Wednesday, December 25, 2019

29. The Anubis Gates

By Tim Powers (375 pp. ebook)

I love time travel books and a long time ago I copied a list of recommendations. This was published in 1983 -- it's been on my list forever. As the story opens, it's 1983 and a college professor has been invited to travel back in time to see a lecture by Samuel Coleridge in 1810 -- he's skeptical about the whole thing but then ends up time traveling and getting whacked on the head and missing the jump back to 1983. Meanwhile there's stuff with magic, Egypt, dueling beggar groups, and a body-swapping werewolf. It gets pretty crazy. Mostly I enjoyed it but there were a few parts when I got lost. Definitely fun to read.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

28. The Likeness

By Tana French (470 pp ebook)

I'm watching the Dublin Murders series which is a combo of this and In the Woods. This book came up on sale so I grabbed it and hurried through it before the TV series ended. It's completely implausible but I enjoyed it. I thought it was very The Secret History. I still have 3 Tana French left to read.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

27. Artemis

By Andy Weir (305 pp)

I loved The Martian so much. It was a Christmas gift and I read most of it in one sitting on Christmas day. This book is a heist on the moon story and was a huge disappointment. I could not relate to the main character but stuck with it hoping I would get into the story. Not really.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

26. Fates and Furies

By Lauren Groff (390 pp)

This book was a gift from about three years ago and I've felt guilty about not getting to it for so long. The reviews on this are interesting because people seem to love it or hate it -- which is one of my favorite kind of books. I loved it but I shared some the reservations of the haters. The book is about two complicated characters and their marriage told from both perspectives. But it's almost like two different stories. It gets melodramatic and some of the characters do implausible things but I liked the unexpected developments and various relationships.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

25. Prairie Fires: The American Dream of Laura Ingalls Wilder

By Caroline Fraser (516 pp ebook)

This book is about Laura Ingalls Wilder's real life with deeply researched reporting about what was going on in the United States at the time: history, economy, politics, society. The first section about what was going on during the time the books are set -- is riveting. Laura's real life is interesting but also together with historical events - I learned so much. The books are an idealized version of what really happened and the facts are sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes aggravating. I remember as a kid thinking it was so unfair that the government made them leave their little house on the prairie after all the work they did. Now: HA! Settling on Osage Indian lands - shame on you, Pa. The section about her daughter, Rose, is long and hard to read. She was not a wonderful person. Overall, highly recommend to Little House fans and still recommend to people interested in U.S. history.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

24. The Toughest Indian in the World

By Sherman Alexie (238 pp)

I've been reading through the endless ebooks I bought and I found this one in the mix. I also had a copy of the paperback on my to-read shelf. I thought I was all caught up on Sherman's short stories. I recognized the first couple and the rest were new so I guess I just never finished it. The stories I liked, I loved. Some of the stories didn't work for me. He's so good at twisting your heart with just a few words.

Here's a funny quote after a character talks about respecting elders:

You're not required to respect elders. After all, most people are idiots, regardless of age. In tribal cultures, we just make sure that elders remain an active part of the culture, even if they're idiots. Especially if they're idiots. You can't abandon your old people, even if they have nothing intelligent to say.

Monday, August 19, 2019

23. White Tears

By Hari Kunzru (437 ebook)

I think I bought this book because I thought Bob would like it. It's about two young musicians who collect old blues records. It started out pretty good but then it went off into a stream of consciousness thing, or something. It didn't work for me.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

22. The Underground Railroad

By Colson Whitehead (313 pp)

This is one of the scariest books I've read in a long time. I didn't really know anything about it other than a friend said it was great and wanted to talk about it when I finished it. That was over a year ago, I wonder if she remembers that conversation. For some reason, I thought the title was about some metaphorical underground railroad. I did not realize it was set during the time of slavery. (No, I did not read the book blurb.) Oh my. This was harrowing and really good. Amazing characterization and lots of terrible details. Recommend.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

21. Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad Book #3)

By Tana French (434 pp ebook)

This is the third Tana French I've read and I found them all compulsive reads but they always get a teeny bit long at the end. In this one the main character is Frank Mackey and the author is not shy about making her characters complex and infuriating. I love the details of the Dublin setting. I will track down the rest of her books eventually.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

20. LaRose

By Louise Erdrich (372 pp)

This is one of my favorite books I've read in a long time. I loved the writing, the characters, the setting, the story. I went back and forth re-reading bits as I went along. On the second page a child is killed and I thought the book was going to be too sad to deal with and almost set it aside. But it's about families and generations and history and present day rez life and really good. My best recommendation.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

19. Eileen

By Ottessa Moshfegh (440 pp)

I first read this author in the New Yorker and loved her writing. I haven't read a book like this in a long time. Dark and squalid. The protagonist is a young woman with a terrible home life and a murky inner-life who works in a juvenile prison. Everything is grim. A new employee shows up at the prison and Eileen finally seems to have a friend until things take an unexpected turn. A little darker than I prefer but terrific writing.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

18. Raining Fire (Book #3)

By Rajan Khanna (269 pp)

Yay, I finished the trilogy. The final volume has tons of action and takes the main characters to dark places. Great series.