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Curioussquared reads more in 2019: the sequel

This is a continuation of the topic Curioussquared reads more in 2019.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Aug 8, 4:06pm Top

Hello everyone! I'm Natalie. I have participated in the challenge a few times, but last year was my first one being more active.

I'm located in Seattle, where I do communications work for a consulting firm. I get a lot of reading done during my bus commute. Otherwise, I do most of my reading curled up on the couch with my retired racing greyhounds, Skeletor and Otter, or listening to audiobooks while doing chores and walking the dogs.

I read mostly fiction, with a heavy emphasis on YA, along with some fantasy, general fiction/literature, and the occasional non-fiction title. I've been keeping track of my books read since 2008, and I usually aim for 100. Last year I hit an all-time high of 136, smashing my previous record by 21 books!

This year, I'm aiming for 115. A second goal I'd like to achieve is reading at least 50 books off of my own shelves. I pulled off 40 last year at the last second -- I think I can squeeze in 10 more.

Above are Skelly and Otter in a rare moment of dog peace :)

Edited: Aug 8, 4:20pm Top

Books read in 2019:

1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
2. Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim
3. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin (re-read)
4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (off my shelf)
5. The Bartered Brides by Mercedes Lackey
6. The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
7. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (off my shelf)
8. For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
9. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (off my shelf)

10. March: Book 2 by John Lewis (off my shelf)
11. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (off my shelf)
12. March: Book 3 by John Lewis (off my shelf)
13. The Family Trade by Charles Stross (off my shelf)
14. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
15. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
16. The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
17. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
18. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
19. Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
20. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
21. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
22. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
23. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
24. World War Z by Max Brooks
25. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
26. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
27. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
28. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
29. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
30. Legend by Marie Lu
31. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
32. Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
33. Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

34. The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin (off my shelf)
35. Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
36. Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
37. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
38. Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman
39. Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst
40. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
41. Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
42. Becoming by Michelle Obama
43. Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
44. The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson (off my shelf)
45. The Bean trees by Barbara Kingsolver (off my shelf)
46. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (off my shelf)

Edited: Aug 8, 4:23pm Top

Books read in 2019:

47. Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane (off my shelf)
48. The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron (re-read)
49. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
50. The Seven Songs of Merlin by T.A. Barron
51. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
52. Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman
53. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

54. All Systems Red by Martha Wells
55. The True Queen by Zen Cho
56. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
57. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
58. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
59. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
60. The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston
61. A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro
62. What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
63. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
64. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
65. Transparent Things by Vladimir Nabokov (off my shelf)
66. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Daj Sijie (off my shelf)
67. Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz (off my shelf)

68. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson (off my shelf)
69. A Separate Peace by John Knowles (off my shelf)
70. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
71. Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery (off my shelf)
72. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
73. Educated by Tara Westover
74. Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
75. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (off my shelf)
76. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
77. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (off my shelf)

Edited: Oct 2, 1:12pm Top

Books read in 2019:

78. Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (off my shelf)
79. Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George
80. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
81. What-the-Dickens by Gregory Maguire (off my shelf)
82. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (off my shelf)
83. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (off my shelf)
84. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin (off my shelf)
85. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
86. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

87. The RBG Workout by Bryant Johnson (off my shelf)
88. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver (off my shelf)
89. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (off my shelf)
90. An Earthly Knight by Janet McNaughton (off my shelf)
91. Mercy by Jodi Picoult (off my shelf)
92. Lumberjanes 7: A Bird's Eye View by Shannon Waters and others
93. An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
94. Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (re-read)
95. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (off my shelf)
96. Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey
97. The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

98. Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (off my shelf)
99. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
100. Eliza and Her Monsters by Franchesca Zappia (re-read)
101. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (re-read)
102. Mad Ship by Robin Hobb (off my shelf)
103. The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

Edited: Oct 13, 11:16pm Top

Books read in 2019:

104. Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
105. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
106. Howards End by E.M. Forster



Aug 8, 4:12pm Top

89 books read: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

When their mother goes away on a trip, the children's father has a long list of things to do to keep the household running. When there's no milk one morning for cereal, the father steps out to the corner shop to get some -- but it takes him AGES. When he finally gets back, he explains why it took so long -- starting with the aliens invading the planet and the time machine.

This was a cute illustrated story, and I'm always up for some Gaiman, but it's definitely not my favorite of his works. Not sure why -- I just wasn't grabbed. 3 stars.

Aug 8, 4:24pm Top

Happy new thread, Natalie!

Aug 8, 4:46pm Top

>7 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

Aug 8, 5:28pm Top

90 books read: An Earthly Knight by Janet McNaughton

In this retelling of Tam Lin, 16-year old Lady Jeannette of Avenell is working on assuming the position of lady of the house after her older sister is disgraced and bound for the convent. When news comes that young Tam Lin, rumored to have been abducted by fairies, has returned to old Carter Hall on her father's lands, Jenny finds herself drawn to the strange young man despite her father's orders to stay away.

This retelling felt very... pedestrian. The author is a historian and there are some interesting daily life details thrown in, but otherwise, this is an almost boring prose version of the ballad. It's not badly written, and there's nothing truly offensive, it's just not that great. None of the charm of the Pamela Dean version, not to mention Winter Rose or Fire and Hemlock. But hey, it's off my shelf now, and will fill a square in the Summer Book Bingo card I'm completing for my library. 3 stars.

Aug 8, 5:28pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 8, 7:40pm Top

Happy New Thread! Great photo of the boys.

>9 curioussquared: I think I'll skip this one--I've enjoyed the other three you've mentioned but, if you haven't read it, The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope is another GREAT retelling!

Aug 8, 7:42pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 8, 7:58pm Top

>11 ronincats: Yes, I knew I was missing one! Loved The Perilous Gard. I've been meaning to read The Sherwood Ring for ages, too, but neither of my libraries has it and I haven't seen a used copy anywhere so it's been on the bottom of the list.

Aug 9, 7:48am Top

Happy new thread, Nathalie, it is always nice to see a picture of Skelly and Otter :-)
With 90 books read you are well on your way to your goal this year!

Aug 10, 9:33am Top

>11 ronincats: Beat me to it. Love The Perilous Gard.

>13 curioussquared: The Sherwood Ring also is rad, but it's very different from Perilous.

I've been meaning to read Pamela Dean's Tam Lin retelling for ages.

Aug 10, 7:18pm Top

>16 libraryperilous: Dean's Tam Lin is SO. GOOD. I'm tempted to reread it now.... working on alphabetizing my books right now and if I see it, I don't know that I'll be able to resist picking it up!

Aug 10, 9:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Natalie.

Aug 11, 1:19am Top

>15 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! I'm tentatively hoping I'll reach 150 for the first time this year, but don't want to jinx it especially with my busy season at work coming up.

>18 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

Aug 12, 5:50am Top

Happy new thread Natalie!

>1 curioussquared: Oh, they're so cute!

Aug 12, 8:54am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 12, 1:01pm Top

>20 humouress: Thanks, Nina! My heart melted a little bit at the nose touching :)

>21 foggidawn: Thanks, Foggi!

Aug 12, 6:47pm Top

>17 curioussquared: Haha, the temptation! I may have to add it to my next library TBR list and borrow it.

Aug 13, 12:19pm Top

>23 libraryperilous: I totally picked it up and am halfway through now. Oops. I had been so good about resisting rereads!

Aug 13, 12:38pm Top

>24 curioussquared: Ha! Oopsie. About 1/3 of the books I've read this year have been rereads. It's one of my favorite parts of reading. It definitely can inspire stress, though, especially if one looks at the pile of never-read-the-first-time-yet books on the shelf.

Aug 13, 1:37pm Top

>24 curioussquared: >25 libraryperilous: I've been having the opposite guilt. I've been so good about reading things off my to read list (which is all new to me reads), I've been feeling guilty about not touching all the books on my shelf that I've bought precisely because I want to re-read them.

Aug 13, 1:38pm Top

>25 libraryperilous: Oh, I'm totally with you -- I love a good reread. But I'm participating in the ROOT challenge this year and I'm behind schedule for achieving my goal of 50 off my shelf for the year!

Aug 13, 1:39pm Top

>26 MickyFine: Lol! I'm impressed. I'm sure you'll get to the rereads when the time is right :)

Aug 13, 1:49pm Top

91 books read: Mercy by Jodi Picoult

A small town in Massachusetts is shocked when the police chief's cousin drives up and announces that he has smothered his wife, who is lying, as if she could be sleeping, in the passenger seat. It turns out that this man, Jamie MacDonald, has killed his wife because she asked him to: dying of cancer, in lots of pain and with a diminished life, Maggie MacDonald wanted control over when and how she died. In the lead-up to Jamie's trial, the town is split over his guilt, right down to police chief Cam and his wife, Allie. And then, Cam and Allie are split by more than their opinions of Jamie when a woman name Mia comes to town and unwittingly infiltrates their lives and their marriage.

When I was in high school, my friends and I all read the same battered copy of My Sister's Keeper, and that inspired a short-lived love of Jodi Picoult in the group. I think a friend gave me this book for my birthday around that time; not sure how else it would have ended up on my shelf as this is totally not my kind of thing. The central issue of euthanasia/assisted death is an interesting one, but it's all wrapped up in mediocre women's fiction. Still, I finished it and it's off my shelf now. 2.5 stars.

Aug 13, 7:32pm Top

>26 MickyFine: Oh, haha. I keep buying and borrowing books from my TBR list and then rereading favorites. Good on you for making the opposite kind of progress!

I'm trying to do better at only buying books if I like them well enough to reread them. But my mom keeps sending me random money for books ...

>27 curioussquared: I feel your pain. I've read exactly 25% of one book from the TBR jar my dad kindly helped me make. And five more books arrived from Book Depository today.

I feel like the Mayor of Failure.

Aug 17, 5:01pm Top

>30 libraryperilous: Lol, what else is one to do when one's mother sends money for books? And that comic is absolutely me...

>31 humouress: I think we're doing pretty well if these are our issues :D

Aug 17, 5:07pm Top

>31 humouress:, >32 curioussquared: Ha! Thank goodness none of us is in the dire straits Burgess Meredith's character finds himself in that horrifying Twilight Zone episode. ;)

>32 curioussquared: ikr? My book addiction is all her fault, lol.

Aug 17, 5:20pm Top

92 books read: Lumberjanes: A Bird's Eye View by Shannon Watters and others

Pure fun! What better way to fill in the "Comics" square on my Library book bingo?

Edited: Aug 18, 2:07am Top

>33 libraryperilous: Do I want to know what happened in that episode?

>22 curioussquared: Heart-melting totally justified.

Aug 18, 12:28pm Top

>35 humouress: Probably not. It's quite sad, actually. I find a lot of The Twilight Zone sad, although I know most people focus on the irony.

Aug 18, 5:24pm Top

93 books read: An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

When the mayor's brother discovers that the public baths their town has built its reputation on are contaminated, he finds himself fighting to get the truth out, against his brother and soon against the rest of the town.

I always like Ibsen, and this was no exception. I listened to a fun version of this through my library that felt like a radio drama. 4.5 stars.

Aug 18, 5:52pm Top

94 books read: Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

Janet Carter thinks she knows what to expect from Blackstock College -- after all, her father is a professor of English there. And at first, it's everything she imagined -- she loves her classes, is great friends with one of her roommates, Molly, and tolerates the other, Christina, and she finds a boyfriend, Nick, who can quote even more Shakespeare as she can. But there's something strange going on at Blackstock, and it seems to mostly come from the slightly intimidating Classics department, to which Nick and his friends Rob, Robin, Kit, and Thomas belong.

A satisfying re-read. I first read this first in high school and I think it really built up my impression of what college would be like -- many things were different, obviously, but going to school in small town Wisconsin felt pretty similar in some ways to Blackstock, which is based on Carleton College in Minnesota. As much as it's a Tam Lin retelling, I think this book is also an ode to getting an English major, and as usual, I took away a TBR list of referenced works. (How did Janet read so much that I DIDN'T read while getting my major? I didn't take any American lit classes, either!)

Aug 18, 11:37pm Top

>38 curioussquared: Aarrgh! FIGHTING not to get caught up in another reread (I've been going nuts on them for the last month!)...

Aug 19, 9:01am Top

>38 curioussquared: Somehow I missed that one -- I'd better put it on my list immediately!

Aug 19, 12:10pm Top

>39 ronincats: But it's soooo good, Roni... I am a bad influence :)

>40 foggidawn: Ooh, I hope you love it!

Aug 20, 12:38pm Top

95 books read: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The classic story of revenge -- Edmond Dantes manages to escape after being wrongfully imprisoned for 14 years, and he makes sure everyone responsible gets their just deserts.

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to read this. I think it was a pick for our book club in October... of 2017. So I made it around the 2 year mark, lol. Honestly, it didn't take me that long to read in total -- I just got super bogged down during the part in Italy with Franz and Albert. A really rewarding read in the end, though. 4.5 stars.

Aug 26, 1:00am Top

96 books read: Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey

In this second book in the Family Spies series, we return to Valdemar and to Haven specifically to follow another one of Herald Mags' children, Abidela, as she learns she has a gift and learns to put it to good use.

Rather formulaic and uninspired, like the rest of Lackey's recent Valdemar books, but it had some fun parts and was just the kind of comfort read I needed this past week while work has been insane. 3 stars.

Edited: Aug 26, 1:23am Top

>43 curioussquared: I quite liked Mags but I think the Collegium series could have been two or three books shorter.

ETA: I took Jasper for a walk this morning and we met a few dogs on the way home. One pair seemed to be weimaraner mixes and seemed a bit nervous when Jasper went up to make friends (although he was tired so he wasn't his usual over-exuberant self). Then we met some dogs in the park - an elderly spaniel, a small Yorkie-looking dog who had a lot to say for himself and a six year old golden retriever. The funny thing was that the retriever (who was so much paler than Jasper that he made him look quite tanned) was quite playful and kept startling Jasper. Now he knows what effect he has on other dogs! He's usually so enthusiastic about making friends that he ends up scaring them.

Aug 26, 2:13am Top

>44 humouress: I liked Mags fine at first, but was pretty done with him by the end of the original 4-5 book series. Then there was the whole Closer to... trilogy, and now these follow-ups about his kids. I'm just ready to move on, lol. Not finding him (or his various extended family members) super interesting anymore.

I think Lackey in the past has been pretty good about jumping around to different characters and time periods within the Valdemar timeline, or at least focusing on different characters/worldviews within a specific time period, and I've been missing that variety with these past 8+ books.

Love picturing Jasper meeting all the dogs! Skelly and Otter are quite well behaved on leash EXCEPT when there's another dog they want to go see. They're fine if we're somewhere crowded with lots of people or dogs; just sometimes on our neighborhood walks we'll see one person with one dog across the street and that is apparently way too exciting. The problem is that Otter will get really excited and start hopping around. Then, Skelly takes that as his cue to also get really excited and start wrestle playing WITH Otter, while they're both on leash and I'm holding on to ~150 pounds of dog for dear life. I'm sure some people in the neighborhood have seen me and just laughed. When they do get to meet dogs, they're the same way as Jasper -- they can come on way too strong!

Aug 27, 11:58am Top

>42 curioussquared: I loved Count until the May-December romance. Agree that it's a fabulous tale of revenge. I favor Dumas' Musketeers novels, but he was just such a cool writer all around.

Aug 29, 12:52pm Top

>46 libraryperilous: Yes, I didn't love that aspect of it. It also just seemed totally stuck in there at the end. Still satisfying overall!

Aug 29, 1:25pm Top

Lately I'm behind on everything (reading, TV, life in general) except work, where I'm also behind but only because it's so absurdly busy. Hoping to finish my current read (The Obelisk Gate) this weekend and also pick up a copy of Pumpkinheads on Friday :) I'll probably have to work some over the long weekend, but going to try hard not to do too much.

Aug 29, 3:07pm Top

>48 curioussquared: I have Pumpkinheads waiting -- I'm trying to finish a book that I owe a review on, so Pumpkinheads is going to be my 'treat' after I finish that.

Aug 29, 5:18pm Top

>49 foggidawn: It's going to be my treat after this hellish work week :D and then Wayward Son comes out next month, too! So much Rainbow Rowell in my future.

Aug 29, 6:19pm Top

>48 curioussquared: I just picked up my hold on Pumpkinheads. The artwork is fab! I hope you enjoy your treat.

Aug 29, 9:44pm Top

>51 libraryperilous: Sounds like a lot of us will be reading Rainbow Rowell this weekend :)

Aug 30, 8:24am Top

>52 curioussquared: You got that right!

Aug 31, 2:28pm Top

Got my copy of Pumpkinheads! I didn't even realized it was signed by the author and illustrator until I got home and started flipping through it. Such a nice touch!

The bookstore also had a used copy of Uprooted in great condition, so I snagged it to add to my physical collection :) I already own it on Kindle, but I couldn't resist.

Sep 3, 12:44pm Top

>54 curioussquared: Ooh, signed copy of a Rainbow Rowell. That's very exciting!

Sep 3, 1:04pm Top

97 books read: The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

In this second book in the trilogy, we continue to follow Essun as the season gets more dire -- and we learn what happened to her missing daughter, Nassun.

This doesn't suffer from middle book syndrome at all -- I raced through it in spare moments on bus rides and before bed. Excited for my hold on book 3 to come in :)

Sep 3, 1:15pm Top

98 books read: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

In this cute graphic novel, seasonal friends Deja and Josiah spend their last night at their pumpkin patch job tracking down the girl Josiah has had a crush on for years -- as well as eating all the food they never got to try while they were working.

This was a little underwhelming plot-wise, but super cute nonetheless. Plus, it made me super excited for Fall!

Sep 5, 7:16pm Top

I'm thinking I might start an alphabet challenge and aim to read a book starting with each letter of the alphabet from my unread books. Maybe by the end of the year? That will help me reach my ROOT goal, too.

I checked and I have options for all letters except X and Z, so those will have to be freebies :)

I think I won't make myself read them in order, but I do happen to be reading an A book off my shelf right now, so Akata Warrior will probably be my first challenge contribution.

Sep 6, 1:38pm Top

Sounds like an excellent challenge to wrap up the year. :)

Sep 8, 1:14pm Top

>59 MickyFine: I hope so! Hopefully I'm not being too ambitious :)

Sep 8, 1:26pm Top

99 books read: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Maia's three brothers have been killed or crippled in war, and her father, a tailor, hasn't had his old skill with the needle since her mother died and he turned to drink. When the emperor summons her father or one of his sons to compete for the honor of imperial tailor, Maia throws caution to the wind, cuts her hair and packs her supplies, and leaves for the imperial palace disguised as her brother Keton. She knows she's a good enough tailor to win the title -- but can her disguise last long enough, and is she ready for the imperial intrigue? Plus, the emperor's lord enchanter seems to have taken a special interest in her...

This book was sold to me as "Mulan meets Project Runway" and I was instantly intrigued. And for the first third of the book, it lives up to that description, and I really enjoyed it up to that point. I really, really wanted to like this book, and I did really like aspects of it, but I had a lot of problems with Maia as a character. She super passive -- the whole plot seems set up so that she never has to have any agency or make any decisions, just follow what people tell her to do (even if she does it poorly) and things will work out. There's a lot of sloppy writing, too; sometimes I would reread a paragraph to figure out how exactly Maia managed to do what she just did and it just wasn't explained. 3 stars; great concept, less great execution.

Sep 8, 3:00pm Top

>58 curioussquared: Love the idea of an alphabet challenge. Maybe you could use a random number generator to pick the next letter? That might make it feel more serendipitous and less like a task.

Sorry to hear that Spin the Dawn was pedestrian. I was attracted to the pretty cover, but the story itself sounded a little too YA for me. (I prefer middle grade.)

Sep 16, 7:08pm Top

>62 libraryperilous: I feel like I get frustrated with challenges when I feel penned in, so I'll probably give myself free rein in terms of the order I read in. But agree with the aim to make it feel less like a task!

I'm starting to get frustrated with a lot of YA fantasies, and I agree that middle grade can be safer, but then there are always some that make it worth sifting through the less interesting ones. Recent examples of those for me include Alwyn Hamilton's series starting with Rebel of the Sands, the Strange the Dreamer books by Laini Taylor, Nnedi Okorafor's Akata Witch (currently working on the sequel!), Heidi Heilig's The Girl from Everywhere books, and Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (I think there's a sequel out, but I haven't gotten to it yet).

Sep 16, 7:11pm Top

Ugh, work is insane enough that I haven't read practically anything. I basically am working every waking hour during the week, and then I collapse over the weekend and my brain can't even handle reading books -- too much effort. The only thing I've made progress in is my audiobook while I walk the dogs, but it's a longer one than I normally listen to at 34 hours so it's taking forever to get through! Plus, Tim has been doing more dog walking to help me out while I'm so busy, so even listening has slowed down.

Fingers crossed it'll calm down soon, but I'm not realistically expecting it to until mid-October at the earliest.

Sep 19, 1:28pm Top

I finished a book! Turns out I just needed a good re-read.

100 books read: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Nobody knows that unpopular, quiet, friendless high school senior Eliza Mirk is the creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. When a new kid, Wallace, transfers midway through senior year and it turns out he's a huge fan and the most popular fanfiction writer in the fandom, he and Eliza embark on a tenuous friendship -- but no matter how close they get, Eliza still can't bring herself to tell Wallace that she's not just another fan, but the creator of the whole comic.

I first read this a couple years ago, and it totally captivated me. I love Eliza and her world and Zappia's exploration of her struggle with anxiety is totally heartbreaking. I sobbed last time, I sobbed this time. So good, highly recommended -- this is definitely a new all-time favorite. 5 stars.

Sep 20, 10:37am Top

Sorry to hear about the life craziness but glad to hear the re-read hit the spot.

Sep 20, 1:38pm Top

>66 MickyFine: Thanks! I just learned that there's a Half Price Books warehouse sale AND a library sale happening near me this weekend, so I think I'm going to practice some radical self-care by doing some radical book shopping :)

Sep 20, 5:26pm Top

Sep 23, 3:09pm Top

>67 curioussquared: Ooh, hope you had a good book haul! Thanks for the YA recs in >63 curioussquared:, and I'm glad you've found some gems. It's so hard to keep up with the titles and trends in any genre. I feel like YA moves extra fast, probably because teenagers' attention spans are, well, teenage.

Hope work calms down sooner rather than later and you manage some reading time.

Sep 24, 12:25am Top

>69 libraryperilous: Agreed! I don't remember where I found it originally, but I enjoy checking the Forever Young Adult website every once in a while. It's a site that reviews/collects young adult content and news from an adult perspective. I've had pretty good success using their reviews as a litmus for whether or not I'll like a new YA book -- I don't like everything they choose to review, but they often highlight interesting new books I don't think I'd come across otherwise.

I'll post about my book haul at some point. I only made it to one of the sales, but it was a nice break!

Sep 25, 9:44am Top

>70 curioussquared: Oh, that looks like a fun, cool website. It's great that you've found a good resource for trusty reviews. There are a couple of UK-based Goodreads users who get ARCs of upcoming UK middle grade titles. I check their Goodreads accounts every few weeks for recs. UK middle grade is sooooooo good.

Sep 27, 2:04pm Top

I've read a few more things. Progress!

101 books read: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Another comfort reread. Always love some Rowell! I need to pick up my copy of Wayward Son, soon.

Sep 27, 2:15pm Top

102 books read: Mad Ship by Robin Hobb

Book two in the Liveship Traders trilogy. Set directly after the events of book 1, Mad Ship follows several storylines, most of them somehow intertwined with the fate of the Vestrit trader family.

I read book one several years ago, so it was a little difficult to orient myself in this one, but listening on audio helped in this case, I think. At 34 hours, this one is a chunker and definitely longer than my normal listening fare. Took me a lot of dog walks to get through! I don't think I was fully invested until maybe 7-10 hours in, but now I'm involved and planning to listen to the final book too. 3.5 stars.

Sep 28, 1:31pm Top

>73 curioussquared: I've heard great things about this trilogy, and I'm super interested in the liveship concept, but I worry that Hobb might be too grim for me.

I hope you enjoy the final installment!

>57 curioussquared: I finally read Pumpkinheads. I adored it, although I was a bit bummed that their friendship didn't stay platonic. I think it's good for people to see platonic opposite sex relationships in pop culture.. But the fall setting, and all the county fair-type food, and their banter! It was charming, and I loved that there was a map.

Sep 29, 1:45pm Top

>74 libraryperilous: She is definitely the kind of author who likes to torture her characters a little -- just when you think something's going to work out, she'll throw another curveball at them. That said, I don't think I'd describe her books as "grim" necessarily. I'd recommend starting with the trilogy with Fitz starting with Assassin's Apprentice, but a little guardedly, as I don't think I've read the series since high school. I never got through the Liveship books as a teen -- they might have been too political for my tastes at that point.

So glad you liked Pumpkinheads! Agree with your complaint, and also agree with everything you liked about it. I also adored the maps! I'm looking forward to picking up Wayward Son at some point once work calms down a little, although I didn't love Carry On quite as much as her other books. I'm looking forward to when she next decides to write a cute contemporary romance, YA or not :)

Sep 29, 2:20pm Top

>75 curioussquared: Ditto about Carry On and Rowell's writing -- her contemporary romances are the best.

Sep 30, 2:30pm Top

>75 curioussquared: I read one of her sci-fi novels, Alien Earth, and its politics struck me as very libertarian. Small sample size, but I remember being annoyed. I'll give the Fitz trilogy a go. Thanks for the rec!

I hope you enjoy Wayward Son.

Oct 5, 3:58pm Top

>77 libraryperilous: Thanks! Hoping to hit the bookstore today or tomorrow to pick up Wayward Son and The Secret Commonwealth. I need a break from working 24/7.

Also, Rainbow Rowell dropped the big news on her social media this week that there will be a third Carry On novel! It'll be called Any Way the Wind Blows and is reportedly "coming soon," whatever that means! I'm excited even though I haven't even made it to Wayward Son yet.

Oct 5, 4:03pm Top

103 books read: The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

In this satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, Essun and Nassun's storylines finally meet and intertwine as they both try to harness the power of the obelisk gate.

I enjoyed this final novel in the Broken Earth trilogy, even though it took me a while to get through due to crazy work and a really bad cold. I read the first novel in Jemisin's other series a while ago and wasn't super drawn in, but these books are encouraging me to give them another try. Someday! 4.5 stars.

Edited: Oct 5, 4:08pm Top

104 books read: Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov

Three sisters living in a provincial town are dissatisfied with their lives and dream of returning to Moscow, their childhood home, where they are sure everything will be better.

This is my first Chekhov, I think. I enjoyed it -- it had a similar feel as Ibsen to me. I'm currently reading Howards End and am interested to see similar themes in these two works -- both have modern young women espousing the value and importance of work, especially for women. I'll develop my thoughts on that later :) They were published about 10 years apart, so...

Oct 5, 4:13pm Top

105 books read: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

When her mother, siblings, and father all leave, young Kya is left to fend for herself. As she ekes out a life, the townspeople start to know her as the Marsh Girl, a wild creature who avoids human confrontation. But there are some who are drawn to Kya. Tate is gentle -- he teaches her to read, and admires her quiet strength in solitude. Others... are not so nice, and eventually, Kya, whose only wish is to live alone and be left alone, finds herself accused of a horrible crime.

Read for my work book club. Not the best book I've ever read -- there were a lot of places where I was jolted out of the story by some awkward writing or a description that just got way too fluffy. But the story is pretty powerful and compelling, and I raced through it. 4 stars.

Edited: Oct 5, 4:14pm Top

I was hoping to hit 150 books for the first time this year. It's looking unlikely now, but I can still hope. Just gotta keep on reading ;)

Edited: Oct 7, 12:13pm Top

I went to pick up Wayward Son and The Secret Commonwealth at my favorite bookstore today... and accidentally came home with six other books, too. Oops! It was my birthday on Tuesday, so I'm calling it happy birthday to me.

The other books are: Angel Mage, The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe, The Intuitionist, Sing, Unburied, Sing, Pachinko, and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. Aside from Angel Mage, which I just hadn't realized was out yet, the rest were good condition used or remaindered copies so they felt like good finds.

Oct 6, 10:21pm Top

>82 curioussquared: I am on my worst reading year ever. Last year was the first time as an adult I didn't manage 100 books and this year I am only at 54 with less than three months remaining.
My target is still 120 books and I won't give up until it is physically impossible. Hopefully RL gets out the way and lets me get on with reading.

Oct 7, 10:34am Top

>83 curioussquared: Happy belated birthday! Sounds like a cool haul. My birthday is later this fall. My parents usually give me money for books, so I have a list of titles. It will be a fun puzzle to see how many I can afford to buy.

>84 PaulCranswick: I hope things settle down for you soon, Paul. Who needs real life when you can live many lives through books?

Oct 7, 12:16pm Top

>84 PaulCranswick: I totally feel you right now, Paul. Real life has been so busy that I'm only getting any reading done on the bus when I go into the office (which is only 1-2 days a week; otherwise I'm working from home) or via audiobook while walking the dogs. There's so much reading to do -- everything else needs to calm down!

>85 libraryperilous: Thanks! Nobody gave me books this year (my family are not big readers and they figure anything they buy me I'm likely to already have read) so I had to rectify that.

Oct 7, 12:58pm Top

>74 libraryperilous: You might want to have a look at the group read of the Realm of the Elderlings series and see if you like the comments on the first trilogy.

Oct 9, 1:39am Top

Finally getting around to posting my haul from the Half Price Books warehouse sale I went to a few weeks ago! I think I must have been in a comfort read mood as I bought a lot of old favorites I happened to not own. The sale also had a really good selection of YA and only an OK selection of other fiction, which might have had something to do with it.

In no particular order:

Fire by Kristin Cashore (read)
The Beggar Queen by Lloyd Alexander (unread)
The Kestrel by Lloyd Alexander (unread)
Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian (read)
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry (unread)
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (unread)
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (unread)
(A really pretty old edition of) Heidi by Johanna Spyri (read)
Seven Day Magic by Edward Eager (honestly, unsure if I read this one years ago or not!)
Knight's Castle by Edward Eager (same with this one)
The Time Garden by Edward Eager (and this one)
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson (unread)
The Legend of Luke by Brian Jacques (read)
The Long Patrol by Brian Jacques (read)
Loamhedge by Brian Jacques (this was right around when I stopped reading the new releases, so not 100% sure if I read it)
Pearls of Lutra by Brian Jacques (read)
Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp aka JK Rowling (read and own already, but this was a nice hardcover)
My True Love Gave to Me by many (unread)
Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine (another one where I may have read it in elementary school, but I just can't remember)

Oct 9, 9:32am Top

Oct 9, 10:47am Top

>87 humouress: Thanks for the tip! I'll check out the group read's comments.

>88 curioussquared: Nice! I enjoyed several of the stories in My True Love Gave to Me. I read them as a Twelve Days of Christmas project a couple of years ago, one per day.

Oct 9, 12:44pm Top

>89 norabelle414: Thanks!! Now, if only I can find some time to read...

>90 libraryperilous: Ooh, good to know! The copy I found was a like-new condition hardcover and the holidays are coming up, so I was sold when I saw it.

Oct 9, 2:52pm Top

I just realized I also totally forgot to post about the books I picked up on a trip with my family to a small town in WA state, at my favorite little used book store: The Annotated Pride and Prejudice, Cabbages and Kings, Pigs in Heaven, and Tales of the City.

I'm pretty sure the last month of book shopping has totally wiped out all of my ROOT reading for the year. Oops.

Oct 9, 7:25pm Top

It's been a while since I posted some wholesome dog content.

Here's Skelly and Otter in their matching sweatshirts (I giggle every time)

And here they are on the office couch, where they spend most of their time while I work from home. In this pic, Skelly had already taken most of the couch and Otter squeezed himself into the little half cushion that was left.

And finally, here's Otter modeling his Batman PJs (on a throne of blankets and pillows)

Oct 10, 9:59am Top

Lovely pictures of Skelly and Otter, thanks for sharing!

Oct 10, 11:39am Top

>93 curioussquared: Awww. Such good dogs. :)

Oct 10, 11:40am Top

Love the pictures of the boys!!!

Oct 11, 10:25am Top

Love Otter's pillow. Is it a Moby-Dick theme, or just generally nautical?

Oct 11, 11:26am Top

Thanks all!

>97 libraryperilous: It's in the style of an old map with compass and ship. From Ikea, surprisingly!

Oct 13, 11:15pm Top

106 books read: Howards End by E. M. Forster

When Margaret and Helen Schlegel meet the Wilcox family while touring Germany, their lives become entangled with the other family and the family's estate, Howards End.

I loved this! I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Easy to read, it felt very modern, and I loved Margaret and Helen and their conversations and lifestyles. 5 stars.

Oct 17, 11:17pm Top

107 books read: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Isobel is a masterful portrait artist often sought out by folk of the fairy courts to paint their images. For while the fairies are beautiful, they are unable to practice any form of human craft or skill, whether it's painting, cooking, sewing, sword fighting... the list goes on. One day, Isobel learns that the fairy prince of the Autumn court, not seen in human lands for centuries, will come to seek a portrait from her -- and once she meets him, her life will never be the same.

I really enjoyed this fantasy! It felt at once very fresh but also in some of the best fantasy traditions. This is a fairy court I haven't read about before, and it was really refreshing. 4.5 stars.

Oct 18, 12:07pm Top

>100 curioussquared: Oh, this sounds delicious and perfect for a fall reading. Does it have a closed ending?

>99 curioussquared: I love Forster. Arctic Summer is one of my very favorite novels. Side note: One of my literary pet peeves—along with people thinking Darcy's first proposal is romantic—is the misuse of Forster's "Only connect." Weird the snobby hills book people die on. :)

Oct 18, 1:13pm Top

>101 libraryperilous: Yes, it has a closed ending which was one reason I was so excited about it! I have her second standalone, Sorcery of Thorns, checked out from the library now and I'm excited to dive in. Just as a note, it definitely has a YA feel to it, but I thought it was well done.

Lol, I totally get snobby book people hills. I read A Passage to India in college and didn't like it too much so I was surprised by how much I loved Howards End. Time to watch the miniseries now!

Oct 18, 2:10pm Top

I finally tried to start Wayward Son, but realized a few pages in that I do NOT remember anything about Carry On. So I guess I'll have to reread it -- oh no!! ;)

Oct 18, 2:58pm Top

>103 curioussquared: That's what I'm afraid of! I read Carry On, but I don't think I liked it enough to want to reread it, so I'm squelching my curiosity about Wayward Son.

Oct 18, 10:01pm Top

Aaaargh, book bullet!! The library has 4 of 8 available in the system so I've ordered to go along with the other 13 holds...

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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