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ShadrachAnki Reads Owned Books in 2019

Club Read 2019

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1shadrach_anki
Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 5:44pm Top

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.

Currently Reading/Listening
   - 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
   - A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
   - A Case for the Book of Mormon by Tad R. Callister
   - A Lot Like Christmas by Connie Willis
   - The Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, read by Richard Armitage
   - Plain Kate by Erin Bow

-----
2019 Reading by the Numbers

OWNERSHIP
   Owned: 135
   Borrowed: 32

FORMAT
   Print: 112
   Ebook: 21
   Audio: 34

CATEGORY
   Fiction: 90
   Non-fiction: 7
   Comics: 70

Total Books Read: 167

2shadrach_anki
Edited: Jan 2, 2019, 2:55pm Top

Last Year by the Numbers

FORMAT
   Print: 91 (57%)
   Ebook: 16 (9%)
   Audio: 54 (34%)

OWNERSHIP
   Owned: 85 (53%)
   Borrowed: 76 (47%)

CATEGORY
   Fiction: 109 (68%)
   Non-fiction: 15 (9%)
   Comics: 37 (22%)

Total Books Read: 161

3shadrach_anki
Edited: Mar 29, 2019, 11:10am Top

Books Read January - March
* indicates a reread

January
  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) *

February
  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)
  10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (audio, print, fiction, owned)
  11. Book Love by Debbie Tung (print, comic, owned)

March
  1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (print, fiction, borrowed)
  2. The Fairest Heart by Heather Chapman (ebook, fiction, owned)
  3. Sweetness & Lightning vol. 4 by Gido Amagakure (print, comic, borrowed)
  4. Sweetness & Lightning vol. 5 by Gido Amagakure (print, comic, borrowed)
  5. Sweetness & Lightning vol. 6 by Gido Amagakure (print, comic, borrowed)
  6. Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm (print, fiction, owned)
  7. Wild Country by Anne Bishop (print, fiction, borrowed)
  8. Kakuriyo 2 by Waco Ioka (print, comic, owned)
  9. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (audio, print, fiction, owned)

4shadrach_anki
Edited: Jul 1, 2019, 7:26pm Top

Books Read April - June
* indicates a reread

April
  1. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (print, fiction, owned) *
  2. The Grave Gourmet by Alexander Campion (ebook, fiction, owned)
  3. Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith (print, non-fiction, owned)
  4. The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery (print, fiction, owned)
  5. Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (audio, fiction, owned)
  6. The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall (print, fiction, owned)
  7. The Midnight Heiress by Ashtyn Newbold (ebook, fiction, owned)
  8. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (ebook, fiction, owned)
  9. The Testimony of the Traitor Ratul by Larry Correia (ebook, fiction, owned-ish)
  10. Waiting for Spring 8 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)
  11. Waiting for Spring 9 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)
  12. Waiting for Spring 10 by Anashin (print, comic, owned)

May
  1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King (print, fiction, owned)
  2. Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia (print, audio, ebook, fiction, owned)
  3. House of Assassins by Larry Correia (print, audio, fiction, owned)
  4. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley (ebook, fiction, owned)
  5. The Divided Earth by Faith Erin Hicks (print, comic, owned)
  6. In/Spectre 1 by Kyo Shirodaira & Chashiba Katase (print, comic, owned) *
  7. In/Spectre 2 by Kyo Shirodaira & Chashiba Katase (print, comic, owned)
  8. Yona of the Dawn, vol. 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi (print, comic, owned) *
  9. Yona of the Dawn, vol. 2 by Mizuho Kusanagi (print, comic, owned) *
  10. Yona of the Dawn, vol. 3 by Mizuho Kusanagi (print, comic, owned)
  11. Yona of the Dawn, vol. 4 by Mizuho Kusanagi (print, comic, owned)
  12. Yona of the Dawn, vol. 5 by Mizuho Kusanagi (print, comic, owned)
  13. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (print, fiction, owned)
  14. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (print, fiction, owned)

June
  1. Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith (print, fiction, owned)
  2. The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson (print, fiction, borrowed)
  3. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (audio, print, fiction, owned)
  4. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (ebook, fiction, owned)
  5. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (print, fiction, borrowed)
  6. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (audio, fiction, owned)
  7. Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel (print, fiction, borrowed)
  8. Queen's Quality, vol 1 by Kyousuke Motomi (print, comic, borrowed)
  9. Queen's Quality, vol 2 by Kyousuke Motomi (print, comic, borrowed)
  10. Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (audio, print, fiction, owned)
  11. Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (print, fiction, borrowed)
  12. Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane (print, fiction, borrowed)
  13. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie (audio, fiction, borrowed)
  14. All-Butter Shortdead by H. Y. Hanna (audio, fiction, owned)
  15. Yotsuba&! vol. 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  16. Yotsuba&! vol. 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  17. Yotsuba&! vol. 3 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  18. Yotsuba&! vol. 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *

5shadrach_anki
Edited: Oct 1, 2019, 10:12am Top

Books Read July - September
* indicates a reread

July
  1. A Scone to Die For by H. Y. Hanna (audio, fiction, owned)
  2. Recursion by Blake Crouch (print, fiction, borrowed)
  3. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, borrowed)
  4. Tea with Milk and Murder by H. Y. Hanna (audio, fiction, owned)
  5. Sovereign by Jeff Hirsch (audio, fiction, owned)
  6. Written in Red by Anne Bishop (print, fiction, owned) *
  7. Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry (audio, fiction, owned)
  8. Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie (print, fiction, borrowed)
  9. In Red, With Pearls by Patricia Briggs (print, fiction, borrowed)
 10. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan (audio, ebook, fiction, owned)
 11. Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters (print, fiction, owned)

August
  1. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (print, fiction, borrowed)
  2. Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (audio, fiction, owned)
  3. Yotsuba&!, Vol. 5 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  4. Yotsuba&!, vol. 6 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  5. Yotsuba&!, vol. 7 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  6. Yotsuba&!, vol. 8 by Kiyohiko Azuma (print, comic, owned) *
  7. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (print, fiction, owned)
  8. Black Magic Academy by Emily Martha Sorensen (print, fiction, owned) *
  9. White Magic Academy by Emily Martha Sorensen (ARC, fiction, owned)
  10. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary (print, fiction, borrowed)
  11. Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan (audio, fiction, owned)
  12. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (print, fiction, borrowed)
  13. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (print, fiction, borrowed)
  14. Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (print, fiction, borrowed)

September
  1. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (print, fiction, owned) *
  2. The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan (print, fiction, owned)
  3. Timebound by Rysa Walker (audio, fiction, owned)
  4. Spun of Gold by Jen Geigle Johnson (ebook, fiction, owned)
  5. Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (ebook, fiction, owned)
  6. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (audio, fiction, owned) *
  7. The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (audio, fiction, owned) *
  8. Dipped, Stripped, and Dead by Elise Hyatt (ebook, fiction, owned)
  9. The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll (print, non-fiction, owned)

6shadrach_anki
Edited: Dec 10, 2019, 5:58pm Top

Books Read October - December
* indicates a reread

October
  1. The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette (audio, fiction, owned)
  2. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks (print, comic, borrowed)
  3. Hard Magic by Larry Correia (audio, fiction, owned) *
  4. The Diamond Throne by David Eddings (print, fiction, owned) *
  5. My Hero Academia, vol. 3 by Kohei Horikoshi (print, comic, owned)
  6. My Hero Academia, vol. 4 by Kohei Horikoshi (print, comic, owned)
  7. My Hero Academia, vol. 5 by Kohei Horikoshi (print, comic, owned)
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audio, fiction, owned) *
  9. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (print, fiction, owned) *
  10. The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan (print, fiction, borrowed)
  11. Eyeshield 21, vol. 1 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  12. Eyeshield 21, vol. 2 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  13. Eyeshield 21, vol. 3 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  14. Eyeshield 21, vol. 4 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  15. Eyeshield 21, vol. 5 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  16. Eyeshield 21, vol. 6 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  17. Eyeshield 21, vol. 7 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  18. Eyeshield 21, vol. 8 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  19. A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (audio, fiction, owned)
  20. Eyeshield 21, vol. 9 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  21. Eyeshield 21, vol. 10 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *

November
  1. Nocturnal Origins by Amanda S. Green (ebook, fiction, owned)
  2. Nocturnal Haunts by Amanda S. Green (ebook, fiction, owned)
  3. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (audio, fiction, owned)
  4. Eyeshield 21, vol. 11 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  5. Eyeshield 21, vol. 12 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  6. Eyeshield 21, vol. 13 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  7. Eyeshield 21, vol. 14 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  8. Eyeshield 21, vol. 15 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  9. Eyeshield 21, vol. 16 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  10. Eyeshield 21, vol. 17 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  11. Eyeshield 21, vol. 18 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  12. Eyeshield 21, vol. 19 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  13. The Reading Life by C. S. Lewis (print, non-fiction, owned)
  14. Nocturnal Serenade by Amanda S. Green (ebook, fiction, owned)
  15. New Kid by Jerry Craft (print, comic, borrowed)
  16. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (audio, print, non-fiction, owned)
  17. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine (print, fiction, borrowed)
  18. Evans Above by Rhys Bowen (audio, fiction, owned)
  19. Pack Dynamics by Julie Frost (ebook, fiction, owned)
  20. This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews (print, comic, borrowed)
  21. Eyeshield 21, vol. 20 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  22. Eyeshield 21, vol. 21 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  23. Eyeshield 21, vol. 22 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  24. Eyeshield 21, vol. 23 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  25. Eyeshield 21, vol. 24 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  26. Eyeshield 21, vol. 25 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  27. Eyeshield 21, vol. 26 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  28. Eyeshield 21, vol. 27 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *

December
  1. Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist (print, non-fiction, owned)
  2. Eyeshield 21, vol. 28 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  3. Eyeshield 21, vol. 29 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  4. Eyeshield 21, vol. 30 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  5. Eyeshield 21, vol. 31 by Riichiro Inagaki (print, comic, owned) *
  6. Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell (print, fiction, borrowed)
  7. Space Boy 1 by Stephen McCranie (print, comic, borrowed)
  8. Space Boy 2 by Stephen McCranie (print, comic, borrowed)
  9. Space Boy 3 by Stephen McCranie (print, comic, borrowed)
  10. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (audio, print, fiction, owned)

7dchaikin
Edited: Jan 2, 2019, 2:53pm Top

Happy 2019, Anki. Being Mortal still has me looking at life differently. Enjoy! (ETA: sorry if I posted too soon)

8shadrach_anki
Jan 2, 2019, 3:01pm Top

>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.

9shadrach_anki
Jan 4, 2019, 10:52am Top



Skip Beat! (3-in-1 Edition) Vol. 12 by Yoshiki Nakamura
(manga, reread)

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.

10dchaikin
Jan 4, 2019, 1:09pm Top

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.

11shadrach_anki
Jan 4, 2019, 5:21pm Top

>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.

12dchaikin
Jan 4, 2019, 6:14pm Top

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.

13shadrach_anki
Jan 5, 2019, 1:37am Top

>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).

14dchaikin
Jan 5, 2019, 9:46am Top

Thanks! Noting. I may follow up on those.

15dchaikin
Jan 5, 2019, 9:50am Top

My library has volume 1 for all three. I put in hold requests

16shadrach_anki
Jan 5, 2019, 4:18pm Top



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.

17shadrach_anki
Jan 5, 2019, 4:21pm Top

>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.

18dchaikin
Jan 5, 2019, 9:39pm Top

I will, Anki.

19shadrach_anki
Edited: Jan 9, 2019, 12:09am Top



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.

20avaland
Jan 9, 2019, 10:11am Top

>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.

21shadrach_anki
Edited: Jan 9, 2019, 2:23pm Top

>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.

22dchaikin
Jan 9, 2019, 2:04pm Top

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.

23shadrach_anki
Jan 9, 2019, 2:35pm Top

>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.

24NanaCC
Jan 9, 2019, 9:50pm Top

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.

25shadrach_anki
Jan 9, 2019, 11:47pm Top

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.

26lisapeet
Jan 10, 2019, 6:19am Top

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.

27avaland
Jan 10, 2019, 6:58am Top

>22 dchaikin: Ah, I see.

28shadrach_anki
Jan 10, 2019, 9:30am Top

>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.

29shadrach_anki
Jan 15, 2019, 10:01am Top



The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
(manga, reread)

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.

30shadrach_anki
Jan 15, 2019, 6:06pm Top



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.

31NanaCC
Jan 15, 2019, 8:07pm Top

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.

32shadrach_anki
Jan 15, 2019, 10:47pm Top

>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.

33shadrach_anki
Jan 15, 2019, 11:10pm Top



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.

34shadrach_anki
Jan 16, 2019, 2:18pm Top



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.

35dchaikin
Jan 17, 2019, 1:00pm Top

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)

36shadrach_anki
Jan 17, 2019, 2:02pm Top

>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).

37shadrach_anki
Jan 22, 2019, 5:47pm Top



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.

38rhian_of_oz
Jan 23, 2019, 8:27am Top

>37 shadrach_anki: How does it compare to Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories?

39shadrach_anki
Jan 23, 2019, 11:20am Top

>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.

40avaland
Jan 23, 2019, 6:44pm Top

>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.

41lilisin
Jan 23, 2019, 11:20pm Top

>36 shadrach_anki:

To answer your question, I watched the Netflix series and the subtitles are rendered correctly.

42shadrach_anki
Jan 24, 2019, 12:02am Top

>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.

43shadrach_anki
Jan 24, 2019, 12:03am Top

>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.

44shadrach_anki
Jan 24, 2019, 12:12am Top



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.

45rhian_of_oz
Jan 24, 2019, 10:31am Top

>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!

46auntmarge64
Jan 24, 2019, 10:41am Top

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.

47dchaikin
Jan 24, 2019, 2:54pm Top

>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.

48shadrach_anki
Jan 24, 2019, 5:39pm Top

>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.

49shadrach_anki
Jan 24, 2019, 5:45pm Top

>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.

50dchaikin
Jan 25, 2019, 12:51pm Top

>48 shadrach_anki: wish I had better control on my own frame of mind. : )

51bragan
Jan 27, 2019, 4:49am Top

>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.

52shadrach_anki
Jan 31, 2019, 11:35pm Top



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.

53shadrach_anki
Feb 1, 2019, 5:38pm Top



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.

54shadrach_anki
Feb 7, 2019, 8:13pm Top



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).

55shadrach_anki
Feb 8, 2019, 5:00pm Top



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).

56shadrach_anki
Feb 10, 2019, 12:59am Top



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.

57shadrach_anki
Feb 12, 2019, 1:38pm Top



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.

58dchaikin
Feb 14, 2019, 1:11pm Top

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.

59shadrach_anki
Feb 14, 2019, 5:52pm Top



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.

60shadrach_anki
Feb 14, 2019, 6:14pm Top

>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).

61shadrach_anki
Feb 20, 2019, 4:42pm Top



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.

62shadrach_anki
Feb 20, 2019, 4:53pm Top



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).

63rhian_of_oz
Feb 21, 2019, 8:14am Top

>61 shadrach_anki: I like the sound of this (women in science!) so have added it the wishlist.

64shadrach_anki
Feb 21, 2019, 11:08am Top

>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.

65shadrach_anki
Feb 21, 2019, 11:53am Top



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.

66AlisonY
Feb 21, 2019, 12:23pm Top

The Tracy Chevalier book sounds interesting. I've had one of her titles languishing on my TBR pile for ages - not sure why, as I loved Girl With a Pearl Earring. I think I'm worried it won't live up to how much I enjoyed that one!

67lisapeet
Feb 21, 2019, 12:25pm Top

>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.

68bragan
Feb 22, 2019, 2:32pm Top

>64 shadrach_anki: I really liked Remarkable Creatures. I'm wondering if I should check out that Mary Anning bio, myself.

69shadrach_anki
Feb 22, 2019, 2:51pm Top

>67 lisapeet: That sounds like an absolutely fascinating project to be involved with!

>68 bragan: Having read Remarkable Creatures, I have mentally pushed that Mary Anning biography closer to the top of my list of things I would like to read. However, I don't own a copy, and my local library doesn't have it in catalog, so it is going to be a bit before I get around to it, I think.

70markon
Edited: Feb 22, 2019, 3:47pm Top

>55 shadrach_anki:, >56 shadrach_anki: I love the Foreigner series, and am definitely going to pick up these two short stories.

71jjmcgaffey
Feb 22, 2019, 9:56pm Top

>37 shadrach_anki: As mentioned on my thread - an...author bullet? I have not yet read Miss Landon and Aubranael (good lord, I spelled it right on the first try!), but I've read two others by Charlotte E. English and enjoyed them a good deal. The hold on Miss Landon finally came in last week, I'll be reading it shortly.

72shadrach_anki
Feb 22, 2019, 10:54pm Top

>70 markon: They were very enjoyable short stories. To get them you need to go to Closed Circle Publications.

>71 jjmcgaffey: I'm glad I was able to help you find a new fun author! I picked up The Road to Farringale today, and I look forward to reading it.

73shadrach_anki
Feb 28, 2019, 12:19pm Top



Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
(fiction, audio, print, owned)

My familiarity with the works of Jane Austen is still largely based on the film/television adaptations I have seen rather than the actual books. In this case, Ang Lee's 1995 film starring Emma Thompson as Elinor and Kate Winslet as Marianne was my first exposure. I still like the film, but they had to, well, adapt a lot of things in the story. So I am very glad to have read the book, and will almost certainly revisit it again in the future.

This is the book my IRL book group will be discussing in March, and I am looking forward to that discussion.

A favorite quote: "...and Marianne, who had the knack of finding her way in every house to the library, however it might be avoided by the family in general, soon procured herself a book."

74shadrach_anki
Feb 28, 2019, 1:57pm Top



Book Love by Debbie Tung
(comic, print, owned)

This is a delightful collection of bookish comics. It falls into gift book territory (short and sweet; I read it in 20 minutes), which is no bad thing. I found so many of these comics to be extremely relatable in my book-loving life, and I really enjoy Debbie Tung's art style. This is part of my growing collection of books related to books and reading.

75rhian_of_oz
Mar 1, 2019, 10:59am Top

>73 shadrach_anki: A friend is directing a community theatre production of Sense and Sensibility in May, maybe I should read it beforehand? I love that quote - I bet I'm not alone in this group in my propensity to "drift" towards bookshelves (hardly anyone has libraries any more) in other people's houses :-).

76shadrach_anki
Mar 1, 2019, 1:07pm Top

>75 rhian_of_oz: One of my dreams is to have a proper library space in my home, with lovely shelves and comfortable chairs and good reading light. As it stands, I have a woefully insufficient number of shelves for all my books, and they are piled wherever I can find room in my apartment.

For the community theatre production of Sense and Sensibility, will you be attending it, or performing in it?

77rhian_of_oz
Mar 2, 2019, 12:04am Top

>76 shadrach_anki: I have a floor-to-ceiling wall of built-in bookshelves which are insufficient for my books :-). I keep thinking that maybe I should get rid of some, like the ones I didn't like or am highly unlikely to reread, except it makes my heart hurt.

I'll be attending Sense and Sensibility. I haven't performed on stage since high school. Every now and again I think about getting involved in community theatre but it's such a time commitment, and with working full time I'm quite possessive of my leisure time.

78NanaCC
Mar 2, 2019, 10:50am Top

>73 shadrach_anki: I’m listening to Sense and Sensibility, as well. I started it on my car ride from New Jersey to Massachusetts on Thursday, and I’ll be able to listen on my way home tomorrow..(hoping that the weather lets me head home). The narrator, Rosamund Pike, is terrific.

79shadrach_anki
Mar 2, 2019, 11:04am Top

>78 NanaCC: That's the version I listened to as well, and she did a wonderful job. I really enjoyed the light accents she used for the different characters, indicating at least a little of where they were from (not being British I cannot say how accurate said accents are, but I still appreciated it). I think I will also get her narration of Pride & Prejudice. I hope the weather cooperates for you on your travels home!

80NanaCC
Mar 2, 2019, 11:14am Top

>79 shadrach_anki: I have that version of Pride and Prejudice, and will get to it soon.

81bragan
Mar 4, 2019, 12:50pm Top

>74 shadrach_anki: Book Love sounds very much like something I'd enjoy. Onto the wishlist it goes.

82jjmcgaffey
Edited: Mar 4, 2019, 2:26pm Top

>81 bragan: If your library has Hoopla, I found it there. I think Hoopla only has one catalog, so if a library has it at all it has all their books etc.

83shadrach_anki
Mar 8, 2019, 1:36pm Top



A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
(fiction, print, borrowed)

This novel of magic and alternate, parallel Londons made its way onto my list of books I'd like to read back in 2016, but I am not sure how I heard about it at the time. I do know the first time I tried reading it I was either not in quite the right mood for the story, or I had too many other things on my plate and had to return it to the library unread. Fast forward to a few months ago, when it was featured on the He Read, She Read podcast. Their description and discussion of the book put it right at the top of my "books to borrow" list. I have borrowed the other two books in the series as well, and I look forward to reading them.

84shadrach_anki
Mar 11, 2019, 6:16pm Top



The Fairest Heart by Heather Chapman
(fiction, ebook, owned)

I quite enjoy fairy tale retellings, and I have a bit of a soft spot for Regency romances, so when I heard about this series I knew I needed to check it out. Five different authors each chose a fairy tale to use as the basis for a Regency romance; this first one uses Snow White. Because the fairy tale is so familiar (and also because of general romance novel tropes) there weren't really any major surprises in terms of plot, but really I was not looking for shocking twists. With a book like this the goal is to be pleasantly entertained and diverted, and it did admirably. I have already preordered the second book in the series, which is a retelling of Cinderella.

My mother and I did a buddy read for this book, and it was a lot of fun reading it together and discussing it. We're planning to do the same with the second book.

85shadrach_anki
Mar 13, 2019, 11:04am Top

   

Sweetness & Lightning, vol 4 by Gido Amagakure
Sweetness & Lightning, vol 5 by Gido Amagakure
Sweetness & Lightning, vol 6 by Gido Amagakure
(manga, print, borrowed)

One of the things I love about manga is the sheer variety of stories that are told via the medium. This series follows recently-widowed Kouhei Inuzuka as he does his best to raise his young daughter, Tsumugi. He is a high-school math teacher, and one of his students, Kotori Iida, is the daughter of a restaurant owner. She helps Inuzuka as he is learning to cook meals for Tsumugi (they'd been eating take-out for months and months after his wife died).

I came across this manga series at my public library last year and was quickly enchanted by the story and characters. At the time, however, they only had the first three volumes, so I was delighted to discover that they recently acquired volumes 4-6. Each chapter features at least one recipe as part of the story being told, and the recipes are included at the end of the chapters. This is so much more than just a series about cooking, though cooking does play a central role. It's about family, and loss, and dealing with grief, and growing up, and finding joy, and navigating the complex, crazy world we live in. And how sharing food is a part of all that.

86rhian_of_oz
Mar 13, 2019, 11:58am Top

>84 shadrach_anki: I quite liked The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer if you're interested in a YA/sci-fi take on fairy tale retellings.

87shadrach_anki
Mar 14, 2019, 1:39pm Top

>86 rhian_of_oz: I read through all the Lunar Chronicles in 2017! (I had to check my reading notes, because in my mind I read them last year, except it's been two years....) They were a lot of fun. I've also read the graphic novel sequels that focus on Iko. Less fairy tale retelling in those, I think, but still fun once I got used to the art style.

88auntmarge64
Mar 18, 2019, 9:19pm Top

>73 shadrach_anki: You've touched on a topic I've wondered about over the years: I've loved many of the film adaptations of great books, such as that Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet adaptation of Sense and Sensibiity. And Little Women with Susan Sarandon et al. And The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day-Lewis. Do I want to disturb the enjoyment of watching those films by knowing how they've been changed?

OTOH, I've seen almost all the films of The Count of Monte Cristo (I love Richard Chamberlain's portrayal of the Count), but when I read the book last year I was stunned by how good it was, and it hasn't changed my feelings about the film.

Still pondering.

89jjmcgaffey
Mar 18, 2019, 11:43pm Top

>88 auntmarge64: There's one Little Women that's almost word-for-word the book (aside from descriptions - the dialog is almost exact). But I can never remember which one...it's one of the older ones but not (I don't think) the oldest. 1946?

90auntmarge64
Mar 19, 2019, 12:39pm Top

>89 jjmcgaffey:. They really did seem to take dialogue straight out of books back then. I remember watching On the Beach and thinking I could probably follow along with the book. Can't think of the others, but I've seen it before. Now they don't seem to care if there's much similarity at all.

91shadrach_anki
Mar 19, 2019, 1:24pm Top

>88 auntmarge64: It really is a tricky situation because there are so many factors at play. For myself, I have found generally that if I read a book after having seen (and loved) the film adaptation(s) of the story, then I will enjoy both formats equally well. If I read the book first, though, I tend to be more critical of the film adaptations, even when I end up quite liking them.

I do find it interesting to see how things are changed between mediums, and also how film adaptations choose to portray characters and settings. For example, in all the Sense & Sensibility film adaptations I've been able to find, the actresses cast in the role of Elinor are all...quite a bit older than 19, which is the age of the character in the book.

92jjmcgaffey
Mar 19, 2019, 8:13pm Top

There are two movies that I truly hate, because I love the books - My Side of the Mountain and Mrs Miniver. The first they changed a lot of the point of the story (he's not a runaway, he's spending a summer on the mountain as an authorized, school-and-parent approved thing. Sheesh!). The second has basically nothing in common with the book...well, they borrowed a couple basic concepts, but not the point of them (in the book, Mrs. Miniver (a middle-aged woman) goes back and exchanges a plain, sensible, leather-covered year planner for one in green lizard leather because it will make things richer for her all year. In the movie, Mrs. Miniver, a 20-something newlywed, goes back and exchanges a sensible hat for something extravagant - and feels justified in her action when she gets home and her husband's bought a new car...argh! I love the book, I love Mrs. Miniver's view on things - slightly sideways, very clear and sensible and a lot of fun. The movie is War of the Sexes and very trite. Annoying. I have not watched the whole movie - I quit after the above scene - but reviews I've read tell me it's all pretty much the same thing.)

On the other hand, I watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - and (despite my long-term love for the Narnia books) the movie is _better_. Richer, solider, stronger characters and motivations - just tying it firmly to the WWII evacuations from London made it a stronger story. The book is rather fairy-tale story - people do things because of course they will, there's almost no characterization to it, let alone any questions as to whether or why they should/shouldn't do something. It's a lovely story - but the one in the movie, without much change in actions, is much richer in reasons and depth.

And since then I've been afraid to watch any others in that series of movies for fear they wouldn't stand up to that first one - so there's only two more, I think (rather than the full 7 stories). Oh well.

Movies have the advantage of visuality - no need for descriptions, it's right there (which is sometimes problematic, but can also condense page upon page of description into one slow pan of an area/person). And they have the disadvantage of not being (easily) able to see into anyone's head - actions yes, but internal dialogs are either voiceovers (which were a thing for a while, but are...awkward at best) or skipped - which means the movie has to show actions, or make the dialog external somehow (character talking to themselves...which has implications - or talking to someone else - new scene, at minimum). Generally thrillers, and some other types (superhero movies!) where the visuals are a lot of the story, make better movies, and books that are mostly internal make much worse movies. Not always - there are some magnificent exceptions - but frequently.

93shadrach_anki
Mar 20, 2019, 10:15am Top



Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm
(fiction, print, owned)

This YA novel is what I would term "smart fluff". There is a certain predictability to it since it draws on a lot of established tropes (both from written fiction and the fiction that is reality TV), but it does so in a way that didn't feel either overly tired or precious to me. The conversations between Dylan and Jamie felt like ones I could have had with my friends when I was in high school and college, and I liked watching how things played out. The sister dynamic between Dylan and Dusty was lovely, too, and I liked the "peek behind the curtain" at the unreality of reality TV. I don't know if that is how all reality TV series are done in terms of filming (or even most of them), but the manufactured elements seemed right on the nose.

I would like to see more with these characters, but that is a desire I have upon finishing many an enjoyable book, and even as I have it I have the feeling that adding on to the story would weaken things. As it stands, we have a satisfying ending with the indication that life is going to continue for the characters, even if none of those further adventures makes it onto the page. And really, a sequel would probably just feel manufactured, and I can live without that.

I'm not sure how well the pop-culture references will hold up in the long-term, but that's the case with most everything like that. I think it will probably age well, but without a time machine there is just no way to tell.

94shadrach_anki
Mar 20, 2019, 10:35am Top

>92 jjmcgaffey: An...authorized, school-and-parent approved thing? Really? I guess maybe if you tied in stuff from On the Far Side of the Mountain, but even then.... I suppose the film producers probably felt that keeping the runaway aspect to the story would be irresponsible messaging or something, damaging impressionable young minds. I'm just shaking my head.

I've never read or seen Mrs. Miniver; I'll have to see if the library has the book.

There have been plenty of film adaptations of books that I just couldn't stand, and there are several I refuse to watch on principle because I can tell they changed things to a degree where I would be inclined to use the term "butchered" when describing them, just based on the movie trailers. Heading up that second category would be the film adaptation of The Dark is Rising, which is one of my favorite books. Just from the trailers I knew that if I were to see it I would be screaming at the screen, and I have better things to do with my time.

95lisapeet
Mar 20, 2019, 11:52am Top

>94 shadrach_anki: Oh I can't image how awful a Dark Is Rising adaptation would be. UNLESS it were all animated by original cover artist Alan Cober (or from his drawings, I guess, seeing as he's deceased).



(Wait... is that a giant squid on the back cover? There's no squid in this book!)

96shadrach_anki
Mar 20, 2019, 1:31pm Top

>95 lisapeet: I don't remember a giant squid...ever. In any of the books. But that cover is pretty nifty. As for the adaptation...they decided that instead of Will Stanton being an 11-year-old English boy with a loving family, he would be a 14-year-old American who was in England because his father got a teaching job there? Or something? Oh, and there had to be Vikings, for reasons. And the rich, mythological roots of the story would be made more generic (information garnered from Wikipedia articles and watching the trailers; I have not seen the film).

Susan Cooper is on record as being rather displeased with the adaptation. I cannot blame her for that.

97jjmcgaffey
Mar 20, 2019, 5:48pm Top

>94 shadrach_anki: Yes, exactly. Do you remember the scene when he wakes up and goes to the little pool and finds a weasel drinking there? Lovely scene, all about him being part of the forest. But in the movie, he's going to the pool to check on his "algae experiments" when he sees the weasel. I think I turned it off at that point, and never saw the rest. Yes, I suspect they proposed it as a runaway boy and got it "corrected" to a more acceptable situation, but UGH.

Mrs. Miniver is a bunch of short pieces from/about a woman with a lovely viewpoint on things. I believe it was originally newspaper or magazine pieces, collected into a book (yes, apparently in the London Times); there's a vague time progression to it (the kids go from very small to slightly bigger, with accompanying changes in actions), but aside from "the War" in a few pieces near the end, there's nothing much tying it to a particular time - and on the other hand, it's very much a particular time - servants are a given, their new car has a rear-view mirror! New exciting thing!, a stubborn older couple refuse to use that new abomination of a word, "week-end"... Anyway. It's fun to read, and if it clicks with you it's fun to re-re-re-read. I keep seeing things that remind me of what Mrs. Miniver thought.

I have had as many as three copies of the book at a time. I'll check if I have a spare, now. I've read others by Jan Struther and they were - not bad, but not up to Mrs Miniver...

>95 lisapeet: Maybe that's the cover of the omnibus, and the artist was trying to depict the underwater power in Greenwitch? I never had that cover, and now have only the omnibus (with a different cover - light and rather cartoony, with the kids poring over a map on the front). Not that the power in Greenwitch was a giant squid, but it would be really hard to depict it...in any way.

Yes, I've completely avoided the movie as well. The trailer was plenty to tell me no thanks.

98shadrach_anki
Mar 21, 2019, 10:07am Top

>97 jjmcgaffey: Mrs. Miniver sounds truly delightful. I have added it to my TBR list.

99shadrach_anki
Mar 25, 2019, 5:40pm Top



Wild Country by Anne Bishop
(fiction, print, borrowed)

A friend of mine introduced me to this series back in 2017, and that resulted in far too many nights where I stayed up later than is wise to read. This book was no different than the previous installments to the series in that regard. The first five books of the series follow a small group of the same characters, while the sixth and seventh (this one) volumes branch out to other places in the story world. Story-wise, events in this book overlap with events in the fifth book, and some of the characters were introduced as side characters in that book. Reading this while also reading Lonesome Dove made for some...interesting overlaps. This book is an urban fantasy meets western, so it shares some story beats and character archetypes with Lonesome Dove. This was not something I was expecting when I picked it up, even though I probably shouldn't have been all that surprised.

100shadrach_anki
Mar 25, 2019, 5:55pm Top



Kakuriyo vol. 2 by Waco Ioka
(manga, print, owned)

And now we run into the problem of reviewing individual volumes of manga; depending on how quickly the story progresses, there may or may not be all that much to talk about. This series continues to be fascinating, but the pacing is definitely on the slower, more leisurely side of things. Two volumes, and only two or three days have passed, total, within the story. As a result, I think it's going to be one of those series where I will want to wait to have a few volumes on hand before I continue reading. My guess is the anime pacing will be faster, and I have no clue as to the original pacing within the light novel series (and my Japanese skills are not currently sufficient enough that I would feel comfortable reading such a folklore/mythology laden series in the original language).

101shadrach_anki
Mar 29, 2019, 11:28am Top



Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
(fiction, audio, print, owned)

This book first came to my conscious attention in 2016 when it was one of the books Anne Bogel recommended to a guest in one of the episodes of her podcast (What Should I Read Next?). I am sure I probably heard about it before that point in time, but it hadn't made a lasting impression on me. When a group read was proposed here, I happily decided to join in, since it is nice to be able to read with a group and have people you know you can talk to about a book.

I primarily listened to the book over the course of the month. The audio version is narrated by Lee Horsley, and I think he did an excellent job giving distinct voices to all the characters. As I was reading, I was reminded of how much I enjoyed pioneer/westward expansion stories when I was younger, though my childhood fare was understandably less gritty than Lonesome Dove. This is definitely a genre I want to explore more of, both through new (to me) reads and rereading.

Summarizing the story of Lonesome Dove feels slightly impossible to do in any sort of meaningful way. I mean, it's about the first cattle drive from south Texas up to Montana, but the book is so much more than that. It's a portrait of the American West, and the men and women who made it their home. It portrays the glory and grandeur of that wild, half-tamed countryside. The lonely majesty of the open plains. Humor and heartache and all the wonderful, messy business of life. It is populated by a cast of flawed, larger-than-life characters who feel so real you swear that if you could just turn around fast enough you would see them standing behind you. I can see why it won a Pulitzer, and even though we're barely to the end of the first quarter of the year I think I can safely say this is one of my top reads for 2019.

102shadrach_anki
Apr 2, 2019, 11:39pm Top



The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
(fiction, print, owned, reread)

I reread this in preparation for the April meeting of my IRL book group. This was my third time reading this particular story, and my appreciation for Brandon Sanderson's worldbuilding continues to grow as I (re)read his Cosmere stories. This novella is set in Sel, the same world as Sanderson's first novel, Elantris, but in a different country and following different characters and a different type of magic. And reading it has me wanting to reread that novel, as it has been far too long. I am also really looking forward to the book group discussion, since we have some members who have read lots of Sanderson's works and others who have little to no prior experience with them.

103shadrach_anki
Apr 7, 2019, 10:47am Top



The Grave Gourmet by Alexander Campion
(fiction, ebook, owned)

One of the "what should I read next?" selections methods I tried recently involves taking my list of owned, unread books and running it through a random number generator to pick a handful of titles. I generated a list of five titles, and this novel was one of them. It is an ebook I picked up as a Free Friday title on my Nook back in 2013 because it sounded at least marginally interesting, the cover was pretty, and it was free. Then, like so many of the free ebooks I have, it sat unread for years.

Let's just say I am glad I didn't spend any money to get this book, and I would really like about half of the six hours I spent reading it back. It wasn't absolutely terrible, but I felt a fair amount of disappointment when I was done. From the cover art and cover copy I was expecting a cozier sort of police procedural with a foodie bent, which is why I picked up the book in the first place. Well, there is a police procedural type thing going on, and there is foodie stuff, but they did not play well together in creating a satisfying narrative. Rather it felt that the novel lurched and jerked from one narrative line to the other with very little to connect them apart from overlapping characters (and the victim being found in the walk-in cooler of a French restaurant).

French words are sprinkled haphazardly throughout the novel, but instead of helping to set the tone they were mostly just annoying to have to puzzle through. On top of the seemingly random French sat a plethora of "author words" (more obscure words that basically show the author knows how to use a thesaurus, chosen without regard to characters and tone of the story) alongside a hefty dollop of casual profanity/vulgarity.

I was invested enough in the story to want to know how things ended, but when we do find out who stuffed the victim into the walk-in cooler of the fancy French restaurant we are told in probably the most boring way possible, and the culprit and motive feel practically random. There was no real foreshadowing, no information trail for the reader to follow. Poirot and Holmes may be able to get away with being the smartest person in the room and revealing the train of thought they used to solve the mystery; looking back on their stories you can see the clues laid out for the reader to pick up on. Capucine uses off-page information to "cleverly" pull everything together, and it just falls flat.

I did learn some things about French cuisine while reading this novel, but the main thing I learned is that I doubt I will pick up any more books by this author.

104shadrach_anki
Apr 8, 2019, 3:47pm Top



Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith
(non-fiction, print, owned)

Another book I first learned about via Anne Bogel's What Should I Read Next? podcast (the author was a guest). It ties in with my interest in Marie Kondo's work and other books on simplification and organization, but the focus is more on decorating and properly using your space--your home needs to serve your family's particular needs, not adhere to this or that specific style trend. I enjoyed the author's down-to-earth tone and Christian mindset. Living in a rented apartment with an abundance of possessions and no real extra space makes applying a number of things in the book...impractical, at least as written, but the basic principles are sound, and I can adapt a lot of them to work within the limitations I have to deal with. When my husband and I do get a different place, I think I will be well served by having read this book.

105AlisonY
Apr 9, 2019, 10:52am Top

>104 shadrach_anki: I love a good interiors book. I hadn't heard of this title before - will check it out on Amazon.

106shadrach_anki
Apr 10, 2019, 11:31am Top



The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
(fiction, print, owned)

Valancy Stirling is 29, and she feels she has never really lived a day in her life. When a letter arrives for her from the doctor, Valancy gains the courage to take control of her life and really start living. This book was a sheer delight to read, and like so many of my favorite books I was torn between savoring every word and gobbling it down in complete literary abandon. It is full of luminous descriptions of a wilder part of Canada than Prince Edward Island, and I could practically smell the pines and hear the wind as I was reading. One reviewer I saw said the book felt like a fairy tale for adults, and I have to agree with that sentiment. There is definitely a fairy tale sort of feeling to the whole thing.

I have a large collection of L.M. Montgomery's novels, but for some reason have read comparatively few of them. That is something I want to change, since every time I read one of her books I have found myself delighting in it.

107AlisonY
Apr 10, 2019, 12:03pm Top

>106 shadrach_anki: sounds like perfect escapism.

108shadrach_anki
Apr 10, 2019, 3:03pm Top

>107 AlisonY: It really was. And there's so much humor in the book as well. I've found that with all the L.M. Montgomery books I've read, and it's just delightful. Even when circumstances can seem rather dire in these stories there are brilliant threads of joy.

109shadrach_anki
Apr 16, 2019, 2:35pm Top



Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
(fiction, audio, owned)

This is the second of the five books chosen for me by the random number generator, and I enjoyed it much more than the ebook I read. I picked up the audiobook in an Audible sale last year because I had heard good things about it, and I had been wanting to read something by Jerry Pournelle for a while now.

Basic gist of the story: comet crashes into Earth, wiping out large portions of the population and ending civilization and the world as we know it. The survivors have to figure out what to do next. The cast of characters is...rather large, though not all of them are followed to the same degree. There were a few character viewpoints that I really didn't like, but they were thankfully not primary ones.

Overall I enjoyed the book, though end of the world fiction isn't exactly one of my go-to genres. I was actually a bit surprised by how not dated the story felt to me, given that it was written in 1977. If I didn't know the publication date I probably would have pegged it as a more contemporary novel.

110dchaikin
Edited: Apr 17, 2019, 1:42pm Top

>101 shadrach_anki:It is populated by a cast of flawed, larger-than-life characters who feel so real you swear that if you could just turn around fast enough you would see them standing behind you.”

Catching up on a lot of your reviews, and just catching your Lonesome Dove post. I appreciate this comment. (I’m still reading it ... slowly, but happily)

Entertained by your random number generator. Sorry The Grave Gourmet didn’t work, but this last book sounds fun.

>106 shadrach_anki: hmm Maybe I’m not too old to try Anne of Green Gables...

111shadrach_anki
Apr 17, 2019, 2:42pm Top

>110 dchaikin: The biggest perk of using the random number generator on my unread books list is that it at least points me in a direction. Just browsing the list, looking for something that stands out quickly becomes overwhelming. Even if I decide I am not in the mood for one of the randomly generated titles, it is easier because I am only looking at a handful of possibilities. And if I'm browsing the list? That means I probably don't have something I am burning to read.

I was honestly quite surprised that the first batch of five titles got me an ebook, an audiobook, and three print books. Particularly the audiobook, since there were only 16 on a list of over 1000.

Regarding L. M. Montgomery and her work, I think it is definitely worth checking out. I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time last year (previous familiarity with the story was based solely on the 1985 miniseries staring Megan Follows as Anne, which I watched frequently while growing up) and it was wonderful. The Blue Castle is a standalone novel, and one of only two that she wrote specifically for adult audiences. Mostly this seems to mean that the characters start out older; in terms of tone and humor and character development there is the same level of quality.

112jjmcgaffey
Apr 17, 2019, 6:35pm Top

106> I've been avoiding The Blue Castle for a silly reason - I very much disliked two other books with vaguely similar titles and...not exactly themes, but themes. I Capture the Castle and We Have Always Lived In the Castle were both DNFs for me, so I look at a book named Castle by a female author (etc) and wince. But it's L. M. Montgomery, and I should know better - her worst works are pleasant fluff, and her best are excellent (I have read at least most of the Anne series and a good many other random ones). I will read The Blue Castle shortly, thanks for the push.

>111 shadrach_anki: I use a random book finder too - not on all my LT books, but on my ebooks (Calibre Companion, on my phone, has a Choose a random book feature). I often reject the first two or three it offers me - I know I'm not in the mood for _that_ one - but as you say, saying yes or no to "shall I read _this_ one" is a heck of a lot easier than scrolling through the whole huge list and looking for something to catch the eye.

113shadrach_anki
Apr 19, 2019, 10:10am Top



The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
(fiction, print, owned)

Reaching the end of a beloved series is always bittersweet. I loved how this ended, but I am sad that there will not be any more adventures with the Penderwick siblings. This book takes place 15 years after the first book in the series, and the Penderwick family is once again returning to Arundel for a very special summer adventure--Rosalind's wedding! The viewpoint character in this novel is Lydia, the youngest of the children, who is eleven years old (she was two when she was introduced). The Arundel she encounters is different than the one her older sisters experienced, but it is still delightful. Seeing all the characters grown up was lovely, and being back at Arundel felt right. Open and close the series with the magical mansion in an endless summer glow. I look forward to whatever Jeanne Birdsall writes next.

114avaland
Apr 23, 2019, 6:29am Top

>104 shadrach_anki: Sounds like an interesting book for those interested in the subject. I'm afraid I don't aspire to be a minimalist of any kind, although I do enjoy reading the posts of those who do hope to reform. :-)

115shadrach_anki
Apr 24, 2019, 5:25pm Top



The Midnight Heiress by Ashtyn Newbold
(fiction, ebook, owned)

This is the second book in the Once Upon a Regency series, and it uses Cinderella as the frame/base...more or less. Ashtyn Newbold plays around with things more than Heather Chapman did in The Fairest Heart. The Cinderella character in this story is actually Aiden, the male lead, and he serves as the unpaid servant for his step-father and two step-brothers. When they move to a new town (his step-father's fortunes are rather diminished), Aiden manages to find additional work as a cordwainer's apprentice, because he wants to get away from his step-relations as soon as he can. The role reversals made for a more engaging and believable narrative than a more direct translation of the fairy tale would have provided, though there was some storytelling handwavium at work so that Aiden would be able to accomplish everything he had to do and still remain functional and coherent. Things also wrapped up very quickly and neatly at the end of the book, but I attribute that to the dual conventions of romance and fairy tale, plus the length of the story, which is more novella than novel.

All in all a fun little read, and I learned some things too (namely that a cordwainer is a type of shoemaker).

116shadrach_anki
Apr 24, 2019, 5:33pm Top

>114 avaland: I can't say I truly aspire to minimalism either, at least not the way many people seem to approach it. But I do appreciate a lack of visual clutter, which is something that minimalism does offer in abundance (yes, I am aware of how contradictory that sounds ^_^ ). I really liked this particular book because it focused a lot on how to strike a balance between a desire for minimalism and a desire for cozy abundance, and it gives a lot of practical steps for how to achieve that balance without ever taking on a "you're doing it wrong if you have more than X things" tone.

117shadrach_anki
Apr 29, 2019, 11:06am Top



Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
(fiction, ebook, owned)

I'm classifying this as urban fantasy/paranormal romance, but it has a definite science fiction twist to it (the standard urban fantasy werewolves and vampires are, in fact, aliens). Dina Demille is an Innkeeper, maintaining Gertrude Hunt, a magical bed & breakfast for all sorts of interstellar clientele. At the beginning of the story, her only guest is an exiled warlord with a price on her head. When something starts killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina feels a need to take care of the problem, especially since the neighborhood's new resident werewolf doesn't seem interested in the incursion on his territory. This is the first book in a series, and it was a fun, quick read. I like the blending of science fiction and fantasy that's going on, and the whole concept of the Inns as magical sanctuary/waypoints for all sorts of different people. I've put the rest of the series on my Kindle wishlist.

118shadrach_anki
Apr 30, 2019, 10:51am Top

The Testimony of the Traitor Ratul by Larry Correia
(fiction, short story, digital, owned-ish)

No cover for this one, since it is a free short story (on Baen's website) set in the same world as Son of the Black Sword, which I am currently reading. I probably technically should have waited to read this until I had finished the novel, but it is backstory rather than current events in terms of the series, so I don't think it is that much of a problem. I'll just have to remember that this backstory bit isn't actually stuck in the middle of the novel. I'm enjoying the world-building in this series, and this short story helps deepen that.

119shadrach_anki
May 1, 2019, 10:37am Top

   

Waiting for Spring, vol. 8 by Anashin
Waiting for Spring, vol. 9 by Anashin
Waiting for Spring, vol. 10 by Anashin
(manga, print, owned)

Mitsuki is a soft-spoken and somewhat shy girl just starting high school, and she is determined to do better at the whole making friends thing now that she is in high school. She just isn't quite sure how to properly do that...then the four stars of her school's basketball team stop by the cafe where she works, and things move on from there.

This is a sweet and gentle romantic high school manga. I was first introduced to it last year, and I've been collecting the series and reading it in chunks once I have two or three volumes waiting. I like the art style, the characters feel reasonably realistic, and I like the different relationships. I also appreciate the fact that so far there hasn't been any truly catty, bullying behavior on the part of any of the characters. This is not a surprise-heavy manga, particularly if you have any familiarity with the general tropes of the high school story, but I am not reading it to be surprised.

120shadrach_anki
May 2, 2019, 11:34am Top



11/22/63 by Stephen King
(fiction, print, owned)

This book has been on my shelves for about five years. I picked it up as a prize in my library's summer reading program, I think because it was one of the more interesting-looking books on offer at the time. I cannot remember where I first heard about this book, but I do know it has been mentioned on one of my favorite bookish podcasts on at least five separate occasions. It just so happened that when I was finishing up one book and looking around for what to read next, this got mentioned twice in one day (two separate podcasts), so I decided to take the plunge.

Historical fiction and time travel along with some of what I can only imagine is Stephen King's signature "creepy factor" made for a compelling read (NB: I have read very little of Stephen King's work, as he is best known for horror writing and that really isn't a genre I am interested in). There is a lot to unpack here, and I doubt I could do it justice. I will say I was not expecting the tie-in to It that shows up partway through the book (I was reading along, then had to turn to my husband to ask him where It takes place, because mysterious deaths around drains being blamed on someone dressed as a clown? I've picked up at least that much information just from general popular culture), but the tie-in really helped to set and sell the overall tone of the novel. There are a few things I would have liked to have better explained, but at the same time I can see why they wouldn't be, because it would be too much like pulling back the curtain on a magic act.

While this is not a book I would recommend to my in-person book group, due to length, strong language being used throughout, and a fair amount of non-explicit sexual content, it is a book I would recommend in general. I'm really glad I read it, and I have a feeling I'll be thinking about it for a while yet.

121NanaCC
May 2, 2019, 12:58pm Top

>120 shadrach_anki: I have this book on my kindle. It has been hanging out there for several years. I may eventually get to it. King is not an author I think of because of the “horror “ factor, but the non-horror ones I’ve read have been good. Clowns...I hate clowns.

122shadrach_anki
May 2, 2019, 1:23pm Top

>121 NanaCC: Yeah, I haven't touched any of King's horror works either. My knowledge of them is all second or third hand, because they are in the popular culture. 11/22/63 has a certain amount of creepy factor that shows up in some spots, but it's all background stuff, not really in your face as you read.

123OscarWilde87
May 4, 2019, 3:02am Top

>120 shadrach_anki: I liked this a lot as well. I haven't read It either, but I think some time I'm going to.

124shadrach_anki
May 6, 2019, 3:55pm Top



Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
(fiction, print, audio, ebook, owned)

Yes, I have this in three separate formats. It happens. I got my hardcover copy of this book back in 2015, when it was released. I am not entirely sure why it took me until now to read it, other than my stack of books to read is an ever-shifting thing, and "new releases" frequently get put off for one reason or another. In some respects the delay turns out to be a good thing, as the second book in the series was just released, so I don't have to deal with a four year wait between volumes. I really enjoyed this India-inspired fantasy. Lots of excellent, fascinating characters and worldbuilding, with a possible trend into science fiction (there are two moons, one is very small and tends to disappear regularly; my gut readerly instinct says that it's probably a space ship or station from long, long ago). Though as we know, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and things are definitely being treated as magical rather than technological. I want to know more about the demons that live in the oceans, and the origins of black steel, and so many other things. Luckily, I have the second book ready and waiting to start on my evening commute.

125shadrach_anki
May 14, 2019, 11:34pm Top



House of Assassins by Larry Correia
(fiction, print, audio, owned)

This is the second book in the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, and it picks up right where the first one left off (well, technically it starts with a scene set twenty-five years previous, but flashbacks don't count in quite the same way). Ashok needs to go rescue Thera from the assassin wizards who took her captive. Of course, this is no easy feat, or there wouldn't be much of a story. I'm still getting a distinct science fiction vibe from the background and history portions of the story, but things are still being treated in a magical fashion. We do get to learn at least a bit more about the demons, and the black steel, but there are plenty of things that remain unanswered at this point in time. I look forward to the next book, which is slated to come out in 2020.

126shadrach_anki
Edited: May 22, 2019, 10:53am Top



Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
(fiction, ebook, owned)

I do not remember hearing of this book or its sequel until I read the introduction to James Mustich's 1000 Books to Read Before You Die, but I knew I needed to find and read them once I did read said introduction. The whole image of a horse-drawn caravan filled with second-hand books, and of going about from place to place to share the wonders of good books, is simply delightful. I spent a lot of time using the highlight feature on my Kindle as I was reading, because there were so many passages that I wanted to be able to find again.

The Project Gutenberg copy of the book I got was fine for reading, but the formatting left something to be desired. I already know I would like to get a print copy of this and its sequel (there is a combined volume with a cover that is quite striking that I am looking into).

127shadrach_anki
May 22, 2019, 10:52am Top



The Divided Earth by Faith Erin Hicks
(comic, print, owned)

This is the third volume of the Nameless City trilogy, and it provided an overall satisfying conclusion to the story. I probably would have been more invested had I read it right after the first two books instead of waiting for months like I did. Still, an enjoyable read. Certain elements of the ending felt maybe a bit too pat and neat to be realistic (I think realistically the antagonists probably would have been executed for war crimes, among other things), but the intended audience seems to be the Avatar: The Last Airbender loving middle grade/YA crowd, and this is very much of a piece with that.

128shadrach_anki
May 24, 2019, 11:42am Top

 

In/Spectre 1 by Kyo Shirodaira & Chashiba Katase *
In/Spectre 2 by Kyo Shirodaira & Chashiba Katase
(manga, print, owned)

I read the first volume of this series back in 2017, so I felt a reread was in order before I picked up the second. My initial impression of the series was that it had a fairly slow start, and that remains in place, but it was less jarring this time around. Probably because I feel like I have more familiarity now with the folklore elements that underpin the series--since my first reading I have watched GeGeGe no Kitaro (an anime delving heavily into Japanese folklore, particularly yokai) and played Onmyoji (a mobile RPG, also highly connected to Japanese folklore), so I understand more references and am better able to make connections.

The story is taking its time developing, and the pacing feels more like what you might find in a novel. Which is not surprising, since it looks to a manga adaptation for a series of Japanese novels. I'm interested in seeing what happens next, but the series is a lower priority than others on my TBR.

129shadrach_anki
May 24, 2019, 11:59am Top

       

Yona of the Dawn, vol. 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi *
Yona of the Dawn, vol. 2 by Mizuho Kusanagi *
Yona of the Dawn, vol. 3 by Mizuho Kusanagi
Yona of the Dawn, vol. 4 by Mizuho Kusanagi
Yona of the Dawn, vol. 5 by Mizuho Kusanagi
(manga, print, owned)

Another manga series I originally started reading in 2017, then picked back up this year. I reread the first two volumes before continuing on since there was a fair amount of the story I didn't remember. In a lot of ways this feels like a very classic shojo fantasy story; I am comfortable with the various tropes and elements, and it was quite nice to have a good chunk of story to read all at once. I'm wondering as to Yona's exact connection to the Crimson Dragon of legend, since the story is making it fairly clear that she is connected in some way. This is definitely a series I want to continue reading, and there are plenty of volumes waiting for me to read. There is also an anime, which I will probably check out.

130rhian_of_oz
Jun 5, 2019, 10:18am Top

Anki are you still interested in reading Master and Commander this month? (Can you believe it's June already?!)

131shadrach_anki
Jun 5, 2019, 10:48am Top

>130 rhian_of_oz: I am, Rhian. I just need to get a copy, either from the public library or purchased. And no, I can't believe it is already June. The calendar says it is, of course, but it does not quite seem possible. ^_^

132rhian_of_oz
Jun 5, 2019, 11:03am Top

>131 shadrach_anki: Brill! I shall start a new topic.

133shadrach_anki
Jun 5, 2019, 5:26pm Top



Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
(fiction, print, owned)

This novel is almost epistolary, as (with the exception of the prologue) the whole book is written as a series of transcripts and journal/log entries. An ancient, giant robot is discovered in pieces all over the earth, and a team is assembled to study it. The primary interviewer is never identified by name nor described, but it is clear he has more information than pretty much anyone else he talks to, and he definitely has more influence on things. Each chapter of the book begins with a file number, and the passage of time is indicated by the number jumps. I went into the story with very little information beforehand, and I'm glad I did. I definitely want to read the rest of the trilogy.

134shadrach_anki
Jun 5, 2019, 5:35pm Top



A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
(fiction, print, owned)

This Newbery Award winner is the June pick for the book group I'm in, and our last read before we break for the summer. It is a quick, beautiful read (I read it in two hours). I love the imagery and learning about a time and place unfamiliar to me. All the pieces of celadon described in the book are ones that exist, and I really wish I could see them in person. Pictures can only do so much, and they are dependent upon the skill of the photographer and the quality of the photographer's equipment.

I'm really looking forward to my book group's discussion, and I definitely want to read more of Linda Sue Park's work.

135jjmcgaffey
Jun 8, 2019, 12:42am Top

>134 shadrach_anki: BB - sounds lovely, particularly as I'm taking a ceramics class. Not that we do celadon!

136avaland
Jun 12, 2019, 5:32am Top

Just stopping by. You are always reading interesting books. Did I hear that the group at the bookstore you are with moved to Wednesdays because of the Thursday "dinners"?

137shadrach_anki
Jun 12, 2019, 1:01pm Top

>136 avaland: That's right; we're on the fourth Wednesday of the month now instead of the Thursday. It seems to be working well, and there's no fighting for space in the cafe.

138shadrach_anki
Jun 12, 2019, 1:27pm Top



Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
(fiction, print, owned)

Hugo's girlfriend Margaret breaks things off with him, but insists that he still go on the cross-country train trip from NY to CA they had planned (they are from England, and she will be going to college in CA). There's just one catch...all the travel arrangements were done in her name, and everything is non-refundable. So to go on the trip, Hugo will need to find another Margaret Campbell.... Perhaps a bit implausible, but it's a fun read. The third person, present tense format is still weird to me, but it worked out all right in the end. It's a cute, romantic novel and one of the picks on the 2019 Summer Reading Guide from Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This book is also my first "book beans" purchase, and I was not disappointed in my choice.

139shadrach_anki
Jun 12, 2019, 2:05pm Top

Book Beans

At the end of April I was looking over the spreadsheet where I keep track of my book purchases, and it was very clear to me that if I wanted to make progress on my personal library goals then I needed to change up my approach to book purchases. I had concrete evidence proving that book buying bans were not an effective tool for me, as they generated a feeling of resentment while they were in effect, followed by an increase in purchases once they were lifted.

Since one of my primary reading goals is to read more of the books I own, I decided to try tying my book purchasing into that. Enter the book beans! Every time I read a book I own I earn a book bean. If I want to buy a book, then I need to take three beans out of my jar. Downloading free ebooks counts as buying, even though I am not spending any cash money. Audible purchases using credits are exempt, but those made using cash are not. Gifts, prizes, and rewards are all exempt as well.

So far, things are working very well. I read more books I owned in May, and I was much more thoughtful in my purchases. I also didn't have that feeling of resentment since the number of beans I earned was completely in my control, and I could bank them or spend them as I saw fit.

140avaland
Jun 16, 2019, 5:50am Top

>139 shadrach_anki: Sounds like a plan. Hey, if it works for you....

141shadrach_anki
Jun 24, 2019, 6:19pm Top



The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson
(fiction, print, borrowed)

This was a fun, fast read and another pick from Anne Bogel's 2019 Summer Reading Guide. Like the main character, Charlotte, I find the whole beauty pageant scene rather perplexing to say the least. This book is full of twin-based hijinks, and they almost never fail to entertain me when it comes to stories. After reading this book I want to rewatch Parent Trap (older version, please) and Miss Congeniality. I enjoyed the Jane Austen and Harry Potter nods/references in the story.

142shadrach_anki
Jul 9, 2019, 2:16pm Top



Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
(fiction, audio, print, owned)

Time to play catch-up on my reading log.... I purchased a mass market paperback edition of this book back in 2009, but I only managed to get about 40 pages in before setting it aside. The print is very tiny, and that of the footnotes even smaller, which just made reading more of a chore than a joy. So it sat on my shelves, waiting to be read, until I got an audio copy in a sale on Audible. The story worked better in audio for me, and the magical version of England set forth was fascinating. It is still a long book, and somewhat prone to rambling. Rather like Dickens in that regard, which might explain my preference for the audio. Listening does deprive one of the periodic illustrations within the book, but you can't have everything. I would like to check out the television mini-series that was based on the book, though I do have to wonder how much of the story made it in to the show.

143shadrach_anki
Jul 9, 2019, 2:21pm Top



The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley
(fiction, ebook, owned)

It took me a bit longer to get into this than Parnassus on Wheels, but it was just as enjoyable a read once I did. I suppose some of the plot points seemed a little...contrived at times, but then I remembered I was reading a novel written a hundred years ago, with different stylistic tropes and expectations. That also hit in a different way--Roger spends some time talking about the War (World War 1) and human nature and literature, and I was reading all of a sudden it struck me that this was contemporary fiction when it was written. Morley had no way of knowing that in just 20 years another worldwide conflict would break out, involving many of the same principals. A sobering realization, from the 21st century. Again, the Project Gutenberg copy I read was serviceable, but a better formatted print edition would be really nice to have.

144shadrach_anki
Jul 9, 2019, 2:41pm Top

 

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel
(fiction, print, borrowed)

The second and third books of the Themis Files, both borrowed from the library. Waking Gods picks up nine years after Sleeping Giants ends. The tone is a bit darker, but that aspect of things doesn't hit all at once. It also ends on a rather major cliff-hanger, so I was glad I had Only Human ready and waiting.

Only Human also features a substantial time jump, but unlike in Waking Gods, the jumped time is covered in a series of intertwined files, differentiated from the main timeline by black bars and an alternate numbering format at the start of each chapter. The major difference between this book and the first two is that each "file" is likely to have more voices showing up, and that make it a bit more difficult to follow in print; I'm guessing that a full-cast audio production would work very well (not sure if this is how the audio was done or not, however). Some of the characters were grating, but I think that was intentional.

Overall I am happy with how the series concluded, but I still have questions.

145shadrach_anki
Jul 9, 2019, 2:54pm Top



The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
(fiction, audio, owned)

I picked this audiobook up when it showed up as a Daily Deal on Audible last year. The book had been mentioned in an early-ish episode of the What Should I Read Next? podcast, and I remember thinking that the story sounded interesting. Despite all this, I basically knew nothing about the story when I started. In some ways it puts me in mind of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or A Man Called Ove, but Arthur Pepper is a bit more natively cheerful and communicative than either Ove or Harold. I liked the touch of mystery to the story, learning about the different charms on the bracelet, and also the growth and focus on family.

One thing I noted--and I am wondering if this is a European vs. American thing--is that to me, Arthur read as a good ten or fifteen years older than his stated age of 69/70. I made similar observations about Harold Fry and Ove, and in all three cases the authors are European.

146shadrach_anki
Jul 9, 2019, 3:02pm Top

 

Queen's Quality vol. 1 by Kyosuke Motomi
Queen's Quality vol. 2 by Kyosuke Motomi
(manga, print, borrowed)

I read the three-volume prequel series to this, QQ Sweeper, back in 2017, and I liked it well enough that I picked up these volumes when they showed up at my public library. Even though this has a different title it literally picks up where the first series left off, no time skips or anything like that. It might have been helpful to reread the prequel series first, but it wasn't critical as enough information made it through to orient the reader. Fumi and Kyutaro are sweet, and there relationship is interesting (and also rather trope-tastic). I am pretty sure that in order for Fumi to become the True Queen she will need to find the "middle path" between the White and Black aspects that have shown up so far. I might be wrong, of course, but that's my gut instinct. I'll continue checking the library catalog for future volumes, and I might put in a purchase request if I get too tired of waiting.

147jjmcgaffey
Jul 10, 2019, 2:17am Top

>145 shadrach_anki: Huh. He read as "old" to me, I can't put years on it. I know some "old" people in their 70s and some "aging" (not yet old) in late 80s and early 90s. As described at the beginning of the book, he had given up and settled into his rut - and that reads as "old" to me. So he read rather younger at the end than at the beginning.

148shadrach_anki
Jul 12, 2019, 11:40am Top

>147 jjmcgaffey: I think I must be blessed to only really know people in the "aging" category, rather than the "old" category, so that almost certainly colors my perceptions. And yes, I would say Arthur Pepper definitely reads younger at the end of the book than at the beginning.

149dchaikin
Jul 12, 2019, 1:53pm Top

>139 shadrach_anki:I had concrete evidence proving that book buying bans were not an effective tool for me, as they generated a feeling of resentment while they were in effect, followed by an increase in purchases once they were lifted.

Sounds like dieting. I’m a little late, but I like your book bean plan and hope it’s still working.

150shadrach_anki
Jul 12, 2019, 5:58pm Top

>149 dchaikin: The book beans are working quite well overall, though I have found myself occasionally running into situations I had not initially considered. So I've made a couple of addenda/clarifications to the initial concept.

Manga: I can easily read two or three standard volumes in an hour, so I like having several volumes on hand before I sit down to read. I toyed with the idea of changing the rules so manga counted as a one-for-one thing, but decided against it (at least for now) since it adds a level of complexity I just don't want to deal with. I still haven't decided how I will treat things like "buy two get one free" sales (would I need enough beans for all three volumes, or would the third volume be like a prize), but that can wait for now.

Omnibus editions (and ebook/audiobook box sets/collections): I am treating these as single books when it comes to purchases, but when it comes to the reading, each book in the omnibus/collection counts individually. So it took three beans to buy The Complete Morgaine (the book that prompted my thinking on this), and I will earn a total of four beans for reading it.

Now, I can't say that I've ever had more than about eight beans in my jar at any given time before I've spent them, but I'm not even three full months in to the process. I can say that not having enough beans has prompted me to go read more, which is the ultimate goal, really.

151shadrach_anki
Jul 29, 2019, 11:57am Top



Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
(fiction, audio, print, owned)

Sometimes it can take a while to get into a book. I got my first copy of this one back in 2008, but I never really got around to reading it and wound up donating it during one of my library tidying sessions (that copy had the movie tie-in cover). I kept meaning to read it, though, so when Rhian suggested that we do a buddy read, I jumped on the idea. At right around the same time, the audiobook narrated by Patrick Tull was mentioned on the What Should I Read Next podcast, so I got the book in audio and print both.

I really enjoyed the story, but I did find it a touch choppy and disjointed in places. At least for this first book, it seems like the only transition O'Brian really knew how to effectively use was the jump cut, and it didn't always translate super well in the audio (so I was glad I had access to both formats). I was very glad for Stephen Maturin's presence on the ship as he is not a sailor and thus serves as a vehicle for all sorts of explanations. I still wound up letting a lot of the combat description wash over me rather than puzzling out exactly what was going on.

One thing that was amusing to me is that the audiobook actually contains more profanity than the print copy I have, as all the words substituted with a — in the print are spoken in the audio. I'm looking forward to continuing the series.

152shadrach_anki
Jul 29, 2019, 12:03pm Top



Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
(fiction, print, borrowed)

As the tagline says, Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan. This is yet another book from Anne Bogel's 2019 Summer Reading Guide. Set in near-present day Pakistan (not sure how much things have changed in 20 years), it tells the story of Alys Binat and her family. Having a familiarity with the source material meant that there were no plot-based surprises—suspense came from seeing how the familiar scenes and characters were adapted to a new place and time. The one aspect of the book that really strained my suspension of disbelief was that Pride and Prejudice, the novel, was an absolute favorite of Alys's, and yet not once is the eerie similarity between the novel and her life acknowledged. The story beats and names are a little too on the nose for it to pass without comment, and yet it does. One thing that particularly delighted me was all the food that was mentioned. I recognized many of the dish names, and have recipes for quite a few in my "to try soon" folder.

153shadrach_anki
Jul 29, 2019, 1:02pm Top



Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane
(fiction, print, borrowed)

I learned about the existence of this book via Instagram, but had very little idea of what to expect when I started reading it. The story as a whole is quite leisurely, with something of a memoir vibe, even though it is a novel. It is thought-provoking; an examination of life and family and the different relationships we have. I liked the references to literature and plants, and I like the concept of the "fortnight friend" as described in the book, even though I doubt the hashtag would actually end up trending in our world where Fortnite (the game) dominates the search results. I do wonder how well it will hold up long-term, with references to particular social platforms and pop culture elements, but for now it all works very well.

This is a book I may want to add to my personal library.

154shadrach_anki
Jul 29, 2019, 1:09pm Top



Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie
(fiction, audio, borrowed)

The fourth book in the Kincaid & James series. I was a little worried that I might get somewhat lost since it had been nearly a year since I last read any of this series, but that fear was unfounded. Deborah Crombie does an excellent job of sprinkling reminders in when needed without bogging down the main narrative. It probably helps that the individual cases make for a series of self-contained episodes, one per book. In this one, Duncan and Gemma are still dealing with relationship awkwardness from the end of the last book (and decisions made therein), and it does make parts of their current case more strained. They get their rhythm back by the end of the book, and patch things up.

The title of this one sort of points to the culprits, but it still wasn't clear from the outset, and Alastair Gilbert (the victim) was hardly well liked. Madeleine Wade's character was fascinating (she's a psychic), and I wonder if any of the side characters will show up in later books. I like Michael Deehy's narration, but he doesn't do the next two or three books, and the library doesn't have the whole series in audio anyway.

155shadrach_anki
Jul 29, 2019, 1:20pm Top

     

Yotsuba&! vol. 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
Yotsuba&! vol. 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
Yotsuba&! vol. 3 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
Yotsuba&! vol. 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
(manga, print, owned)

Every now and then I find myself wanting to reread this delightful series about Yotsuba and all her adventures. She is a very realistic/believable little girl with an active imagination. This time around I found myself focusing on the things going on in the background that Yotsuba is unaware of, much like I did when I reread Harriet the Spy several years ago. I know I will be rereading more of this series in the future.

This is a series I would also like to read in the original Japanese at some point.

156shadrach_anki
Jul 29, 2019, 1:31pm Top



Recursion by Blake Crouch
(fiction, print, borrowed)

Another mind-bendy science fiction thriller from Blake Crouch, this time dealing with memory and time travel and its ramifications. And like Dark Matter, there is a core focus on family and relationships and choices, plus the beauty of our mortal existence. The way the time travel is handled reminds me a little of It's a Wonderful Life or the Tapestry episode of ST:TNG, except in both those stories only the principle characters (George Bailey and Captain Picard) are actually aware of the timeline discrepancies, while in Recursion the whole world is ultimately affected. I liked the quotes on time travel that began each section of the novel.

157rhian_of_oz
Jul 30, 2019, 6:12am Top

>156 shadrach_anki: Ow, double BB.

158NanaCC
Jul 30, 2019, 8:01am Top

>154 shadrach_anki: I’ve listened to most of the earlier books in this series. Michael Deehy’s narration is much better than Jenny Sterlin’s. Later on in the series, the reader is listed as Gerard Doyle, who I believe is Michael Deehy based upon something I read.

159shadrach_anki
Jul 30, 2019, 9:48am Top

>158 NanaCC: Do you know if there's a reason Jenny Sterlin narrates a few of the books? And based on my research, yes, Gerard Doyle is Michael Deehy.

160shadrach_anki
Jul 30, 2019, 9:53am Top

>157 rhian_of_oz: You'll have to let me know what you think of them when you get to them. :D

161NanaCC
Jul 30, 2019, 10:17am Top

>159 shadrach_anki: I honestly don’t remember. I’m trying to remember if they were books where Gemma was more of the lead. But I remember not enjoying her narration as much as Deehy’s. I’ve been switching back and forth between audio and print for this series lately, as audible didn’t have a couple of them when I was ready to read them. Plus amazon had a few on sale for $1.99 once in a while. That’s a lot cheaper than my Audible credit, so I went for those.

162lilisin
Jul 31, 2019, 4:33am Top

>155 shadrach_anki:

Yotsubato is such a delight!
In terms of reading it in Japanese I highly suggest it. I don't know what your Japanese level is but Yotsubato is incredibly easy to read and is a series I always recommend to beginner students who are ready to start native material. I've never read the series in English but if people are finding it pleasurable in English, it'll only be even better when read in Japanese.

163shadrach_anki
Aug 1, 2019, 8:19pm Top

>162 lilisin: Five semesters of Japanese in college, but not a lot of practice for the last decade or so. My knowledge/memory of kanji is spotty, but I can still do okay with hiragana and katakana. I have been playing around some with Duolingo, but that isn't the same as a concentrated effort with the language.

164shadrach_anki
Aug 2, 2019, 2:22pm Top



Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
(fiction, print, borrowed)

This is the eleventh Mercy Thompson novel, and at this point I am feeling a little hazy on the exact order of events from the previous books in the series, especially since the events from the Alpha & Omega books are starting to cross over more directly. Still, a strong entry into the series, with a lot more of a witch focus. It's interesting to see how Mercy's abilities continue to grow and develop. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. At some point I think I will need to reread the entire series, but I don't think I'm there just yet.

165shadrach_anki
Aug 2, 2019, 2:58pm Top



All-Butter Shortdead by H.Y. Hanna
A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna
Tea with Milk and Murder by H.Y. Hanna
(fiction, audio, owned)

One picture, three books. I cannot remember how I learned about this mystery series, but the audio collection was a good deal on Audible, and the sample was fun, so I picked it up. The prequel is fairly light and fluffy, serving to set up the general premise of the series. Books one and two are both comfortably twisty mysteries, and refreshingly lacking in many of the police tropes found in cozy mysteries (obstructive condescension, mostly). Having the series set in touristy Oxford--a university town to boot--means that a bunch of murders over a stretch of time doesn't feel as unlikely as it would in the quiet, sleepy villages where most cozy mystery series seem to get set.

The one thing that was a bit disconcerting was the fact that they are set in England and the main character of this series is a young woman named Gemma Rose, who is friends with/romantically interested in the handsome CID detective Devlin O'Connor, and I read these in between the fourth and fifth books of the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series.

The collection had a preview for the third book in the series that piqued my interest, and I definitely plan on continuing the series. I am also debating on whether or not I want to pick up the ebooks, as they apparently include recipes.

166shadrach_anki
Aug 2, 2019, 3:08pm Top



Sovereign by Jeff Hirsch
(fiction, audio, owned)

This was made available as a freebie in the Audible Originals program, and I am just glad I spent neither money nor credits on it. Marketed as Hatchet meets The Martian, it wasn't terrible so much as...disappointing. Micah, the narrator, is a fairly typical, modern 13-year-old whose teacher-parents decided to become space prospectors, exploring the galaxy for new worlds and (hopefully) alien life. Of course, they take Micah with them, which leads to him being stranded on an unexplored, uncharted alien world. Alone. And this is where my suspension of disbelief took a hike, because somehow none of the alien flora or fauna was at all toxic, there were no parasites, edible food was relatively easy to come by, and there weren't really any major disasters. None of those things are realistic for a story set on Earth, let alone an alien world. The audio was decent enough (though the narrator had some weird pronunciations for certain words), and it made for a reasonably diverting few hours, but I can't say as I would recommend the story to others.

167shadrach_anki
Aug 2, 2019, 3:13pm Top



Written in Red by Anne Bishop *
(fiction, print, owned, reread)

Typically with a reread, while the story is still a favorite, I don't feel the same sense of urgency as I read, and thus I will not stay up super late reading. Apparently this series is not going to follow those standards--I stayed up way too late reading, finished the book in two days, and wound up with a bit of a book hangover. I have the second book on my shelves, but I've decided to pace things by not doing back-to-back rereads. If I did, I have a feeling my health would really suffer. I'm thinking this series may have the urgency level dropped at the series level rather than the individual book level.

168shadrach_anki
Aug 2, 2019, 3:19pm Top



Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry
(fiction, audio, owned)

This was another book offered as part of the Audible Originals benefit for Audible members, and I enjoyed it overall. Maeve Merritt is a precocious tomboy who regularly gets in trouble at her London boarding school One day she finds a sardine tin with a genie inside, and things in her life proceed to get very interesting indeed. This book is narrated by Jayne Entwistle, and she does a wonderful job, but Maeve has a lot of the same sassy, irreverent attitude that Flavia de Luce exhibits, so having the same narrator was a touch disconcerting. Very much a middle grade novel, as parts of it were, well, childishly handled. Not unexpected with a child protagonist, of course, but as an adult reader I tend to want a bit more complexity. Also, one character basically drops out of the story near the end of things, and I do wish more had been said about what happened with him.

169lilisin
Aug 4, 2019, 11:08pm Top

>163 shadrach_anki:

In that case Yotsubato is a perfect level for you!

170shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 3:08pm Top



Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie
(fiction, print, borrowed)

Continuing my reading of the Kincaid & James series. I had to get this one via ILL since my public library doesn't have a copy. It's also the first one I've read entirely in print, since there wasn't an audiobook available either. Given the general structure of this particular book (interspersed letters and multiple viewpoints) it probably was for the best that I had it in print.

I found the Cambridge University setting to be interesting, especially as I picked this up after reading the first few Oxford Tearoom Mysteries, so there was a similar university feel going on. I'm enjoying this series and will be continuing with it. It's also one I think I would like to own, but I have to decide on format (and then track down copies; I like my books in series to match when possible).

171shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 3:13pm Top



Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters *
(fiction, print, owned, reread)

I first read this back in 2008, but I remembered next to nothing about the story--knowing it was about Vicky Bliss pretty much sums up my recollections. This was written in 1973, and while it holds up well overall, there are some places where it does show its age (mostly in character attitudes). The cover bills this as a novel of suspense, which feels accurate, albeit in a sort of Scooby Doo fashion. Mysterious treasure, "haunted" castle, secret passages, hypnotism, ghosts, seances, dungeons, traps...this book has it all. I have the second book in the series waiting for me on my shelf, and look forward to reading it. Oh, one thing that cut the overall level of suspense (and probably led to the Scooby Doo feel as well) was the definite "after action" nature of the narration. Not just past tense, first person POV, but past tense with commentary.

172shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 3:17pm Top



A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
(fiction, print, borrowed)

I wish I had started this series sooner, because it is wonderful. Brother Cadfael is a delightful man, and I love his down-to-earth practicality. I really enjoyed this medieval mystery, and I will definitely be continuing the series. Another one that I want to own, and that I will need to track down matching covers for.

173shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 3:26pm Top

     

Yotsuba&! vol. 5 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
Yotsuba&! vol. 6 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
Yotsuba&! vol. 7 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
Yotsuba&! vol. 8 by Kiyohiko Azuma *
(manga, print, owned, reread)

Continuing my reread of this delightful series. I love all the different interactions Yotsuba has with people. Currently I'm doing my reread in English, but I am working on properly sourcing copies in the original Japanese.

174shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 3:39pm Top

 

Black Magic Academy by Emily Martha Sorensen *
White Magic Academy by Emily Martha Sorensen
(fiction, print, digital, owned)

I reread Black Magic Academy in order to be able to provide a continuity beta read on the long-awaited sequel (seven years pretty much requires a refresh). This first book is told from the perspective of Mildred, a young witch who lives with her aunts and really doesn't want to go to Black Magic Academy, but it is expected of her. Family tradition and all that. Just one teensy little problem...Mildred isn't a wicked witch!

The overall premise and tone remind me somewhat of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and also the Chrestomanci novels. Not in a derivative way or anything like that, more in the nature of a read-alike.

The sequel, White Magic Academy, is told from the point of view of Rulisa, Mildred's death enemy (all wicked witches are supposed to have one; it's tradition). This book picks up not too much after the end of the first book, and it has comparable fairy-tale tone. It also gives the reader a whole lot more insight into the world and its history, as Rulisa is a lot less sheltered overall than Mildred. Since this was a beta read, I still need to get my hands on a finalized copy, and I am looking forward to the third book in the series, once it is released.

175shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 4:49pm Top



The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
(fiction, print, borrowed)

The rom-com premise of this novel intrigued me when I read about it (two people sharing an apartment, sleeping in the same bed, who have never actually met), so I requested the book from the library. And then it took me some time to actually get into the story. In part, I think, because of choices made by the characters, as well as a bit of a stylistic disconnect when it came to the Leon sections, which were not written in a standard prose format (they read more like a script). Having the alternating first person perspectives worked very well overall, and it was always very clear whose viewpoint we were seeing at any given time. Even though the premise of this book was very much in the romantic comedy vein, it tackled a number of challenging subjects over the course of the narrative.

176shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 5:06pm Top

   

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan
(fiction, audio, owned)

The first three books in the Legends of the First Empire series. This series is set in Elan, the world of Sullivan's Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles series, but 3000 years before those series. The cast and characters of these novels are the legends of the world of Riyria (hence the series title). Tone-wise, this is very much an ensemble cast, epic fantasy as opposed to the more buddy cop/odd couple nature of the Riyria books.

As the story progresses across these three books the reader is introduced to more and more of the characters. And in the third book everything ramps up. Tim Gerard Reynolds does the narration for these books (as well as the previous series set in Elan), and he does an amazing job with the characters. I do have the fourth book waiting for me, but after almost 54 hours dedicated listening across the first three books, I could feel myself needing a break, just in order to be able to process things (I nearly cried while listening to the third book, which is rather dangerous when one is driving).

This is one of those series where I want to own it in multiple formats.

177shadrach_anki
Sep 10, 2019, 5:23pm Top

   

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
(fiction, print, owned/borrowed)

The first book of this series made its way onto my TBR wishlist in July of 2015, and then it happened to be one of the prize options for my library's summer reading program this year. It probably would have stayed on my shelf for an indefinite amount of time at that point, were it not for the August challenge for the Unread Shelf Project (have people vote on what I should read next), and the random number generator that dropped this book onto the stack of candidates.

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, since other than knowing I had been interested enough in the book to add it to my TBR at some point, I had no knowledge regarding the plot and premise. Apparently, both Oxford and time travel are going to feature rather prominently in my reading this year. I finished the first book in the trilogy and then went to the library and borrowed the other two, which I read back to back over the course of a week. I really like how Deborah Harkness handles viewpoint in this series--mostly first person from Diana, with sections/chapters as necessary in third person to bring in other character perspectives, like Matthew or Gallowglass (oh, but I really like Gallowglass). This is a style that could easily wind up muddled and confusing, but it is neither of those things here.

I was not expecting a Kincaid & James reference to show up in the third book, and I laughed when it did, because it delighted me. I definitely want to get copies of the second and third books to add to my shelves. I'm also looking forward to reading the books in the expanded universe, and I may want to check out the television show as well.

178jjmcgaffey
Sep 11, 2019, 2:42am Top

Good heavens. A shower of book bullets! OK, I need the two Academy books (your readalike mentions guaranteed that). The Harkness ones, too. I may read the Peters - I've read some of hers that I really enjoyed and some that just didn't work for me (unfortunately, all of Amelia Peabody is in the latter category). Not sure about the Age Of... books, since I haven't read the series they're a prequel to. Maybe later.

And I'm delighted you've discovered Cadfael - he is _wonderful_, the worst books in the series are still quite good, and the last one is fantastic (but you need to have read all of them to understand why). I don't do audiobooks, nor watch videos much, but Derek Jacobi who plays him in the TV series also does the audiobooks of the series and I'm almost tempted. I've listened to one book read by him and it's one of the few audiobooks that really worked for me (The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey). And...and...read more! In any format you can find them in!

Don't miss the prequel - A Rare Benedictine. Short pieces, that enrich your understanding of Brother Cadfael and his world (even more).

179shadrach_anki
Sep 11, 2019, 9:31am Top

>178 jjmcgaffey: Heh, I've had a good stretch of reading over the past few months. Glad I could point you to some potential new reads. :D

I picked up A Rare Benedictine when it was on sale in Kindle format (print copies are running prohibitively expensive for some reason). I haven't read it yet because I want to get to know "current" Cadfael a bit better before I venture into who he was before he became a monk.

For the Legends of the First Empire (Age of... books) I don't think you really need to read the Riyria novels to enjoy them. The characters are completely different, as are the time periods. That said, I have read all the Riyria books, so that makes it a bit hard to judge accurately

180NanaCC
Sep 11, 2019, 3:18pm Top

>170 shadrach_anki:, >172 shadrach_anki: I love these series, Kincaid and Cadfael.. I’m glad that you enjoyed them too.

181shadrach_anki
Sep 24, 2019, 1:18pm Top



Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
(fiction, print, borrowed)

Another modern-day Pride and Prejudice reimagining that I learned about thanks to the 2019 Summer Reading Guide from Anne Bogel. This one is set within the Muslim community in Toronto, Canada. I found myself drawing parallels between this book and Soniah Kamal's Unmarriageable, as they both reference the same original source material and have some cultural similarities as well. But where Unmarriageable stuck almost slavishly to all the story beats of the original, Ayesha at Last takes a looser approach, focusing on the broad strokes as a framework to provide a general shape. As a result, I think this novel will stand on its own better in the long run. I enjoy seeing familiar stories reimagined, and Uzma Jalaluddin does an excellent job.

The one sour note I found in the entire story was the doxxing of Tarek. While his behaviour was truly terrible, and justice really did need to be served, the end result of his punishment could very easily wind up being his death. And that is excessive. It also doesn't reflect well on Khalid or Ayesha's brother.

182shadrach_anki
Sep 24, 2019, 1:34pm Top

 

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan *
The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan
(fiction, print, owned)

Back in June, a friend of mine made me aware that The Bookshop on the Shore, the not-exactly-a-sequel-really novel to The Bookshop on the Corner had been released. I picked up a copy, but I knew I wanted to reacquaint myself with the characters and setting from the first book before reading it. So at the beginning of September I read through The Bookshop on the Corner, which is a delightful read full of bookish love and humor, plus gorgeous description of Scotland. I read it in three sittings, and it was just what I needed while I was stuck at home recovering from pneumonia.

The Bookshop on the Shore took me longer to read, but it was still quite fun. A few of the characters from the first book show up, but they are largely in the background and used to set up the general scenario. Zoe is most definitely her own person, separate and distinct from Nina in both motives and temperament. The bookish love continues in this book, albeit from a different angle. A few of the story elements felt a bit overly gothic and dramatic. Not bad, just rather implausible.

Both books are feel-good reads, and I think they're pretty much perfect for late summer or early autumn.

183shadrach_anki
Sep 24, 2019, 1:44pm Top



Timebound by Rysa Walker
(fiction, audio, owned)

I picked this up in an Audible sale last year because the premise was intriguing and the audio sample sounded good. This doesn't always pan out, but thankfully this one was a great pick for me. Lots of twisty time travel and alternate timelines and intriguing tech. It's also the first book in a series, which is fun. Kate Rudd does a decent job on the narration, though she has a rather limited range when it comes to distinct voices for male characters (there were a couple spots where I wasn't entirely sure who was talking right away). Still, I look forward to finding out what happens next in the story, and how the rather bizarre love triangle is going to get resolved (time travel makes anything like that infinitely more complicated, I think).

184shadrach_anki
Sep 24, 2019, 2:01pm Top



Spun of Gold by Jen Geigle Johnson
(fiction, ebook, owned)

This is the third book in the Once Upon a Regency series, and it is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. And it did not work for me at all. Granted, part of that is due to the fact that I have not had much luck with Rumpelstiltskin retellings in general, at least in terms of finding ones that I like. This one hit implausible territory very quickly, and I was making snarky notes on an index card before I hit the third chapter. It also stalled my ebook reading for longer than I want to think about.

I'd like to find a really enjoyable retelling/reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin. Sadly, this one was not it.

185shadrach_anki
Sep 24, 2019, 2:10pm Top



Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
(fiction, ebook, owned)

I wanted to go with something new (to me) from a known quantity as my next ebook read, so I picked up this novella set in the world of the Five Gods. Penric is delightful, and maybe a touch naive, but he has a good heart. Desdemona is a fascinating personality (or would that be set of personalities?), and I look forward to seeing the two of them work together in future novellas. I also want to reread the novels set in this world (technically, only The Curse of Chalion would be a reread; while I own Paladin of Souls and The Hallowed Hunt, I have yet to actually read them).

186jjmcgaffey
Sep 25, 2019, 3:36am Top

>185 shadrach_anki: Ooh, you've got some good reading ahead of you, then! I like The Hallowed Hunt best, for whatever weird reason - the other two are good, but I love Hunt (it's a standalone, not really in series with the other two, just in the same world). And Penric is weird and twisty - well, no, Penric is very straightforward, but he gets into the weirdest situations (most of which Desdemona greatly enjoys - not all, but most). I just got around to reading the last two (so far) novellas, The Prisoner of Limnos and The Orphans of Raspay - reminded me how much I like that series and that world.

187shadrach_anki
Oct 1, 2019, 12:07pm Top

>186 jjmcgaffey: I'm looking forward to it! Once I finish The Count of Monte Cristo, that is...at the moment, that is what is taking basically all my reading cycles (it's the book my book group is reading for October, and I rather foolishly let it sit until, oh, mid September....)

188shadrach_anki
Oct 2, 2019, 2:30pm Top



Uprooted by Naomi Novik *
(fiction, audio/print, owned)

I first read this back in 2015, and I really enjoyed the Eastern European fairy tale feeling to the story. That enjoyment remained with this reread (technically listen). The narrator of the audiobook version speaks with a Polish accent, which definitely helps with the immersion factor, but can hinder comprehension in places. If I hadn't already read the book (and didn't own a print copy I could check), then the accent might have been more problematic.

189shadrach_anki
Oct 2, 2019, 2:40pm Top



The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman *
(fiction, audio, owned)

This was just as fun and delightful in audio as it was in print when I first read it back in 2014. Emily Pollifax gets a call from Mr. Carstairs, asking her to go to Turkey as a courier in order to meet with a missing agent. In terms of specific plot points, I had actually forgotten most of this novel between my readings. But the enjoyment of this series, at least for me, is more related to the overall tone than to the specifics of any particular novel within the series. All of the ones I have read follow the same general formula: Mrs. Pollifax gets sent on a mission by Carstairs; she exceeds the scope of her (fairly simple) assignment in some way; she manages to befriend quite a few of the locals wherever she is (integral to her ultimate success); and she nearly gives Carstairs a heart attack before bringing the mission to a satisfying conclusion.

Barbara Rosenblat does an excellent job with the narration, and I plan to continue getting the series in audio format (possibly in print as well, but I'll stick with the audio for starters).

190shadrach_anki
Oct 2, 2019, 2:48pm Top



Dipped, Stripped, and Dead by Elise Hyatt
(fiction, ebook, owned)

The first book in the Daring Finds cozy mystery series. This was a lot of fun, and furniture refinishing is a fairly unique angle in terms of the cozy/craft mysteries I've read (knitting, crochet, cooking, book selling, librarians, etc. are the reasonably common occupations that I've seen for amateur sleuths). Dyce Dare is a likable protagonist, and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next two books.

191shadrach_anki
Oct 2, 2019, 2:59pm Top



The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
(non-fiction, print, owned)

This is an excellent overview of the bullet journal system. While much of the content is readily available online at no cost, there is something about having it organized in a printed book that modifies how one approaches and interacts with the information presented. At least, it has an effect on my reading. I am still in the process of setting up a bullet journal of my own, and reading this book helped provide a defined path to follow. It also gave me some ideas for my book journal.

192NanaCC
Oct 3, 2019, 10:27pm Top

>189 shadrach_anki: The audio version of this series really is a lot of fun, isn’t it. Rosenblat’s narration actually gave me an image of the character that I “see” when I listen.

193shadrach_anki
Oct 4, 2019, 11:39am Top

>192 NanaCC: The audio is so much fun. I also have a mental picture of Emily Pollifax thanks to Rosenblat's narration, and it's delightful.

194AlisonY
Oct 8, 2019, 3:29am Top

>191 shadrach_anki: I had to Google what bullet journalling is. Interesting! I think it would stress me, though - I'd feel like it was one more 'to do' thing (I get that the purpose of it is to destress and manage your affairs - perhaps it's my age).

195shadrach_anki
Oct 15, 2019, 10:58am Top

>194 AlisonY:

I would probably call bullet journaling an evolution and/or reinvention of the classic concept of a commonplace book. It definitely isn't going to be for everyone, and I am still somewhat intimidated by the system as a whole, even though I can appreciate the concept and how it is supposed to work. The core is simple enough, but so many people online have turned it into something far more...artistic and involved, which is what leads to at least some of the intimidation, I think.

So far my biggest takeaways have been to take the time to number the pages of my myriad notebooks, and dedicate some space at the beginning of each for an index. Mostly a slight formalization of what I already have going, to make the information easier to find (in theory, at least, since I still have the habit of working a notebook from both ends until I meet somewhere in the middle, and not containing my writing to a single notebook at a time).

196shadrach_anki
Oct 31, 2019, 12:40pm Top



The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette
(fiction, audio, owned)

As the title suggests, this is a science fiction novel. Not conveyed in the title is the fact that it is set in a small town in northwestern Massachusetts, which is a less common setting. Narratively this felt like an older book than it is, and I would attribute this to the rather distinct "outside the action" narrative voice used. There are lots of passages devoted to description and history, as it were. Setting the stage, background information, establishing shots, etc. all from outside the characters' heads. I did quite like the nature of the aliens self-aware ideas, and I would like to read the next book to see what happens next. One kind of silly thing: there is a reference to candlestick bowling, and I'm not sure if that was a typo or autocorrupt or what, but as a New Englander I can tell you it should be candlepin bowling, and I would hope that a MA-based author would know that.

197shadrach_anki
Oct 31, 2019, 1:29pm Top



Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
(comic, print, borrowed)

This graphic novel showed up on m Instagram feed several weeks back, and I am basically always up for trying things illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, so I picked it up from the public library. The story is sweet and funny and cute and pretty much perfect for fall--it is all about two teens working at a pumpkin patch, after all. There's friendship and romance and also a rather violent escaped goat that keeps people on their toes. It's just a lot of fun.

198shadrach_anki
Nov 11, 2019, 2:24pm Top



Hard Magic by Larry Correia *
(fiction, audio, owned)

I first read this in 2016, and I really enjoyed it then. Just as enjoyable on a reread. The "alternate history with magic" setting is wonderfully realized, and it inspired me to learn more about the actual history and people that served as the inspiration. The audiobook version is narrated by Bronson Pinchot, and he does an excellent job with all the various voices and accents.

199shadrach_anki
Nov 11, 2019, 2:31pm Top



The Diamond Throne by David Eddings *
(fiction, print, owned)

Another reread, and it has been at least 15 to 20 years since I last read this series. As a result, I had forgotten a lot of the finer details, plus my literary understanding has broadened due to lots of reading in the interim. I think I am better able to appreciate the overall storytelling here. I had completely forgotten the whole "church knights" aspect to the story, and the political machinations were more interesting to me this time around. The trademark witty banter continues to be highly entertaining. Is it high literature? Most definitely not, and there are a few things that really don't hold up well under close scrutiny, but it is fun to revisit an old favorite and discover that it still works for me.

200shadrach_anki
Nov 11, 2019, 2:44pm Top

   

My Hero Academia, vol. 3 by Kohei Horikoshi
My Hero Academia, vol. 4 by Kohei Horikoshi
My Hero Academia, vol. 5 by Kohei Horikoshi
(manga, print, owned)

These three volumes take the reader through the end of the first school sports festival, and they also introduce a new antagonist as well as a few other things. Having seen the anime series, there wasn't really much/anything surprising to me in these volumes--most shonen series seem to have fairly direct adaptations from manga to anime. There is one translation decision I remain unhappy with: All Might calls Deku "Midoriya-shonen" almost exclusively, and the translators decided to go with "Midoriya, kid" as the English version for this. The results are...awkward and rather poor English. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it is kind of annoying (though luckily, my mental filter seems to have kicked in, so my brain substitutes the original Japanese when necessary).

Group: Club Read 2019

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