foggidawn reads in 2019: thread the fourth
This is a continuation of the topic foggidawn reads in 2019: thread the third.
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Welcome! I'm foggi, and this is my twelfth year on LibraryThing and my ninth year in this group! I'm a collection development librarian/youth materials selector (means I buy all the kids' and teen books) for the public library system in a medium-sized Ohio town, and a voracious reader.
I'll read anything that catches my fancy, but here are some of the kinds of books I particularly like:
Books for kids and teens
Fantasy for any age -- plus the occasional work of science fiction
Inspirational fiction, if the writing is good
Mysteries, particularly cozies and golden age British detective stories
The occasional memoir or biography
Here are some of the other things I like, which can distract me from reading, but which I may occasionally post about here:
Theatre -- both viewing live theatre and participating in community theatre. I wasn't successful in my pursuit of the latter in 2018, but perhaps I will have better luck this year.
Sewing -- it's a love/hate relationship, really. I'm only barely proficient at it, so it's slow going when I get on a sewing kick, but when it goes right, I love the results.
Gardening -- I've been trying container gardening lately, and though I didn't harvest much last year, I'm having better outcomes this time around.
Gaming -- I love board games when I can find people to play them with (which is not as often as I like) and I occasionally play video games, but most often I waste my time playing games on my phone. Right now, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go.
Dogs -- My Sophie passed away on April 12th of this year. I am very lonely without a dog, so am hoping to adopt another later this year.
Family and friends -- I recently became a first-time aunt! I'm always looking forward to my next chance to see the baby, and I'm working on building up his library. Also, my parents recently retired and moved to their newly-built cabin in rural Pennsylvania, so I foresee many visits there, as well. At home, I've just had a college friend move in with me, proving that I can still surprise myself sometimes. Our weird platonic house-sharing arrangement may occasionally be something I mention in my posts.
Thanks for visiting my thread!
2019 Reading Resolution
For the past two years, I've had some success making a New Year's resolution regarding reading. I usually read as my whimsy takes me, but I've found I can manage a small set list of books to conquer. The first year, I tackled some of my oldest TBR books. Last year, I read ten "classic" works that had been languishing on my shelf. This year, I face my no-longer-secret shame: unread Early Reviewer books.
I've been participating in the LTER program for at least ten years now, and I'm usually pretty good about reading and reviewing the books I receive. However, over the years a handful have slipped through the cracks. This is the year to fulfill my obligations to those books. There are only eight of them, though the Jim Henson bio is a bit of a chunk. (Better tackle it sooner, rather than later.) Here are the titles:
The Apprentices by Maile Meloy
Unspoken by Dee Henderson
The Book of Pearl by Timothee deFombelle
Jim Henson by Brian Jay Jones
Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith (ebook, not pictured)
I'm allowing myself to DNF any of these books that don't grab me, as long as I have read enough of them to be able to articulate in a review why they did not work for me.
I don't usually do a lot of challenges, but I'm going to try slotting in the books after I read them with the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I'm going to see if I can be okay with not reading every single category, or if I spend December looking for a self-published business book written in prison...
The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge
1 - An epistolary novel or collection of letters
2 - An alternate history novel
3 - A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018: The Poet X
4 - A humor book: Heart and Brain
5 - A book by a journalist or about journalism: The Undateable
6 - A book by an AOC set in or about space
7 - An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America: Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas
8 - An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
9 - A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads: Finessing Clarissa
10 - A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman: The Winter Promise
11 - A book of manga
12 - A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character: The Lost Girl
13 - A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse: The Girl He Used to Know
14 - A cozy mystery
15 - A book of mythology or folklore
16 - An historical romance by an AOC
17 - A business book
18 - A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
19 - A book of nonviolent true crime
20 - A book written in prison
21 - A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
22 - A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
23 - A self-published book
24 - A collection of poetry published since 2014
Books Read (so far) in 2019
(Rereads are in italics, new favorites in bold.)
1. Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome by Ty Tashiro
2. The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen
3. A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C.A. Belmond
4. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
5. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
6. A Rather Curious Engagement by C.A. Belmond
7. A Rather Charming Invitation by C.A. Belmond
8. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
9. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
10. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
11. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
12. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver
13. Heart and Brain by Nick Seluk
14. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
15. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
16. A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
17. The Undateable by Sarah Title
18. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story by Debbie Tung
19. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land
20. In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
21. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
22. Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
23. Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan
24. How to Date Men When You Hate Men by Blythe Roberson
25. The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
26. The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu
27. Level 13: A Slacker Novel by Gordon Korman
28. Kind of Coping by Marzi Wilson
29. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
30. The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
31. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
32. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
33. All Things New by Lynn Austin
34. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
35. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
36. Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
37. Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
38. New Kid by Jerry Craft
39. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
40. Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana Medina
41. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
42. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
43. Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu
44. Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
45. A Bachelor Establishment by Isabella Barclay
46. Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher
47. Nate Expectations by Tim Federle
48. Lessons from Lucy by Dave Barry
49. Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton
50. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
51. My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn
52. Refining Felicity by Marion Chesney
53. Perfecting Fiona by Marion Chesney
54. Enlightening Delilah by Marion Chesney
55. Finessing Clarissa by Marion Chesney
56. Curse of the WerePenguin by Allan Woodrow
57. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
58. Animating Maria by Marion Chesney
59. Marrying Harriet by Marion Chesney
60. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
61. Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn
62. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
63. Owl's Outstanding Donuts
64. Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann
65. A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
66. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
67. Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala
68. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
69. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
70. Manfried Saves the Day by Caitlin Major
71. Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis
72. The Good, the Bad, and the Bossy by Caroline Cara
73. Click by Kayla Miller
74. Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh
75. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
76. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
77. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
78. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
79. A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
80. Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy
81. Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron
82. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
83. Whispers by Robin Jones Gunn
84. Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn
85. Sunsets by Robin Jones Gunn
86. Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn
87. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
88. Camp by Kayla Miller
89. Creakers by Tom Fletcher
90. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come by Jessica Pan
91. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
92. Blubber by Judy Blume
93. Waterfalls by Robin Jones Gunn
That's it for my stuff -- you can post below!
(94 books read)
The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion -- (Note that this review contains minor spoilers for the first two books in the series.) It's been ten years since the events of the last book. When Rosie is offered a prestigious job back in Australia, Don concurs that it makes sense to move, as he can easily find work there as well. Unfortunately, ten-year-old Hudson is not on board with the idea of such a big life change. In Australia, Don quickly identifies a list of problems, chief among them that Rosie is having troubles at work, partially due to having difficulties with work/life balance, and Hudson is having a very difficult time adjusting to his new school. When Don makes a major faux pas in a lecture and becomes the subject of a disciplinary investigation, he suspends his own work to concentrate on what he calls "The Hudson Project." How can he help Hudson be more successful at school than he, Don, was? Hudson's difficulties have caused the school to push for Don and Rosie to get a psychiatric evaluation done for Hudson, anticipating that he will fall on the autism spectrum. Don has always resisted a diagnosis for himself, though the disciplinary committee would have to take it into their considerations, were he to receive one. But would a diagnosis be the best thing for either of them?
This whole series is amazing, and I have enjoyed every bit. Hudson is a great character and I liked seeing him featured so much, even if I did think it was at the expense of seeing much of Rosie. I think that readers new to the series could feasibly start here, but I'd recommend starting at the beginning.
>4 foggidawn: Some of your new favorites are high in my rankings as well, so maybe I'll browse among the bold ones there I haven't read!
Happy New Thread! I hope you are having a great summer!
I read The Flatshare based on your post and loved it! Thank you!
Thanks for stopping by, Anita, Anita, Jim, Dana, Roni, and Amber!
>13 compskibook: Oh, so glad you liked it!
Happy new thread, Foggi! Glad to hear the settling in with the roommate is going all right so far. I really should get back to the Rosie trilogy as I read the first and then just didn't get around to the next.
>17 MickyFine: Thanks! We are muddling along pretty well, all things considered. As for the Rosie trilogy, some people say the second book was the weakest, though I still enjoyed it.
Happy New Thread, foggi.
I'm glad you enjoyed The Rosie Result; me, too. That series has brought me a lot of laughs and smiles. I like the Hudson character, too, but I did miss seeing more of Rosie this time around.
One of my oldest friends and I are thinking about moving in together after 17 years of friendship. We get along really well and he's neat (much more than me), likes to cook, and appreciates alone time so I think it would be great but I've also not lived with other people in a VERY long time and I'm a bit nervous about that. Wishing you guys smooth sailing!
>19 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe! Yes, I could have used more of Rosie in the book, but that was really my only criticism.
>20 leahbird: Last weekend a mutual friend was taking Rob (the housemate) around and showing him the sights, and I tagged along. She introduced us thus: "This is my friend Rob, who has just moved to town, and this is his roommate," and each time it happened my head exploded just a little. I haven't had a roommate since college, and that's been (as they say) a minute. However, I'm finding the day to day less awkward than expected, and I'm enjoying having the company. I'm doing most of the cooking at present, but I enjoy cooking (and having someone other than myself to appreciate my cooking). I still think this is one of the weirdest things I've ever done, but it sounds like your situation would be a lot less strange. I mean, you've been friends for 17 years, whereas Rob and I hadn't actually seen each other in person for 17 years, so.
>2 foggidawn: good job on the ER books. I have a few languishing, too, though I've recently made a more concerted effort to get them done. Oh, and to stay current on the ones I have won!
Glad to hear the roommate situation is going well so far!
>6 foggidawn: I read the first book of this series and liked it a lot. I didn't feel the need to continue, but I might pick them up at some point since you enjoyed them so much :)
>22 aktakukac: Thanks! I do, too (and I think it will).
>23 thornton37814: Thanks!
>24 fuzzi: I really need to get back to that project. Unfortunately, I have a couple of books that I have to read (a book club book, a book sent to me for professional review) and several library books that I need to get read or send back, so I'm not thinking I'll get any of those old Early Reviewers read in August. I'm doing more cooking at home right now than usual, which is also taking up a little bit of my reading time.
>25 curioussquared: He's been here a week, and we haven't killed each other yet! :-D (As I mentioned before, we're both putting in a pretty strong effort to be polite and considerate, so things have been going as well or better than I would have supposed possible.) And I hope you enjoy the other books, if you do pick them up.
Happy new thread foggi!
I lost track of you but this seems like a good place to catch up.
(95 books read)
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb -- Reeling from an unexpected breakup, therapist Lori Gottlieb realizes that she also needs the benefits of attending therapy. In the meantime, she continues to work with her own patients, including a narcissistic man, an elderly woman who is threatening suicide, and a young newlywed who is dying of cancer.
I enjoyed this book. I've never undergone therapy myself, but I've been thinking lately that I ought to, so I was hoping this would give me some motivation to start that process. I think it succeeded in that, in placing therapy in a positive light and reassuring me of the benefits. Gottlieb's part of the story was very personal, and I admire her for placing so much of her inner life on display ("hanging her psyche out to dry," as SandyAMcPherson so aptly put it). I did find myself sometimes wondering, "Why did she include that detail?" Also, there's a bit of unresolved business, which ought to be expected in memoir (vs. fiction), but which I found a bit unsatisfying (
It seems like I have not been reading a lot lately, or at least not finishing a lot lately, so I thought I'd do an update with what I have been reading (just not completing):
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (audiobook) -- I was listening to this, but then I didn't have any long solo drives (my best audiobook listening time) and it got checked back in, and there were holds, so I've waiting for it to come back to me. I just checked and it was available, so I'll probably listen to the rest of it soon. I've liked it so far.
Evicted by Matthew Desmond (ebook) -- a friend was reading this for their social justice book club. I didn't hear about it until the day before the club met, but I picked it up and read a few pages and found it a compelling read, so I may complete it eventually. It's also incredibly depressing, though, so I don't always feel like picking it up.
The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos (book) -- I loved the first book in this series, but I'm having a really hard time getting into the second book. I think it's just not what I'm in the mood for now. I probably should return it to the library and try again later, but I'm stubbornly insisting to myself that if I just give it a few more chapters, I will love it.
Lovely War by Julie Berry (book) -- another that I've started, but it isn't holding my attention. I've loved other books by this author, but right now my attention span doesn't seem to be suited for large tomes.
Beauty by Robin McKinley (book) -- I will finish this one within the next couple days. I'm rereading it (for the umpteenth time) in an attempt to get out of what feels like a bit of a sump.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (read aloud) -- I just started reading this one aloud to my housemate. I think he was a little bemused at the idea, but he said he enjoyed it. I love reading aloud, and I also love introducing people to my literary boyfriend Eugenides, so it's a win all around, right?
>30 foggidawn: Sorcery of Thorns is on my list, glad you're enjoying it!
Can Eugenides be my literary boyfriend too? Is that weird?
>31 curioussquared: I'm already sharing him with Amber (and many others, I'm sure), so why not?
>30 foggidawn: That's a super impressive mix, Foggi. I did two short story collections back to back and even though one was Wodehouse and therefore excellent, it feels like they bog down my reading somehow.
>33 MickyFine: Considering that I'm not finishing most of them, maybe it's too ambitious of a mix? I know what you mean by short story collections. In my 20s, I read a lot of the fantasy ones (the Datlow/Windling compilations and the like), but now I find myself frustrated by them.
>34 foggidawn: Could just be the better weather and the new living arrangements mixing up your life and making reading less appealing at the moment?
>29 foggidawn: A great review, Foggi. Duly upthumbed.
I had a similar reaction to this
I thought I'd post an update on all of my non-reading activities mentioned above (or at least the ones where there's something to say):
Theatre -- I just signed up for an audition slot for a local production of Sweeney Todd. Even if I'm not cast, I'm excited to see the production, but I'm hoping for a spot in the ensemble, to begin to establish myself in the local community theatre scene.
Gardening -- I've had a really good year so far with my container garden! I made some lovely pesto with the basil, and will get another batch off of it before the summer is over, I'm sure. I've had a few tomatoes, not enough to share, but enough to enjoy, and more on the way. And I've had a whole lot of peppers! Last year, I couldn't get my pepper plants to set fruit, so this year I really made an effort to amend the soil, and it paid off! I also have several nice little herb plants that are coming right along.
Gaming -- Game night is coming up this weekend, and I'm taking the housemate along to meet my friends, as he also enjoys board games.
Dogs -- My parents' dog has been bred to a very nice male, so right now we have theoretical puppies. I'm pretty excited, though it will be another eight weeks before the puppies arrive, and then of course six weeks after that before they can leave their mother. Still, there's a definite possibility that I will have a puppy by winter.
>40 foggidawn: Puppies!!! Are they a specific breed? I met an adorable Corgi puppy on the weekend (and I guess her owner) and while I'm decidedly a cat person, she briefly made me consider a dog.
Break a leg with the audition!
>44 MickyFine: English Springer Spaniel is the breed. They’re what I always had growing up, so I’m partial to them. And thanks!
>49 foggidawn: It's been at least a year since I've reread them; I need to fit another one in soon...
>50 scaifea: Especially with the last book in the series coming out next year...
(96 books read)
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond -- In any given city, during any given week, a similar scene plays out: the sheriff's deputies knock on the door and escort the occupants out of the house, then a team of movers comes in and hauls the family's belongings out to the curb. They've been evicted. In this book, Matthew Desmond follows the stories of several Milwaukee inhabitants as they struggle to pay the rent. It's a gripping and compelling read, if bleak. I was particularly interested to read the note at the end about his methodology: he never uses the pronoun "I" in the book, but he's often the unseen observer at the scene. I would widely recommend this book; even though it's a few years old now, it still has lots to say about poverty and housing in America.
>52 foggidawn: Re: lots to say about poverty and housing in America
Society or perhaps, politicians?, generally has/have not addressed the realities of poorly-paid employment and other social ills. It is so devastating to know we (in North America) live in apparently affluent societies yet cannot provide decent living condiotons for an astonishingly high number of families.
I read This Side Up: The Road to a Renovated Life (Amy Mangan) awhile ago, a somewhat similar tale of lost housing and having to move under duress. It was an awful situation for the family. The author wrote with a great deal of courage, given that she and her family went from one disaster to the next with all the stress and desperation one would expect.
I enter into these narratives with too much emotion (sensibility?) and have not been reading these stories in recent times. I admire that you gave Evicted full attention. Your review even tempts me to look for the title myself.
>53 SandyAMcPherson: It was a timely, difficult read for me. I hear what you're saying about emotion and sensibility; I do the same. I'm currently seeking out comfort reads to compensate!
>54 foggidawn: The doctor is IN.
And recommends a Georgette Heyer, or perhaps a Ruth Galloway, if a mystery is more appealing!
(97 books read)
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley -- Beauty, youngest daughter of a merchant, takes her father's place as captive of a mysterious monster in an enchanted castle. (You all know the story.)
This may be my favorite book ever -- it's certainly always in the top three (along with The Blue Castle and Cyrano de Bergerac, if you were wondering). It's been a few years since I did a reread of this one, and I found myself entirely charmed, as if reading it for the first time. It's just so good. The characters, the dialogue, the descriptions... I cannot even tell you how many times I've read it since I discovered it as a battered paperback in the school library in seventh grade. It's my ultimate comfort read. For a fairy tale retelling, it's pretty straightforward -- it doesn't take the story in new directions, the way more modern retellings do (and don't get me wrong, I enjoy those, too). It just fleshes out the story so beautifully. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, highly recommended.
>60 foggidawn: So happy that re-reading that one holds up for you and it provided the comfort you needed. :D
>60 foggidawn: Love Beauty. Probably time for me to do a reread sometime soon, too.
(98 books read)
Awards for Good Boys: Tales of Dating, Double Standards, and Doom by Shelby Lorman -- Comics and essays exploring the ways in which (white, straight) boys get a pass in life for doing the absolute bare minimum.
Mehhh. It's just not my type of humor. If you really feel strongly about this, give it a try, it might be yours.
>60 foggidawn: I think I'll have to try that one. The title is common to one of Sheri S. Tepper's books, which does take the alternate path through the fairy tale wood for sure.
>67 quondame: I've heard of that one, but never gotten around to reading it.
Hey, I just noticed that touchstones now generate a pop-out with the book cover and some details. Pretty cool, LT!
>69 norabelle414: Ooh, let's go see if I want to even open that can of worms...
>70 foggidawn: I don't know what you mean. Some people think it's a cool new feature and other people think it's the downfall of civilization. Perfectly normal.
>71 norabelle414: Yeah, when I went to the thread it was pretty much as expected. I'm just a little wary of posting on site-related topics, as people get very, um, feisty sometimes.
>72 foggidawn: People on the site-related topics can be very hostile, especially toward 75ers and other people who primarily use LT socially and might not be aware of some of the other features of the site. I like to be there to stick up for them! People who use mostly LT mostly for Talk are not less legitimate users. But even I sometimes have to say my piece and then launch that thread into the sun, never to be opened again.
Chiming in to say that I've been silently following the site improvement threads, too, and man, they *can* get intense! Some people are a mystery to me...
Also, I love the pop-up book deets, too!
I should finish a book today, so hopefully more on that later! I'm a little -- not sad, but maybe disappointed? -- that my reading pace has slowed so much, but I'm pretty happy with most other aspects of my life right now, so I guess it's a trade-off. Still hoping to manage a double 75 by the end of the year. Maybe when the weather is not so nice and it gets dark earlier, I'll find more reading time. I also keep thinking I need to listen to audiobooks while I'm cooking, but I haven't gotten my act together on that one yet.
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