ShadrachAnki Reads Owned Books in 2019
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This is my third year here, and my second year of properly maintaining a thread (I still tend to lurk more than post). I have found that making numbers-based goals works best for me when it comes to any sort of reading challenge; making definite lists of books to read is a good way to kill my interest in those books for months. That said....
Back in November I decided it was high time to actually make a list of all the books I own that I haven't read. After all, it is rather difficult to make goals if you don't know where you are starting from, and I needed starting numbers. The list isn't completely done, but it is complete enough to serve my purposes (and "unread books" is going to be a fluctuating number anyway, as I add and subtract titles from my personal library).
As with last year, my focus and goal for 2019 is to read more books that I own. I want at least 50% of my reading to fall into that category; more would be better. I also want to continue to increase the amount of non-fiction I read, aiming for 10% or more of my reading to fall in that general category. Finally, I want to read more of my ebooks (20% of my reading being in that format would be nice). They may not take up physical space, but I seem to acquire them a whole lot faster than I read them.
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, narrated by Rosamund Pike
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
2019 Reading by the Numbers
Total Books Read: 19
Last Year by the Numbers
Print: 91 (57%)
Ebook: 16 (9%)
Audio: 54 (34%)
Owned: 85 (53%)
Borrowed: 76 (47%)
Fiction: 109 (68%)
Non-fiction: 15 (9%)
Comics: 37 (22%)
Total Books Read: 161
Books Read January - March
* indicates a reread
1. Skip Beat! vol. 12 by Yoshiki Nakamura (print, comic, owned) *
2. Loving My Actual Christmas by Alexandra Kuykendall (print, non-fiction, owned)
3. Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (print, non-fiction, owned)
4. The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (print, comic, owned) *
5. Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers (ebook, fiction, owned)
6. Zero G by Dan Wells (audio, fiction, owned)
7. Skip Beat! vol. 13 by Yoshiki Nakamura (print, comic, owned)
8. Miss Landon and Aubranael by Charlotte E. English (ebook, fiction, owned)
9. Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh (audio, fiction, owned) *
10. Invader by C.J. Cherryh (audio, fiction, owned) *
1. Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson (ebook, fiction, owned)
2. Inheritor by C.J. Cherryh (audio, print, fiction, owned)
3. Deliberations by C.J. Cherryh (ebook, fiction, owned)
4. Invitations by C.J. Cherryh (ebook, fiction, owned)
5. Kakuriyo 1 by Waco Ioka (print, comic, owned)
6. Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen (audio, print, fiction, owned)
7. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (print, fiction, borrowed)
8. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay (ebook, fiction, owned)
9. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen (audio, print, fiction, owned)
Books Read April - June
* indicates a reread
Books Read July - September
* indicates a reread
Books Read October - December
* indicates a reread
Happy 2019, Anki. Being Mortal still has me looking at life differently. Enjoy! (ETA: sorry if I posted too soon)
>7 dchaikin: No worries; I dropped all my "gotta get them in a row at the beginning" posts sans formatting, since I can go back and edit them after the fact. :)
I look forward to reading Being Mortal. I started reading it yesterday, but am still only in the introduction. Reading time didn't happen nearly as much as I expected it to over the Christmas holidays, and my book group meets in a week to discuss the book. Which means I will probably have to rush the reading more than I would like. We will see.
Skip Beat! (3-in-1 Edition) Vol. 12 by Yoshiki Nakamura
First finish of the year is a reread and a manga/comic.
I was introduced to this manga series back in 2016 when several different, good recommendation giving, friends suggested I read it. The story follows high school girl Kyoko Mogami as she works to become a first class actress (at least to start, she is doing this to get revenge on her "true love" Sho, who dumped her when he became famous as an idol singer. Things have...progressed since those beginning stages, at least somewhat).
When I started getting the series (it wasn't available at my public library) I made the decision to purchase the 3-in-1 rerelease rather than the individually translated volumes, both to save on space and cost. This was great at the beginning since there were lots of volumes I hadn't read, but now I am caught up and the wait time between releases has stretched to a couple of years. The thirteenth omnibus volume was just released, and I decided I needed a bit of a refresh on where I was in the story after two years of waiting. Hence rereading this volume. Eventually I will reread the entire series, but for now just the previous volume is sufficient.
Do you read a lot of Manga? Every now and then I glance through the manga sections in comicbook or used book stores, and always get quickly overwhelmed. Not sure where to begin.
>10 dchaikin: I read less manga now than I did ten or twelve years ago, but it is still a fairly regular part of my reading life. The sheer quantity and variety to choose from can definitely be overwhelming, even to someone like me, who reads it regularly. And, of course, there are varying levels of quality, as with all things.
One thing to consider is that manga is what I term a "format/medium genre". There are manga written for all sorts of demographic groups, and covering all sorts of styles and genres. So one place to start is to look for series that fall into the content genres (mystery, science fiction, western, fantasy, romance, etc) you enjoy reading. Still probably going to be a dizzying number of options, but at least it narrows things down somewhat.
Hmm. I dodge all genres except “literary fiction”. I could be more open minded with Manga...but no clue which genre I might prefer, if any. Have to think on that one.
>12 dchaikin: The first thing that came to my mind as a potential for "literary fiction manga" is Kingyo Used Books by Seimu Yoshizaki, and it isn't really literary fiction per se (it should be noted that literary fiction is not a genre I typically reach for, and I am not entirely sure what would qualify). It's really a slice of life sort of story about a (possibly magical) used manga shop and the people who come to visit it. Only the first four volumes of the series were translated into English, and they might be out of print. It has a lot of notes about the series that the different patrons of the store are looking for.
I've found that my manga reading tastes do not exactly map to my general reading habits. As an example, I am not the type of reader who is going to go for a sports story, but two of my favorite manga series are sports stories: Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi (baseball) and Eyeshield 21 by Riichiro Inagakiri (high school football in Japan...sort of. It's rather crazy, and does not resemble actual football very much).
Loving My Actual Christmas by Alexandra Kuykendall
(non-fiction, print, owned)
I purchased this in 2017, but was not in the right frame of mind to get into it that year (starting two days before Christmas was not ideal). So I set it aside with the mental note to pick it back up around the next Thanksgiving, which was right around the start of Advent. I read a chapter a week and tried to ponder and apply them as I did. It's a different sort of reading than I normally do, with a different focus. Thanks to reading this book, I think my holiday season was smoother, and I have plans for Christmas in 2019. Especially crucial, since this year we have the shortest possible span of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so planning ahead is even more important than normal.
>15 dchaikin: You'll have to let me know what you think about them! I think it's great that your library had the first volumes for all the series. I remember when manga just was not a thing that libraries had much of at all, so the change is gratifying.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
(non-fiction, print, owned)
This is...not a book I likely would have chosen on my own, but I do my best to read each of the selections for my IRL book group, and this is our book for January 2019. I have a feeling this is probably going to be one of the most important books I will read this year, but I cannot in any way classify it as a "fun" read. Reading it actually dredged up and poked at memories and feelings I try not to touch very often, which wasn't the most comfortable experience. That said, I am glad I read this, and I am glad I own a copy. I will probably reread it at some point, but not for a few years. I would like to read more of Gawande's work, as I found him to be a skilled writer. But for now...I think I want something lighter. Like a good murder mystery.
>19 shadrach_anki: Interesting response to the Gawande book. I enjoyed your discussion with Dan about manga. I'm wondering if he might be more better directed to graphic novels or graphic nonfiction? I'm a very visual person, enjoy visual art immensely, but don't find myself particularly attracted to comics, manga, graphic novels/nonfiction, although I have certainly read some. Perhaps there is no connection between the two.
>20 avaland: That's possible, but I have fewer recommendations on those fronts. When it comes to sequential art, I have the most familiarity with manga and manga-inspired things, and even then I would hardly call myself an expert. One work of graphic nonfiction I quite enjoyed was Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, and I think I want to pull it out and reread it sometime this year; it's been a decade, after all. It gives a lot of good information on things like the visual shorthand and structure of sequential art.
Re: the Gawande book, I think it hit particularly hard because I am on the periphery of things with my grandparents aging (my maternal grandfather passed away a few months ago, at the age of 96), and a lot of the specific examples in the book deal with people dying of cancer, and I lost a brother to cancer twelve years ago (he would be 31 this year). I think it is an incredibly important book, and I highly recommend reading it, but it can be unsettling, and I think there are definitely times when it would not be the best book to be reading.
Impressed you got through Being Mortal so quickly. The power of book club meetings, maybe. It’s a terrific book and one we will have a different and personal response to. So, in a sense, thanks for sharing yours.
>20 avaland: Lois - well, I don’t need help with other graphic novels. I can page through and they get reviewed places I read about books. But Manga, with the wall of identical covers at any used or comic book store - that’s where I need some guidance.
>22 dchaikin: The power of book club meetings is definitely a factor, I think. Our book group is meeting this evening, and I am looking forward to the discussion. I also wasn't reading much of anything else for the last week, and Gawande has a way of writing that draws one in. I want to read some of his other books.
Believe it or not, the "wall of identical covers" phenomenon with manga is even more pronounced when you look at the Japanese volumes than it is with the English translations. In my experience, all the spines of a given publishing house/imprint are going to be identical, across all their series. Sort of like the old orange Penguin classics, I guess. There are some fancy special editions that will look different, but for the most part, all the same form factor, all the same layout design.
I know that I want/should read Being Mortal, but I haven’t been able to do it. I tried at the beginning of last year. My brother had just died unexpectedly a couple of months earlier, and I just couldn’t do it. Maybe I will attempt it again later this year.
I think life circumstances are definitely going to play a big part in whether or not a person has the capacity to read Being Mortal at a given time. I know my mother tried starting it back in June, but she wasn't able to manage it at the time because she was visiting with her parents and it was just too close to what her actual life circumstances were at the time.
Our book group discussion this evening was really good and insightful. I'm really glad I was able to participate.
I read it in summer 2017, shortly after my husband was diagnosed with cancer (he's doing fine right now, thanks). We were in the middle of having a lot of those tough conversations so the book seemed to be part and parcel of what was on my mind every minute of the day, and it was a good thing for me to read just then—it reinforced a lot of what we were talking about and how I felt. I did feel a strong sense of dismay that decent elder care is still not available to folks without adequate means, and that good hospice care still requires having a strong advocate for end stages in life. But what about those who don't have someone in their lives to stand up for their end-stage wishes? Will we someday have paid end-of-life advocates? That would probably be the makings of another book, and I do hope someone of Gawande's caliber writes it.
>26 lisapeet: I'm glad to hear that your husband is doing well, and it sounds like you read the book at exactly the right time for you. I agree with the feeling of dismay at the lack of decent elder care, though from the way the book is written it sounds like things are improving. Just...not as fast as people are aging. It's a big and complex issue.
The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
I first read this when it came out in English in 2017, and I pulled it off my shelf to flip through the other day thanks to the Tidying Up With Marie Kondo Netflix series, which came out at the beginning of the month. The story in this manga is cute, and I appreciate the "real life" example of the KonMari method that it provides. As with the Netflix show, having more specific examples can help when trying to apply a principle.
I am still shaking my head at the decision made by the English publishers to flip this book. I wish they had not done so, especially since they did not flip everything (for example, the floorplan of the main character's apartment shown at the beginning of the book is unflipped, and it was incredibly obvious as on the very next page you see the main room of her place). I know there are other panels that were left unflipped as well, and I still want to get a copy of the Japanese to compare them.
Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
(fiction, ebook, owned)
The first of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Lord Peter is told by his mother about a body that has mysteriously appeared in the bathtub of a rather timid architect living in Battersea, and he goes to investigate. It took me two tries to read this; I started last January, then got distracted by other things and realized I needed to start over if I were to have any hope of keeping the storyline straight. I quite enjoyed this story, and I was able to figure out the villain of the piece alongside Lord Peter, which was enjoyable. There were some odd stylistic quirks to the writing, such as shifting from third to second person in at least one point, and the inquest proceedings were written in a manner like a court stenographer might use. It all worked, but required some mental gymnastics. It will be interesting to see if that type of styling continues in future volumes of the series, which I do plan to continue reading.
I did a binge reading of the entire Lord Peter Wimsey series a couple of years ago. It was a reread for most of them. I may do another binge later this year. I really enjoy them. Read them in order, because his romance build up is very good.
>31 NanaCC: I always try to read series in order. I know the listings on Amazon and other places say that the books can be read in any order, but just from reading basic descriptions I can tell that I want to watch the relationships develop over the course of the entire series. And you can't do that particularly well if you read them out of order.
Zero G by Dan Wells
(fiction, audio, owned)
Three books finished in one day! This audiobook was offered as part of the "Audible Originals" member benefit in December, and since I have enjoyed Dan Wells' work in the past I decided to pick it up. It's a pretty fun story, with definite "Home Alone in space" vibes. Really it is more of an audio production than a simple audiobook, with a full cast in addition to the narrator providing the voices of the characters, and a good variety of audio effects to enhance the story being told (all appropriate and none of them overdone). It isn't great literature or anything, but I laughed more than once while listening, and I thought the characters were smart and believable. It reminds me of other middle grade science fiction books I read as a child, and I loved those just as much. Would love to see more with these characters, but it seems unlikely to happen, and that's all right.
Skip Beat! (3-in-1 Edition) Vol 13 by Yoshiki Nakamura
(manga, print, owned)
This volume uncovers a lot of Kyoko's mother's backstory, something which Kyoko was previously unaware of. Really it is the first time we see much of her mother at all, so getting that story element is useful. The last chapter or so of the volume introduces the next storyline, where Kyoko is preparing to audition for a part in a samurai drama. I loved being able to read more of the series, but at the same time, it will likely be at least a couple of years before the next omnibus volume is released.
Writing any sort of review for an individual volume of a long-running manga series like this (even an omnibus volume) is always a bit tricky, since an individual volume is in no way going to tell the complete story. Or even necessarily a complete arc within the larger story of the series. This particular volume did, with Kyoko's mother's backstory, but I have a feeling that the next story arc is going to stretch for more volumes. Additionally, because this is a manga about an aspiring actress, she's getting a lot of jobs in different dramas, so there are storylines within storylines.
Enjoying your reviews quietly. Kondo sparked a few posts in the interesting articles thread. My wife read her regular book, cleaned out her clothes and re-did her t-shirts and has been pretty happy about it. (She hasn’t touched our books)
>35 dchaikin: I've read the regular book as well as the manga, and I like them both. I don't necessarily agree with all of Kondo's statements, but even where I don't agree I can still see the value in a different point of view. And I think a lot of people are almost deliberately misrepresenting/misinterpreting what she says, particularly with the memes that have started circling recently with the launch of her Netflix series.
Actually, watching her Netflix series has made me more interested in getting Japanese copies of both the manga and her regular book, since I think some of the...issues people have might be based on translation. I've only watched the first episode so far, but they don't do voice-overs for the Japanese, so I've been picking up bits and pieces (five semesters of Japanese in college isn't nearly enough for me to be remotely fluent). I am definitely interested in seeing the episode where she's doing things with books, since that seems to be the focus of the current upset (and I am wondering how much of it is being misrepresented and/or misinterpreted).
Miss Landon and Aubranael by Charlotte E. English
(fiction, ebook, owned)
I think what first caught my eye when I saw this book was the gorgeous cover, and I still love it (a thumbnail does not really do it justice, nor does the black and white screen of my Kindle Paperwhite). This book is probably well summed up by the phrase "Jane Austen meets fairy tales by way of Georgette Heyer". Sophy Landon is a very plain young woman living in the town of Tilby, which is located in England. The general setup is very much a Regency romance, except for the fact that Aylfenhame/Faerie is very much a part of the story. The bridge to Tilby has a troll, who gets payment in gossip (and who is, ostensibly, telling the story to the reader). Basically all the houses have brownies in residence, and nobody bats an eye at any of it. In addition to the charming romance, there are hints at larger things going on in the background, and I hope they are explored further in the subsequent books in the series. I am also reminded of Dennis L. McKiernan's Faery series (beginning with Once Upon a Winter's Night), and now I want to reread those in addition to continuing with the Tales of Aylfenhame series.
>38 rhian_of_oz: Comparisons are a bit tricky, but I would say the two are thematically adjacent. Both series have magical elements in a Regency setting, but how the magic works and the form it takes are handled differently. As I recall, the Glamourist Histories do not have anything to do with Faerie; all the magic is strictly within the realm of our own world, and is akin to art and science (NB: it has been a few years since I read the series).
The Tales of Aylfenhame series has definite, distinct realms. You have mortal Earth/England, and you have Aylfenhame, which is the faerie realm, Underhill, with its own laws and rules and rulers. And the magic is like what you would find in fairy tales and old ballads and such.
There's also how the stories are structured. The Glamourist Histories follow Jane and Vincent from book to book as their story unfolds, while The Tales of Aylfenhame focus on a different couple in each book (based on reading blurbs for the subsequent books; I have only read the first one so far). There are recurring characters across the books
All that said, I think that if someone enjoyed one series, suggesting the other as something else they would likely enjoy is a pretty safe recommendation.
>30 shadrach_anki: Gosh, I read those Dorothy Sayers decades ago, the 1980s, I think (around the time the show was on PBS). Nice to revisit through your review, though.
To answer your question, I watched the Netflix series and the subtitles are rendered correctly.
>41 lilisin: I figured that they were. It's more a matter of nuance. I think there might be something in the Japanese that just doesn't fully translate into English and an American/Western mindset, not in any really concise way at least.
>40 avaland: This is my first foray into the Peter Wimsey mysteries, and I'm enjoying them. I've got the second one ready to start once I finish a couple other things I'm reading.
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
(fiction, audiobook, owned, reread)
I first read this back in 2008, then last year the audiobook was part of a really good sale on Audible, so I picked it up as I had been meaning to reread the book anyway. I had forgotten a lot of the details. Science fiction, first contact, dealing with inter-species difficulties when you're just plain hardwired differently from each other...there is a lot to unpack in this novel and its sequels (of which I have only read the first few; there are at least 19 books so far. Lots and lots of future reading material). Daniel Thomas May does a good job with the narration, and I look forward to listening to more of this series. Along with reading in print, since sometimes one just need both formats.
>44 shadrach_anki: I received this from SantaThing so I was interested see your review. Though I'm not sure I need another series, at least I won't have to wait years between books!
Being Mortal looks like something I'd like to read, but I also wanted to say that I laughed when I read your comment that you wanted to read something lighter, like a murder mystery. I know exactly how you feel! Seem ridiculous, but there you are.
>44 shadrach_anki: I started this once, got curious but not enough. I wasn’t in the right mindset (for a long time). Then Bragan read through part of the series and I got curious again. Anyway, interesting you’re posting in it here. I’m still curious.
>47 dchaikin: I hear you on that. Some authors, I can pretty much pick up their work whenever I want and be fine. Others, if I am not in the right mindset then I will bounce hard off whatever I am trying to read. I have found that C.J. Cherryh tends to fall into the latter category for me. I do love her work, but I need to be in the right frame of mind in order to read it.
>46 auntmarge64: It is funny how that works, isn't it? I'll admit that when I wrote that comment, I was aiming for humor, but there was plenty of truth in it as well. And, well, I was also reading a murder mystery at the time. It was a relief in some ways to escape to Lord Peter's antics as he went about figuring out who exactly the mysterious man in the bathtub was, and how his body got to be in such a bizarre location.
>44 shadrach_anki: You've reminded me that I really need to get back to this series. I read the first nine, and then kind of stalled out on it for a while. I think I, too, really need to be in the right kind of mindset for Cherryh to work for me.
Invader by C. J. Cherryh
(fiction, audiobook, owned, reread)
As with Foreigner, this has been on my "books to reread" list for a few years now. While I have it in print, I wanted to continue listening to the series as well, so I used one of my Audible credits to pick it up after I finished the first book. Again, a lot of stuff I had forgotten about. Most of the plot, really. So while this was a reread, it was almost like reading a new book at the same time. This picks up more or less right where Foreigner left off, with Bren getting recalled back to the mainland and his job right after he got out of surgery to help fix the issues from his last adventure. Political unrest abounds on both sides of the straight, and Bren needs all his wits about him to navigate the shifting situation.
I picked up the audio of the third book (which I also own in print, but have only partially read previously). That will complete the first sequence in the series, so I will probably take a break at that point and listen to something else for a little while, at least.
Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson
(fiction, ebook, owned)
Marnie MacGraw just wants an ordinary life (husband, kids, suburban home with a nice lawn), and she is sure she'll get it when she gets engaged to Noah. Then at a Christmas party, Marnie meet's Noah's great-aunt Blix, who says that her life is going to be very different. Blix should know; she has the ability to see relationships, and she can tell that Marnie has the same gift.
The first third or so of the book is told via alternating viewpoints: Blix and Marnie. Blix is dying, and she leaves Marnie both her brownstone in Brooklyn and all of her unfinished "projects" (people who are all needing some of that special, matchmaking magic). After Blix passes, the book is told solely from Marnie's perspective.
I picked this book up as a recommended read-alike for one of my favorite series (the Enchanted Inc books by Shanna Swendson), and because there was a good deal on the ebook at the time. I can definitely see similarities in tone and general settings, but they are their own stories. While I enjoyed this book, overall I think I still like Shanna Swendson's work more.
Inheritor by C. J. Cherryh
(fiction, audio, print, owned)
This picks up six months after the end of Invader, and Bren is trying to figure out how to deal with Jase, his new human roommate from the newly-returned Phoenix. Politics have not gotten any easier, though his security personnel are giving him more information, at least. The human government is none too happy with him, and it has been getting harder and harder to get in contact with people he cares about, but he cannot go back to the island or he runs the risk of getting arrested (or assassinated). For doing his job.
Quite a few things that were not fully answered in the first two books got answered in this one, in terms of the background politics that Bren was not aware of initially. I really want to see where things go next, but I am going to pause for at least a while and focus on reading other things (both to work on my TBR shelves and to avoid burning out on a series I am enjoying).
Deliberations by C. J. Cherryh
(fiction, ebook, owned)
Okay, so I'll be pausing on the Foreigner stuff after I read the short stories (both direct purchases from the author). This one is set the night before Tabini's twenty-third birthday, and is told from both Tabini and Ilisidi's perspectives. Basically it outlines just how Tabini became aiji and Ilisidi came to be in Malguri when Bren was sent there in Foreigner. None of it is information Bren would really have, nor is it something that really fits in the main story being told in the books, but it does give an insight into the exact nature of the relationship between Tabini and his grandmother (and can I just say that I think she may be my favorite? For someone who says she's dying, she is certainly quite lively and sharp).
Invitations by C. J. Cherryh
(fiction, ebook, owned)
Bren's first day on the job as paihdi. I really enjoyed this one, and would have loved to see more of younger Bren getting a hang of his job and starting his navigation of atevi society. Reading this one did inspire me to pick up the fourth book from the library (apparently, my decision to pause is even less strong than I originally thought) because I am still in the mood and mental space for this series.
Kakuriyo vol. 1 by Waco Ioka
(manga, print, owned)
Aoi Tsubaki is able to see ayakashi (spirits/demons/fairies), just like her grandfather. After his death, she learns that the ability to see spirits isn't the only thing she inherited from him; she also discovered that he had put her up as collateral for his debts to the spirits! Now, Aoi has been taken to Kakuriyo, the realm of the spirits, to make good on those debts.
I am fairly certain I heard about this series via an email from Viz, the English publisher. I liked the look of the art, and the general story concept intrigued me, especially since Aoi is a college-age girl, rather than the teenage protagonist so common in manga. This first volume is a lot of fun, but it is also doing a lot of set-up work for the rest of the series. Because of the nature of manga publishing (chapters published individually on a regular schedule, then later collected into volumes), this volume ends basically right in the middle of the first bit of major tension in the story. Second volume comes out at the beginning of March, so at least I don't have to wait too long to find out what happens next.
The attribution on this is actually only to the artist; the original story was written (is being written; I don't think it is finished yet) by Midori Yuma, as a series of light novels. There is also an anime adaptation that I plan on checking out.
Enjoying these reviews and your change on mind with Cherryh progress. I did check out those manga. I tried Cross Game, but had to retune it when I was just a short way in and had to return Kingyo Used Books unopened. Eyeshield 21 just came in. Hopefully I’ll get it.
Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
(fiction, audio, print, owned)
This is the fifth book in the Royal Spyness series, which I started reading last year. As the title suggests, Georgie is spending time in France, on the Mediterranean coast. She has been sent by the Queen to do a clandestine recovery job, and of course, nothing goes quite according to plan. This series is just a fun romp, and I enjoy the audio version particularly.
>58 dchaikin: Knowing that the library has basically all the Foreigner books available probably helped tip things in favor of "continue reading". I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the manga once you get a chance to read them more fully. Sometimes it can be hard to get into at first, especially with the whole "and now we read everything backwards!" element (my father and brothers still tease me about reading backwards books).
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
(fiction, print, borrowed)
My first borrowed book for the year. I really enjoyed this historical fiction account of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, and of their significant contributions to the field of paleontology. Pacing-wise this was a very...measured story; while quite fascinating, it never really reached the "stay up too late reading because I simply must know what happens" point. That said, I want to read more about Mary Anning and the Jurassic coast in England. Somehow I never realized until reading this book how comparatively young the study of fossils was, or how controversial they were at the time Mary Anning made her discoveries.
This book was the February pick for my IRL book group, and we had an excellent discussion.
The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
(fiction, ebook, owned)
I classify this as popcorn reading: light, airy, and not a whole lot of serious substance, but enjoyable. Sometimes a body just needs a fast, gentle read. Lots of references to the works of Jane Austen, and in particular to ones I am not as familiar with (I have yet to read Northanger Abbey, and I really need to reread Persuasion). The ending was perhaps a bit too neat and HEA, but it was in keeping with both the story and the genre and thus was not out of place. I have another Katherine Reay novel on my Kindle that I look forward to reading, but I think I may want to improve my direct knowledge of Jane Austen before reading it (I cannot recall if it deals with Jane Austen or not, but just to be safe).
>61 shadrach_anki: I like the sound of this (women in science!) so have added it the wishlist.
>63 rhian_of_oz: It was a really enjoyable book. I have another book about Mary Anning on my TBR/wishlist called The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling. It is a biography rather than a novel.
Speaking of women in science, another book I have on my shelves is The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel. It's all about the women who worked for the Harvard Observatory. Astronomy has been one of my interests since I was seven or eight years old, so I was interested in reading this, plus I've enjoyed the other books I've read by Dava Sobel.
The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen
(fiction, audio, print, owned)
Another delightful installment in the Royal Spyness series. While it was a little odd reading a Christmas-themed book in February, I was not about to wait almost an entire year before continuing the series. That would just be silly, and the Christmas elements were basically set dressing. I think this book has the highest body count yet in the series, but there are reasons behind it, and I felt very clever as I was able to piece things together alongside (and sometimes a bit ahead of) Georgie. Things also progressed in the non-murder mystery aspects of the series as well, and it was rather wonderful. Katherine Kellgren's narration continues to be amazing.
The print book comes with a short companion guide to a proper English Christmas, with recipes and games and traditions. This guide, due to its nature, was not included in the audio (even though the audiobook cover mentions it), so I am glad I also own this book in print.
>61 shadrach_anki: I've had that on my shelf forever, dating back to my days of working with the Darwin Manuscripts Project (transcribing Darwin's notes from hi-res scans), when I got interested in Anning and that whole milieu of naturalists. That would be a good bookshelf backlist title to nudge to the top of the heap.
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