2020 Reads: January & February

January

  • An Ocean of Minutes, Thea Lim: Time travel + post catastrophe novel, A+ combination.
  • Here and Now and Then, Mike Chen: More time travel. Slightly predictable plus but really interesting concept driving it.
  • Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo: This is what might happen if you though frats were toxic, and set The Secret History at an Ivy League where all the students had gone to Hogwarts.
  • Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng (audiobook narrated by Cassandra Campbell): What happens when your parents can’t see who you really are.
  • Wanderers, Chuck Wending: This and Severance are what you should be reading right now if you’re into horror.

February

December 2019 in Books

I don’t feel like doing a big breakdown of 2019 books – but according to Goodreads I read 92 books and 31,000 pages.

December had a lot of time for reading:

November 2019 in Books

  • The Gone World, Tom Sweterlitsch: Crime procedural plus alternate timelines. Maybe a little too much going on, though.
  • All the Names They Used for God, Anjali Sachdeva: Short stories with an air of the fantastic.
  • Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz: A story-within-a-story murder novel.
  • Bowlaway, Elizabeth McCracken: Supposedly about a woman who runs a candlepin bowling alley in Massachusetts. Mostly about the men in her life.
  • Providence, Caroline Kepnes: Another one of those sci-fi stories where the sci-fi is beside the point – it’s about the people. Really enjoyed it.
  • The Time Traveler’s Almanac, Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer, eds.: A great (and huge) collection of short stories abotu time travel. Highly recommend if that’s your thing.

October 2019 in Books

Didn’t finish much this month thanks to a cold and some late nights.

  • A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, C.A. Fletcher: A post-apocalypse book that doesn’t really look much at all at the catastrophe. I really enjoyed the POV of this one.
  • The Testaments, Margaret Atwood: A glimpse into the inner workings of Gilead.
  • The Luminous Dead, Caitlin Starling: A sci-fi novel where the sci-fi part just is. Ultimately this is a psychological thriller about caving and extreme solitude.

If you only read one, it’s a tossup between A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World and The Luminous Dead.

The Month in Books: September 2019

    • Because Internet, Gretchen McColluch: So much fun! If you’ve ever wondered what emojis are all about, or if you’re interested to learn more about how the Internet is changing language, this in the book for you.
    • Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik: This takes some elements of Rumplestiltskin and makes an incredible story about them. What I especially loved was how the main character had so much more agency than the miller’s daughter in that fairy tale.
    • Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino: Tolentino is a wonderful essayist – these were all interesting to read and really compelling.
    • The Current, Tim Johnston: Another really compelling read – in this one, a terrible accident starts to unravel a crime from a decade ago.
    • White Tears, Hari Kunzru: Without getting into spoilers, there is a weird thing going on in this book and I kept waiting for it to get just the tiniest bit clearer and become a bit more interesting. I kept going, thinking that it would shift and I’d be more into it but it never happened.
    • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, Hallie Rubenhold: (Unfinished) This really wasn’t keeping my attention. I think if you’re interested in the lives of people of the era, it would be interesting. But I was looking for something brought the women’s stories more to the forefront, and this didn’t seem to be doing that.

If you only read one, look at the first four and pick the one that most speaks to you. Better yet, if you’re up for keeping two books on the go, pick one each of the fiction and nonfiction. That’s how I read most of these – nonfiction during the day, and fiction at night. Worked out beautifully.

 

August 2019 in Books

Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance (The Southern Reach Trilogy), Jeff VanderMeer: Less disorienting the second time through. Still weird though, and it held up on a re-read.

Paper Girls Vols. 2, 3, 4; Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson: Not sure why but I was less into these than the first volume.

Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents (Earthseed), Octavia Butler: My bookclub chose Parable of the Sower, and we had a good discussion of it. I don’t think I got anything new out of it on the re-read, but it did hold up. I re-read Parable of the Talents as well.

Record of a Spaceborn Few, Becky Chambers: I love this series. This one was a really interesting look at what a homeworld might be like if that homeworld was actually a ship, and you had to assume you’d never be able to resupply.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors, Sonali Dev: A wonderful take on Pride & Prejudice, using elements from it rather than a straight retelling.

What If This Were Enough?, Heather Havrilesky: This would be an excellent book club pick – lots to discuss in these essays.

Golden State, Ben H. Winters: Start picking at a little thread and the whole thing unravels. This was really great.

Bluebird, Bluebird, Attica Locke: Texas noir – really interesting characters and setting.

If you only read one. . . it’s hard to say which it should be. If you like mysteries and don’t mind a small element of sci-fi, Golden State. If you like reading about humans in space, Record of a Spaceborn Few. If you need a nonfiction palate cleanser, What If This Were Enough?

June 2019 in Books

French Exit, Patrick deWitt: Absurdist and dark, except not quite. Meh.

The Snow Gypsy, Lindsay Jayne Ashford: Would have been better with some cuts, I think.

Two Girls Down, Louisa Luna: Too much gratuitous male gaze. He knew he was doing it, but still. I’m here for the kickass female detective, not her supposed partner’s inability to get a grip.

Heads of the Colored People, Nafissa Thompson-Spires: A little surreal, lots going on – but lots to unpack. This was great and we had one of our best-ever book club discussions that night.

The Feather Thief, Kirk Wallace Johnson: Such a weird story! Maybe a little too heavy on the firehouse of facts approach at times, but a great little piece on the history of a niche of natural history.

Once Upon A River, Diane Setterfield: Eerie and meandering, but without tangents. It stuck with me a bit.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith: If your education in American lit skipped this, you should pick it up. Absolutely wonderful.

The Lost Man, Jane Harper: These books are so great. An incredibly isolated setting, but without the claustrophobic feeling you sometimes get from those. You don’t need to have read Harper’s others to read this, it’s a standalone novel.

If you only read one, make it The Lost Man.