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A Crack in the Wall

An Argentine crime novel about a frustrated architect who is working in a dead end job with a few other co-workers. Over the course of the novel you realize they are bound together by a crime. I had thought the fact that this was a “crime novel” meant it was a mystery/cop story and this is not that. Ultimately I disliked the main character and the way he was objectifying the women around him. You’re supposed to, but it still didn’t work for me. This book was also read in translation and I kept feeling that some of the verbal tics of the characters were supposed to be more meaningful but I wasn’t sure how.


When Logan subtitles this book “the ecstatic skin of the earth” he means it in more of a reverential way. He’s an arborist and nature writer who wrote this gentle collection of essays reflecting on what we know about the soil we stand on, farm in, and walk through. Some of it contains lessons in history, some is more straightforward soil science, all of it is interesting to read and will make you look more at the world around you when you’re outdoors.

The Hunter

This is good like I thought it would be, the second in the Cal Hooper series about a retired American cop who moves to a small town in Ireland and learns about the ups and downs in a community of people who have all known each other forever. I didn’t know there was going to be a second one and was happy to see familiar faces when I started reading. The last one began with a secret. This one starts out with a scam. Figuring out exactly what the scam is, and then what to do about it, as Cal’s connection to the people and the land grows, is the trick. Oh, and it’s really hot out. This story is both timely and timeless and if you like French you’ll love this.


This is a graphic novel about three young women from Canada who visit New York City. They are all sort of friends in different ways but not all three friends together. Two of them hook up, causing a bunch of weird feelings. Lessons get learned, maybe. The Tamakis, as always, do wonderful graphic novels. The illustrations of this one are gorgeous, really lush and interesting. At the same time, the vagaries of young people still figuring it out and being kind of shitty to one another can be a hard story to tell and also to read.

Big Time

I’ve liked Winters' other books but this one (where all the narrative characters are female or non-binary) just fell flat for me. Great plot, interesting concept but the women just didn’t feel like women, they felt like television’s idea of women. Like, if you have a character who is a domestic abuse survivor and then she gets killed in an unrelated (and ugly) way, you’ve decided she is a plot device and that’s a very specific authorial choice. It seemed strange and all the female characters seemed two dimensional. The non-binary character also turned out to be a plucky smartie but also they were treated in a not-particularly-interesting way. I loved the plot of this book, it was inventive and different, but the way it was handled I just couldn’t get behind.

The Last Taxi Ride

Ranjit Singh is a taxi driver, a Sikh former Indian Army captain now working in New York City. He hopes to have his teenage daughter stay (and maybe live) with him. Then he gets wrapped in some shit with the boss from his other job, the hair importer. It has to do with a woman who was a Bollywood star and now lives in NY doing... something. He has to clear his name and make it all work out. Been trying to branch out in my crime-solver reading and this was a great one, though I was sorry to find out that it was the second (and, I guess, last) in the series because now I know too much about how the first book goes but I do like the characters.

Freshman Year

I grabbed this despite knowing I do not really enjoy the memoirs of awkward young women. This was on me. This is a well done rendition of an awkward young woman talking about her freshman year of college, a year in which nothing momentous really happens (by her own admission, in the afterword) and she talks about how it felt to her. If that is a thing you think you’d enjoy reading about, then you might like this. I thought it was going to be a somewhat different sort of book.

The Book of Doors

. What if any door were every door? A compelling story about a world mostly like ours except there is a set of magical books that have special powers for those who have them. The Book of Pain, the Book of Joy, the Book of Memories and so forth. Cassie gets given the Book of Doors and discovers that there is a huge shady underworld of people who want these books and will spare no expense to get them. And of course there is a hidden library. There are some pretty evil evil people and that was a difficult part of this, for me. Just the right amount of sentiment and an interesting story.

The Third Person

This is a HUGE (900+ page) graphic novel about the author’s experience getting therapy in anticipation of gender affirming treatment. During the course of therapy she found she had dissociative identity disorder and so her therapist postponed treatment while they worked that out. Her main therapist comes off pretty bad in this retelling (some pretty unethical stuff sometimes it’s not entirely clear what’s happening) and while things work out okay in the end, it’s tough sledding as a read, though well told.

Exit Black

A “back on my bullshit” kind of book, a space thriller about a luxury hotel on a space station and things that go terribly wrong. Mainly taking place during a very tense 24 hours. I really liked the ideas in it. However, a lot of the explication was predicated on the idea of you understanding the layout of this place. Despite the book’s map, it never really clicked for me so it was confusing and also stressful. The narrative always felt macho despite the female lead, a lot of gratuitous violence that seemed less and less explicable as the book went on. Maybe a good book for someone else?