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What I Will Be Reading #47: Pandemic edition

Time to add some books to my TBR list. It’s not like I can go to the library any time soon, since everything is closed for the pandemic. I might be able to find these on another service or even as an ebook through my library. Regardless, I can add them to my TBR list.

First off are two audiobooks. Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended Quick Service by P. D. Wodehouse in a post about great British audiobooks. As a bonus, it would get me the ever elusive Q for my Alphabet Reading Challenge. Laura Weldon recommended The Highland Witch by Susan Fletcher in a retrospective post about 2019. She thought it was the best audiobook she listened to last year. That’s good enough to put it on my “to listen” list. Bonus, it’s available for free on Hoopla.

Sticking with historical fiction set elsewhere, I thought I’d read The Bedlam Stacksby Natasha Pulley. It was recommended by A Strong Sense of Place, a new blog and podcast that recommends books that contain (surprise surprise) a strong sense of place. This one is set in 19th century Peru. As I’m trying to read books set in different countries, I realized Peru isn’t a common setting. Besides, their description of the book sounded fascinating.

One more from Modern Mrs. Darcy. She did a post about short, feel good books. I was most intrigued by The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. It’s spring and my plants are sprouting, and I’m in the mood to read about gardening.

Finally, I’m going to include Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente. Wandering Scientist described it as Eurovision plus Douglas Adams. I could definitely use a bit of humor in my life.

And those are the books I want to read. See anything you like? Have any to suggest?

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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What I Will Be Reading #46 – For me and my kids

It’s a new year, so time to add some new books to my TBR list. Let me start with my recommendations from The Modern Mrs. Darcy, my go-to source.

To keep up my reading around the world, I’m going to read The Dry by Jane Harper. It’s set in Australia in a drought (hence the name). It’s a mystery, but I’ve read a couple good ones recently so I have high hopes.

Next up is The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow. I’ve seen this book discussed a couple of places. Modern Mrs. Darcy talked about it twice. I put it on my radar because the author’s name. It’s also a book about books, which is one of my favorite subgenres.

I think the Mr. Curiosity might enjoy The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood. Modern Mrs. Darcy described it as a middle grade version of Shakespeare in Love. He was part of a local production of Shakespeare in Love, so it might be fun to read a version of it.

If I’m giving Mr. Adventure a new book, I should do the same for Miss Adventure. I’ve got Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers by Anna James for her. This one came from a GeekMom post about books. I thought Miss Adventure might enjoy it because it’s about being able to travel in and out of books. It kind of reminded me of the Land of Stories series she likes so much.

And that’s what I’m adding to my (and my kids’) reading list. Anything else I should add?

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Thanksgiving Break

The family celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday with lots of tasty food. I didn’t manage to get a picture of the table or the family gathered around it. So, since this is a book blog, I thought I’d post a photo of one of my bookshelves that I am thankful for. This one is in the hall and was originally meant to be a CD shelf, but it works with paperbacks as well:

Kids book and read alouds on top. Fantasy and science fiction paperbacks on the bottom.

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The Circle by Dave Eggers

Published: 2013

Genre: fiction (the book’s description made it sound more of a thriller than it actually is)

Length: 491 pages

Setting: California, near future

Interest: I was looking for an E author for my reading challenge and this book sounded interesting.

Summary: Mae is a new hire at The Circle, a computer company that has integrated all online interactions into one identity, TruYu. Mae starts in Customer Experience, and is gently chided when she tries to live a life outside of the company. Doesn’t she like her job and her coworkers? Why would she want to keep things to herself? That’s selfish, or are those actions illegal? Eventually, Mae is convinced to “go transparent” and wear a video camera at all times. Politicians around the world are doing the same, to eliminate backroom deals and improve transparency in the government. The Circle is nearing Completion and Kayden is the only one at the company who seems to think it would be a bad thing to have Circle technology monitoring and recording everyone all the time. The other founders just think of all the crime that would be prevented and money that can be made. Kayden tries to convince Mae to help stop Completion, but Mae had drunk the Kool-aid and just thinks of new and faster ways to reach the ultimate goal.

Final thoughts: I found this book to be highly disturbing. It’s a little heavy-handed in its message, perhaps (social media taken to the EXTREME), but I couldn’t stop thinking about the book while I was reading it. Mae didn’t have time to live a life because she was so busy commenting on other people’s lives and their comments. The Powers That Be kept adding more and more screens to Mae’s life that she had to pay attention to – starting with two screens and working up to eight, plus voices in her ear for her opinion. You had no time to yourself because that was selfish. Why wouldn’t you want to share your experiences with those who couldn’t it themselves? Are you ashamed? Mae lost her friends and family when she went transparent and couldn’t understand why. She didn’t even realize how empty her life was except at odd moments when she would tamp down the emptiness in her life with more work and comments. She also felt so brave by sending frowns to people or organizations. Wow – sending a frown to an organization like ISIS is really going to make a difference. They’ll stop their evil ways when they see how many frowns they’ve amassed. Or not.

The technology is so pervasive and easy to use to monitor everything. Mae couldn’t see how it could be bad to know everything about everyone all the time. What do you have to hide? I don’t know, but I don’t want the government or a computer organization knowing everything about me. It made me a little skittish about social media for a while. I’m still not sure how much of my life I should share online, because once you put it online, it doesn’t go away. Of course, in the book, if you didn’t document your actions online, they didn’t really happen.

Title comes from: The name of the company Mae worked for.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 83/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and an E in my author Alphabet Soup Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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Taking the night off

It was my daughter’s gymnastics show tonight, and after three hours of sitting on tiny bleachers, packed in with all the other parents, siblings, grandparents, etc., my brain is just as tired as my body. It was a fun show, but three hours in those seats in rough. See you tomorrow with another review.

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Book lengths

As I’m getting more book reviews up, the ability to sort the reviews usefully is becoming more and more important. One method of sorting that I’m starting to realize might be useful is the length of the book. So, I’m going to lay out a couple of book length categories that I’ll be using from now on (and I’ll gradually go back and add these to all my old posts as well).

Short stories are less than 30 pages long.

A novelette is 30-70 pages long.

A novella is 70-200 pages long. Normally it’s up to 160 pages, but anything under 200 pages seems short to me so I’m including it in the novella length. Kids books count as novellas if they end up in this page count.

A novel is anything 200 pages or longer. I’m not going to label this length, although I will put a special tag if the book is more than 500 pages long or more than 1000 pages long.

It’s just a bit of formatting, but if I put up a post, I can reference the lengths and be consistent going forward.

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I’m taking a bit of a break for Thanksgiving. My family lives only an hour away so we won’t be traveling far, but we will be visiting for several days. See you after the weekend!

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