scaifea's 2023 Challenge

Keskustelu2023 Category Challenge

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scaifea's 2023 Challenge

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 3:58 pm

Hey, everybody!

I'm Amber, a one-time Classics professor, turned stay-at-home parent/lady of leisure, turned part-time library assistant, turned back into Classics professor, turned back to librarian. When I'm not at the library, I spend my time sewing, writing, knitting, baking, and, of course, reading.

I'm 47 going on 12 and live in Ohio with my husband, Tomm; our son, Charlie; and our two dogs: Mario the Golden Retriever and Agent Fitzsimmons the Border Collie.

This is my sixth year in the Category Challenge. I won't set any particular goals for my categories again this year, but instead just list the books I read in each one and see how many I get through. My categories are pretty much the same as last year, with a couple of small changes.

For my theme this year I'm going with characters in masks and/or uniforms because why not.

Currently Reading:
-The Gathering (CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up)
-A Fine and Private Place (CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt)
-My Hero Academia vol 11 (CAT#4: Manga)
-The Plot and the Pendulum (CAT#5: Mysteries)
-They Came to Baghdad (CAT#5: Mysteries + CAT#11: Favorite Author Bibliographies + June AlphaKIT: B + May RandomKIT: Royal Names)
-On the Way to the Wedding (CAT#6: Romance)
-The Thief, the Cross, and the Wheel (CAT#7: Books from My Wishlist)
-The Coming of the Dragon (CAT#8: Audiobooks + CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists)
-Beauty and the Werewolf (CAT#9: Beauty and the Beast Retellings)
-The Thief of Time (CAT#11: Favorite Author Bibliographies)
-Les Miserables (CAT#15: Book-A-Year Challenge - 1862)
-Wildwood (CAT#17: Unread Books from My Shelves + BingoDOG#8: Plant on the Cover)
-Throne of Glass (CAT#18: Books from My Read Soon! Shelves)
-Mother May I (CAT#20: Everything Else)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 2, 3:18 pm


1: Features music or a musician: Drums along the Mohawk
2: Features or is set in an Inn or Hotel: So Cold the River
3: Features a member of the cat family (as big a cat as you like): Heartless
4: The next book in a series you've started: Heartstopper vol 4
5: A book by an author that shares your sign of the zodiac: The Call of Cthulhu
6: A memoir: A Face for Picasso
7: A bestselling book from 20 years ago: Bad Feminist
8: Book with a plant in the title or on the cover
9: A book with switched or stolen identities: I Am Not Esther
10: A book that taught you something: Still Alice
11: A book with a book on the cover
12: Features something art or craft related: Summer Bird Blue
13: Read a CAT: The Devotion of Suspect X
14: A book with a small town or rural setting: Shuna's Journey
15: A book on a SETM topic (Science Technology, Engineering or Maths): Jacquard's Web
16: A book with an LT rating of 4 or more: A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
17: A book by a local or regional author
18: A book involving an accident: Elatsoe
19: A book featuring a journalist or about journalism: A Heartbeat Away
20: A popular author's first book
21: A book on a topic you don't usually read
22: A book with a number or quantity in the title: A Parcel of Patterns
23: A book by an author under 30
24: A book set on a plane, train or ship: The Day the World Came to Town
25: A book in >1000 libraries on LT: When He Was Wicked

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 4, 4:37 pm

January - I S: I Am Not Esther & Spider Sparrow
February - J F: The Joy Luck Club & Taken at the Flood
March - G A: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy & Almost Flying
April - W D: The Woman in White & The Ghost Drum
May - U C: Destination Unknown & The Changeover
June - B K
July - O P
August - M Q
September - V E
October - N H
November - T L
December - R Y
Yearlong X and Z

January - Hidden Gems: Jacquard's Web
February - Second or Two: A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns
March - Water Water Everywhere: Almost Flying
April - The Seven Ages of Man: Two Nights in Lisbon
May - Royal Names: Hollow Kingdom

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 28, 2:35 pm

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
I've been working through the entries in this book for going on 15 years now, but I'm fairly sure I'll finish it this year.

1. A Parcel of Patterns
2. Spider Sparrow
3. I Am Not Esther
4. Strange Objects
5. The Ghost Drum
6. The Changeover

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 5, 1:54 pm

CAT#2: YALSA Award Winners
I've been reading the Young Adult Library Services award winners for years now, and I love it. It takes me about a year to get through all of them from the previous announcements, so it works out well.

1. A Face for Picasso (Schneider Honor Book)
2. Last Night at the Telegraph Club (Stonewall Award + Printz Honor Book)
3. Almost Flying (Stonewall Honor Book)
4. Freewater (Newbery Medal)
5. The Darkness Outside Us (Stonewall Honor Book)

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 21, 12:56 pm

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt
This one comes from the list curated in The Green Dragon group a few years ago and captained by Morphidae.

1. Lest Darkness Fall
2. Silverlock

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 10:28 am

CAT#5: Mysteries
I love a good mystery.

1. Taken at the Flood
2. Killer Research
3. Destination Unknown

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 3:43 pm

CAT#6: Romance
This is one of the few genres from which I have read virtually nothing and I want better to familiarize myself with it. And the more I read, the more I love it.

1. Heartstopper vol 4
2. When He Was Wicked
3. It's in His Kiss

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 3:59 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
Years ago I started a wishlist on Amazon as a way to keep track of books I'd someday like to read. It's now so long that it takes *forever* to scroll down to the bottom, and since the people who used to use it for gift ideas are now all folks (mostly family) amongst whom we've all agreed not to exchange gifts anymore (and instead just enjoy our holiday gatherings together gift-free - ie it's not because we now hate each other or anything), I've decided I should start whittling away at it, and so I'm going to start requesting these titles one by one from the library and I'll only actually buy the ones I love and want to keep on the shelves.

1. The Devotion of Suspect X
2. Still Alice
3. A Heartbeat Away
4. Jacquard's Web
5. The Day the World Came to Town
6. So Cold the River
7. Sarah's Key
8. Ape House
9. The World Without Us
10. The Woman in White
11. A Gentleman in Moscow
12. Pi: A Biography
13. The Strain
14. Blizzard of Glass
15. The Night Strangers
16. Lunatics
17. The Things That Keep Us Here

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 5:05 pm

CAT#9: Beauty and the Beast Retellings
So sometime last year I decided, for reasons I can't recall, that I should read through all the B&B retellings I can find. Yep.
(When I was in high school I was *obsessed* with this TV movie version of The Phantom of the Opera.)

1. A Court of Silver Flames
2. The Beauty and the Beast

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 24, 3:52 pm

CAT#10: Books Read Aloud with the Family at Night
I'll list here the books my husband, my 14-year-old, and I read out loud together at night.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 3, 10:29 am

CAT#11: Favorite Author Bibliographies
There are a handful of authors whom I love so much that I want to read All. The. Things. So this is where I'll catalog those. Right now the list is John Boyne, Agatha Christie, Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Maggie Stiefvater.

1. Taken at the Flood (Agatha Christie)
2. Mrs. Stephen Fry's Diary (Stephen Fry)
3. Destination Unknown (Agatha Christie)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 13, 11:46 am

CAT#12: National Endowment for the Humanities Timeless Classics
This may well be the first book list I ever acquired. I don't remember where it came from, but I know that I got it at some point in high school, in the form of a tri-fold pamphlet. I didn't start working through it, though, until around the same time as I started the Newbery winners and the 1001 Children's Books list.

1. Drums along the Mohawk

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 5, 2022, 5:11 pm

CAT#13: National Book Award for Fiction
This one seems clear on its own, I guess. I do love award winner lists.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 5, 2022, 5:12 pm

CAT#14: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Another award list.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 5, 2022, 5:13 pm

CAT#15: Book-a-Year Challenge
A few of years ago, I made a list of books by year, just to see both how far back my reading goes and where/when there are gaps. I'm now working on filling in the gaps, so that I'll have read a book from every year for as far back I can go.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 5, 2022, 5:14 pm

CAT#16: Shakespeare
I'm doing a full-on reread.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 27, 1:56 pm

CAT#17: Unread Books from My Shelves
I have books on my shelves that have been there, unread, for YEARS. I need to work on that.

1. The Joy Luck Club
2. The Secret Life of Bees

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 4, 4:37 pm

CAT#18: Books from My Read Soon! Shelves
I have a couple of shelves full of books that I really want to get to soon.

1. Hollow Kingdom

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 3, 2:21 pm

CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists
Yeah, I may have a problem with collecting more lists when I already have too many.

1. Elatsoe (23 Books Featuring Asexual Representation You Should Read)
2. Summer Bird Blue (23 Books Featuring Asexual Representation You Should Read)
3. Radio Silence (23 Books Featuring Asexual Representation You Should Read)
4. Tarnished Are the Stars (23 Books Featuring Asexual Representation You Should Read)
5. In the Ravenous Dark (23 Books Featuring Asexual Representation You Should Read)
6. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (23 Books Featuring Asexual Representation You Should Read))
7. Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club (20 Must-Read Cozy Fantasy Books)
8. The Cat Who Loved Books (20 Must-Read Cozy Fantasy Books)
9. Heartless (20 Books for Slytherins)
10. The Screwtape Letters (20 Books for Slytherins)
11. Bad Feminist (20 Books for Slytherins)
12. The Young Elites (20 Books for Slytherins)
13. The Witches (20 Books for Slytherins)
14. Ash (100 Must-Read Retellings of Myths, Folklore, and Classics)
15. Avalon High (100 Must-Read Retellings of Myths, Folklore, and Classics)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 20, 4:41 pm

CAT#20: Everything Else
I'll list here the books that don't fit any of the above categories.

1. On the Road

marraskuu 5, 2022, 7:11 pm

Wow! Those graphics are cool.Good luck with your reading in 2023.

marraskuu 5, 2022, 9:28 pm

I will be back to follow the Beauty and the Beast retellings. I love them and read all I can find. I may just return for all the eye candy , swoons at Bucky and Dean.

marraskuu 5, 2022, 9:51 pm

I'm dropping a star, Amber, and wishing you a great 2023!

marraskuu 5, 2022, 11:53 pm

I love seeing what you and Charlie are reading, so looking forward to more BBs in 2023!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 2:00 am

>22 scaifea: Bucky! My poor heart!!!
I miss Snape and Benedict already, but this idea is very neat. I‘m looking forward to following along!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 5:36 am

Great CATS! Good luck with your 2023 reading.

marraskuu 6, 2022, 6:56 am

Awesome categories! Happy reading!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 7:39 am

Looking forward to catching some BBs from your interesting reading!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 8:17 am

Looking forward to another year of being peppered by book bullets.

>9 scaifea: is one of my favourite films.
>8 scaifea: Just makes me smile - used to love Scooby Doo!
>18 scaifea: Stig! I'm going to be working my way backwards in time again this year. Looking forward to nicking ideas from your list!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 8:39 am

Great idea to have a category to whittle down the Amazon wishlist! I'll also be interested to see what manga you read; I've gotten into it myself this year.

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:20 am

>24 LadyoftheLodge: Thanks so much! Good luck with your reading, too!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:21 am

>25 lowelibrary: I started the B&B thing last year, but I've only read one so far because I got sucked into its series and am still working on it - it's so good! (A Court of Thorn and Roses).

Bucky and Dean (and Sammy) are very swoon-worthy. It's a pity to have that mask on Bucky's pretty face, honestly.

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:22 am

>26 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! Wishing you the same!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:25 am

>27 JayneCM: Our family reading has been really slow this last year now that Charlie's into school extracurriculars, but we're still hanging in there.

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:26 am

>28 MissBrangwen: Yes! Bucky!!

And yes, it was a tough thing to let Snape and Cumberbuttons go. I'll have to come up with a theme that will include them next time again.

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:26 am

marraskuu 6, 2022, 9:27 am

>32 Helenliz: The Princess Bride is an absolute classic and gets quoted in our house pretty much on a daily basis. And yay for Scooby Doo!

The Stig is the best, isn't he? I got a bit bogged down in my books-a-year thing this year because I'm reading Les Mis for it and taking my sweet time about it. I'm loving it, though!

marraskuu 6, 2022, 12:26 pm

Hope you have a good year reading. Although I read differently than you, you still usually get me with a couple of BBs every year.

marraskuu 6, 2022, 1:49 pm

>41 dudes22: Ha! For some reason that made me think of The Shakiest Gun in the West. I loved that movie as a kid...

marraskuu 7, 2022, 6:17 am

>40 scaifea: Same here - Have fun storming the castle in 2023!

marraskuu 7, 2022, 7:07 am

marraskuu 7, 2022, 2:12 pm

Fabulous graphics! Have fun whittling down your lists in 2023. I'll be following along.

marraskuu 7, 2022, 4:05 pm

>45 VivienneR: Thanks, Vivienne!

marraskuu 14, 2022, 8:37 am

Fun pics! Good luck with the challenge!

marraskuu 14, 2022, 9:25 am

>47 majkia: Thanks!

marraskuu 30, 2022, 9:53 pm

>12 scaifea: I'll be especially interested to see what you read for Beauty & the Beast.

joulukuu 1, 2022, 6:17 am

>49 markon: Thanks! Right now I'm working through Sarah J Maas's A Court of Thorn and Roses series, the first of which is a very cool retelling of B&B. Highly recommend it!

joulukuu 19, 2022, 1:40 pm

Stopping by with best wishes for your 2023 reading.

joulukuu 25, 2022, 12:40 pm

>51 lkernagh: Thank you! Happy Holidays!

joulukuu 27, 2022, 9:30 am

Hope you have a great year of reading!

joulukuu 27, 2022, 11:01 am

>53 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori - same to you!

tammikuu 3, 6:43 am

>55 lowelibrary: Thanks - those are already on the list!

tammikuu 3, 4:02 pm

I liked The Fire Rose well enough to reread it and it’s still on my shelves.

Have fun with your reading this year.

tammikuu 3, 4:08 pm

Happy New Year and many good books, Amber!

tammikuu 3, 6:15 pm

>57 hailelib: I'm glad you enjoyed it!

>58 MissBrangwen: Thanks!

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 1:07 pm

CAT#2: YALSA Award Winners
BingoDOG#6: Memoir

1. A Face for Picasso by Ariel Henley
A memoir that recounts the author's childhood through her college years as she and her twin sister struggled through myriad surgeries to 'correct' their faces, which were misshapen as a result of being born with Crouzon syndrome.

I generally enjoy this type of middle grade/teen (this one's more on the teen side) book for how they expose readers to lives that are very likely different from their own - and for how they represent other readers who can find themselves in their pages. This one, though, felt a little counterproductive on that front. I hesitate to criticize memoirs on any level, because I think their authors are a particular kind of brave and should be praised for having the stamina and courage to open up their lives to others in such a way. So I don't say this lightly and I'm also not claiming that there isn't value in the book in a lot of respects. It just didn't quite work for me overall. Henley seems to focus too heavily on her struggles for it to be an inspirational story; I was left wondering who this story was intended for. Also, the parallels Henley tries to draw between herself and Picasso are strained and in places trite, and in the end it reads like a forced comparison in a first year composition paper.

tammikuu 4, 1:09 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks
BingoDOG#13: Read a CAT

2. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
Yasuko, a single mother working in a lunchbox shop, is unpleasantly surprised by a sudden reappearance of her deadbeat, abusive ex-husband. When he immediately starts back up with his old, manipulative ways, things get out of hand and Yasuko finds herself and her daughter in their apartment with a dead body. Enter their next-door neighbor Ishigami, a quiet math teacher who is secretly in love with Yasuko. He quickly takes over and handles all the details of covering up the murder, and his brilliance has the detectives on the case baffled. However, an old college friend of Ishigami is just as much of a genius, or maybe more. Will Detective Galileo be able to crack the case or will the lengths Ishigami is willing to go to protect Yasuko be more than anyone can imagine?

This mystery is a cool twist on the usual layout of the reader trying to figure out the murderer along with the detectives. Instead, we witness the murder first and follow along as the police struggle toward the resolution. The real mystery is something else entirely, and its result is clever and surprising. I loved it. The story is inventive and great, and the characters have an emotional depth you don't see that often in this kind of procedural story. Definitely recommended.

tammikuu 6, 11:57 am

CAT#6: Romance
BingoDOG#4: The next book in a series you've started

3. Heartstopper vol 4 by Alice Oseman
More adventures in the romance between Nick and Charlie. This volume delves into the issue of Charlie's eating disorder and brings up some excellent points about how loved ones can and can't help. Such an excellent series, this.

tammikuu 6, 3:16 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists
BingoDOG#18: A book involving an accident

4. Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Elatsoe (Ellie, for short) lives in an alternate US where monsters exist (vampires, coyote people, ghosts) and certain people have hereditary magic of various kinds. Ellie, like her grandmothers and mother before her, can raises ghost animals (but never people) and is always accompanied by her ghost-dog, Kirby. When her cousin dies in what is reported as a car crash, he comes to her in a dream to explain that it was actually murder and even tells her who the culprit is. But the murderer is a respected and highly successful doctor in a small Texas town, and the townspeople don't like Ellie and her family sniffing around...

I loved the story and the characters here, plus the mystery of who the bad doctor really is and what's actually going on in that creepy town is inventive and cool.

tammikuu 6, 4:23 pm

>62 scaifea: I have this one from the library! Such a good series.

tammikuu 6, 6:32 pm

>64 rabbitprincess: Yay! Have you watched the show? It's also excellent.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 9, 10:07 am

CAT#9: Beauty and the Beast Retellings

5. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
Another great entry in this series, and I hope it's not the last. What started out as an inventive retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story has evolved into an intricate epic with excellent world building, characters that you can't help but adore, and a wonderful overall story arc. It's easily one of my all-time favorite series now.

CAT#4: Manga
BingoDOG#14: A book with a small town or rural setting

6. Shuna's Journey by Hayao Miyazaki
Miyazaki (of Studio Ghibli fame) treats us to a sweet and lovely retelling of a Tibetan folktale in which a boy sets out from his destitute village to find the source of the desperately-needed healthy grain seeds and finds himself on a long journey with sometimes dangerous and generally magical adventures. I loved it.

tammikuu 9, 11:45 am

>61 scaifea:
The Devotion of Suspect Xsounds good and my library actually has it.

I would also like to try Shuna's Journey but that would have to come from a bookstore.

tammikuu 9, 5:07 pm

>67 hailelib: Yay! I hope you enjoy the Higashino! I'm sorry your library doesn't have the Miyazaki, though.

tammikuu 9, 5:21 pm

Happy reading in 2023.

I also liked The Devotion of Suspect X. I think the translation was clumsy, but the story was so good it made up for it.

tammikuu 10, 3:10 pm

>69 pamelad: I liked the story enough that I wasn't even paying attention to notion of translation.

tammikuu 10, 3:15 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks
BingoDOG#10: A book that taught you something

7. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
A novel about Alice, a successful Harvard linguistics professor who, at the age of fifty, begins to show signs of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The story follows her descent into the disease and the effect it has on both her and her family. Told from her point of view, the reader gets a heartbreaking and terrifying look at what it's like to lose yourself bit by bit to this condition. Recommended.

tammikuu 12, 4:10 pm

CAT#4: Manga

8. My Hero Academia vol 7 by Kohei Horikoshi
We get to see the UA High gang meet up with Stain - a very bad guy - and we get some background on Bakugo in this one. I love this series.

tammikuu 15, 1:21 pm

CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists
CAT#8: Audiobooks
BingoDOG#12: Features something art or craft related

9. Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
A teen girl loses her sister in a car accident and is sent to Hawaii to stay with her aunt while her mother deals with the loss of her youngest daughter. Rumi works through her grief and anger while making new friends and trying to find her own voice as he redefines her life without her best friend and sister.

It's a little slow to get going - the first third is a bit heavy on Rumi's angst, although that's also understandable, I guess - but it deals well with responding to loss as such a young age. Overall I enjoyed it.

tammikuu 19, 10:54 am

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

10. A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer
During the State of the Union address a terrorist group known as Genesis remotely detonates several vials of a deadly and very contagious virus hidden in the bags of various members of congress. The president orders the building put on lockdown, and so the countdown for an antidote begins. And the only person knowledgeable enough to create such a thing has been in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison for the last 8 months.

Does what it says on the tin. For the most part. The plot is interesting and has some nice twists, but I could have used a bit more seat-edginess. As far as thrillers go, it needs more thrills. Still, not a bad read.

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

11. A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Patton Walsh
A fictional account of how the plague laid waste to the English town of Eyam in 1665-1666. With a tame little love story thrown in for good measure.

It was okay, although the middle dragged a bit and some of the actions of the main character were frustrating in a not-good way. As far as stories go, it was pretty good, but as far as plague narratives go, it wasn't my favorite.

tammikuu 21, 2:25 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
January RandomKIT: Hidden Gems
BingoDOG#15: STEM

12. Jacquard's Web by James Essinger
An account of how the invention of a weaving machine led to the birth of computers.

Welp. Chalk this one up on the list of books on fascinating subjects that are poorly written. So disappointing. It reads like an amateurish dissertation, with lots of unnecessary rehashing and arguments made too forcefully (ex: Essinger, in a discussion of an image he shares of an invoice for Charles Babbage's purchase of one of Jacquard's woven portraits, says both that, "This clearly shows the sum he paid - 200 francs," and then later on the same page, "It seems quite clear that Babbage kept the invoice as a record of having purchased the woven portrait and of how much it cost him." I...could not possibly care less how much Mr. Babbage paid for the thing, for sobbing out loud. And dude, just let the thing speak for itself - I'm not an idiot; I can read the invoice. Move on, maybe. And there were moments like this throughout. It made me feel like I was supposed to be grading it as a student paper instead of enjoying a published work on an interesting topic. Gah.

tammikuu 21, 4:50 pm

>75 scaifea: - That's too bad, Amber. It could have been an interesting topic. Do you think it was a case of not having enough information for a whole book?

tammikuu 21, 6:09 pm

>76 dudes22: No, I think he had plenty to talk about. It was just...poorly done.

tammikuu 21, 7:15 pm

Hi Amber, just suggesting The Beauty of the Wolf by Wray Delaney (Sally Gardner) for your Beauty & Beast retellings.

tammikuu 22, 3:20 pm

>78 avatiakh: I may have to add that one to my TBR list as well!

tammikuu 22, 4:05 pm

tammikuu 23, 12:00 pm

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
January AlphaKIT: S

13. Spider Sparrow by Dick King-Smith
Between the world wars somewhere in the English countryside, a shepherd finds a baby left amongst his lambing ewes and takes it home to his wife. They've never been able to have their own children, so they adopt him and raise him as their own. But Spider Sparrow is different from the local children. He's 'slow' and isn't allowed in school, but he also has an uncanny relationship to all animals; they instinctively trust him and he loves them all in return. This comes in handy several times on The Mister's farm-estate, from comforting ewes in labor to gentling wild broncos.

This is a quiet story, in which not much happens but that doesn't take away from the enjoyment of it. It's cozy without being saccharine, bittersweet without being maudlin. A perfect read for a snowy day with some tea by your side.

tammikuu 24, 3:54 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

14. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Frances is Head Girl at her school, has the highest grades of her class, and is determined to get into Oxbridge and become successful. At least, that's who she is on the outside. But on the inside she feels much less dull, and much less the nerdy/shy girl. And on the inside she's obsessed with a youtube show called Universe City, whose creator is a complete mystery to the entire fandom. When she finds out that the creator is actually Aled, the quiet, studious best friend of her frenemy/the Head Boy, they become close friends and start collaborating on the show together. But they both have secrets that they keep not only from the fans but from themselves, and when those secrets come out, their friendship - and Aled's mental health - is at stake.

This clinches it: Alice Oseman is one of my new very favorite authors. This novel was brilliant in so many ways. It's darker than Heartstopper but the characters still make you want to hug them all and be a part of their lives. It also shows gender and sexuality on a broad spectrum and all in a fabulously positive light. It's about friendship and trust and the importance of mental health. Opening one of Oseman's books feels like entering a safe space, and I love her for that.

tammikuu 25, 10:46 am

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
BingoDOG#9: Lost or Stolen Identities
January AlphaKIT: I

15. I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale
Kirby has always taken care of her mother more than her mother has taken care of her: she does all the bill paying and grocery shopping, and keeps her mom on a budget as best she can. But just before Christmas her mom starts acting strange and nervous, and then suddenly they're packing their belongings and leaving town, with no real explanation. Her mother leaves Kirby with the family she's never met and who belong to a strict Christian cult the lives by The Rule. She's renamed Esther, forced to live by the cult's oppressive ways, and finds herself slowly losing her identity even as she fights to maintain it. Will she be able to escape and find her mother? Will she ever be Kirby again?

A good story that keeps the tension without getting too dark, and gives a good look into how harmful such sects can be both physically and mentally. Nicely drawn characters and good pacing.

tammikuu 28, 3:39 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks
BingoDOG#24: Set on a Plane, Train, or Ship

When the planes hit the towers on 9/11, the ripple effects were everywhere. An obvious one, of course, was that, because air traffic was then shut down all the planes already in the air and heading to the US had to land somewhere else. One of the less obvious effects of the tragedy, though, was that many planes that day were rerouted to the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, and that the residents there stepped up to the challenge in amazing and wonderful ways.

As interesting as it was uplifting. I loved learning about both the logistics of such a small place figuring out how to accommodate so many people so swiftly and the bonds of friendship that grew between the passengers and their Canadian hosts. Definitely recommended.

tammikuu 28, 4:32 pm

>84 scaifea: - I've been trying to get to this for a number of years now. Maybe I'll try it as an audio.

tammikuu 28, 4:54 pm

>85 dudes22: The audio was very good!

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 2, 11:32 am

CAT#6: Romance
BingoDOG#25: A book in >1000 libraries on LT

17. When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
Francesca, her husband John, and John's cousin Michael are a nearly inseparable trio, but when John dies unexpectedly everything seems to crumble. Instead of staying to comfort Francesca and be comforted by their friendship in turn, Michael runs away to India to try to escape his secret love for her. Four years later he returns to take up his responsibilities as the new earl and finds that Francesca is in the market for a new husband...

A handful of books into the series and I'm still loving it. The characters are great, the stories comfortable, and the Bridgertons feel like the fancy yet inviting family next door.

helmikuu 2, 11:32 am

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

18. Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
Many years ago humans ruined earth with their technology, or so the stories go. So now on Earth 2 tech is forbidden while some people live in 'civilized' city, governed by the Commissioner and following the laws against tech while they try to determine how to make the world safe for wholesale inhabitation, and other folks live in a secret encampment where tech is not only made and used but necessary for survival. Anna is proof of that need - she has a clockwork heart. She's also known as The Technician; she smuggles tech into the city for those who are willing to break the rules. When the Commissioner's son, Nathaniel, who also secretly has a Ticker for a heart, decides to try for his father's approval by tracking down the Technician himself, he finds more than he expected in Anna. And then Eliza, Nathaniel's betrothed, arrives from the space station where the elite live and wait for the new world to be habitable for them, both he *and* Anna are in for a mess of surprises.

This was a fun one. Slightly different from most YA post-apocalyptic novels, it stays clear of overly-fraught love triangles and too-angsty teens. There's also really good representation of LGBTQ+ people, including ace/aro. Recommended.

helmikuu 2, 11:47 am

February RandomKIT: Second or Two
BingoDOG#16: A book with an LT rating of 4 or more

19. A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker
Okay, so I'm cheating just a bit with this one since I mostly skimmed it. It's filled with all sorts of swatch samples for various patterns to knit into a project. I took note of several to save for later possibly projects.

helmikuu 4, 9:09 pm

>89 scaifea: I think most of us do that with pattern books and even with recipe books. We know some we'll never use, but others intrigue us, and we pay closer attention to those.

helmikuu 5, 1:35 pm

>90 thornton37814: Oh, agreed, but I usually don't count pattern and cookbooks toward my reading totals just for that reason.

helmikuu 5, 1:36 pm

CAT#4: Manga

20. Assassination Classroom vol 3 by Yusei Matsui
The third volume in the manga series about an alien teacher who claims he will destroy the world at the end of the year if his junior high students can't assassinate him before then, all the while being an excellent and thoughtful teacher for them. It's...weird, but mostly in a good and fun way. It's keeping me engaged enough that I'm still willing to read the next volume.

helmikuu 5, 2:27 pm

Listening Update:
I'm calling it quits on Angelology. It's just not holding my interest at all. Moving on to In the Ravenous Dark for my audiobook.

helmikuu 13, 11:47 am

CAT#12: NEH list
BingoDOG#1: Features Music or a Musician

21. Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmunds
A pair of newlyweds head out to the New York wilderness to start a new life together, but with the Revolutionary War comes trouble and hardship. Plus, Indians.

Yeah, not my cuppa, I suppose. Just not...interesting enough? Which is too bad because it really could have been.

helmikuu 14, 9:59 am

CAT#4: Manga

22. My Hero Academia vol 8 by Kohei Horikoshi
The UA first years take their semester finals and then head off to summer camp. Also, Deku has a run-in at the mall with my boyfriend Tomura Shigaraki.

I love this manga. That is all.

helmikuu 16, 12:02 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

23. In the Ravenous Dark by A. M. Strickland
Rovan has hidden her magic ever since her father was taken from her and her mother in order to escape that same fate. But when she wakes up massively hungover on a roof with another girl, she accidentally uses her powers to save that girl from falling to her death, and then the authorities haul her off to the palace, where she's bound to a spirit and forced to become a blood mage. As she plots her escape she struggles to know whom to trust and whom to let herself love, including two other royal blood mages and the ghost she's bound to.

I loved this cool fantasy both for its plot and characters and for its fantastic LGBTQ+ representation (Rovan is pansexual, and there are lesbian, ace, and nonbinary characters as well). It's so well written that I'll definitely be looking for more of Strickland's work.

helmikuu 21, 5:10 pm

CAT#9: Beauty and the Beast Retellings

24. The Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de VIlleneuve
It was fun to revisit one of the oldest versions of this story we have extant. I had forgotten how different it is from more current versions, and I admit to getting a little lost in which king was married to which fairy and whose daughter was half fairy and so on. But overall I love it.

helmikuu 21, 7:51 pm

>97 scaifea: I had never read that until last year. I was shocked at how different it was from the story I knew and loved.

helmikuu 22, 4:09 am

>97 scaifea: I have never heard of this! If it is old it must be available somewhere in the public domain? *off to dive down a rabbit hole*

helmikuu 22, 7:47 am

>98 lowelibrary: It's a lot different in the details, isn't it? I love that sort of thing - see how a story evolves over time.

helmikuu 22, 7:47 am

>99 MissWatson: I would think so, yes. If you succeed, let us know!

helmikuu 22, 9:21 am

So, we've decided that it's time to call it quits on reading aloud at night. Charlie is getting to the age where he has lots of extracurriculars and homework and such, and I can tell he's just not enjoying it all that much anymore. I'm a bit heartbroken, but I didn't let on last night when we discussed it (I didn't want him to feel guilty about wanting to stop). I feel like it's one of those heartbreaks that parents just have to go through when the kiddos are growing up. S'okay. It's what I signed up for, after all, this parenting thing. And we've been doing it for 14+ years now (the reading aloud at night; we'll the parenting too, I guess) and it's had the desired result: he's definitely a reader. We now recommend books to each other and excitedly discuss them, so our family reading has just...evolved. But still. End of a mini era. And I *love* reading aloud. I guess I could just read aloud to myself when no one's around...

Anyway, all this to say that my Category #10 will remain blank this year but I'm keeping it up there both because I don't really want to mess around with changing the Cat numbers and because I love that picture.

helmikuu 22, 7:48 pm

>102 scaifea: - You should really be proud of all the years of reading you've done with him, Amber. "Making" a reader is the best! It's something he'll always have and remember. And hopefully, pass along to his kids.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 8:49 pm

>99 MissWatson: >101 scaifea: Found the rabbit hole here
>100 scaifea: It was beautiful in its own way, and the backstory was heartbreaking.

helmikuu 23, 4:05 am

>104 lowelibrary: Oh, that looks like a fabulous site!
I tracked down the French original on Gallica, in a collection called "le cabinet des fées" which also has a fairy tale by Rousseau. Digitised from an 18th century copy with ancient spelling and typography. This is going to be a bit challenging, but fun.

helmikuu 23, 8:25 am

>103 dudes22: Thanks for that - I really appreciate it!

helmikuu 23, 8:25 am

>104 lowelibrary: That link is taking me to a pdf of a very abridged version?

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 23, 8:28 am

>105 MissWatson: Oooh, very cool! Just at first glance, though, it looks like that may be the Beaumont version? Which, I think, is an abridged version of de Villeneuve's.

ETA: Even so, I may read through it, too, to see how my Olde Frenche is holding up...

helmikuu 23, 12:22 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

25. So Cold the River by Michael Koryta
A filmmaker who failed to make it big in Hollywood now makes retrospective movies for parties and funerals in the Chicago area. When he gets a lucrative offer to make a film about a woman's father-in-law and his life in his hometown of French Lick, Eric decides to take the long drive to southern Indiana. He's also intrigued to get the story behind bottle of snake oil mineral water the woman gives him as a clue to the man's past. It feels unnaturally cold, and after he's spent only a few hours in the small town, it's so cold that it's frosted over. But Eric soon realizes that there are more mysteries here than a physics-defying bottle, and that it may be dangerous to solve them.

I really enjoyed this supernatural mystery/thriller. The characters are all great, the story is neat, and the pacing is excellent. It was fun reading a story set in an area I'm familiar with, too, having gone to school in southern-ish Indiana.

helmikuu 23, 12:24 pm

CAT#17: Unread Books from My Shelves
January AlphaKIT: J

26. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
This novel weaves together the stories of several women who immigrated from China to San Francisco, along with the stories of their daughters, who were born in the states and have a very different view of how life should be. It's lovely and at times heartbreaking, while at other times inspiring. A fantastic tribute to the strength of women all over the world.

I loved it. I occasionally became confused about which mother went with which daughter, but I think that's more the fault of my attention span than any lack of clarity in the book.

helmikuu 24, 4:42 am

>108 scaifea: I haven't started yet, so I can't comment yet.
>104 lowelibrary: Looks like that PDF is a stranded file, the site itself has gone and the domain is for sale.

helmikuu 24, 6:10 am

>111 MissWatson: It's certainly much too short to be the full original version, but I still think it would be fun to read in French. I've got the tab open and eventually I'll try to muddle through it myself!

helmikuu 26, 8:35 am

>112 scaifea: Incidentally, I saw a digitised version of the Leprince de Beaumont story which expressly says that she rewrote Villeneuve's book.

helmikuu 26, 9:21 am

>113 MissWatson: Yep, rewrote and abridged, I think.

helmikuu 27, 1:55 pm

CAT#5: Mysteries
CAT#11: Favorite Author Bibliographies
February AlphaKIT: F

27. Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
Another banger from the Dame. Multiple deaths, lots of suspects, and a sort of double love triangle. Excellent stuff.

helmikuu 27, 1:57 pm

CAT#17: Unread Books from My Shelves

28. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Lily Owens lives with her father, T-Ray, on his peach farm, and Lily has grown up believing that she killed her mother, since that's what T-Ray has always told her. She only has vague memories of her mother hurriedly packing a bag and telling Lily to be quick to get ready to leave, then her father entering the room, some shouting, a gun, and a loud blast as it goes off. Her stand-in mother, Rosaleen, the black woman who comes into clean house for T-Ray, decides one day to walk into town and register to vote. This goes over about as well as you think it would in 1960s South Carolina. Rosaleen and Lily both end up in jail, and when T-Ray bails out only Lily, she fears both for her own safety and Rosaleen's, breaks her friend/surrogate momma out of the clink, and they both hit the road south. With only an old sticker of a black virgin Mary to guide her, Lily heads to a town she's convinced her mother knew in search of answers. What she finds is a new if unconventional family, one that helps her work through more questions than she knew she had.

On the surface I loved the story and the characters. And the writing is gorgeous. But the more I think about it, the more issues I see. Lily's age doesn't seem well defined, for one; we learn at some point that she's 14, but she really doesn't seem that old in her thoughts and actions, which makes her relationship with Zach - a high school boy - seem off. But more importantly, the black sisters with whom Lily and Rosaleen stay (and Rosaleen herself), although it seems obvious that we're meant to see them as Strong Black Women in a time when SBW were not safe in the South, come off more as a modern version of the Noble Savage, glorified caricatures of the Mammy type, old, wise for their hardships, but still safely quirky and living at the margins of Real Society. So in the end I both loved and kinda loathed the novel. It has lovely moments, but ultimately the main character is a white girl benefiting from nurturing of black women while not really understanding them or their lives.

maaliskuu 4, 9:01 pm

>102 scaifea: I'm sure at some point in his life he'll look back with fondness on all the time you all spent reading together.

maaliskuu 5, 9:26 am

>117 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori. I hope so.

maaliskuu 5, 3:13 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

29. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
The sequel to A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, this novel follows Monty's sister, Felicity, as she desperately tries to make her dreams of becoming a doctor a reality. But the medical field is run by the Old Men's Club and they are gatekeeping her at every turn. When she discovers that her childhood frenemy is getting married to Felicity's idol, Dr. Platt, she runs off to Europe with a suspected pirate to crash the wedding. Things don't go at all as she plans, though, and she finds herself entangled in another adventure bigger and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

I don't know why it took me so long to get to this sequel when I loved the first one so much. The adventure is a fun one, and the characters are like old friends, with some new ones along for the ride as well. Definitely recommended. You don't have to have read the first one to read this one, but why wouldn't you?

maaliskuu 6, 3:43 pm

CAT#4: Manga

30. Given Vol 1 by Natsuki Kizu
4 young men (2 high school age and 2 college kids) form a band and explore life and relationships.

Charlie and I watched the anime of this series and we both fell in love with it, so now we're reading the manga. I just don't want to let go of these characters, like, ever.

maaliskuu 15, 11:06 am

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

31. Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim
Sophie has just returned to her hometown of Toronto after attending matchmaking school - a gift she was born with - and is ready to start her career. However, her overbearing mother and her lack of an actual diploma threatens to keep her dream from coming true, and she's worried that she won't be able to get her client list up and running and prosperous enough to keep her new apartment before she runs out of savings. Her saving grace may just be the Old Ducks Club - a group of older single men living in her building and who have bonded over their lack of SOs. Can she convince them all to let her be their matchmaker and can she successfully match them all before time runs out?

Adorable, this one. Fun and cozy, with lots of great characters.

maaliskuu 15, 11:09 am

CAT#2: YALSA Award Winners

32. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Lily Hu is a high school girl growing up in San Francisco's Chinatown in the 1950s. Her parents have worries about the McCarthy atmosphere, and meanwhile Lily is trying to come to terms with her new and strange feelings surrounding Tommy Andrews, sneaking out to the lesbian bar Andrews performs at, and Kath, the girl she sneaks out at night to go to the bar with. When the Telegraph Club gets raided one night while Lily and Kath are there, Lily faces the consequences of being Asian and gay in the '50s.

A fantastic read. The chilly, damp setting of San Francisco in January seeks into your bones, much like Lily's anxiety over her growing awareness of her sexuality. It's not the sunshiny-est book out there, but it's also not without hope and love, and in fact, it balances the two nicely. Definitely recommended.

maaliskuu 17, 5:12 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

33. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Julia is an American expatriate living in Paris and working as a journalist. She's given an assignment on the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup in 1942, in which French authorities helped the Nazis by raiding Jewish homes and forcing the inhabitants to stay in horrid conditions in a stadium before being taken to the camps and slaughtered. When she discovers that the apartment that she, her husband, and her daughter are getting ready to move into, which belonged to her grandmother-in-law, was owned by one of the Jewish families taken away that day, she becomes obsessed with discovering what happened to the little girl who lived there. Julia's story is told in alternating chapters with Sarah's - the little girl. There are equal parts horror and sadness, strength and hope in both women's stories, and together they make for a powerful read.

I think it's easy to get burned out on these kinds of novels, but this one is very well done and balances the heavy stuff with the good. And it's excellently told. Definitely recommended.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 20, 5:47 pm

CAT#2: YALSA Award Winners
March AlphaKIT: A
March RandomKIT: Water Water Everywhere

34. Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow
13 year-old Dalia's world is turned upside down when her father tells her, out of the blue, that he's got a girlfriend and then in short measure adds that they're getting married. And that his fiancee has a college-aged daughter. It seems like hate at first sight for Dalia and Alexa (the college daughter), but when Alexa wants to go on a week-long trip to ride rollercoasters in several states, Dalia, who wants to do that very thing, decides to go along. And she brings her new friend, Rani, too.

Dalia goes through a *lot* of emotions on the trip while she figures out her feelings for Alexa and for Rani. And sometimes it feels like too much fret and angst, although the story is a good one. Maybe it's a case of me not being a middle grader; they may relate much better to such hormonal turmoil. Overall, though, I enjoyed it very much.

maaliskuu 19, 2:36 pm

>123 scaifea: I read that one a few years ago and remember liking it.

maaliskuu 20, 11:19 am

>125 thornton37814: I'm glad you enjoyed it, Lori.

maaliskuu 20, 11:22 am

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

35. The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
An introverted teen lives with his grandfather above their modest but cozy used bookshop. When the grandfather dies, RIntaro finds it difficult to come to terms with the idea of leaving behind the shop and its books to live with an aunt he barely knows. Meanwhile, a strange talking cat comes to visit the shop and takes Rintaro on magical quests to rescue books from people who are mistreating them, and Rintaro discovers along the way that he just may need rescuing, too.

I can't praise this one enough. Quiet and cozy, just like the bookshop detailed in its pages, this story is one that speaks to the heart of any book lover. The tagline could be: Zen and the Art of Enjoying a Simple Life of Friendship and Reading. Do yourself a favor and read it. Nowish.

maaliskuu 20, 11:23 am

CAT#4: Manga

36. Assassination Classroom vol 4 by Yusei Matsui
The students of Class E are still trying to assassinate their teacher and still aren't getting very far with the assignment.

Four volumes in and it's still weird. I'm still enjoying it, though, so I'll keep going.

maaliskuu 20, 5:48 pm

CAT#5: Mysteries

37. Killer Research by Jenn McKinlay
Ms. Cole is running for mayor and the current person in the position isn't too happy about not running unopposed. So when the dead body of Ms. Cole's old flame shows up in the trunk of her car, the current mayor makes full use of the situation to try to discredit her as a candidate. Could the straightlaced librarian really have committed murder? Or is Mayor Henson the culprit in an attempt to frame his opponent? Library director Lindsey has her hands full trying to clear her colleague and friend's name while trying to find out who the real killer is.

I love visiting Briar Creek and its library, despite the ridiculously high murder rate. The characters feel like old friends and the cozy series is still going strong.

maaliskuu 20, 7:00 pm

>127 scaifea: I received this book for Christmas. Bumping it up the TBR.

maaliskuu 21, 4:14 am

>127 scaifea: That's a very lovely cover, too.

maaliskuu 21, 6:45 am

>130 lowelibrary: I hope you love it as much as I did!

>131 MissWatson: Isn't it, though?

maaliskuu 21, 9:49 am

>132 scaifea: If that edition had been lying around at my usual bookstore, I would have snapped it up.

maaliskuu 21, 1:43 pm

>133 MissWatson: Same! I am a sucker for a lovely cover.

maaliskuu 24, 9:15 am

>129 scaifea: I can't remember where I am in that series, but I should have another one on my BINGO card--or if not, I'll be grabbing the next soon.

maaliskuu 24, 10:09 am

>129 scaifea: That sounds lovely!

maaliskuu 24, 6:35 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

38. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Three daughters of a Shakespeare professor come back home as adults when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Living in the small Ohio college town and under the same roof again after so many years isn't not difficult, and all of their secrets start leaking out.

From the start I suspected that the imaginary small Ohio town was based on Gambier (home of Kenyon College), and lo, I was (half) right! The author has been quoted as saying that she based the town and the college within it on a mix of Kenyon and Oberlin! That made the book extra-fun for me, but it's also just a great read. The relationships between the sisters ring true, as do each of their own struggles and triumphs. The myriad nods to Shakespeare's plays throughout are a fantastic touch, too. Definitely recommended.

maaliskuu 24, 6:36 pm

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt

39. Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp
In 1938 an ancient historian/archaeologist is visiting Rome when he's struck by lightning and somehow sent back to 535 AD. He has absolutely no qualms about changing the future because he decides to 'invent' the printing press and a bunch of other should-be-anachronistic devices. He also decides to make sure that the Dark Ages don't happen.

I dunno. I feel like I should have adored this story, and I really super didn't. I mean, who hasn't daydreamed about going back in time and trying to decide how you would live in a past society (as a woman, though, these daydreams tend to end in a disturbingly nightmarish way for me). And yeah, it would be totally fun to act the non-modern day Prometheus (minus the monster, hopefully), but something about this version of the daydream seems off to me. Just because you know the printing press exists doesn't mean you could make one yourself (or am I just helplessly ignorant of such things? Does everyone know how to create something like that from essentially nothing?), and the main character has no problem doing just that and also creating so many other things without the benefit of Ikea-like instructions. (I mean, a telescope? Come on. I get the general concept, but actually *making* one?!) And he gets arrested a time or two, but has no real problem wriggling out of trouble, it seems. How was he not condemned for witchcraft?! (A TELESCOPE, FFS. AND CANONS.) It was also not...interesting? That period of Roman history has never been my favorite, but it's certainly not dull. But it seemed so here. Anyway, a big miss for me, sorry to say.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 24, 6:38 pm

BingoDOG #5: Zodiac

40. The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft
Hoo boy. Lovecraft was a big old ball of crap, of course, and lo, his writing matches his personality. Cripes almighty, was this bad. The story is silly (not in a good way), and the language is so flowery and overwrought. It reads like someone gave a goth high school kid a thesaurus, told them every noun is better with at least one adjective and verbs are useless without two adverbs, and send them on their way with a creative writing assignment. (My apologies to goth kiddos everywhere - you deserve better than this association, you adorable weirdos.) Reading this has only confirmed my loathing for all things Lovecraft. Call of Cthulhu? More like call of the trash can.

NB: I read this in the original English alongside a Latin translation written by a friend who wanted me to edit it for him, and as much as I dislike the original, I can easily say that he did a fantastic job translating it.

maaliskuu 31, 3:16 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists
BingoDOG#3: Features a member of the cat family

41. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
A retelling of Alice in Wonderland, of sorts, in which we get the tragic backstory of the Queen of Hearts.

(Warning: Sort of spoilers ahead, but also sort of not, if you know the original tale.)

Okay. So. I loved it. And I also completely loathed it. It's well imagined and just as well written. But the love story is also incredibly angsty and frustrated and frustrating. But hating the ending is sort of on me because knowing what the Queen of Hearts is like in the original and knowing this is her back story should have clued me into the fact that this book wasn't going to end happy at all and yet here we are with me absolutely fuming because I have to be sad that the love kiddos didn't actually end up beating the odds but honestly why not rewrite the story and make it happy, Marissa? Who hurt you, Meyer? Why are you like this?! This will likely be my last of her work because my poor little heart can't take it.

huhtikuu 5, 5:50 pm

CAT#4: Manga

42. My Hero Academia vol 9 by Kohei Horikoshi
Another great entry in the manga series. I adore these characters.

huhtikuu 7, 5:21 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

43. Ape House by Sara Gruen
Isabell deeply cares for the bonobos she is studying and teaching to use sign language to communicate. John, a reporter who is getting frustrated with how he's treated at work, is doing a story on Isabell and her primates. When someone attacks the lab, nearly killing Isabell and letting loose the monkeys, who are soon secretly sold to a TV producer who makes a reality show out of them, both Isabell and John find their lives turned upside down.

I'm not sure how this one got onto my TBR, but I'm glad it did. It's not my usual fare, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The characters are interesting, and although the story isn't exactly complex, it's fun, and the bonobos are a delight.

huhtikuu 10, 5:06 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

44. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
A famous piece of moral/religious satire. I'm glad I read it just to now have knowledge of it beyond the title, but it's really not my thing.

huhtikuu 10, 5:07 pm

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

45. Strange Objects by Gary Crew
An Australian teen makes a grisly discovery on a class field trip (an ancient pot, a mummified hand, and a ring), which seems either to unhinge him mentally or suck him into a cycle of supernaturally psychotic behavior. His narrative alternates with the account of a shipwrecked Dutch trader and his own encounter with the maybe-magical ring. Lots of unknowns are left unanswered, and it's frustrating in all the best ways. Recommended if you like this sort of thing.

huhtikuu 17, 10:57 am

CAT#8: Audiobooks

46. Two Night in Lisbon by Chris Pavone
A woman accompanies her husband of 3 months to Lisbon on a business trip. Then he gets kidnapped. She has tons of trust issues for various reasons, so can she believe that the local police and/or the CIA will help her when they don't seem to believe her story? And can she trust her new husband?

I read this one on the glowing recommendation of a patron, who claims it's the best book he's read in a long time. It was...okay. For me it wasn't the page-turner that it was for my patron, but it was still enjoyable, I suppose. My issues with it: the main character spills over into annoyingly paranoid fairly quickly. I also had the twist sussed out more quickly than was fun, which may be why I didn't turn the pages as urgently as the recommender. So, for me, an average thriller.

huhtikuu 20, 4:44 pm

A quick review catch-up before I head out to Charlie's track meet:

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

47. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Examines from several different viewpoints what the world would look like and how it would adjust if all humankind were to vanish. Hint: it wouldn't miss us much. A good and fascinating read.

48. Mrs. Stephen Fry's Diary by Stephen Fry

CAT#11: Favorite Author Bibliographies

A silly entry in the Fry corpus. Silly but fun.

49. Given vol 2 by Natsuki Kizu

CAT#4: Manga

Four high school and college kids are in a band together and they navigate their friendships and relationships to one another, along with their musicianship. I adore this series and these characters so much.

50. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

CAT#20: Everything Else

Meh. I knew going in that this genre isn't really my thing, but I've always wanted to know what the book was. So, not I've read it. I'm glad I did, since I can now see how its influence has vined out into all sorts of works, both literary and otherwise, but I can't say I enjoyed it much. Sal/Jack et al. seem so self-indulgent and self-serious. Blech.

huhtikuu 22, 1:19 pm

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

51. The Ghost Drum by Susan Price
A very cool and interesting children's/YA fantasy book that uses elements of Russian folklore. Evil Czars, a prince locked in a tower, a story-telling cat, good witches, and bad shamans. Think Howl's Moving Castle but make it Siberia and darker. I loved it.

huhtikuu 24, 3:43 pm

CAT#6: Romance

52. It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn
This entry in the series sees Hyacinth get her HEA, plus two mysteries to solve: who her future FIL really is, and where did her fiancé’s grandmother hide her diamonds. Probably my second favorite of the bunch so far - I loved it.

huhtikuu 24, 4:19 pm

>148 scaifea: Ooh, what's your other fave? So far I've had mixed feelings about the Bridgerton books, with The Viscount Who Loved Me being my clear favorite thus far.

huhtikuu 24, 5:14 pm

>149 christina_reads: This first one is my favorite. I adore Daphne.

huhtikuu 24, 10:20 pm

>139 scaifea: I don't dislike Lovecraft's works (though Lovecraft the man certainly seems despicable enough) but I also don't get all the love for them either. I guess it's his influence on other creators that's important. Certainly, there are Lovecraftian works (including an Arkham Horror card game) that I enjoy much more than the originals!

huhtikuu 25, 5:51 am

>151 mathgirl40: Very true! Gaiman has a Lovecraftian take on Sherlock Holmes that I adore, so...

huhtikuu 30, 2:40 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks
April AlphaKIT: W

53. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
This one's been on my TBR for years, and it did not disappoint. Mysterious, possibly bananas, women walking around at night and just in the out-of-doors in general saying enigmatic and quirky things, drawing tutors falling for their students, possibly-evil-but-maybe-not? men, shady pasts filled with secrets, and strong women with strong sisterhoods. Excellently written and paced, and nicely twisty. I loved it.

huhtikuu 30, 2:41 pm

CAT#7: Books from My Wishlist

54. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Yeah, so I'm DNF-ing this one. It's just not working for me. I did read enough of it, though, that I feel justified as counting it toward the year's total.

toukokuu 2, 3:20 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists
BingoDOG#7: A bestselling book from 20 years ago:

55. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
A collection of essays on women's rights, issues of race, and the harsh truths of Scrabble tournaments.

At times hilarious, at others gut-punching, but always sharp and insightful and important. Before I was even halfway through the audiobook, I had already ordered a print copy to add to Charlie's summer reading stack. I don't often tell him what to read, but he *will* read this, as I think everyone should.

toukokuu 3, 10:29 am

CAT#5: Mysteries
CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#11: Favorite Author Bibliographies
May AlphaKIT: U

56. Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie
One woman's husband is missing and she insists she doesn't know where he has gone; another woman's husband has left her and she thinks she has no more reason to live. Their paths cross in the midst of an investigation into missing scientists, secret identities, and treason.

This entry in Christie's bibliography is different from anything else I've read by her. No whip-smart detectives, not locked room murder mysteries; instead it reads more like a wartime spy novel. There are still plenty of Christie-like twists, and I enjoyed it a great deal.

toukokuu 3, 2:10 pm

>156 scaifea: I think Agatha Christie's thrillers (well, at least some of them) are underrated. They Came to Baghdad is another good one, in my opinion.

toukokuu 3, 3:39 pm

>157 christina_reads: I can't remember if I've read that one yet or not. I agree that she's just as good at thrillers as she is at locked-room mysteries!

toukokuu 5, 6:44 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist

57. Pi: A Biography by Alfred S. Posamentier
Disappointing. It isn't at all well written, and there are factual errors on topics that I *do* know about (for example, in the details of Archimedes' life), which makes me wonder about the rest of it. Also, it's dry when it could have - and should have - been fascinating.

toukokuu 7, 6:24 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

58. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro
A plane lands at JFK and immediately goes dead in every sense of the word. And so begins a plague of the vampiric kind, and also the race against the clock to stop it. This task is up to a group of people made up of a couple of CDC doctors, a Holocaust camp survivor who has spent his life chasing this monster, and a NYC rat catcher.

I have to say that I expected a more interesting and quirkier story from Guillermo del Toro than what I found here. It's a mediocre vampire story and nothing more. I won't go on with the series.

toukokuu 14, 6:59 pm

CAT#2: YALSA Award Winners

59. Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
This year's Newbery medalist tells the story of Freewater, a refuge for escaped slaves in the antebellum south. Two children run away from their plantation and are saved by the inhabitants of Freewater. They come to know what it means to be free, and go back to rescue their mother and friends.

A gripping narrative with great characters, I loved that this story was based on the actual existence of such communities in the swamps. I can easily see the book becoming a favorite for middle graders for its story and then leading them to learn more about slavery and the ways black people resisted it. Definitely recommended.

CAT#4: Manga

60. My Hero Academia Vol 10 by Kohei Horikoshi
Not much to say about this one besides the fact that I still adore the series.

CAT#4: Manga

61. Assassination Classroom Vol 5 by Yusei Matsui
I'm five deep in the series and I'm still not sure I love it. But, I'm invested enough to keep going, for now.

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

62. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
A decade or so ago a virus swept through the land, killing the adults who contacted it and turning the surviving children into malfettos, ones with scars but also special abilities. These malfettos are now adolescents and are, in general, shunned by the rest of society. A few of them have formed a rogue company set on assassinating the king and taking over, so that their kind can live safely and in peace. Adelina is a malfetto who has long been mistreated by her father until one day she flees, is chased down by him, and accidentally uses her powers to kill him. The Young Elites save her from execution and proceed to groom her into becoming a member of their team. But there is darkness in Adelina that no one counted on or can tame.

A good story and I enjoyed the characters, but not enough, really, to continue with the series, I think. At least not for now.

toukokuu 17, 10:07 am

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

63. Blizzard of Glass by Sally Walker
A nonfiction book on the 1917 Halifax explosion, geared toward middle grade.
An interesting account of the event, and although I would have liked a bit more detail, I think it is perfectly done for its intended audience.

toukokuu 21, 12:59 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

64. The Witches by Stacy Schiff
A thorough and thoroughly interesting look at the Salem witch trials and the possible motives behind the frenzied turns it took. It's well-written and just as nicely researched. Recommended, if you're looking to read about the event, this is a great option.

CAT#3: 1001 Fantasy Books You Must Read Before You Turn Into a Newt

65. Silverlock by John Myers Myers
A man who survives a shipwreck is saved by someone who becomes his guide through the Commonwealth of Letters, where they wash ashore and where they encounter all sorts of characters from mythology and literature.
Meh. Interesting idea, but not carried out very well. The main character is in no way likable, nor are many of the others. And I think the interpretation of the literary and mythological nods could have been more clever/inventive, too.

toukokuu 23, 2:09 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

66. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
A pilot, who is one of the few survivors of one of his flights, moves with his family to a rambling, old Victorian house in a small, Northern New Hampshire town in an attempt to reset and recuperate from the accident. But the town is filled with strange folk who seem to love herb gardening more than is customary, and the house is either haunted or it's all in the pilot's head. It certainly doesn't help the creep factor that the townsfolk seem overly interested in his twin daughters...

The Shining meets Rosemary's Baby. Excellently creepy atmosphere, and nicely told in such a way that keeps you guessing for a good long while if the monsters are real or not. A supernatural thriller that doesn't get too scary. I loved it.

toukokuu 28, 2:37 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

67. Ash by Malinda Lo
A queer retelling of Cinderella in which the fairy godmother is sort of a combo of Ash's dead witch mother and a fae dude with the hots for her. There is a prince and a ball and hidden identities, but there's also a lady royal hunter, and Ash has some choices to make.
Fabulous retelling - I loved the twists put into the original tale, and except for the ending feeling a bit rushed and a little too pat, I really enjoyed it.

CAT#1: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
May AlphaKIT: C

68. The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
A teen girl takes her toddler brother to visit a new curio shop in town, and the creepy old man owner puts his curse mark on the boy, which enables him slowly to drain the life out of him. Laura enlists the help of the cute but strange neighborhood boy - also a prefect at her school - to help, which is good because he's a witch.
Weird, but not necessarily in a bad way. The love story aspect felt a little stodgy and forced, but an okay plot overall.

toukokuu 31, 1:37 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

69. Lunatics by Dave Barry
A Prius-driving, volunteer ref for youth soccer, pet shop owner and all-round nice guy clashes with the d-bag idiot father of one of the soccer players over one of his calls. And then the next day they clash again over a fat joke aimed toward a kid and a stolen lemur. And it only gets weirder and wilder from there, until they find themselves wanted terrorists/world heroes.

A fun and funny romp, as only Barry can deliver. Recommended if you like his ridiculous sense of humor.

kesäkuu 3, 2:21 pm

CAT#8: Audiobooks
CAT#19: Books from My Stack of Book Riot Book Lists

70. Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Slight spoilers ahead:

A modern retelling of the Arthur legend, set in a Maryland high school. I enjoyed this one, but I think I would have liked it more if it had been simply a modern retelling. Instead, it seems to do a quick turn into fantasy, as the characters are revealed as actual reincarnations of Arthur and his Camelot crew.

kesäkuu 4, 4:38 pm

CAT#18: Books from My Read Soon! Shelves
May RandomKIT: Royal Names

71. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
The zombie apocalypse has come, and we get the story of what comes next from the viewpoint of a crow named Shit Turd, who ventures out with his best friend, Dennis the bloodhound, on a quest first to find a cure for his owner, Big Jim, and then to save the domestics stuck behind lock doors.
Hilarious and intense and terrifying and beautifully written. I loved it until I hated it. Dennis doesn't make it and I HATE it when the dog dies. Just, WHY? Why is that always necessary?! ARRGH. But I only hated that one thing, although I hate it deeply and forever. So yeah. Mixed emotions here, but I respect the accomplishment.

kesäkuu 5, 1:55 pm

CAT#2: YALSA Award Winners

72. The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
Two young men, each from one of the last two countries left on Earth, are sent on a mission to rescue another astronaut (who happens to be the sister of one of them), who has sent a distress call from Titan. Ambrose wakes up shaky and with no memory of the launch, and he can't seem to get any answers about it from the OS. Kodiak, the other member of the mission, is mostly unresponsive to Ambrose's attempts to befriend him or get answers from him. But when the two of them start to doubt the motives of the OS and the mission in general, they start investigating what's really going on, and the answers they find are not at all what they expected, nor is the growing feelings between them.

It's difficult to do this one any justice without spoilers, but believe me when I say that it's a doozie, and in all kinds of good ways. Interesting twists, a HAL-like OS, and an intense yet sweet love story. It was fantastic.

kesäkuu 8, 3:59 pm

CAT#7: Books from my Wishlist
CAT#8: Audiobooks

73. The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley
A strain of the bird flu hits the US and kills half the population. The story follows one family, told mostly from the viewpoint of the mother, as they try to avoid both the virus and the other dangers of a crumbling society.
Written in 2010 but reads like it was written post-Covid, for all the eerie similarities. To further the creep factor for me, it's set in Columbus, Ohio. I don't think I could have made it through the book a couple of years ago, but I found it an interested read now that we seem to be out of the thick of our own pandemic.