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The Immortality Thief

This was a very particular kind of book in which the protagonist on a “thought to be dead ship which is not so dead” struggles to stay alive while being constantly terrified and increasingly isolated and injured as they deal with seemingly endlessly increasing varieties of challenges, threats and obstacles. The plot is almost secondary to this general arc. Ultimately I felt like reading this was exhausting. I wanted some moments of peace or calm. If that’s not a thing you care about as central to a plot, you might really like this since there is a lot of original conceptions of alien life forms and how life continues to evolve (or be evolved) over centuries. Liked, did not love.

The Spare Man

I loved the Lady Astronaut series, but this one wasn’t my jam. An interesting mystery that takes place on a spaceship to Mars. The lead protagonist is a very wealthy woman with chronic pain and a plucky service dog who is nearly a character of its own. There is a lot of respect for gender identities and people’s various levels of abilities. All of that I appreciated but it ultimately didn’t click for me and there was just too much pain in it for me. An original and interesting novel, just not for me.

Born to Kvetch

A look at the history and culture of the complaints of Yiddish with chapters covering important topics like sex and death and why the slang terms for male and female genitalia aren’t semantically equivalent. This was a fun and educating read and a lot more in-depth than I was expecting.

Tin Man

An Oz-adjacent story--you’ll see a lot of names you recognize but the plot really doesn’t work out the same way--about family and belonging and dreaming and how to deal with complex feelings. Beautifully drawn and well crafted. A little more complicated than you think it’s going to be, in a good way.

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere.

Graphic novel about being a Black teen learning more about punk and who your people are in a rural racist town. When your mom is a well-meaning but self-centered White woman who doesn’t get you and your dad is a Black womanizing bodybuilder who lives a continent away it’s a tough road. Spooner talks about how he grew up during this period in his life and what friendships and school were like and how he dealt with everyday racists while also being part of a punk band.

A Man Called Ove

I sort of knew from reading the reviews in the back the way this book was going to go. It was a feelgood story about a man who is difficult. As the book goes on you learn more about why he is that way and more about the lives of the people and places around him. I still enjoyed it despite some predictability. The book had some genuinely funny moments, and overall it was a very sweet story.

The Bullet That Missed

This may be the first large print book I’ve read. It was the version they had at the library so it’s the one I took home, I enjoy this series a lot. Another great book in this mystery series, this one has a slightly lower body count than the last one. More gratifying relationships between people and a littler less lying and skulking about.

Fleishman Is in Trouble

Got this book from the friends of the library bookshelf because I liked the cover and I figured “Award nominated, why not?” It became one of those books I kept reading not so much because I liked it (it was fine, not great, not terrible) but because I was curious what the message was at the end. The book takes place mostly through the eyes of the protagonist talking about his awful ex-wife and his new life without her, and then she disappears, or does she? The ending was an odd unexpected one, with a pivot to a totally different perspective near the end. And I’m not sure I was there for it. A novel about marriage what it means to be female, and a lot of rich people

Big Girl

A novel about what it means to be big and female and Black (and queer) in a Harlem that is rapidly changing around you. This was a book I had to read to the end of to be sure what message it was trying to send; I was pleased how it turned out. There’s a lot going on in this book and it’s mostly told through the interactions of a lot of the female characters including the main character’s mom and grandmother.

In Sunlight and In Shadow

I’ve really liked other books by Helprin but after getting what I thought was a reasonable amount into this book, I still wasn’t sure what it was about. I read some reviews and decided I didn’t want to read a book full of WWII.

My Life As A Goddess

Branum is in my trivia league. I missed Bros when it came through my town, but decided to ILL this to see if I’d like it. It’s a fun story about growing up big and gay (and gay sounding) in a rural California area and figuring out what you want to do with your life. Branum talks a lot about his family, his career trajectory and what was expected of him versus what he delivered. Funny but not a joke-a-minute.