This is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles.
Genre: YA science fiction
Length: 550 pages
Setting: orbiting Earth, Africa and China, immediately after the events of Scarlet
Summary: Short version: With the help of Cress, Cinder stops the wedding between Kai and Levana Continue reading
It’s the start of a new year, so how about some new books to add to my reading list.
Let’s start with a graphic novel. A GeekDad stack overflow post about books that help you deal with sensitive issues gave me They Called Us Enemy by George Takei. It’s a memoir about his family’s experience in a U.S. Japanese internment camp during WWII. It’s not a part of history that often gets covered, so it will fill in a bit of history.
The next two books came as recommendations from a Pop Culture Happy Hour book podcast. First off was Agent Running in the Field by John le Carre. I’m in the mood for a spy thriller and it was talked about so glowingly. Besides, I’m up for my five year revisit of John le Carre. The second book is Gideon the Ninth by Tamsin Muir. It was described as lesbian necromancers in space – what’s not to love. Its the first book in a series, so I can add others if I enjoy the first book.
I got the next recommendation from a postcard exchange on Postcrossing. I had expressed my love of visiting National Parks, so they recommended I check out the Dear Bob and Sue by Matt and Karen Smith. It’s an epistolary book full of Matt and Karen’s humorous observations about the National Parks as they try to visit all the National Parks.
Finally (at least for today’s post), I’m adding The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood. This is a book about the first quintuplets that survived birth. One of my podcasts covered their story briefly, and it is a fascinating one, although not particularly nice for the quints themselves. A friend recommended the book because she read it at book club.
And those are the books I’m adding to my reading list today. Anything look good?
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I was looking for a U author to fill a category in my 2019 Alphabet Challenge. I didn’t finish before the year ended, so I get to start the year with a tricky author letter. I picked this one because it was set in Belgium, which also got me a new country setting.
Published: 2007 in Belgium, 2009 in the U.S.
Length: 254 pages
Setting: Belgium, early 2000s, and flashbacks to Nigeria and Sudan
Summary: Short version: The lives of four African women who became Belgian prostitutes Continue reading
I’m slowly making my way through the short stories in this collection.
Published: 2018 in the UK, 2019 in the US
“The Woman Who Forgot Her Name”
Length: 11 pages
Setting: a restaurant
Short summary: A woman tries to recall her identity by sitting with strangers at a restaurant
“The Woman Who Had a Ticking Clock”
Length: 8 pages
Setting: a modern city
Short summary: The ticking of a woman’s biological clock’s drives her day-to-day interactions
“The Woman Who Sowed Seeds of Doubt”
Length: 11 pages
Setting: Prairie Rock, a commune
Short summary: A woman doesn’t know what to do with herself when her parents die Continue reading
In addition to reviewing the number of books I read, I also like to look at the books I highly enjoyed, and those I didn’t finish. I’ll look at my favorites first.If you click on a link, it will take you to my original review.
There were several series that were excellent all the way through including. I highly enjoyed the entire Black Jewels trilogy, consisting of Daughter of the Blood, Heir to Shadows, and Queen of Darkness. I loved the middle and last books in the Great Library series, Ash and Quill and Sword and Pen. I finally read the Protector of the Small series (Miss Adventure has been pushing for me to read this for a while). My favorites from that series were First Test and Squire. I also started the Lunar Chronicles, another house favorite, and I was pulled right into the first book, Cinder. I’m going to add the next book in the Pandava series, Aru Shah and the Song of Death, and the second book in the Inspector Gamache series, A Fatal Grace, to my favorites list. Finally, let me add one more Discworld book to my “highly enjoyed” list, Witches Abroad.
I did like books that weren’t in a series as well, including Unsheltered, Landline, Greenglass House, Clockwork Boys, The Princess Bride, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dear Fahrenheit 451, Meet the Austins
There were quite a few pieces of short fiction I enjoyed this year. They included The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Fairy King (a novella), Spectrum of Acceptance (a short story and podcast episode), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (a play), and Check Please (a graphic novel). It seems I enjoyed several short story collections, including Tortall and Other Lands, Brief Cases, and How Long ‘Til Black History Month. I think I’ll need to read more short story collections in the coming year. I’ve been reading more short fiction and enjoying it.
And now for the not so good. I had two books I didn’t finish – My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite because I quickly got tired of the “she’s prettier than me” tone, and the middle grade graphic novel Best Friends by Shannon Hale because I wasn’t the target audience.
It was a pretty good reading year. And I’m sure I’ll find some new favorites in 2020.
I finally got all my 2019 book reviews posted, so it’s time to review the year as a whole. As usual, let’s start with the Goodreads statistics. I read 42,466 pages over 133 books. Again, that was an increase of about 1,000 pages from the previous year. My shortest book was Arctic Adagio, a novella about solving the mystery of a death on a yacht in a post-climate change world. My longest book was Don Quixote, since I read both Part I and Part II of his adventures in Spain. It was actually my only 1,000+ page book of the year. While Goodreads counted 133 books, I counted 102 novels (although a few of those were still under 200 pages).
I didn’t do a great job on my challenges last year. In fact, I don’t think I’ll do anything besides read the alphabet this year. I just don’t keep anything else in mind. Occasionally I’ll think I’m in the mood to read some fiction and use either the Pulizter Prize or The Big Read lists to choose my next book.
Reading the Alphabet: I did not read the alphabet this year. I was missing an N and a U author, and a V title.
Award Winning Challenge: I managed five of these. I’m still working on reading all of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It’s just an every other month or so type of thing.
Reading Around the World: I managed 15 different countries in my books this year. I’m going to continue to keep track of the different countries I’ve read a book in. I have a map next to my alphabet list that I color in whenever I read a book set in a different country. I’ve colored all the countries from 2019 in one color and will add to it this year. I can’t imagine I’ll get a book set in every country (there are some pretty small ones out there), but perhaps I’ll try to get at least half.
Reading Around the U.S.: I also kept track of what states books were set in and I read books set in 15 different states. Just like the countries, I’m going to keep a running tally. Unlike the countries, though, I do expect to get all the states and Canadian provinces (I’ve got two so far) read. We’ll see how many years that takes me.
As I said, for 2020, I’m not going to run any reading challenges beyond the alphabet. I am going to track states and countries though.