- A Study in Silks, Emma Jane Holloway
- A Study in Darkness, Emma Jane Holloway
- Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone (audio)
- Raven Strategem, Yoon Ha Lee
I hadn't planned to bother reading this, because the first book was so slow and difficult, but after reading a lot of commentary that said it starts right in with action and is much easier to follow, I put a hold on it at the library. Those commentators weren't wrong; I couldn't put this down and am dying to know what happens next.
- Velveteen vs the Multiverse, Seanan McGuire (audio)
- The House of Binding Thorns, Aliette de Bodard
- Everfair, Nisi Shawl
- City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett
- How Jesus Became God, Bart D Ehrman
- Out of the Black Land, Kerry Greenwood
- City of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett
- Slavery by Another Name, Douglas A. Blackmon
- Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
- Not So Good a Gay Man, Frank M. Robinson
- The Card Catalog, Carla Hayden
- Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly
- The Other Einstein, Marie Benedict
Abandoned after one chapter. Sounded so promising, but I didn't care for the voice given to the first-person narrator.
- The Refrigerator Monologues, Catherynne M. Valente
- City of Miracles, Robert Jackson Bennett
- Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
- Gateway, Sharon Shinn
- Welcome to Nightvale the Novel, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (audio)
- The Cost of Lunch, Etc, Marge Piercy
I got this expecting poetry, because I've heard of Piercy as a poet, but it turns out to be a short story collection. I read part of the first four stories, found all of them sordid and tawdry (detailed descriptions of unpleasant toilets, for example) and bailed on the book.
- Little, Big, John Crowley
This book is famous, but I found it disappointing. Lush beautiful writing, but not much There there.
- Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman (audio)
- I Will Not Be Moved, Maya Angelou
- The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi
- The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (audio)
- Miniatures, the Very Short Fiction of, John Scalzi
- Velveteen vs the Junior Super Patriots League, Seanan McGuire (audio)
Started this months ago with Tammie while on a road trip to visit her mother in Alabama, but we didn't finish it. I was saving it to finish with her but finally gave up on waiting. Turns out we were in the middle of the last chapter. Just started the next book in the series.
- The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters
- Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood
- Murder on the Ballarat Train, Kerry Greenwood
- John Dies at the End, David Wong
That's some weird shit, yo. I finished it, but I didn't really get it or enjoy it, and I don't think I'll read the sequels.
- Gather Her Round, Alex Bledsoe (audio)
- Conspiracy of Ravens, Lila Bowen
- Art of the Pie, Kate McDermott
This was the "Big Library Read" for March-April. I consider myself a pie aficionada and also something of an expert at pie baking, so I was interested to see if there would be anything to learn. And there was A LOT.
I think I'm going to end up buying this one.
- The Highland Dragon's Lady, Isabel Cooper
- Night of the Highland Dragon, Isabel Cooper
- Swan Song, Robert R. McCammon
Abandoned after like two pages. I really don't want to read a book about nuclear war with the Soviet Union given the current state of the world.
- When the Moon Was Ours, Anna-Marie McLemore
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson
- Infomocracy, Malka Older
- Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson
- Magic for Nothing, Seanan McGuire (audio)
- Hollow City, Ransom Riggs
- Library of Souls, Ransom Riggs
Lots of travel combined with jury duty this month means lots of reading time.
- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (audio)
- My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante, abandoned 40%
I got bored. Lovely writing about annoying people, and nothing much happening. I just read an interview with Ursula K. Leguin where she called Ferrante overrated, and I'm afraid I have to agree.
- The Burning Page, Genevieve Cogman
- Chapel of Ease, Alex Bledsoe (audio)
- Seven Surrenders, Ada Palmer
- Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
- Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
- Rasputin, Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs, Douglas Smith
Abandoned 40%. Got lost on all the Russian names and went to something else and it expired. Didn't care enough to renew it.
- The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander
- The Core of the Sun, Johanna Sinisalo
- Borderline: The Arcadia Project, Mishell Baker
- An Accident of Stars, Foz Meadows
- The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood
- No Proper Lady, Isabel Cooper
- Hunger Makes the Wolf, Alex Wells
- Wake of Vultures, Lila Bowen
- Legend of the Highland Dragon, Isabel Cooper
- Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher (audio)
Raw and funny.
- A Closed and Common Orbit, Becky Chambers
- The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
- Last Year, Robert Charles Wilson
- Digger, Ursula Vernon
- A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman
- The Magicians, Lev Grossman (audio)
Claudia described the TV series as "the characters are horrible people but it's oddly compelling". I can't really argue with or improve on her summary.
- Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith
I finally paid up all my debts at the library as well as paying for the book I lost, so I can borrow books again, yay! Continuing the break from Read the World, as it was making reading a chore. Some nice comfort reading (listening) and back to scifi/fantasy which make me happy.
- The Darkest Road, Guy Gavriel Kay (audio) (reread)
- Lucifer Book 1, Mike Carey et al
- Lucifer Book 2, Mike Carey et al
- Illuminae: The Illuminae Files 01, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
This and its sequel, while fascinating books with page-turning plot and characters, are really not well suited to the ebook format. They consist almost entirely of image files, playing with layouts and fonts, and the text ends up almost illegibly small on my Kindle Fire. Not to mention the difficulty of reading sideways text when the tablet wants to reorient if you turn it. I have a crick in my neck now.
- Gemina: The Illuminae Files 02, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
- An Apprentice to Elves, Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
- Dreams of Shreds and Tatters, Amanda Downum
- Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee
- Once Broken Faith, Seanan McGuire
- Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman
This has not been a month where I've wanted to read. I've been carrying around a couple of books from the Read the World Booklist for [mumble] months now (as in, I took them to Michigan with me in June) and haven't read them, so I finally returned them to the library yesterday (except for the one that has gone walkies--which I hope turns up soon!)
I've been extremely busy and also in a funk.
- Radiance, Catherynne M Valente
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, +JK Rowling et al
- Full of Briars, Seanan McGuire
- Chimera, Mira Grant
- Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, Dr Jonice Webb
- Bodies in Motion: Stories, Mary Anne Mohanraj
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, +JK Rowling (reread) (audio)
- Lucy, +Jamaica Kincaid (paper)
- Nostalgia, +Mircea Cartarescu (Romania) (paper)
Abandoned 60%, boredom.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, +JK Rowling (reread) (audio)
- The Devil You Know, K J Parker
- A Murder in Time, Julie McElwain
This is the current "Big Library Read", available in ebook to all comers for a short period of time. It's about an FBI profiler who somehow gets herself dumped from 2016 into 1814 and solves a serial killer mystery while there. I found her success there very difficult to believe, and the 1814-dwellers didn't quite seem right either. Anachronistic language, attitudes, behavior.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, +JK Rowling (UK) (audio) (reread)
- A Golden Age, +Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh)
- +The Good Muslim, Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh)
- Necessity, *Jo Walton
- The Book of Phoenix, *Nnedi Okorafor
- Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
- Binti, *Nnedi Okorafor
- The Vagrant, Peter Newman (abandoned 3% for excessive grimdark-itude)
- Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson
- Updraft, Fran Wilde
- Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer
- League of Dragons, Naomi Novik
- Forest of Memory, Mary Robinette Kowal
- Freedom in the Family, *Tananarive Due and Patricia Stephens Due
This is another memoir of the civil rights era, and I don't know whether it was the writing style or the fact that this one didn't concentrate on guns as the be-all-end-all, but I enjoyed this one a lot more than the last one.
- The Discreet Hero, +Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)
- +Embers, Sandor Marai (Hungary)
- The Automobile Club of Egypt, +Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt)
- The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle
- The House of Daniel, Harry Turtledove
- Haiti Noir 2, ed. Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)
Not technically from the Reading the World list but I found it by searching the library for one of the authors on my list, and it's all stories by Haitian authors, so I think it qualifies.
- From folklore to fiction : a study of folk heroes and rituals in the Black American novel, +H. Nigel Thomas (St. Vincent) (paper)
- The Stone Diaries, +Carol Shields (Canada) (paper)
- The Savage Detectives, + Roberto Bolano (Chile) (paper) (abandoned 33% ish)
The book seems to be three vaguely-connected novellas. I read one all the way through, but didn't enjoy it, so gave up after a few pages of the second one wasn't any better. First novella was the diary of a feckless 17-year-old who skipped classes at university to bum around Mexico City drinking with a bunch of avant-garde poets who never actually wrote anything. Lots of diary entries about his tawdry sex life sleeping with several different women who all seemed to instantly fall in love with him. Bleh.
- Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman (paper)
- Death in Venice, +Thomas Mann (Germany)
- The Sacred Band, *David Anthony Durham
- Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Days, Salman Rushdie
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, +JK Rowling, UK (audio) (reread)
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
Tammie has given me a good idea for alleviating the frustration I'm feeling from the Read the World project. Instead of just going and getting the randomly selected books, go to GoodReads or another review site first and check out some reviews to see whether the book is likely to fit me. Here's hoping that will help me find more pleasure in the project. I have also checked out several recent acclaimed SFF novels as a palate cleanser.
I've just gone through my list of previous reads, and GoodReads ratings do not seem to correlate at all with my opinions of the books. However, in a number of cases the negative reviews do manage to mention the things that I also hated, so perhaps I can get some value from those.
I'm not really enjoying the Read the World exercise. It may be bad luck, but I've had a run of books I couldn't read, or had to slog through. Maybe a mismatch between the recommender(s) taste and mine, maybe a tendency for foreign books to have esthetics I don't appreciate, who knows. But I might need a break from it. Well, at least the audiobooks are things I'm enjoying.
- Indexing: Reflections, Seanan McGuire (audio)
- +India Unbound, Gurcharan Das (India) (paper) (abandoned ~30%)
A cross between a history, a polemic and a memoir. I had high hopes for this one, but I disliked the author's free market capitalistic politics from the start, and when he went into an apologia for the caste system, complete with disparaging remarks about how the quotas for lower-caste people in government-owned factories had destroyed productivity, I just couldn't take it anymore.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, +JK Rowling (UK) (audio)
- Chaos Choreography, Seanan McGuire (paper)
- Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (paper)
- Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams (audio)
- The Antelope Strategy, +Jean Harzfeld (Rwanda) (paper)
The author is actually French, but he was in the list for Rwanda, so here we are. The book is a series of topically-organized interviews and recollections from both survivors and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, and it's been very difficult to read. I've only been able to read a few pages at a time, and I've needed long breaks between. I have "Adventures of Tintin" waiting as a unicorn chaser.
- +The Adventures of Tintin, Herge (Belgium) (paper)
Or not. Abandoned after five pages or so. Ludicrous plots, and then a ton of casual racism. No thanks.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, +JK Rowling (United Kingdom) (audio, reread)
I didn't read this for my Reading the World challenge: it didn't come up in my random number generator, but Rowling really is on the list, so I guess it counts. Sort of.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, +JK Rowling (United Kingdom) (audio, reread)
- +Dukla, Andrzej Stasiuk (Poland) (paper)
I struggled with this one too. It was a series of semi-connected vignettes with a first-person narrator, but there was no real connecting thread or plot. Just a lot of long-winded description and setting details, an occasional character who never really had any agency and only existed for her (...most of them were female) influence on the narrator's inner life. I would have abandoned it out of boredom but decided to struggle through since at least it wasn't actively offensive and I've abandoned several of the Reading the World books already this year.
- +The Discovery of Heaven, Harry Mulisch (Netherlands) (paper)
Yet another struggle. 800 pages long, the first 600 were lethally boring tales of the tawdry affairs and boring daily life of several people, then 150 pages of actual interesting, then 20 pages of seriously weird (but at least interesting). It took 400 pages for the person who drives the plot in the last section to even be born! The book has a framing structure of angels in heaven discussing their plans to get him born, therefore to engineer the meeting of his parents, etc, and ends with a conversation between those same angels basically saying the Earth is now doomed, after their plot has succeeded.
At least my audio books are interesting. Currently listening to _Indexing: Reflections_ by Seanan McGuire.
- The Princess Bride, William Goldman (audio)
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (audio)
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, *Lois McMaster Bujold
SQUEEEEE!!! Old-people romance! Polyamory! Lashings of Vorkosiverse backstory!
And bonus, if Bujold had set out to write a book to piss off the Morose Young Canines she couldn't have done it better than this. LOL
- *Lifelode, Jo Walton (paper)
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams (audio)
- *That Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed, Charles E. Cobb, Jr. (paper)
- Revisionary, Jim C. Hines
- Hiding in Plain Sight, +Nuruddin Farah (Somalia)
- The Shameful State, +Sony Labou Tansi (Republic of Congo) (abandoned 38%)
I just couldn't cope with the grossness: constant gruesome deaths, incessant references to herniated balls, etc. Not to mention that I still don't know who the first-person narrator was meant to be, and sentences would change from first to third person and back again with no discernable rhyme or reason. I'm sure there was some sort of literary purpose to it, but it flummoxed me. Moving on.
- Life, the Universe, and Everything, Douglas Adams (audio)
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Douglas Adams (audio)
- *All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
- Gravity's Rainbow, +Thomas Pynchon (USA) (abandoned 2%)
I've been using a random number generator on my Reading the World spreadsheet, and Pynchon came up. I've never read anything by him before, and now I know why. Pretentious writing about not very nice people in ugly situations. Blech.
I'm still working through my Tempest Challenge booklist, but this year I also hope to start on a different diversity-in-reading challenge: books from other countries. However, so far, I'm still in the middle of a pile of books that have come in from previous hold requests, and I'm still not making these reading lists my exclusive sources of reading materials, so there will be other things in the book posts. I'll continue to use * for the Tempest Challenge books/authors, and I'll use + for the Round the World in 80 Books list.
- Cast in Honor, *Michelle Sagara
- Conjured, *Sarah Beth Durst
- *Earth Girl, Janet Edwards
- Acacia: The Other Lands, *David Anthony Durham
- *Vessel, Sarah Beth Durst
- Parable of the Talents, *Octavia Butler
- Written in Red, Anne Bishop (audio)
- A, B, C; *Samuel Delany
- Skinwalker, Faith Hunter (audio)
- The House of Shattered Wings, *Aliette de Bodard