karspeak (Karen) is reading...

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karspeak (Karen) is reading...

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Edited: Jan 1, 2020, 7:44pm

I'm looking forward to being a part of Club Read this year. I was in the 75ers group for the past seven years, but I think this group is a better fit. I read a mix of fiction (literary, general, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy) and non-fiction (climate change, life sciences, food history, travel, etc). Happy reading, all!!

1. Becoming
2. Lies Sleeping

3. Thrawn
4. The Cuckoo's Calling
5. The Silkworm
6. Career of Evil
7. 97 Orchard
8. Come Hell or Highball
9. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
10. The Invention of Nature

11. Dispatches from Pluto
12. This Is Where You Belong
13. No Impact Man

14. Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, With Recipes
15. The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age
16. How to Raise an Adult
17. Daisy Jones & The Six
18. The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships
19. Deep Run Roots
20. The SLP's Guide to Treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech

21. Turtles All the Way Down
22. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
23. Where the Crawdads Sing

24. Barrayar
25. Six Wakes

26. Thrawn Alliances
27. Sharp Objects
28. Revenge of the Damned
29. The Coddling of the American Mind
30. Sten
31. Fleet of the Damned
32. Anything But Silent

33. Ayesha at Last

34. The Broken Girls
35. Factfulness
36. The Collapsing Empire
37. The Handmaid's Tale
38. The Testaments

39. The Consuming Fire
40. A Better Man
41. Olive Kitteridge
42. All Systems Red
43. Artificial Condition
44. Rogue Protocol
45. Exit Strategy
46. Ten Thousand Doors of January

47. The Pride of Chanur
48. Catch and Kill
49. The Calculating Stars
50. The Fated Sky
51. The Curse of Chalion
52. Paladin of Souls
53. The Hallowed Hunt

54. Garden Spells
55. The Flatshare

Dec 27, 2018, 2:25pm

Welcome, Karen!

Dec 27, 2018, 5:20pm

Great to see you here, Karen! You will fit right in. :-)

Edited: Dec 27, 2018, 8:49pm

>2 avaland: and >3 japaul22: Thanks, Lois and Jennifer!!!

Dec 28, 2018, 7:13pm

Hope you love it here! I follow a couple of threads on the 75ers but that group is way, way too busy to actually join and keep up. Club Read is just right.

Jan 1, 2019, 7:21pm

Happy 2019!

Jan 2, 2019, 11:20am

>5 auntmarge64: and >6 qebo: Thanks!!! Happy New Year!!

Edited: Feb 8, 2019, 7:37am

1. Becoming
I was very impressed with Michelle Obama's autobiography. It felt so real and honest, and her emotions as they occurred throughout different situations in her life came through very strongly. I think political conservatives could also enjoy this book, especially if they are female or a minority. Definitely recommended.

2. Lies Sleeping
This is the latest book, #7, in the Rivers of London series, which is about a magician-cop in London. I really loved the previous book, The Hanging Tree, but this one was a just-okay read for me.

Feb 4, 2019, 3:50pm

I'm just finished Becoming as an audiobook. Michelle Obama reads it herself. I've loved it. I'm not sure it's anything earth-shattering, but, as you say, it's strikes me as honest and real. I really love it.

Feb 5, 2019, 5:29am

Becoming has had nothing but superlative reviews. Do you think it's a book that would be of general interest, or is it more specifically of interest if you live in the US?

Feb 5, 2019, 3:21pm

>10 AlisonY: I think it would be of interest to a woman or minority of any country, since those experiences would translate outside of politics. I personally related the most to her discussing the challenge of being a working mother. I think the emotional impact that I felt from the book was partly the result of mourning the awful drama/tragedy of current American politics, and partly from her strong, honest and emotional account of events. She is very smart and also feels emotions clearly and quickly (it takes me awhile to even figure out if or why I am feeling a certain way).

Feb 8, 2019, 7:36am

3. Thrawn
I read a review on LT a while ago about this book that said something like, "Yes, this is a book in the Star Wars series, but you should read it anyway if you like sci-fi at all." So, I did, and I really enjoyed it. Basically, it is a fun space opera with a main character who is part Sherlock and part The Art of War. I don't plan to read any other books in this series, unless someone suggests otherwise, since it has "actual" Star Wars characters like Han Solo, who I have no interest in reading about. Recommended if you enjoy space operas.

Feb 14, 2019, 9:36am

4. The Cuckoo's Calling
5. The Silkworm
6. Career of Evil

I just tore through the first 3 books in the Cormoran Strike series. This is a modern mystery series about a private detective in London who works to solve crimes, and it's written by J K Rowling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. I like that the action is fast paced, the main characters are likable, and the mystery is complex in the tradition of Agatha Christie. Overall, I found it very gripping and quite entertaining. The third novel was a bit icky because of the serial killer, and I thought the plot was weaker. But I look forward to reading the next book in the series (there are currently 4 total books published in the series).

Feb 14, 2019, 9:08pm

7. 97 Orchard
This NF book explores the lives of immigrant groups in NYC during the 1800s and early 1900s through their food traditions. It is excellent, and I'm impressed with the author's blend of intelligent research and the readability of her writing. I enjoyed this even more than the author's other book, A Square Meal, which looks in depth at the food issues during the Great Depression. That book was also very good, though.

Feb 14, 2019, 9:26pm

I've got a copy of 97 Orchard on my tbr. Thanks for the reminder to get to it.

Feb 14, 2019, 9:41pm

>13 karspeak:. I really liked the first three Galbraith books but thought the fourth was a letdown. I don't want to be specific, since you haven't read it yet, but it just seemed to me that the two main characters dithered way too much. You'll find out about what when you read it, and I'll be curious whether you feel the same way.

Edited: Feb 14, 2019, 10:53pm

>16 auntmarge64: Thanks for the head’s up, I’d much rather start a book with too low expectations versus too high!

Feb 17, 2019, 3:03pm

>14 karspeak: 97 Orchard sounds fun.

Edited: Feb 24, 2019, 10:33pm

>18 dchaikin: Definitely!

8. Come Hell or Highball (LT rec)
A light mystery set in the 1920s. Entertaining, but not quite my cup of tea.

9. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (book club selection)
This fun, fresh, hip novel reminded me somewhat of Pattern Recognition and Goon Squad. It has lots of social media intertwined with the plot. A fun read.

10. The Invention of Nature
This NF book about Alexander von Humboldt thoroughly and convincingly suggests that Humboldt was perhaps the single most important scientific figure of the 1800s, influencing scientists across a wide range of disciplines, and introducing in particular the idea of species being interconnected within an ecosystem. I wish the last few chapters had been trimmed, but it was still a worthwhile read.

Feb 27, 2019, 1:21pm

Glad you enjoyed The Invention of Nature. She left me a little skeptical on some claims, but a great story regardless.

Mar 11, 2019, 4:02pm

11. Dispatches from Pluto
A well-written, informative, and engaging account of a British writer and his girlfriend moving from Manhattan to rural Mississippi. I particularly enjoyed his grappling with the complexities of racial relations in the Deep South.

12. This Is Where You Belong
I have moved many times, and so has the author of this book, who set out to make herself learn to love the newest place where her husband had taken a job--Blacksburg, Virginia. Using research, interviews, and her own personal experiments to promote "place attachment," she tackles the task with determination, wit, and some success. Most of the ideas seem like no-brainers, such as "walk more, buy local, get to know one's neighbors, volunteer," etc. I'm not sure if I learned anything new per se, but I did appreciate the way she explored these ideas in depth. Some quotes that I liked:
"The internet, the most perfectly calibrated time suck known to man,..."
"Place attachment peaks three to five years after one moves to a new city."
"Speck's four great pillars of walkability: Walks must be useful. Walks must be safe. Walks must be comfortable. Walks must be interesting."
"In a new city, the most basic navigation requires front-of-mind brain space, the prime mental real estate you usually allocate to higher-level thinking, like solving a work problem or choosing which BBC series to watch on Netflix."

Edited: Mar 12, 2019, 8:01am

>20 dchaikin: Yes, I'm not sure how many of her claims will stick with me, except that he was an important scientist from the 1800's...

Edited: Mar 12, 2019, 3:23pm

>23 dchaikin: ha! The stories, in general, have stayed with me. And her claims might accurate, it just that she doesn’t set them in the broader world or strengthen them with anything outside the particular story at hand. It’s always a narrow focus.

Edited: Mar 23, 2019, 3:10pm

13. No Impact Man (I read this looking forward to Earth Day in April)
This was part gimmick, part interesting account of a writer in NYC who tried to live for a year with as little environmental impact as possible. He included both waste and carbon emissions. There was a bit too much navel gazing for me, especially at the beginning. I perhaps gained a little bit of inspiration for a few minor changes, such as taking my own to-go containers when my family and I dine out. I prefer the book Drawdown as a more empirically based approach to reducing one's carbon footprint.

Apr 8, 2019, 10:08am

14. Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, With Recipes
I have read quite a few Appalachian food culture books, but this was a nice addition to the genre, exploring Appalachian culture and cuisine along with some of its modern iterations. Sometimes it veered a bit too hipster, but it was nice to see the food scene from that angle, as well. One interesting thought from the book is that Appalachian food traditions have been preserved better than in most other regions of the US because large-scale agriculture could never be applied to the steep terrain of the region.

15. The Richest Woman in America: Hetty Green in the Gilded Age
I found this book mildly interesting since I had never before heard of Hetty Green, even though I had heard of the Astors and Vanderbilts from the same era. But my main thought throughout the book was that Hetty reminded me so much of Warren Buffett as he is represented in the documentary Becoming Warren Buffett. There were many similarities, including that both were able to easily read stock market trends which were confounding to most of their peers, and both lived very frugally and pinched their pennies.

16. How to Raise an Adult
This book was well-written, and it offered many shocking anecdotes about the crazy lengths to which parents will go to help their child get ahead academically, usually to the detriment of the child. But the only information I found useful was the brief section on how to select possible colleges, and resources that are better alternatives to the annual college rankings by US News & World Report.

Apr 8, 2019, 5:43pm

>12 karspeak: When it comes to "other books in this series" I think you would also enjoy reading Thrawn: Alliances, which is the direct sequel to this one. It continues to develop the character and his backstory. Both books are part of the current official Star Wars canon, and they both take place prior to the original Star Wars trilogy (though concurrent with/after the prequel trilogy). The second book does include Darth Vader and the Emperor and a few other characters from the movies, but the story is its own contained thing. I don't think it needs a deep understanding of or investment in the Star Wars franchise to be enjoyable.

The original series where Thrawn was introduced, published in the early 90s, is a lot of fun, but you do need to have a certain amount of investment in the main story of Star Wars. At the time they were written, they were the continuation of the story after the movies (or at least part of that continuation). See what Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie and all the rest were up to after the defeat of the Emperor, etc, etc. The original Thrawn trilogy is still considered to be some of the best of the old Expanded Universe content, but like pretty much all the non-film content produced prior to Disney's acquisition of Star Wars it was relegated to "Legends". Anything that has been pulled back into the official canon from Legends (like Thrawn) has received an overhaul/reboot so the chronology matches.

Probably more than you really wanted to know about the series, but Thrawn is one of my favorite Star Wars characters, and I'm really happy that he's still a part of the official story.

Apr 8, 2019, 7:58pm

>26 shadrach_anki: Great, thanks, I just downloaded Thrawn: Alliances to my Kindle, I appreciate the recommendation!

Apr 17, 2019, 11:55am

17. Daisy Jones & The Six (book club)
This novel is about the rise and then break-up of a 1970's rock band-up. It was okay; it felt like I was watching an MTV in-depth interview with a band, instead of reading a novel. Supposedly this was at least somewhat, or maybe hugely, inspired by Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. If so, I'm even less impressed with this novel, since the author was just transferring the mojo of their band and music to her novel.

Edited: Apr 18, 2019, 7:30am

>28 karspeak: That one was hyped so hard by the publishers it turned me right off of reading it, even though I love a good rock & roll novel.

Apr 18, 2019, 9:14am

>29 lisapeet: It’s definitely skippable!

Apr 18, 2019, 10:41am

Hi, Karen! Found you...

Apr 23, 2019, 10:29am

>31 labfs39: Hi, Lisa!

18. The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships
Well, this book was really something. The author, who writes for Rolling Stone and has published other NF books including co-authoring books with Marilyn Manson and Jenna Jameson, decides that he is unable to be monogamous with his serious girlfriend. So, he breaks up with her and goes to sex addiction rehab and tries therapy with various psych experts. He gains some insight into himself and his "enmeshment" with his mother, which has screwed up his views on committed relationships. He eventually rejects the sex addiction angle and begins exploring the worlds of polyamory, swinging, and open relationships. And he also continues to work through the issues from his childhood. His "life experiment" does end in a specific way with a specific path that he chooses. This book is quite the mix of in-depth psychoanalysis therapy and glimpses into non-mainstream sexual subcultures. He does seem to truly have evolved as a person, having worked through some serious issues, by the end of the book. The sexual aspects of the book are very graphic and did make me feel uncomfortable at times. I found it a rather harrowing read, but either the psych or the sexual aspects might appeal to other readers.

Edited: Apr 23, 2019, 10:41am

And, for (yesterday's) Earth Day, here are 5 things that I have been doing or working toward, which give more "bang for the buck" in terms of reducing one's carbon footprint:

1. Sign up with your local energy company for renewable energy shares.
2. Eat less red meat (beef and lamb)
3. Wash your clothes with cold water. You'll need a cold water detergent--I use Tide Coldwater Clean.
4. Adjust how you use Amazon--selecting NOT to do Prime shipping cuts the carbon emissions of that shipment by half, on average. And combine orders, too.
5. Buy environmentally friendly TP and tissue, because most soft, fluffy TP and tissue come from trees from old growth Canadian forests.

Apr 23, 2019, 12:16pm

>33 karspeak: These are great suggestions. Which TP have you find that is tolerable to use and environmentally friendly? I've done a little research but not bought any yet because of terrible reviews for how it feels and works.

Edited: Apr 23, 2019, 3:12pm

>34 japaul22: Below is a link to a list of recommended "tissue products". I like and use the Whole Foods TP, but I haven't tried Trader Joe's since there's not one in our area. I tried a few others that I didn't like. Now I need to try out tissue...

recommended products

Apr 30, 2019, 8:34pm

19. Deep Run Roots
This is a cookbook with related food stories by a woman who worked in NYC at various high-end restaurants, but then returned to her hometown in rural NC to open a restaurant. Her recipes are too labor intensive for me, but I really enjoyed her exploration of how to best use the local ingredients. She often found herself humbled when an elderly home cook would school her on the best way to cook this or that. It was surprising that so many food traditions still exist in rural, eastern NC, but they are slipping away with each passing day. It was also interesting how much her restaurant had to can ingredients in order to make sure they had a supply of good local ingredients to last year round. The author/chef also had a TV show called A Chef's Life on PBS.

20. The SLP's Guide to Treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech (professional development)
This was a well-done book about how to treat childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). I'm not sure I learned anything new, but I think it would be helpful to speech pathologists who haven't had much experience with or training on CAS.

May 5, 2019, 11:04pm

21. Turtles All the Way Down
This YA novel follows Aza, a teen who struggles with an anxiety disorder. I found it to be very similar to the other book I had read by this author, The Fault in Our Stars. I didn't think the ending was particularly strong, and I do wish the author would have thrown in some teen characters who aren't remarkably articulate and precocious. But I am impressed with how effectively and creatively he was able to have Aza describe her struggles with her anxiety disorder.

Jun 10, 2019, 3:27pm

22. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells (book club selection)
This is a novel wherein three Greta Wells, set in different eras in New York City, switch lives periodically as they all undergo electroconvulsive therapy. It explores the idea of how one's life might have been, had slightly different choices been made, or historical circumstances been different. It was well constructed, and entertaining enough, but the plot and characters somehow never resonated with me.

23. Where the Crawdads Sing (book club selection)
I enjoyed this novel about a girl who grows up mostly alone in a North Carolina coastal marsh. The descriptions of the marsh and its inhabitants were my favorite aspect of the book. The setting was so strongly and vibrantly portrayed that it functioned as a main character of the story. I thought the storyline was fine, although it strained credulity at different points.

24. Barrayar (Vorkosigan series)
A light and fairly entertaining audiobook on a long car ride. I find the books in this SF series to be quite variable, but I enjoyed this one.

Jun 24, 2019, 5:03pm

25. Six Wakes
This sci-fi murder mystery was a 2018 finalist for best novel for both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards. This was a fun audiobook to help pass the time on a long drive. It is rather like a sci-fi version of an Agatha Christie. It didn't blow me away, but it was entertaining. And both the mystery and the sci-fi components were fairly well done.

Jun 27, 2019, 9:27am

>39 karspeak: Ooh two of my favourite genres. On to the wishlist it goes.

Jun 27, 2019, 12:11pm

>40 rhian_of_oz: Excellent:)

Jul 11, 2019, 8:27pm

26. Thrawn Alliances
Another Thrawn book from the Star Wars series. Entertaining, but Darth Vader's character was pretty annoying, actually.

27. Sharp Objects (book club)
This is a dark, sicko-murder thriller by the same author as Gone Girl. Meh.

28. Revenge of the Damned
This is #5 in the Sten series, which is space opera mixed with special ops warfare. It was published in the 1980s and held up fairly well to a modern re-read. I grew up around Special Forces and other special ops guys, so it's good fun for me. The characterization rings true, and it doesn't take itself too seriously.

Jul 26, 2019, 11:18pm

29. The Coddling of the American Mind
This was excellent NF, discussing some of the erroneous beliefs which have crept into our current thinking, especially on college campuses: what doesn't kill us makes us weaker (people are fragile); always trust your feelings ("reason" with your emotions); it's us versus them (people are either good or evil). The authors do an excellent job of looking at how these beliefs have been hugely detrimental to open discussions in college and to teen mental health, among other things. Their review of the research is well woven into their discussion and stories. This book made the 2018 list of NYT notable books. Recommended.

30. Sten
31. Fleet of the Damned
More fun reads from the Sten series, discussed in the previous post. These are #1 and #4 in the series, respectively.

Jul 30, 2019, 10:35pm

32. Anything But Silent (professional development)
This is a NF book written by a mother and her grown daughter, discussing their experiences of the daughter having childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). The daughter's CAS is now resolved, and she speaks normally. But it took many, many hours of speech therapy for her to make progress. This book is only for people who have a close family member with CAS. And the focus is mainly on the emotional turmoil of dealing with the disorder rather than on particular treatment suggestions, etc.

Aug 15, 2019, 11:00pm

33. Ayesha at Last (book club)
This is a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, set in a close-knit Muslim community in Toronto. It is light reading, but I enjoyed it. I thought it was a good re-telling, plot-wise, and I particularly liked the glimpse into that Muslim immigrant community. It reminded me somehow of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Sep 18, 2019, 10:57pm

FINALLY, I have some books to add.

34. The Broken Girls (book club)
This is a thriller, with two young women found dead. The plot alternated between the present and the past (1950s). Isn't that almost requisite now for a "book club" book? It was definitely better than some other similar books, but I doubt I'll remember it a year from now.

35. Factfulness (another book club)
This was a Bill Gates and Barack Obama rec. This NF by Hans Rosling was very good, and, amazingly, not depressing. People around the world consistently think that poverty/access to education/access to healthcare, etc, is much worse than it actually is. Some of the many topics covered in the book include the following: "thought traps" to which humans are susceptible; the flattening out of the human population growth curve; the necessity of data collection and analysis to address the world's problems; the importance of avoiding alarmist thinking; the main issues on which the human race needs to be focusing; not blaming the media for mild sensationalism; the four "levels" on which people live, economically speaking (this has replaced "developing" vs. "developed" countries); and the inevitability of western economic dominance coming to an end. The author wove many interesting personal stories into the book, and they always added to his points. His knowledge and his wisdom came through. Recommended.

Sep 22, 2019, 9:26pm

36. The Collapsing Empire
This is the first novel in a space-opera series called the Interdependency. Most of the action occurs in the political sphere through various plots and counter-plots among different factions. And the fate of the human race is at stake, as well. I hate politics in real life, but in sci-fi it can be fun and complicated but then be tied up neatly in the end. This was a fun read, and I’ll definitely read the sequel, which, fortuitously, will be released two days from now.

Edited: Oct 7, 2019, 8:33pm

37. The Handmaid's Tale
A re-read in preparation for The Testaments.

38. The Testaments
I thought this was pretty enjoyable, but not amazing. I won't reveal the plot arc, but I didn't believe her premise about how the Gileadean government could be weakened.

39. The Consuming Fire
This is the sequel to The Collapsing Empire, and it is more space opera-political intrigue fun. The plots-within-plots against the Emperox wrapped up waaay too neatly; if only politics really worked that way! I'm curious to see what the third and final book, scheduled to be released April 2020, will hold.

40. A Better Man (book club selection)
I enjoyed this most recent Louise Penny murder mystery, but I also felt that it was over-wrought.

Oct 15, 2019, 10:28am

41. Olive Kitteridge (book club)
I didn't care for this novel when I first read it about 10 years ago, and I didn't care for it this time, either. I appreciate that the author is very skillful and does a wonderful job presenting various perspectives throughout the book. But it just felt so emotionally heavy to me, and I didn't really like the main character.

42. All Systems Red
43. Artificial Condition
44. Rogue Protocol
45. Exit Strategy
I heard about this award-winning sci-fi novella series, the Murderbot Diaries, here on LT (thanks!), and I wolfed these addictive stories right down. Very fun, original, intelligent, and highly readable! Alas, the next one won't release until 2020.

Oct 31, 2019, 11:06am

46. Ten Thousand Doors of January
I loved the first part of this whimsical fantasy novel, since it reminded me of an adult version of The Little Princess. The middle and end were alright. I'm not sure I'll remember this one a few months from now.

Nov 2, 2019, 9:45pm

>50 karspeak: This has been on my radar (the cover is very alluring) but maybe I'll get it from the library rather than purchasing.

Edited: Nov 3, 2019, 7:41pm

>51 rhian_of_oz: The cover got me, too!! I did enjoy it, but I think various aspects got fairly predictable as the novel went on, which spoiled the whimsical, mysterious tone a bit.

Nov 12, 2019, 10:20pm

47. The Pride of Chanur
This first novel in a sci-fi series was nominated for a Hugo in 1983. The thing that bugged me about this book is that the alien species are very human in their personalities and interactions. The main character is a human in a cat-like body, basically. Besides that flaw it was sort of fun, but I really expect better world building from a Hugo nominee.

48. Catch and Kill (book club selection)
This is the account by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Ronan Farrow, of breaking the Harvey Weinstein story, along with the various cover-ups surrounding this story and other cases of sexual harassment. I was worried this would wallow in accounts of Weinstein's nastiness, but instead I found it gripping, well researched, and well written.

Edited: Dec 2, 2019, 9:47pm

49. The Calculating Stars
This won the 2018 Nebula and the 2019 Hugo and Locus Award for best novel. This is a 1950s alternate history novel, centered around the US space program. My main impression reading it was that the author had copied some of the main themes from the movie Hidden Figures. But this novel was published before the movie came out. Anyway, it was gripping but not memorable. The thing I do remember now, several weeks after finishing it, is that there were several ridiculous gaps or unrealistic aspects: 1) since computer technology was in its infancy, mathematicians with slide rules on board spaceships were used to make course adjustments and plot trajectories; 2) colonization of Mars was expected to save the human race, but zero explanation was given for how food would be grown/made to support the new colonists.

50. The Fated Sky
This was the sequel to The Calculating Stars, and it was also fast-paced but not memorable.

51. The Curse of Chalion
This was a very above-average and enjoyable fantasy novel. It had very strong writing, characterization, pacing, and world building. And it wasn’t the usual on-a-quest type plot which has been so overdone. Recommended if you enjoy above-average fantasy.

52. Paladin of Souls
This was the second in the Chalion trilogy. Good but not great.

53. The Hallowed Hunt
The third book in the Chalion trilogy. The first book was very good, the second book was good, and this book was pretty good. The main characters and the plot in this book echoed those from the first book, which was annoying. I would still definitely recommend the first book to those who enjoy well-written fantasy.

Dec 5, 2019, 3:29pm

>36 karspeak: >37 karspeak: I have really enjoyed the first two of Scalzi's series and am eagerly awaiting the third.

Edited: Jan 1, 2020, 8:17pm

>55 Jim53: It will be nice to see things wrapped up, instead of waiting for sequel after sequel.

Although I may still finish another book or two before the new year, here is my very brief wrap-up. My most enjoyable reads were the Murderbot Diaries novella sci-fi series. So well done, in so many ways. My best non-fiction read was The Coddling of the American Mind, followed by Factfulness. Some of the books I plan to read in 2020 include The River by Peter Heller, Upheaval by Jared Diamond, and a few more books that won both a Hugo and a Nebula.

Jan 1, 2020, 8:01pm

54. Garden Spells
This light novel with magical realism stirred in is not great lit, but it is "sweet, sparkly, and thoroughly Southern," to quote one reviewer. Quite enjoyable.

55. The Flatshare
Above average chick lit. Quite enjoyable.

Jan 1, 2020, 8:11pm

My 2020 thread is up, you can find it here. Happy New Year!!