the turkey as a pet. Light angst about the fate of the turkey ensues. This story didn't do a whole lot for me, although the depiction (mostly coming through in the illustrations) of Miguel's sense of family and community in a diverse environment was nice.

136.) 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving, Catherine O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac ****1/2

This picture book was put together by the Plimouth Plantation living history museum and consists of long informative text blocks--about the Wampanoag people, the English settlers at what they called Plymouth, and the three-day feast shared by both cultures that forms part of the basis for the American mythology around the Thanksgiving holiday--and photographs of a re-enactment of that three-day feast put on by the museum in the fall of 2000. Fascinating and informative book.

137.) Squanto's Journey, Joseph Bruchac and Greg Shed ***1/2

The story of Squanto (Tisquantum), a member of the Wampanoag people who was captured by the English and sold as a slave in Spain. Eventually he made it back to his home (in present day Massachusetts) and was present during the three-day feasting shared by members of the Wampanoag and English settlers in 1621 that eventually became part of the basis for the American mythology around Thanksgiving as a holiday. An important story nicely told and beautifully illustrated.

(Margaret and Joseph Bruchac are siblings.)

138.) The Memory Cupboard, Charlotte Herman and Ben F. Stahl ***1/2

When the heroine of the story accidentally drops and breaks a treasured gravy boat at Thanksgiving, her grandmother shows her her "memory cupboard," where she keeps all the small broken items she has accumulated over the years--and where she "keeps" the memories that go with all those items. A very nice concept and I love the overt message that people are more important than things, but the presentation of the story didn't quite do it for me. The illustrations, however, are stunning.

139.) Don't Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table, Vanessa Brantley Newton ****

At a big Sunday dinner attended by a crowd of friends and family, Auntie Mabel does the blessing--and won't quit! This fun picture book with rhyming text mostly consists of Auntie Mabel's nearly-never-ending blessing of the table. Both the text and the illustrations (which feature a lovely diversity of folks at Sunday dinner) are a delight.

140.) Milly and the Macy's Parade, Shana Corey and Brett Helquist ****

In 1924, Milly has recently moved to New York City from Poland with her parents. She loves the city--and especially Macy's department store--but her father and many of the other immigrant workers at Macy's are sad, particularly in the face of the coming holidays, because they miss the celebrations of their home countries. Milly (in an unlikely but nice turn) finds Mr. Macy and suggests that they put on a celebration that draws on the holiday traditions of the immigrants who work at Macy's. And thus the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (originally called the Macy's Christmas Parade) is born.

I enjoyed this picture book very much. The story is pleasant and a nice way to commemorate the fact that Macy's parade did originally feature immigrant employees of Macy's. The art is fantastic, with the styles and atmosphere of 1920s New York making a great showing.

147lycomayflower
Yesterday, 4:57pm Top

>145 laytonwoman3rd: Mmmphmm. I probably meet more of them down here than you would up there. And "socially liberal evangelical Christian" is my phrase--I don't know that that's exactly how he would put it. But it certainly seems from his writing that all those words in that order apply.

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