Saturday, December 31, 2016

Books Read in 2016

Like many others, I bid good riddance to 2016. It wasn't a great year for a number of reasons, one of which is that I managed to finish only 41 books this year—19 fewer than 2015—and several of them were Extremely Easy Reads.

These are the books I finished in 2016. You can follow the links to their journal entries on BookCrossing; those books without a link were either borrowed, or are in my permanent collection for the moment. (E) indicates they were read on my Kindle/Nook/iPhone; (A) means they were audiobooks; (L) means I borrowed them from my local library; (R) means I re-read some old friends.

My favorites this year? The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss; Going Solo, by Roald Dahl; and two audiobooks that should make the list twice because I loved both the books and the performers: The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer (read by Amanda Palmer), and Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (read by Wil Wheaton).

January
1. A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin (E)
2. French for Cats, by Henry Beard
3. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson
4. Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

February
6. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell (E) (L)
7. Love Story, by Erich Segal
8. The Lady In The Lake, by Raymond Chandler

March
9. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
10. The Talbot Odyssey, by Nelson DeMille

April
11. Outlander, by Diana Galbadon
12. While You Were Mine, by Ann Howard Creel (E)
13. Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice continued, by Anna Elliott (E)

May
14. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (A)
15. The Zookeeper's Wife, by Diane Ackerman (A) (L)
16. Ghost Gifts, by Laura Spinella (E)
17. Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich (E) (L)
18. Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved, by Russell Martin
19. Happy! by Pharrell Williams

June
20. Murder at Longbourn, by Tracy Kiely
21. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill (A)
22. Runemarks, by Joanne Harris
23. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
24. I've Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark

July
25. Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie
26. Pasta Imperfect, by Maddy Hunter
27. Saturday, by Ian McEwan (A)
28. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

August
29. Capricorn One, by Ron Goulart
30. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (E)

September
31. Ballet of the Elephants, by Leda Schubert
32. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
33. The Bridge to Nowhere, by Megan McDonald
34. Going Solo, by Roald Dahl
35. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness

October
36. Audrey Rose, by Frank De Felitta
37. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer (A) (R)
38. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Rip Van Winkle, by Washington Irving

November
39. I Will Never NOT EVER Eat a Tomato, by Lauren Child
40. Girl On A Wire, by Gwenda Bond (E)

December
41. Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi (A)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, by Sarah Vowell

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library.

First of all, I love the cover images on Sarah Vowell's books. Never change.

Second of all, the inside of the book was just as stimulating. My knowledge of the American Revolution, and of Lafayette's role in it, was a bit hazy, not having revisited it since my childhood. I recognized many of the names because they surround me every day: I live in a town named for Nathanael Greene even though he never stepped foot in it. I live adjacent to counties named for Lafayette and Greene and Washington and Jefferson. Towns named for Steuben are nearby.

I don't think I ever knew (or thought I needed to know) what happened to Lafayette after the war or that he had a triumphant return in 1824, where two-thirds of the population of NYC turned out for him. I didn't realize how closely the Revolution followed on the heels of the French & Indian War, why the French were so anxious to fight the British again, and what the result of that fight would be on the French monarchy (sorry Louis & Marie!).

Finally, I love Sarah Vowell's snark and her drawings. I will definitely be reading more of her books.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Books Read in 2015

Another year in the books (hahaha)! I managed to finish 60* this year—2 fewer than 2014, but, as in 2014, several of them were Very Easy Reading, so that 60 deserves an asterisk.

I was lucky enough to meet a couple of great authors this year—Rainbow Rowell and Lois Lowry;  read a great author for the first time this year—Kurt Vonnegut; and "discover" some new-to-me authors I look forward to reading again—Sarah Vowell, Andy Weir, and Paula Hawkins.

These are the books I finished in 2015. You can follow the links to their journal entries on BookCrossing; those books without a link were either borrowed, or are in my permanent collection for the moment. (E) indicates they were read on my Kindle/Nook/iPod Touch; (A) means they were audiobooks; (L) means I borrowed them from my local library; (R) means I re-read some old friends.

My favorites this year? "Grave Surprise," "An Ice Cold Grave," and "Grave Secret," by Charlaine Harris; The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein; The Martian, by Andy Weir; and Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell.

January
1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick (A)
2. One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson (E) (L)
3. Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (A)
4. The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer
5. Top Secret Twenty-One, by Janet Evanovich (E) (L)
6. The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams (R)
7. How to Care for Your Monster, by Norman Bridwell (R)  

February
8. Looking for Alaska, by John Green (E) (L)
9. Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins (E) (L)
10. Journey Into Narnia, by Kathryn Lindskoog
11. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling (E) (L)
12. Dark Summer, by Iris Johansen  

March
13. Misery, by Stephen King
14. Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman
15. Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham (E) (L)
16. Grave Surprise, by Charlaine Harris
17. The Kalahari Typing School for Men, by Alexander McCall Smith
18. Orange Is The New Black, by Piper Kerman
19. Pete's A Pizza, by William Steig  

April
20. The Great Train Robbery, by Michael Crichton
21. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce (E)
22. We Were Tired Of Living In A House, by Liesel Moak Skorpen (R)
23. Celestial Land and Sea, by Amy McLean (E)
24. An Ice Cold Grave, by Charlaine Harris  

May
25. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (A) (L)
26. Third Girl, by Agatha Christie
27. Argo, by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio (A) (L)
28. Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
29. Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings, by Christopher Moore
30. The Beginner's Goodbye, by Anne Tyler (A) (L)
31. Every Seventh Wave, by Daniel Glattauer  

June
32. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
33. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney
34. Grave Secret, by Charlaine Harris (E)
35. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
36. The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick  

July
37. Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks (A)
38. Charleston, by John Jakes
39. Thumbelina, by Hans Christian Andersen
40. The Moon Lake, by Ivan Gantschev
41. The Happy Prince and Other Stories, by Oscar Wilde
42. A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson (A)
43. The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy, by Mary Street
44. Happiness Is A Warm Puppy, by Charles M. Schulz  

August
45. The Outsider, by Jimmy Connors (A) (L)
46. Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman (E) (L)
47. Slow Decay, by Andy Lane
48. Emma: A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith (E) (L)
49. The Martian, by Andy Weir  

September
50. Till We Have Faces, by C.S. Lewis (R)
51. I Am The Messenger, by Markus Zusak
52. Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell (E) (L)  

October
53. Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (E) (L)
54. Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell (A) (L)
55. Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala  

November
56. The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins (E) (L)
57. Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut  

December
58. Prosecco & Paparazzi, by Celia Kennedy (E)
59. Tremors In The Cloister: A Memoir, by Allan Spiegler
60. Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own, by Doreen Orion

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Prosecco & Paparazzi, by Celia Kennedy

LibraryThing Early ReviewersReceived from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program in October 2015.

It has been a long time since I read a romance, so when I read the description of this book, "a contemporary romantic comedy about what happens when the paths of a celebrity god and a mere mortal collide," I was interested. Who doesn't wonder about what would happen if they met their ultimate celebrity crush?

It started off well. A cute meet. A dream of a night. But then it took a really weird turn that it never quite recovered from. There were too many inconsistencies in character and plot that kept distracting me from the story. I  enjoyed the glamorous settings—the French Alps, New York, London, Ireland, the French Riviera, Rome, Barbados—and the glamorous people, but I was looking for that one real thing that would make me care about these characters and I just didn't find it. I was interested in Charlotte's romance, but she was cheated by having to share her story with too many characters who were too obviously being set up for their own stories, as this is Book One in The Passport Series.

All in all, Prosecco & Paparazzi could have benefited greatly from a couple more rounds of editing. There were too many insignificant details, too much uncontrollable laughter, too much prosecco, and not enough paparazzi.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library. Finished reading this morning because I'm going to see/hear Rainbow Rowell tonight.

"Fangirl" is a coming-of-age story about a painfully shy and awkward fanfic internet star. The book is full of dualities like that—first, with the main character, Cath, being an identical twin, then with her being reclusive but famous, weak but strong, intellectually smart but socially dumb, having an old boyfriend and new boyfriend, making good and bad decisions, and finally, with hearing both Cath's story and Simon's story.

I can remember working through some of those dualities in myself at that age, so I could definitely relate to Cath as a character. If I had read this book 30 years ago, I think it would be one of my favorites.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

Borrowed Kindle version from my library because I'm going to see Rainbow Rowell when she comes to town and I thought I probably should read more than one of her books (Eleanor & Park) before I did/do.

I liked this "adult" book. I especially liked the time it was set in—the months before Y2K when half the world was convinced that the world would be ending on January 1, 2000. Oh, those children. I liked the characters, the situations, the humor, and the writing. I will definitely be reading more Rainbow Rowell in the future.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Emma: A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith

Borrowed Kindle version from my local library.

Alexander McCall Smith's style is well suited to this modern retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. I find his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books soothing, even when there are dangerous situations, and I felt the same level of comfort with "Emma." A tweak here, a tweak there, but never straying too far from the core of the original.