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The Messenger

The Pope almost gets assassinated! This was a slightly weird book about a super rich Saudi man who is financing a lot of global terrorism. A plan is hatched to take down that guy’s “money man.” It takes a long time and a lot of team effort. Ultimately that plan fails. Later, Allon manages to kill these people no his own leading one to ask “If he could have done this the whole time, why drag everyone in to it?” A confusing but very lively story.

Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time

A lot of fun trivia in this book about time, a lot of which I hadn’t found in other places and was fun to look up and learn more about. Not a total coherence into one big narrative though I think that wasn’t really the point. Enjoyed this and loved learning about the ten hour clock art project, the 24 hour movie titled The Clock, and how they make Swiss watches.

Hidden in Plain View: A secret story of quilts and the underground railroad

I was expecting this to be a much different book. I was expecting to it have a lot of research and interesting historical stuff. Instead I got a lot of stories--which were in and of themselves pretty good--and a lot of anecdata which made me feel weird about the general thesis the authors had: that quilts and their patterns were an integral part of underground railroad communication. I remain unconvinced.

All the Birds in the Sky

Loved this book by a friend of a friend about an unlikely friendship between a witch and a mad scientist at the end of the world. Also: birds!

Animals Strike Curious Poses

Found this book on the new shelf at my library despite the fact that it had come out earlier in the year. I had thought it was a book of nature essays and... it sort of is but it’s more than that. Starting from the loose theme of “animals", Passarello has put together an interesting collection of essays, poetry and thought experiments using animals-that-you’ve-heard of as a jumping off point. She talks about seeing the "unicorn” at the circus or her reading Berger’s book about how we interact with animals or, my very favorite, a retelling of the dirty joke the Aristocrats using only words from Koko’s 1000 word vocabulary. Not all the pieces land but they’re all interesting and engaging.


I am only sorry that this book didn’t cover the time after the primaries and subsequent election. This is a very well done look at the history of the Democratic Party in the postwar era, the increasing bend towards centrism or outright conservativism, and the appeal of Bernie Sanders amidst all of that. I learned a lot about Sanders' background and a lot about the machinations of various factions within the Democrats to do various things. Enjoyable and also creepy.

Passing Strange : True Tales of New England Hauntings and Horrors

I really enjoyed this book about weird occurrences that have been happening in New England since there was a New England. Citro is always an enjoyable storyteller and he does his research (and thanks the library in the credits at the end) so there is always more to learn if you want to keep learning about any of these topics. It took me a while to really get going with this book since there’s a suspension of disbelief that has to happen, reading about all these odd occurrences, but once I got into the swing of these tales, I enjoyed them all and wanted more.

Mark of the Assassin

The assassin’s mark is that he shoots people three times in the face. This is from a small series (2) that Silva wrote before the Gabrial Allon series. I like it only because it’s not all about Israel. Same general stuff. Good and compelling. Moves you along. Strong female characters for the most part, one who is good at archery.