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« January, 2018 »
This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare

Loved this! Sidibe has a sense of humor and has had a really interesting life before and during her celebrityhood. And she gets into it, from her parents odd relationship to her phone sex work right up until she got cast in Precious. I enjoyed her sense of humor and her positive take on what sounds like a lot of difficult stuff.

Dark Matter

So weirdly complex and good! I rarely read thrillers that don’t feel somehow like they’re specifically making up a scenario to be as stressful as possible. This odd science-y tale about a guy who sort of figures out how to move around in time--or does he?--scratched an itch for a good “What the heck is happening here?” story that wasn’t also coy or frustrating. Sort of like the way watching Orphan Black took you along with it, giving you enough information to remain involved but not so much that you got bored. Do not want to give a lot away here but I really enjoyed the two nights I read this.

The Best American Short Stories 2016

Great stories but a few too many with people with Serious Problems for me to exactly say I enjoyed this. Kids with cancer, cheating parents, criminals, child abuse, bad relationships, terrible families. For every story that was just some people going about their business there was one with depths of unimaginable awfulness. Diaz is a super smart dude and I presume this was stuff that resonated with him but as much as I thought there was a lot of great writing here, I approached it with trepidation every day I read it.

The Defector

Silva seems to write one book that is two books long and then splits them into separate books. This is the second part of the last book, basically going back to get the bad guy who escaped in the previous book. And... I am starting to feel the strong pull of the formula that Silva uses. A big failed project that should have worked except for that one thing and then the assassin goes in and shoots the guy in the head. Weirdly unsatisfying but I keep reading them.

Norse Mythology

Definitely a theme this year. This book was a retelling of some of the Norse myths using more contemporary language and concepts but the same old characters. Think Thor, as told by Neil Gaiman. Because really, if you’ve seen the movies it can be difficult to not thing of Hiddleston and Hemsworth as you read these tales. I enjoyed this. I like Gaiman’s writing but not always his plot choices so this was a perfect mix.

Judaism: A Very Short Introduction

I liked this one a bit better than the Hinduism one because I felt I had more hooks to hang concepts on to. Also, and I might be wrong about this, the book seemed to be written by the practitioner of the religion. I enjoy these short intros to topics that I’ve always wondered “Do I know the basics about this?”

The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg

I picked up this book because I heard a bit of trivia about it on a podcast. Did you know that eggs grow inside a bird the opposite way, in many species, from the way they come out? Truth! And no one is quite sure why, but they rotate right before they are laid. I learned that any many other fascinating things in this book which is written by a bird biologist, Birkhead, who just happens to also have a good sense of humor. Took a long time to read since it’s not all the time you’re looking for a good nature book about how eggshells get made, but when that is what you are looking for, no other thing will do.

Moscow Rules

Yay more painting and a little less Holocaust. Enjoyed this look into Russian arms dealing with a little bit of French Riviera tossed in for good measure.

From Here to Eternity

I made my library get me this from ILL. I loved Doughty’s older book and I follow her on Twitter and other places so I was stoked that not only had she come out with a new book but it was popular! Good news for people who feel that “death topics” for lack of a better work, should get more time in the sun. This book was particularly timely because 1. I had just seen Coco and 2. My mom died last year and even though things went as well as they could, it’s always good to hear from other people about stuff worth avoiding and say “Yay we avoided that” Doughty does have strong feelings about the death industry and she’s not shy about expressing them. She is also funny and not in a weird sarcastic way (Mary Roach comes to mind) but in a hip “You get the joke, right?” sort of way. I enjoyed getting to travel along with her as she examined how other cultures deal with death.

Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction

I am really trying to work on my understanding of multicultural issues and picked this up at the local library. No one had checked out the book since 2007. I enjoyed it. It’s tough for me to keep track of a lot of the names, and easier for me to get a handle on the chapters which deal with things I already have a bit of a backgrounder with--yoga, women’s rights, untouchables. The book is filled with information and while I enjoyed reading it, its near constant use of sidebar material made it hard to follow the threads of chapters. I’m going to read another one in the series, on Judaism, and see if I have the same issues.

The Secret Servant

I have to admit, these books blur together for me a little bit. This one is more of a kidnaping story with the same ending where they sort of blow the main thing they are supposed to do and then Allon goes in and bats cleanup to “finish the job” This book could have taken a really dark turn and I am sort of happy it didn’t.

Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East

Finished this book right after New Year’s Eve. I’ve been reading a lot more Judaica lately and enjoyed this look into what exactly klezmer music IS, as told through a story of a bunch of random musiciains who find each other. Great story with a lot of interesting facts and extra details there at the end. Apparently this is just book one so I need to go find book two!