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.

Friday, July 12, 2019

17. Rising Tide (Book #2)

By Rajan Khanna (268 pp)

Quick re-read. In Book #2 the scientists are trying to find a cure for the feral virus but new problems arise. Lots of fights and battles. I just started Book #3 this morning.

Friday, July 5, 2019

16. Falling Sky (Book #1)

By Rajan Khanna (252 pp)

Raj is one of my Clarion West classmates and the opening of this book was his first story at the workshop. I read this and book #2 when they first came out but book #3 has been sitting on the shelf for a couple of years. I'm doing a quick re-read before I finish the series. Airships, contagion that turns people into Ferals, criminals exploiting survivors. Lots of action.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

15. The Family Fang

By Kevin Wilson (310 pp, ebook)

I told colleague, "I finally started reading that book you recommended." He didn't know what I was talking about. I mostly loved this book. It's about a couple of parents who go to great lengths to create performance art pieces with their kids. By the time they are grown, the kids are kinda messed up. It's one of those books that's both funny and sad and makes you think about family relationships. It's also a movie that I intend to watch this weekend.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

14. Jane, Unlimited

By Kristin Cashore (442 pp)

I loved the Graceling books. Just talking about them makes me want to read them again. This is a non-Graceling book set in contemporary times and unfortunately, I did not love it. In the acknowledgments the author says the first draft of this was a choose your own adventure book. I am not a fan of choose your own adventure books. This book follows Jane through several different choices and it didn't totally work for me. The writing, characters, setting are all great. The story got a little too goofy for me.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

13. City of Mirrors

By Justin Cronin (598 pp)

Finally finished this trilogy! It was excellent. You always wonder how an author is going to pull off ending an epic series and this one was just fine. Recommend.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

12. The Twelve

By Justin Cronin (588 pp)

A reading frenzy going on here. I had a long weekend away and this book is easy to zoom through. More post-apocalyptic vampire-like creature end of civilization adventures. Book 3 has been sitting here since xmas 2016. Finally cracking it tonight.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

11. The Passage

By Justin Cronin (766 pp)

I've had book 3 of this trilogy sitting on my shelf since Xmas 2016. I didn't intend to re-read the first two but I enjoyed The Passage TV series and couldn't remember details. I can't believe how fast I got back into it. Most of the commutes this week were hideous but bus ride went quick when I had this book with me. Military fiddles with vampire-like virus to make super soldiers. The plan goes wrong on every level and the rest of the book is surviving humans trying to keep surviving.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

10. Tiamat's Wrath (Expanse #8)

By James S.A. Corey (531 pp)

These books are so good. This is one of my favorites. More battles in space with great characters and unexpected developments. I've been behind since Christmas of 2016 and it took me 3 weeks to catch up. Now I have to wait for book 9.

Monday, May 27, 2019

9. Persepolis Rising

By James S.A. Corey (549 pp)

Zooming through these books. Lots of crazy stuff happening in space. Why can't people just get along? Love all these characters.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

8.5 Strange Dogs (Expanse novella)

By James S. A. Corey (54 pp)(ebook)

Read this on the bus before I started book #7 which I am well into. These books are so good. This one takes place on a colony planet. The inhabitants originally were on a short term research mission but plot things happened and now they live there. A young girl communes with the local fauna and creepy stuff happens.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

8. Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse Book 6)

By James S. A. Corey (536 pp)

Finally back to the Expanse Books!! I would have read it faster except it's hardcover and I don't like to take hardcover on the bus. There's a novella to read before I start #7. Battles in space with great characters. Avasarala and Amos are two of my favorite fictional characters in the past few years.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

7. Beginners Luck: Dispatches from the Klamath Mountains

By Malcolm Terence (236 pp)

This is a terrific memoir about life up the Salmon River in NW California. There's a little bit of everything: hippies, commune living, logging, mining, fire fighting, and Karuks. Malcolm has a great story starting in the Bay Area and ending up at Black Bear commune and eventually settling in the area. Also a good history for how tribes/rural areas dealt with government agencies several decades ago.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

6. Shrill

By Lindy West (260 pp ebook)

I was a Lindy fan when she wrote for the Stranger and when she wrote for Jezebel. Bob and I love the TV series. I grabbed the book when it was on a discount promotion (this ebook discounts are killing me. I buy SO MANY BOOKS) and I zoomed through it on the bus last week. Love Lindy's voice.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

5. There There

By Tommy Orange (290 pp)

I was out of town last weekend and I brought one book with me and managed to finish it. This is about urban NDNs in Oakland and it's really good. I loved the characters and the way their stories weaved together. Recommend.

Monday, February 25, 2019

4. After theFall Before the Fall During the Fall

By  Nancy Kress (190 pp ebook)

I wanted to read this forever and it turned up on sale in my Bookbub and here we are. These sale books will be the end of me. This is a future ecological disaster story with three timelines. A fast read. I enjoyed.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

3. Bird Box

By Josh Malerman (294 pp ebook)

Just last week I put up a photo of my to read pile (more or less). After fretting about having so many books to read and finding books I'd forgotten about, I had to buy this book (on sale!) and read it immediately. It's been on my list for awhile. I thought it was fun to read but doesn't hold up under scrutiny. I enjoyed. I haven't seen the movie.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2. Six Years

By Harlan Coben (352 ebook)

Someone mentioned this author so I grabbed this book on sale. At first I thought it was super fun and page-turny but the longer it went on the more ridiculously implausible it got. Fun for a quick read.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

1. The Princess Diarist

By Carrie Fisher (246 pp)

I got this book as a birthday gift a couple of years ago which turned out to be just a couple days after she died. The whole thing made me so sad I couldn't bear to look at the book until now. I don't know what to tell you. There's enough good stuff in here for a nice magazine article. The rest is endless cringe-tastic teenage diary not to mention some icky stuff about being a young female actress. If her mom wasn't famous it probably would have been worse. Reading those diary entries made me vow to find and burn any cringey diary stuff I might still have if I haven't burned it already.