susanna.fraser reads in 2018
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Welcome to my 2018 reading thread! I've set several reading goals for the year, though I'm keeping them flexible WRT genre:
1. Read 75 books (obviously, hence my presence in this group)
2. Stretch goal of doubling that to 150 books. I just made it in 2016; as of this writing I'm within 7 books with 6 days to go in 2017.
3. Whittling down Mount TBR by reading at least 2 books each month that I already own as of 12/31/17. (For this goal only I don't have to finish the books--I'm a firm believer that life is too short to spend time reading books that don't work for me, and if I start a book then set it aside to donate to the library or move it out of my Kindle TBR collection, that's still whittling down.)
4. For each book I finish, I will set aside a dollar toward a quarterly donation to Donors Choose. Usually I support projects in either my native Alabama or my current home state of Washington.
Favorite and/or most memorable books read in 2017, in the order I read them:
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
March by John Lewis
Elwha: A River Reborn by Lynda Mapes
The Half Has Never Been Told by Edward E. Baptist
Penric's Demon and its sequels by Lois McMaster Bujold
How to Survive a Plague by David France
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder
Hamilton's Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole
Grant by Ron Chernow
Summer in Orcus by T Kingfisher
Looking back, 2017 was an extraordinarily good reading year for me. Here's hoping for the same in 2018!
1. A Tyranny of Queens
2. Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide*
3. Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches
4. Guards! Guards!*
5. What It's Like to Be a Dog
6. Murder on St. Mark's Place
7. Fly With a Rogue*
8. The Cooking Gene
9. Under His Kilt
10. Birding Without Borders
11. Just One Damned Thing After Another
12. Lord Ruin*
13. The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution
14. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part 2
1. The Lathe of Heaven*
2. A Bride's Story, Vol. 6
3. The Spanish Consultant
4. Murder on Gramercy Park
5. Murder on Washington Square
6. The Odyssey
7. The Burning Page
9. Summer Chaparral
10. OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word
11. All Strangers Are Kin
12. A Hope Divided*
13. The Home Place
14. Out of My Mind*
15. Raid of No Return
16. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
17. So You Want to Talk About Race
1. 1924: The Year That Made Hitler
2. Going Into Town
3. A Princess in Theory
4. Don't Cosplay With My Heart
5. Hand To Mouth
6. Terminal Alliance
7. Murder on Mulberry Bend
8. A Rogue By Any Other Name*
9. Midnight Riot
10. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 7: I've Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You
11. A Bride's Story Vol. 7
12. L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home
13. Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America
14. The Girl in the Tower
15. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
16. The Little Book of Hygge
17. Bingo Love
18. The Butchering Art
19. 100 Demon Dialogues
* Books whittled from TBR
+ 5 DNF
2. The Lost Plot
3. The People vs. Democracy
5. Princeless: Save Yourself
6. The Sword Dancer*
7. How Democracies Die
8. Murder on Marble Row
9. Murder on Lenox Hill
10. The Second Coming of the KKK
11. Herding Cats: A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection
12. Moon Over Soho
13. The Prodigal Tongue
1. No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters
2. A Bride's Story Vol. 8
3. Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
4. Shadow Blade
5. Birds of Seattle and Puget Sound
6. After the Wedding
7. Whispers Under Ground
8. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country
9. The Flowers of Vashnoi
11. Murder in Little Italy
12. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee*
13. The Fifth Season*
14. The View From Flyover Country
1. Adulthood is a Myth
2. The Rain in Portugal
3. Dread Nation
4. Shadowhouse Fall
5. The Duchess Deal
6. Milk! a 10,000-Year Food Fracas
8. She Is Not Invisible
10. Fascism: A Warning
11. Tricks For Free
12. Anne of the Island
13. Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
* Books whittled from TBR
+ 2 DNF
1. The Belles
2. Anne's House of Dreams
3. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 8: My Best Friend's Squirrel
4. Surprised by God
5. A Bride's Story Vol. 9
6. Murder in Chinatown
7. Broken Homes
8. Carry Me Home
9. Things That Make White People Uncomfortable
10. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious
11. The Accidental Asian
12. Foxglove Summer
13. Into the Wild
14. Dear Madam President
15. Tiffany Girl
16. Grumpy Fake Boyfriend
17. The Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research
1. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again
2. Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland
3. The Poppy War
4. Angle of Repose
5. A Dance With Danger
6. Between Here and Gone
7. Mr Hotshot CEO
8. Everything Trump Touches Dies
9. Record of a Spaceborn Few
10. A Duke By Default
11. Yes We (Still) Can
12. The Hanging Tree
13. Trail of Lightning
1. The Obelisk Gate
2. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score
3. Take the Lead
4. Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules
5. Have His Carcase
6. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
7. Hope Never Dies
8. Marvel Rising: Alpha (2018) #1 (Marvel Rising (2018))
9. A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution
10. Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel (2018) #1
12. Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl (2018) #1
13. Marvel Rising: Omega (2018) #1
14. Be Not Afraid
15. Spinning Silver
16. The Tea Master and the Detective
17. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy
18. The Scandalous Lady Robin
1. Justinian's Flea
4. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Three
5. A Girl Like Her
6. For Deader or Worse
7. A Square Meal
8. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
10. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown
11. Pandemic 1918
1. Leadership: In Turbulent Times
2. My Life as a Goddess
3. Pasta, Pane, Vino
4. Not Another Family Wedding
5. How Do We Look?
6. The Fifth Risk
7. An Unconditional Freedom
8. Eight Flavors
9. One Dance With a Duke
11. Lies Sleeping
12. The Poisoner's Handbook
1. The Stone Sky
2. A Christmas Treasure
3. The Little Book of Feminist Saints
4. Standing Our Ground
5. No Man of Woman Born
6. Living Into God's Dream
7. The Prince and the Dressmaker
9. Overtime for Love
10. Liberty's Exiles
11. Guarding His Heart
12. Into the Raging Sea
13. Valor of the Healer
14. Obama: An Intimate Portrait
15. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente
16. A Matter of Class
17. Clean Sweep
18. Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free
19. In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
20. Maeve in America
Fiction by genre:
1. The Odyssey
2. Anne of the Island
3. Anne's House of Dreams
1. A Tyranny of Queens
2. Guards! Guards!
3. The Burning Page
4. Midnight Riot
5. The Girl in the Tower
6. The Lost Plot
7. Moon Over Soho
8. Shadow Blade
9. Whispers Under Ground
10. The Fifth Season
12. Tricks For Free
13. Broken Homes
14. Foxglove Summer
15. The Poppy War
16. The Hanging Tree
17. Trail of Lightning
18. The Obelisk Gate
19. Spinning Silver
21. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown
22. Lies Sleeping
24. The Stone Sky
25. No Man of Woman Born
26. Valor of the Healer
1. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part 2
2. A Bride's Story, Vol. 6
3. Raid of No Return
4. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 7: I've Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You
5. A Bride's Story Vol. 7
6. Bingo Love
7. 100 Demon Dialogues
8. Princeless: Save Yourself
9. Herding Cats: A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection
10. A Bride's Story Vol. 8
11. Adulthood is a Myth
12. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 8: My Best Friend's Squirrel
13. A Bride's Story Vol. 9
14. Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland
15. Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules
16. Marvel Rising: Alpha (2018) #1 (Marvel Rising (2018))
17. Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel (2018) #1
18. Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl (2018) #1
19. Marvel Rising: Omega (2018) #1
20. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Three
21. The Prince and the Dressmaker
22. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente
1. Angle of Repose
2. Between Here and Gone
1. Murder on St. Mark's Place
2. Murder on Gramercy Park
3. Murder on Washington Square
4. Murder on Mulberry Bend
5. Murder on Marble Row
6. Murder on Lenox Hill
7. Murder in Little Italy
8. Murder in Chinatown
9. Have His Carcase
10. Hope Never Dies
11. For Deader or Worse
1. Fly With a Rogue
2. Under His Kilt
3. Lord Ruin
4. The Spanish Consultant
5. Summer Chaparral
6. A Hope Divided
7. A Princess in Theory
8. A Rogue By Any Other Name
10. The Sword Dancer
11. After the Wedding
12. The Duchess Deal
13. Tiffany Girl
14. Grumpy Fake Boyfriend
15. A Dance With Danger
16. Mr Hotshot CEO
17. A Duke By Default
18. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score
19. Take the Lead
20. Be Not Afraid
21. The Scandalous Lady Robin
23. A Girl Like Her
24. Not Another Family Wedding
25. An Unconditional Freedom
26. One Dance With a Duke
27. A Christmas Treasure
28. Overtime for Love
29. Guarding His Heart
30. A Matter of Class
1. Just One Damned Thing After Another
2. The Lathe of Heaven
4. Terminal Alliance
6. The Flowers of Vashnoi
7. Record of a Spaceborn Few
8. The Tea Master and the Detective
9. Clean Sweep
1. Out of My Mind
2. Don't Cosplay With My Heart
4. Dread Nation
5. Shadowhouse Fall
6. She Is Not Invisible
7. The Belles
8. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious
9. Into the Wild
11. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Nonfiction by genre:
1. The Butchering Art
1. Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide
2. The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution
3. So You Want to Talk About Race
4. Hand To Mouth
5. Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America
6. The People vs. Democracy
7. How Democracies Die
8. The View From Flyover Country
9. Fascism: A Warning
10. Dear Madam President
11. Everything Trump Touches Dies
12. Yes We (Still) Can
13. The Fifth Risk
14. Obama: An Intimate Portrait
1. No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters
2. Maeve in America
1. Going Into Town
1. OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word
2. 1924: The Year That Made Hitler
3. The Second Coming of the KKK
4. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
5. Milk! a 10,000-Year Food Fracas
6. Carry Me Home
7. A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution
8. Justinian's Flea
9. A Square Meal
11. Pandemic 1918
12. Leadership: In Turbulent Times
13. Eight Flavors
14. The Poisoner's Handbook
15. The Little Book of Feminist Saints
16. Liberty's Exiles
17. Into the Raging Sea
18. In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown
1. The Prodigal Tongue
2. Superman: The Unauthorized Biography
3. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy
1. Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches
2. The Cooking Gene
3. The Home Place
4. L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home
5. Things That Make White People Uncomfortable
6. The Accidental Asian
7. My Life as a Goddess
8. Standing Our Ground
1. The Rain in Portugal
1. Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
2. Surprised by God
3. The Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research
4. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again
5. Living Into God's Dream
6. Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free
1. What It's Like to Be a Dog
2. Birds of Seattle and Puget Sound
4. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
1. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning
2. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
3. The Little Book of Hygge
1. Birding Without Borders
2. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country
3. Pasta, Pane, Vino
Susanna, I'm sitting at my desk here on the UW campus and was taking a break to check in on LibraryThing... I see that you are a member of the 75ers group and also an employee at UW!
Some of our favorites from 2017 overlap: March by John Lewis, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. Perhaps we could have coffee sometime....
And I love your project to set aside a dollar for every book you complete, to give to Donor's Choice! I may just join you in that....
>10 EBT1002: Wow, small world! I’ve got the day off today, but i’ll be working the rest of the week.
Congrats on reading 150 in 2017. Good luck reaching that goal again in 2018.
Hi Susanna. Good luck with your various challenges for this year.
I really like your idea of making a donation for every book you read and i am going to do the same.
Best wishes for 2018!
Very interesting list of 2017 favorites. Marking this thread.
Great idea re: donations. I'll see if I'm able to do something similar.
I think I'll probably reach 140 for 2017. I'd like to do 150 in 2018. Not sure that will happen. To make it happen I might need to read lots of picture books in addition to the Caldecotts I tackle when they arrive in the library. Looking forward to seeing what you read in 2018.
Hi Susanna! I'm just stopping by to drop off a star. I'm looking forward to your reading in 2018!
Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.
Welcome, everyone, and thanks for the good wishes!
1. A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows
Second in a series, and it took me almost half the book to fully reconnect with who everyone was and how they fit together, thanks to the complex world-building, politics, and relationships. (I'm reading these from the library, so I didn't have the prior book handy to refer to.) I did enjoy the book for its inventiveness and sympathetic characters, but if there are future works in the series I think they'd benefit from character lists and a family tree or two.
2. Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide by Cass R. Sunstein
This book never mentions the current resident of the White House by name, though it's clear in spots that Sunstein has him in mind and would consider the case for his impeachment strong. But overall this is a concise, conversational summary of what the founders intended in including the impeachment clause in the Constitution, how it's been interpreted in the more than two centuries since, and how we as citizens should think about it today.
For the rest, I'll just quote the last line of the book: "Whenever Americans strike a blow against some form of tyranny, large or small, we are honoring our nation's highest ideals, and those who were willing to live and die for them."
That sounds a fascinating book, and certainly boasts a powerful final sentence.
>23 susanna.fraser: I've been very keen to read this since the release was announced. Sunstein is one of my favorite Twitter follows.
Dropping off a star, Susanna. Looks like some of our tastes overlap so I'll be interested to see the reads you tackle this year.
3. Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman
Look at me, currently on pace to read 365 books this year! (Which is like if your baseball team opens with a two-game winning streak and you say they're on pace to go 162-0.)
Anyway, this memoir by the writer/comedian/actor you may remember from the Daily Show and Apple commercials (and currently hosts the delightful Judge John Hodgman podcast) is alternately hilarious and poignant about accepting middle age and encroaching mortality in a way that struck home with me as someone who shares Hodgman's 1971 birth year.
>28 aqeeliz: Told you it couldn't last!
4. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
I enjoy the wit of Pratchett's Discworld series (this being, I think, the third entry I've read), but that same wit is somewhat distancing for me--I feel like I'm observing the story rather than getting swept up by it. This book stayed true to that form.
Hi Susanna. It looks like we might have some common reading interests. I've got you marked. Happy reading!
Now I'm remembering my days on a baseball message board where some of the fans lived and died by every game and called the rest of us who were a bit more sanguine fake fans. So glad LT now is the only place on the internet I post comments.
>29 susanna.fraser: I agree about Pratchett's wit, and also I'm a bit twitchy about some of less liberal opinions he expresses in some of the books. Reaper Man is a favorite comfort read of mine, though.
Welcome, new thread-followers!
>31 libraryperilous: I'm a Mariners fan, so it's been years since I lived and died by every game. I save that level of angst for football.
5. What It's Like to Be a Dog by Gregory Berns
An interesting book in the popular science genre, though with more on the nitty-gritty of MRI brain imaging and how various animal brains are structured than the canine behavior the title led me to expect.
>29 susanna.fraser: Too soon to give up! You are just 4 books behind, that's nothing! Just read more than 1 book a day for few days and you'll be back on track!
>32 susanna.fraser: Lots of curses and streaks of bad luck have been broken in the last decade and a half. The Mariner's time will come. Just please, help keep the Rangers out!
>33 aqeeliz: I'm sure my boss would totally approve my leave request if I called in behind on my reading schedule...
>34 neverstopreading: It's been truly painful to see the Mariners have amazing players like Ichiro and King Felix but never be able to put together a team that would put a World Series ring on them.
6. Murder on St. Mark's Place by Victoria Thompson
The whodunnit part of this book was pretty straightforward, but I care more about characters and settings in my murder mysteries. So far this 1890's New York City series of a high society lady turned midwife and an Irish-American cop who fight crime and their growing attraction to each other is pushing all the right buttons for me.
7. Fly With a Rogue by Elena Greene
A historical romance, heavier on the historical detail than many. I enjoyed all the detail that had clearly gone into the hero's background as a veteran from Wellington's army making his way in peacetime as an aeronaut (i.e. a balloonist).
>35 susanna.fraser: I enjoy the Sarah Brandt mysteries for the characters and setting too. Thompson is one of the better American mystery authors.
>36 susanna.fraser: Now that's a profession I haven't run across in a n historical romance before.
I've heard good things about Thompson's series.
>36 susanna.fraser: This sounds interesting, especially because it is heavier on historical details. One of the reasons Carla Kelly is my favorite romance author is her attention to military details.
8. The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty
A very personal exploration of Twitty's African-American ancestry, his African and European roots, and how those ancestors cooked and ate. I'd already concluded that the cuisine of the Scots-Irish white Southern culture I grew up in owes at least as much to Africa as to England--all those black-eyed peas, peanuts, and melons aren't exactly the food of Belfast or Glasgow--and this book backs that up.
9. Under His Kilt by Melissa Blue
My romance book club's choice for the month, an erotic romance novella about a fling turned serious. A very sexy read, but it felt a bit unfinished to me--I think it would've benefitted from being a longer work with more room for character development and backstory.
>9 drneutron: But there's no kilt on the cover! I can see a jeans button, for shame.
>42 MickyFine: To be fair, the hero doesn't actually wear a kilt in the book--it's lampshaded early on with the heroine saying something like, "I thought you Scots wore kilts more often," but I do wish the author had signaled his Scottishness some other way, given the absence of actual kilt-wearing.
10. Birding Without Borders by Noah Strycker
A sort of travelogue/memoir about the author's record-breaking 2015 world tour, in which he saw over 6000 unique species of birds. I can understand the drive behind birding, but I'm no way obsessive enough about any single topic to follow it to even close to that extreme. I admire the dedication of it, though.
11. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
An over-the-top time travel romp. Fun in a Librarians/Doctor Who kind of way.
12. Lord Ruin by Carolyn Jewel
A historical romance that starts with an extreme version of the "caught in a compromising position so they must marry" trope, enlivened by interesting characters who try to treat each other well despite their disastrous beginnings and assorted misunderstandings.
>45 susanna.fraser: Intrigued by what the " extreme version" of that would be...
>46 lycomayflower: It's pretty dark, honestly, the kind of thing where if the hero had done it intentionally would be rape, but since he had no way of knowing the pretty woman unexpectedly in his bed is drugged out of her normal sound judgment on laudanum and is properly horrified once he does know, I was able to accept it as a premise. In the hands of a different writer it easily could've been a deal-breaker.
13. The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution by Richard Beeman
Contains the full texts of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with what I'd consider even-handed and non-partisan annotations by the author, plus selections from the Federalist Papers and a few chapters of commentary on how the Constitution came to be adopted and interpreted over time. An important reminder for those of us who a few decades removed from our high school civics classes, albeit one that left me wanting to apologize to Washington, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin and the rest for not doing a better job of keeping their republic.
14. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part 2 by Michael Dante DiMartino
Politics, gang wars, and magic in a gorgeously rendered 1920's-inspired world.
15. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Read in memory of her death last month, and as a February challenge for the TIOLI group. This book was published in 1971 as a near-future post-apocalyptic story set in 2002. It's quite dark and gloomy, and more of an idea story than a character or plot-driven one, all of which made it a departure from my usual fiction preferences, but I'm glad I read it. Stepping out of one's comfort zone on occasion is good for the brain, IMHO.
On a trivial note, as with any past-prediction of the future, there's always the game of seeing what the author predicted right and what they missed. Without getting into anything spoileriffic, this book contained one notable miss that no one could've possibly predicted. The book is set in Portland, and Mount Hood and the other Cascade volcanoes in the general vicinity play an atmospheric role in the plot. So the book makes several references to the particular beauty and symmetry of Mount St Helens. Which was true at the time:
Now, of course, NSM:
And that picture is pretty flattering. When we visited one August it looked more like this:
16. A Bride's Story, Vol. 6 by Kaoru Mori
More adventures in gorgeously drawn life in late-19th century central Asia.
>49 susanna.fraser: Mt St Helens changed soon after that 1978 shot if I remember correctly. It does look majestic in that photo.
>51 Familyhistorian: Yes, the eruption was in 1980.
17. The Spanish Consultant
I might just set my record for books completed in a day today--I'm home from work about to start the JOY of colonoscopy prep (family history of colon cancer, so I had to start these at a ridiculously young age and have them every three years, so far with no issues, so cross your fingers that remains the case). So for the next 16 hours or so, I will be looking to distract myself with quick, light reads, possibly broken up with podcasts and assorted smartphone/tablet games.
Anyway, this medical romance fit the bill, despite the hero being way too alpha for my normal tastes.
>52 susanna.fraser: Good luck with your distraction efforts. I went through my first one of those this year and the memory of that wonderful prep lingers.
>53 Familyhistorian: Thanks! I'm through the first round, but since my appointment is at 7:00 AM, I have to basically pull an all-nighter and deal with the next dose at 1:30 AM. But at least I'll get it over with at the beginning of the day, and hopefully come home with an all-clear and be able to sleep most of the day away in peace.
18. Murder on Gramercy Park by Victoria Thompson
Third in my new comfort read mystery series, and another one where I had the murder part mostly figured out early on (to the point I wanted to scream at Sarah and Malloy for missing the OBVIOUS), but enjoyed it because I like the characters and how they interact with each other.
>55 neverstopreading: I needed the distractions!
The colonoscopy went well, by the way. Per usual, the 18 hours or so beforehand were kinda hellish, but the procedure itself went quickly and ended with me getting a clean bill of intestinal health and a three-year reprieve before I have to go through it again. (Seriously, if you have any kind of family history of colon cancer, or if you've just reached the age where they recommend everyone get checked, don't put it off. The prep is terrible, but it's 24 hours of your life, and then you get either peace of mind or the chance to treat any issues before they become life-threatening.)
Anyway, rather than reading any of the 100+ books in my TBR between my bookshelves and my Kindle, after I finished Murder on Gramercy Park, I decided I just wanted to stay in the same fictional world, so I took advantage of the ebook convenience factor and ordered:
19. Murder on Washington Square by Victoria Thompson
Again, I figured out the mystery well ahead of Sarah and Malloy. Which is fine--I think it's hard to strike the balance between too obvious and "Wait, SHE'S the killer?! But that doesn't make sense...wtf?" And again, I enjoyed the book and characters. There's a particular pleasure in a long-running mystery series, and the slow character arcs of the sleuths and other recurring characters from book to book.
>57 susanna.fraser: Good to know that it is over and everything is good.
>57 susanna.fraser: Glad you are still enjoying the Sarah Brandt mysteries.
20. The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
A really lovely new translation of the Odyssey, written in straightforward contemporary English in iambic pentameter. I strongly recommend it for anyone new to the epic or looking for a fresh vision of it. (That said, hoo boy does the story drag on by modern standards after Odysseus arrives back in Ithaca.)
>57 susanna.fraser: I had a colonoscopy in 2016 and I'll have another one in 2019. I'm only 34 now (32 at the time), but I was having a lot of intestinal problems. The doctor found some precancerous polyps, so it's good I had it done because they probably wouldn't have been precancerous by the time I go to my 50s!
The prep isn't pleasant, but if you ever have really bad constipation, you know what to do!
22. Provenance by Ann Leckie
Set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch trilogy, but a smaller-scale story about a young woman coming of age and finding herself in the middle of interplanetary diplomatic incidents. As you do. A good read.
23. Summer Chaparral by Genevieve Turner
Ordinarily I wouldn't have gone near this Western historical romance because cowboys and ranches just aren't my thing. But my book club chose it, and I'm glad they did, because it's a beautiful and moving love story whose characters feel so, so real.
>64 susanna.fraser: Does your book club just do romance novels or was this a themed pick for February?
>65 MickyFine: It's a romance novel book club. We try to vary the subgenres and read a wide range of recent romances. Next month we'll be doing Alyssa Cole's A Princess in Theory, wherein a American grad student discovers the emails she's been deleting as spam about her betrothal to an African prince are actually true, which I expect will be loads of fun to read.
24. OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf
A quick read, recommended for word nerds and etymology geeks if your local library happens to have it.
>66 susanna.fraser: Oooh, I'm definitely looking forward to your review of next month's book club pick. :)
>67 MickyFine: It's getting some great early reviews.
25. All Strangers Are Kin by Zora O'Neill
Wherein the author, who studied Arabic in college, decides to spend a year almost 20 years later traveling around the Arab world to revive her language skills. The result is an engaging travel memoir that left me hungry to visit Cairo in particular despite all the chaos of recent years. One of my best friends in college was Egyptian-American, the son of Coptic immigrants, and he was probably the most generous and hospitable person I've ever met. Based on this book and G. Willow Wilson's memoir, which I read last year, I get the sense he's just a typical Egyptian.
26. A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole
Interracial historical romance set during the Civil War--a challenging setting for a happy ending to a love story, but Cole makes it work in this tale of a free black spy in North Carolina and a Union soldier escaped from a prison camp.
27. The Home Place by J. Drew Lanham
Clemson ecology professor Lanham is just a handful of years older than me, and his childhood in the South Carolina Piedmont was remarkably like mine in the Alabama Appalachian foothills in many ways, despite our different racial backgrounds. Reading it filled me with a wistful nostalgia for red clay soil, humidity, home-grown vegetables, old country churches and burying grounds, and so on.
>71 Kassilem: I'd give it a solid B to B+. Not the best travel memoir I've ever read, but I really enjoyed it.
28. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
A middle grade novel about a girl with cerebral palsy who understands everything but struggles to find a way to communicate it. I can't speak to the quality of the disability representation, but I enjoyed the narrator's voice despite thinking the school didn't quite feel realistic, insofar as I'd expect a modern public school in a middle class neighborhood to have better services and more of a focus on inclusion, and also that the other students' and the teachers' behavior felt more plot-driven (and therefore inconsistent) than character-driven.
29. Raid of No Return by Nathan Hale
The latest in this fun, well-researched series of middle grade graphic novels on American history covers the Doolittle Raid early in WWII, a topic I was only vaguely familiar with going in.
30. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson
What it sounds like, basically. Advice on cleaning up your life before you leave it so your heirs don't have to face all of it for you. A bit morbid, sure, but the title made me do an immediate "Aha!" remembering cleaning out my mother's desk after she passed away. She wasn't anything close to a hoarder, but she'd saved so much more stationery and so on than she could've possibly used...and I came home and looked at my ultra-cluttered house through new eyes.
However, this book is more rambling musings and inspiration than a useful how-to. And I'm still a few decades away from the death cleaning stage of life. Now, "spend the next few years gradually cleaning and organizing so if we decide to sell our house and downsize to something smaller when the kid goes to college it won't be too daunting a task" cleaning, that we should probably do.
31. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
This felt like an important book for me to read as a middle-aged white woman who wants to be a good ally in the fight for racial justice but who grew up with all the taken-for-granted privileges and subtle biases you'd expect of, well, someone born in the South in the 1970's. Definite recommend for anyone who'd like to understand racial justice issues more and communicate about them better.
32. 1924: The Year That Made Hitler by Peter Ross Range
A book on the very beginnings of Hitler's leadership of the Nazis. A depressing read, the more so because the racist nationalism and anti-Semitism already very present weren't that far out of the mainstream for the time and place.
33. Going Into Town by Roz Chast
Graphic nonfiction, a love letter/tourist's guide to Manhattan. Not meaty enough that I'd recommend it for purchase, but worth picking up at your library.
34. A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
Naledi was orphaned as a young child and grew up in the foster system, so she's had a lot of practiced at not getting too attached to anyone. She doesn't remember anything before the car accident that killed her parents, so when she starts getting emails urging her to come home and fulfill her betrothal to the prince of a small African kingdom, she's sure it's a scam...
Like Black Panther? Like romcoms? Then read this book.
35. Don't Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castelluci
A lovely YA coming of age story about geekdom, love, friendship, and learning to stand tall in adversity.
>78 susanna.fraser: Added to The List. Now to hope it comes up in the shuffle soon-ish. :)
>80 MickyFine: It's such a fun read.
36. Hand To Mouth by Linda Tirado
On everyday life in poverty in America, and why it's hard bordering on impossible to climb out of it. It made me realize how fortunate I am, and how messed up our country's attitude toward and treatment of the working poor is--like how much better an hourly service worker's life would be even without more money if they just had the quality health insurance and paid sick leave I take for granted, or the ability to adjust a work schedule to deal with a car repair or family crisis with zero penalty.
37. Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines
Book One in a new series called "The Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse," and if the series title fills you with as much delight as it did me, you should read this book.
38. Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson
Latest in my current reader-catnip mystery series.
>82 susanna.fraser: Hey, I just finished that one! It was pretty fun, wasn’t it?
>84 thornton37814: I picked it up from Sarah Wendell on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books.
>85 drneutron: I thought so, though so far I'm not loving it as much as I did the Libriomancer series.
39. A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Though this wasn't quite the kind of historical romance my history geek side longs for, I did really enjoy the characterization, particularly the heroine's family and the hero's found-family.
40. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
First in an urban fantasy series about a young London cop who becomes the magical apprentice of a very old London cop. I look forward to reading more, and expect this to be more reader catnip for me.
41. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 7: I've Been Waiting for a Squirrel Like You by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
As long as we're on the subject of reader catnip, there's a new Squirrel Girl trade paperback out...
42. A Bride's Story Vol. 7 by Kaoru Mori
Next in the series of gorgeously drawn Silk Road manga. This one is set largely in a woman's bathhouse, so there's quite a bit of nudity, albeit in a female-gazy way.
43. L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz
This memoir made me simultaneously long to return to Paris and vow to NEVER buy real estate there. (Which is unlikely to be an opportunity I'll ever have to refuse, but still. Renovations are hard enough in your first language and in the customer service culture you're accustomed to.)
44. Can It Happen Here?: Authoritarianism in America ed. by Cass R. Sunstein
A series of essays by mostly academic writers about the dangers of democratic backsliding in America (with some references to other nations who've seen similar upswellings of authoritarian populism). The authors' opinions--and degrees of optimism/pessimism--vary, and I found it a useful, thought-provoking read.
46. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
A better living through SCIENCE! self-help book focused on using the biology and psychology of how we interact with time to become more productive and successful. It resonated with me, and I expect to put some of its practical suggestions to use.
47. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
Denmark is consistently ranked among the happiest countries in the world, and while Wiking acknowledges the importance of a safe, egalitarian society with a robust social safety net, this book focuses on hygge, which isn't quite translatable into English but roughly means enjoying cozy, slow-paced, simple pleasures. The book is on the twee side--I mean, just look at the cover--but it's got some useful tips for mindfully increasing your happiness, many of which are designed for the bleak, chill, soggy midwinter days Copenhagen shares with my home city of Seattle.
48. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
Second chance love story in graphic novel format about two girls separated by their families as teenagers in the 60's who find each other again decades later.
49. The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris
An account of Joseph Lister's life and work as a pioneering surgeon and his eventually successful efforts to convince the rest of the surgical world to adopt his sterile methods.
50. 100 Demon Dialogues by Lucy Bellwood
50 books in a quarter, which I believe is a record for me. This book was a gift from my husband, because I struggle with the traditional creative demons of self-doubt and combined fear of failure and success. A sample entry I found particularly relatable:
Also, I mentioned back in January, I'm making quarterly donations to a Donors Choose project in my native Alabama, $1 for every book I read. I just made a $50 donation to this project to buy safe, kid-appropriate furniture for a classroom in Selma, AL currently dealing with rickety, adult-sized furniture that's older than me:
Our Safety Comes First!
Please chip in if you feel inspired to do so! Every little bit helps.
52. The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman
Fourth in this fun series, and possibly my favorite outing since Book 1.
54. Roomies by Christina Lauren
A fun take on the green card marriage romance trope, with a lovely Broadway setting.
55. Princeless: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley
Found in my kid's room while I was cleaning through outgrown books (the kid in question being 14 and heading off to high school in the fall). A fun read, full of tongue-in-cheek challenges to the patriarchy, great for any elementary-aged girl old enough to recognize the fairytale/Disney movie tropes and enjoy seeing them subverted.
56. The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin
Historical romance set in Tang Dynasty China, with a large side of swashbuckling adventure that made it almost feel like a Western in spots--lots of outlaws, bandits, etc. Not my favorite of Lin's books, but an enjoyable read.
57. How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt
Another strong entry in the "democracy in danger" genre, one that looks at the current American situation in light of other democracies that either backslid into authoritarianism or successfully resisted such threats.
58. Murder on Marble Row
59. Murder on Lenox Hill by Victoria Thompson
The next two books in my current mystery series read. Normally I pace myself at one book a month, but this time I wanted a quick Friday read with characters and a setting I knew, but not a re-read, which made the very next book in a series the perfect fit.
60. The Second Coming of the KKK by Linda Gordon
A look at the nationwide phenomenon that was the 1920s KKK, complete with chilling parallels to modern right wing populism.
61. Herding Cats: A "Sarah's Scribbles" Collection by Sarah Andersen
A delightful, relatable, and hilarious collection of comics.
62. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
The plots are dizzyingly dense--I seriously wish I'd taken notes of all the various suspects and witnesses as they were introduced this time--but this series is just so fun and intricate.
63. The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy
Probably the best book on the differences between British and American English I've read, with solid scholarship and a witty, conversational style.
64. No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin
A selection of blog posts from the last decade of Le Guin's life. I hope I'm even close to as wise and articulate in my old age.
65. A Bride's Story Vol. 8 by Kaoru Mori
More gorgeously drawn manga.
I read your thread with my library's website open to look for BBs because there are so many of them.
>114 Familyhistorian: I'm glad to hear it--I feel like my tastes are eclectic verging upon random sometimes. :-)
66. Superman: The Unauthorized Biography by Glen Weldon
An enjoyable look at Superman's story written on the occasion of his 75th birthday five years ago, though I would've been more interested if it had focused more on the character's fandom and cultural impact and less on the twists and turns of the plot. (Also, I'd love it if Weldon wrote about Marvel Comics next, since between the MCU and Squirrel Girl and Ms Marvel, I'm decidedly a Marvel rather than a DC fan.)
67. Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass
Urban fantasy/paranormal romance with some really distinctive world building. Got off to a bit of a slow start but ultimately pulled me in.
68. Birds of Seattle and Puget Sound by Chris C. Fisher
Studying up for when I inevitably turn to birdwatching in my old age.
>118 susanna.fraser: I got a bird book for my area earlier this year. I want to put out some feeders and maybe a bird bath. I think it will entertain the cats, and I may get to spot a few new varieties!
>120 susanna.fraser: Courtney Milan is so great. I haven't read any of her stuff in a while.
71. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich
I'm not quite sure how to classify this one. Sort of a literary memoir/travelogue? I enjoyed it, despite it not being to my usual taste.
72. The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold
A novella in the Vorkosigan Saga, set shortly after Captain Vorpatril's Alliance and told from Ekaterin's POV. It's short, and light on major characters from the series--basically Ekaterin, a tiny bit of Miles, and more than I was expecting of Enrique Borgos (who I liked quite a bit, as we see him turn his hyper-analytical brain to life on Barrayar in a surprisingly thoughtful, compassionate way). I enjoyed it, and I'm sure I'll read it again, but I do hope Bujold's next work is more Penric & Desdemona.
73. Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
Excellent YA fantasy set in contemporary Brooklyn. I'll be putting its sequel on hold right away.
74. Murder in Little Italy by Victoria Thompson
I guessed the murderer right away, but mysteries are more about the recurring characters than the plot for me, so that's fine.
75. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Covers 30 years of dispossession between 1860 and 1890 as the once-powerful Native American tribes of the American West were more than decimated and forced onto reservations. The book is (barely) older than I am and has an old-fashioned feel compared to current nonfiction history writing, but it's undoubtedly an important book, and a reminder that the current atrocities being committed by ICE are part of an enduring pattern in my country's history.
(Summer Book Bingo Category: History)
>127 susanna.fraser: Belated congratulations on reaching 75, Susanna!
78. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
Webcomic collection chosen because I knew it would meet the Summer Book Bingo "Made You Laugh Out Loud" category.
>136 ronincats: Thanks! I find that having a plan to donate $1 for each book read motivates me to be a bit better at choosing books over checking Twitter yet AGAIN.
79. The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins
I'd rarely read poetry if Summer Book Bingo didn't make me do it, but I enjoyed the whimsy and vividness of Collins' view of the world.
>138 Familyhistorian: Thanks!
80. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
A page-turner of a YA alternative history/fantasy debut with zombie hordes in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Summer Book Bingo category = By an Author of Color, though I'm informally trying to get at least 1/4 to 1/3 of my square to be books I could've included here.
81. Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older
Second in a YA fantasy series, this one featuring the heroine in her friends trying to master their new powers even as a rival house tries to take them down.
Summer Book Bingo Category = Fiction, i.e. the first novel I read since the challenge began that didn't match any categories I hadn't already filled.
82. The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
It's been a dark, dark last several days in the world. I picked this book up because I needed an escape, and it was such a comforting, restorative read. (Historical romance, Beauty & the Best retelling, witty to the point it made me repeatedly laugh aloud.)
>141 susanna.fraser: Tessa Dare has become one of my favourite historical romance writers very quickly.
84. Armistice by Lara Elena Donnelly
Second in a series about the rise of and resistance to a fascist government in a world reminiscent of our 1930's. Summer Book Bingo category: LGBTQIA Author or Character.
Book bullet for Tessa Dare--looks like my library has several of hers.
85. She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
This YA novel about a blind sixteen-year-old girl who semi-kidnaps her seven-year-old brother to fly from London to NYC to track down her (possibly) missing father is a strange book, but a compelling one. Summer Book Bingo category: Author of Character Has a Disability
86. Drawdown ed. by Paul Hawken
A surprisingly optimistic look at multiple potential solutions that in the aggregate could slow and maybe even halt and reverse global warming. And God knows we could use some optimism these days. Summer Book Bingo category: About the Environment
87. Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright
Yet another depressing but important book, which also fit the Summer Book Bingo category "By a Seattle Arts & Lectures Speaker." Only now I need to go read some nice escapist fluff, thankyouverymuch.
88. Tricks For Free by Seanan McGuire
Latest in the reliably enjoyable InCryptid series about a family of cryptozoologists and occasional monster hunters.
89. Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery
I usually don't count re-reads, but this one is for my book club, so I actually read the whole thing carefully instead of just dipping into it to revisit characters. I love how the Anne books are rambling and anecdotal in a way current works almost never have the space to be, and I thought Montgomery did a great job of capturing what the collegiate stage of life feels like--so carefree, and yet with the feeling that every choice you make is so IMPORTANT.
90. Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass
Sort of a meditation on the power and importance of gratefulness, both on a personal and community level.
91. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
A somewhat dystopian YA fantasy set in a kingdom where everyone is born colorless--gray-skinned and dull--except for the Belles, women with the gift of being beautiful and granting beauty to others. Creepy and decadent.
Summer Book Bingo category: First in a Series
92. Anne's House of Dreams by LM Montgomery
More re-reading for this month's book club. This has always been one of my favorites of the series for its mystical tone.
Summer Book Bingo category: By an Author From Another Country
93. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 8: My Best Friend's Squirrel by Ryan North & Erica Henderson
The latest trade volume featuring the ever-delightful Squirrel Girl.
94. Surprised by God by Danya Ruttenberg
A memoir of discovering faith and beginning religious practice by a rabbi I follow on Twitter because she preaches such good, insightful sermons for progressive people of faith in the current political climate.
Summer Book Bingo category: Memoir
95. A Bride's Story Vol. 9 by Kaoru Mori
More lavishly illustrated, leisurely paced historical manga, this time with the socially awkward Pariya getting her turn in the spotlight and beginning to grow a tiny bit more at ease in the world.
Summer Book Bingo category: Graphic Novel
96. Murder in Chinatown by Victoria Thompson
Book 9 in the series. I'm not in love with the writing style, but the characters are appealing, and I'm a complete sucker for the exquisitely slow burn of a mystery series' romance subplot.
Summer Book Bingo category: Mystery or Thriller
97. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Book 4 in this series ends on a cliffhanger! One that I sort of saw coming but willfully ignored because I thought surely THAT wasn't what was being foreshadowed. But I'm well and truly hooked and am just trying to resist the temptation to get spoilers for Books 5 & 6 before I can read them.
98. Carry Me Home by Diane McWhorter
A voluminous, Pulitzer Prize-winning history of 20th century Birmingham culminating in the Civil Rights battles of 1963.
Summer Book Bingo category: Takes Place in the Area Where You Were Born
99. Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett
Something of an activist's memoir about Bennett's life as an outspoken, politically active football player.
100. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Second in a set of novels following Squirrel Girl as a middle schooler (in the comics she's in college) wherein Squirrel Girl takes on Hydra because the adult superheroes are all off fighting Thanos. A fun story about friendship and trust, with plenty of Marvel fan detail and political snark for the slightly-to-much-older portion of the readership.
101. The Accidental Asian by Eric Liu
A 1999 memoir by an American-born Chinese man who, among other things, was one of Bill Clinton's speechwriters. A set of musings on race and identity, it mostly left me realizing how much the world has changed in the past 20 years.
Book Bingo category: Local Author
102. Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
Wherein Peter goes to the country and tangles with unicorns, Fae, and rivers. To say any more would spoil ongoing plot threads, but I continue to love this series.
103. Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
First in the sprawling kid-lit fantasy series my kid couldn't get enough of around about 4th grade, and was kind enough to recommend to me to meet the Book Bingo category "Recommended By a Young Person," since they weren't terribly impressed with anything they read for school this year and mostly read fanfic for video game and anime fandoms I know nothing about for leisure these days.
104. Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri
An open letter to the first woman POTUS, whoever and wherever she may be, from Hillary's 2016 campaign communications director (who had previous experience in the Clinton and Obama administrations and with John Edwards' campaign). It's a poignant read, and today I'm choosing hope in the form of believing we'll be swearing in a Madam President in the form of Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, or Elizabeth Warren come January 2021. It's certainly what I'm asking from the universe as my 50th birthday present that month!
105. Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist
Historical romance set in 1890's New York, rich with detail about life in a respectable boarding house and how Tiffany glassworks were made. It's inspirational, but the religious element is light and not pushy/preachy.
Book Bingo Category: Outside Your Bubble
106. Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau
A wholly delightful take on such classic romance trope as Best Friend's Little Sister, Fake Relationship, and A Brief Fling Will Totally Get You Out of My System.
>169 Dejah_Thoris: Agreed that it was interesting to take Peter out of London for a change, given that I have no doubt it's going to stay his home base.
107. The Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research by S.A. Nigosian
Comparative religion, which I find interesting for its own sake and also as a writer who's trying to world-build a believable fantasy culture. I'd always heard about potential Zoroastrian influence on the big three Western monotheisms, but reading about it in some detail, I kept finding resonance with everything from Greek philosophy to Hinduism, along with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Which, when you look at Persia on a map, I suppose isn't surprising.
108. Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans
A book that seemed almost written with me in mind, since Evans's journey and my own have so much overlap--raised politically and theologically conservative Southern Baptist in the Deep South, and coming to politically/theologically liberal faith in the Episcopal Church after years of wrestling with painful, world-shattering doubts about the beliefs and culture we were raised in.
109. Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland by G. Willow Wilson
Teenage angst and romance, made more challenging by supervillains.
110. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
This is SUCH a well-written debut fantasy novel...but I can't recommend it unless you're willing to accept your fantasy so dark it makes Game of Thrones seem sunny and hopeful. I kept thinking it was going to make a more optimistic and redemptive turn, it flirted with that path so many times...but it kept not doing it.
>171 susanna.fraser: Delurking to say that one's not out here until December but that's ok as I've only just started Searching for Sunday.
>172 susanna.fraser:, >173 susanna.fraser: And you've reminded me that I've got quite behind with Ms Marvel and need to catch up (next up for me is Damage per Second and that I've heard really good things about The Poppy War (and also that it does get very dark....)
>174 souloftherose: I couldn't stop thinking about The Poppy War today, which says something about how compelling it is. I'm just looking for a bit more optimism in my leisure reading these days!
>175 susanna.fraser: Hmm... I tend to gravitate to depressing books sometimes, and if it's really well written, I might have to give it a try.
>176 Kassilem: Well-written is always somewhat in the eye of the beholder IMHO, but it's certainly a vivid, distinctive fantasy novel in world-building and execution.
111. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
...And that's two gorgeous and thought-provoking but DARK books for me in a row. I'm going on vacation next week; I think I'm going to start my light, entertaining vacation reading early. I've got enough stored up on my Kindle to last me a month.
Book Bingo Category: Your Best Friend's Favorite Book
112. A Dance With Danger by Jeannie Lin
Tang Dynasty historical romance. Hero is something of a scoundrel/smuggler with a heart of gold, while the heroine is a gently reared magistrate's daughter with an adventurous streak and a passion for justice.
Book Bingo Category: Finish a Book You Started and Put Down
Back from vacation in NYC and working through a giant list of chores to be ready to go back to work tomorrow, so I'm just going to list the 5 books I finished on the trip, all of which I enjoyed. Let me know if you'd like more detail on any of them:
113. Between Here and Gone by Barbara Ferrer (Book Bingo Category: Award-Winning Author)
114. Mr Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau (Book Bingo Category: Read While Traveling -- which completed my blackout for the challenge)
115. Everything Trump Touches Dies by Rick Wilson
116. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
117. A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole
Hi Susanna! I hope you had a wonderful trip to New York! Did you see any shows?
>173 susanna.fraser: I tried The Poppy War but just couldn't do it. I love the first part, but things were clearly getting darker and darker and my tolerance for dark is pretty low these days. It was certainly well written and very compelling, but I had to pass. Your comments make me feel better about bailing on it.
>179 susanna.fraser: How was Record of a Spaceborn Few? I'm waiting for it from the library, but I may break down and buy it.
>180 Dejah_Thoris: I enjoyed it and found it moving, though I didn't love it quite as much as Chambers's two previous books because it focused on multiple characters and storylines that took awhile to converge, so I didn't get as attached to any one character.
No shows on this visit--just museums and food!
118. Yes We (Still) Can by Dan Pfeiffer
Something of a political memoir/advice book for Democrats looking to succeed in 2018, 2020 and beyond, by former Obama staffer and current Pod Save America cohost.
>180 Dejah_Thoris: How was the second Reluctant Royals book? I liked but didn't love the first one so I'm on the fence about continuing with the series.
120. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
Near-future post-apocalyptic fantasy well-deserving of all the hype it's gotten.
121. The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin
Beautiful and heartbreaking, though I think I need a nice break from the apocalyptic for my next read.
122. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian
A lovely little gem of a m/m historical romance. I loved how kind the two heroes were to each other and the rest of the found family in their orbits.
123. Take the Lead by Alexis Daria
Another enjoyable romance, this one a contemporary set on a reality show dance competition.
124. Delilah Dirk and the Pillars of Hercules by Tony Cliff
Third in a series of swashbuckling YA graphic novels starring a female Indiana Jones type in Napoleonic Era Europe and the Mediterranean.
125. Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers
A reread for one of this month's TIOLI challenges.
126. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte
Basically, an overview of the current state of dinosaur science, which I haven't paid as much attention to since I was a kid reading National Geographic in the late 70's as I have, say, human evolution. (I knew about the asteroid, of course, and also that the clever crows, scavenging seagulls, and cute chickadees I see as I go about my business are in fact dinosaurs, but not so much about the stuff that doesn't make headlines.)
127. Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer
Just as silly and just as fun as you'd expect based on the cover.
128. Marvel Rising: Alpha (2018) #1 (Marvel Rising (2018)) by Devin Grayson
I generally wait and by comics in trade collections so I can get a fully story arc in one go, but I happened upon a comics store while window-shopping recently, which turned into real shopping once I saw that they had the first few parts of the Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl team-up in stock.
129. A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution by Jeremy D. Popkin
Research for my new work-in-progress, and interesting history in itself.
130. Marvel Rising: Squirrel Girl/Ms. Marvel (2018) #1
More crossover comic goodness.
131. Belle by Beverly Jenkins
YA historical romance set in the 1850's with a heroine who's escaped from slavery in Kentucky and found shelter with a free black family in Michigan.
132. Marvel Rising: Ms. Marvel/Squirrel Girl (2018) #1
133. Marvel Rising: Omega (2018) #1 both by Devin Grayson
Finishing out the Squirrel Marvel crossover.
134. Be Not Afraid by Alyssa Cole
A short historical romance novella that manages to pack a ton of story into a quick evening's read.
135. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
A beautiful fantasy novel, rooted in fairy tales but not at all a children's book, whose plot is driven by women's cleverness and courage.
136. The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
Sherlock Holmes in space, with a sentient spaceship in the Watson role. A quick read, novella-length, but rich with world-building.
137. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux
A history of Little Women and its ongoing popularity and relevance. Interesting, though the section on stage and film adaptations lagged a bit for me.
138. The Scandalous Lady Robin by Sylvia Thorpe
A fun old-school romp of a romance. The copyright is 1952, but this edition is 1975, as you can so clearly see from the cover.
139. Justinian's Flea by William Rosen
This book suffered a bit for me as a reader because I was expecting more of a focus on the 6th century pandemic itself, rather than a history of the transition between the ancient and medieval eras with one section focused on the plague and some discussion of what might've been different if it'd never happened.
140. Starless by Jacqueline Carey
Standalone quest fantasy. I enjoyed it, and as the parent of a child who identifies as nonbinary in gender, I appreciated the protagonist's journey to a similar place. That said, I was expecting this to be the first book in a series until the final quarter of the book, and as a standalone it feels a bit out of balance, with too much time on the protagonist's childhood and training and not enough on the quest that training ultimately served.
141. Feud by Phyllis Bourne
Fun, escapist contemporary romcom using the feuding families and wacky inheritance clause tropes.
142. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Three by Michael Dante DiMartino
Conclusion of a three-book adventure in the Avatar world, post-Legend of Korra TV series.
143. A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert
British-set contemporary romance that manages to be simultaneously intense and joyously hilarious.
144. For Deader or Worse by Sheri Cobb South
8th in a series of Regency-set cozy mysteries, with our aristocratic heroine and Bow Street Runner hero now adjusting to married life.
145. A Square Meal by Jane Ziegelman
Culinary and culture history of the 1930's, explaining much about the cooking mothers and grandmothers brought to the potlucks of my youth in the 70's and 80's.
146. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings ed. by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman
Own voices YA retellings of Asian myths and legends. Style/quality varies, as expected in a multi-author anthology, but overall well worth the read.
147. Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
A manuscript completed in 1931 but only just now seeing publication. As an anthropologist, Hurston interviewed Cudjo Lewis (born Oluale Kossola), the last survivor of the last slave ship to bring enslaved Africans directly to the U.S. (illegally, in 1860). A fascinating and heartbreaking account.
148. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
A ghost epic, the perfect read for the Halloween season.
149. Pandemic 1918 by Catharine Arnold
An account of the 1918 flu pandemic focusing on the experiences of eyewitnesses--i.e. more of a history than a scientific examination.
150. Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
A look at the different paths to maturity and leadership styles of four very different great and consequential American presidents: Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and LBJ. We could sure use someone of their caliber now...
(Also, 150 books with almost 2 months left in the year!)
>211 susanna.fraser: One of my favorite books, and a sequel came out this year.
Congrats on hitting the 150 mark!
>215 ronincats: Seanan McGuire is both insanely prolific and insanely creative!
151. My Life as a Goddess by Guy Branum
I know Branum mostly as a regular panelist on the Lovett or Leave It podcast, though I never would've guessed his childhood growing up as the child of Arkie (i.e. Okie, but from Arkansas) parents in the a small town in the Sacramento Valley had so many similarities to mine growing up in small-town Alabama. (Though I must say for the record my dad was nothing like Branum's.)
152. Pasta, Pane, Vino by Matt Goulding
Eating and traveling in Italy--one of the top destinations on my own bucket list.
153. Not Another Family Wedding by Jackie Lau
Another great read from an author who's quickly becoming one of my favorites for contemporary romance.
154. How Do We Look? by Mary Beard
In what I understand is a companion to the author's BBC/PBS Civilisations series, a look at art/cultural history encouraging the viewer to consider the meaning of the art we see in museums as it would've been seen in its original context.
155. The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
A chilling look at how the current administration's careless, clueless approach to the significance and responsibilities of various federal agencies is damaging the groups who oversee our nuclear material, monitor food safety, predict the weather, and so on.
156. An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole
This book won't be released until February 2019, but I got to read a ARC because I'm a friend of a friend of the author. It is SO GOOD. Third and quite possibly the best in Cole's series on Black Union spies in the Civil War.
157. Eight Flavors by Sarah Lohman
Engaging culinary history that strikes just the right balance between accessibility and informativeness.
>225 Familyhistorian: I liked it, though I admit to skimming the details of how the various chemical analyses were carried out, and I learned more about Prohibition than I'd ever known before.
162. Witchmark by C.L. Polk
An excellent debut fantasy, though the pacing felt a bit off--it felt like a very slow build, and then everything happening at once. Still, a strong recommend.
163. Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey
A self-help/productivity book that convinced me, among other things, that I need to cut back on social media and listening to podcasts, since fewer distractions means better focus and more creativity.
164. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Such a beautiful yet harrowing and difficult book. I wouldn't want most of my reading to be this challenging--I read for pleasure and relaxation, after all--but it's probably good for me to stretch my mind like this on occasion.
165. A Christmas Treasure
Unfortunately I can't recommend this 1992 Regency Christmas anthology, though I managed to finish it because each individual story was so short. Suffice it to say it hasn't aged well--too many domineering alpha-hole heroes.
166. The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont
A delightfully illustrated little catalog of strong, accomplished women from ancient history to the present day.
167. Standing Our Ground by Lucia Kay McBath
A moving memoir by the mother of Jordan Davis, a black teenager murdered in Florida by a rage-filled racist over loud music in a convenience store parking lot. Since Jordan's murder she's become a tireless activist for gun safety and gun law reform, and she's about to take her seat in Congress (though the book was written before that campaign).
168. No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll
A short story collection of fairytales where transgender and nonbinary characters fulfill and subvert gender-based prophecies. I've ordered a paperback copy for the nonbinary teen in my life.
169. Living Into God's Dream, edited by Catherine Meeks
Part of my Episcopalian Education for Ministry program. A collection of essays by assorted clergy and lay leaders on breaking down racism and working for racial justice in America.
170. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
This YA graphic novel about a cross-dressing prince and the ambitious young dressmaker who outfits him has to be the most adorable thing I've read all year.
171. Undivided by Vicky Beeching
Thoughtful memoir by a Christian musician and songwriter who came out as gay and saw her career and life upended as a result.
172. Overtime for Love by Synithia Williams
A fun contemporary sports romance with relatable, appealing characters.
173. Liberty's Exiles by Maya Jasanoff
A history examining Loyalist exiles' diverse experiences after leaving the new United States in the aftermath of the Revolution, and a reminder of how close and linked the various upheavals of the late 18th and early 19th centuries really were.
174. Guarding His Heart by Synithia Williams
The next book in the series after Overtime For Love, and a perfect quick read that also met a TIOLI challenge.
175. Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade
A heartbreaking, infuriating look at a maritime tragedy that could've been prevented in half a dozen different ways.
176. Valor of the Healer by Angela Highland
First in a fantasy trilogy. The healer of the title is a half-elf woman raised in brutal slavery who has to learn to be free and courageous.
177. Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza
I miss the president I had and the country I lived in just a few short years ago...
178. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago
Visually striking, but hard to follow if you don't already know quite a bit about Clemente's life and career.
179. A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
A lovely little gem of a Regency romance, short enough to read in a single sitting.
180. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
What a fun book! I enjoyed the sci-fi take on vampires and werewolves.
>246 Familyhistorian: Agreed. I was also surprised/impressed with just how much of the world some of these exiles saw over long and varied lives.
>247 PaulCranswick: And to you as well!
181. Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free by Linda Kay Klein
I read this when I did because it's due back at the library by Saturday, but it ended up being an appropriate read for the season. The author, like me, is a former evangelical who's still a Christian, so the book ended up being a good affirmation of the more open, less rules-based faith I've grown into.
182. In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick
A history of the last year of the American Revolution, heavily focused on the naval context. Philbrick does a great job explaining the impact of the wind on Age of Sail battles, and I liked how his battle charts all showed the direction of the wind at each phase.
>249 susanna.fraser: his battle charts all showed the direction of the wind at each phase.
That is seriously cool
>250 lycomayflower: It really is. I had a similar epiphany with Jac Weller's Wellington at Waterloo, which oriented all the maps from Wellington's perspective instead of standard north-south, which helped me see why he'd chosen that spot to make his stand and how Napoleon's attacks ultimately failed. I now just spin maps around to help me put myself in the perspective of the general/admiral/explorer/etc.
183. Maeve in America by Maeve Higgins
A set of essays by an Irish comedian now living in NYC, most light and humorous, but with some serious thoughts on immigration, body image demons, and sexism.
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