Posts Tagged With: Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List, 2016

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It’s that time again.  Or nearly that time.  We’re terribly late getting back to school in the state system, so there won’t be classes on this campus for another few weeks.  But the university near my house has started up, and so have all the kids I know.  And, of course, Hogwarts starts September 1st, so I’ll post the list a little early and call it appropriate.

The list is rather huge this time.  I’m blaming it on the fact that I go through bad books much faster than good ones.  And I also want to say you’re welcome for reading so much crap romance that you don’t have to wade through it yourself.  Here it is:

  1. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – CRAZY good. I’m officially obsessed with the Raven Cycle now, and this book is a big reason why.  The ladies of Fox Way take over a bit, and things start to go even crazier than before.
  2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – Another book that’s crazy good beyond all reason. This is everything I was hoping the end of the series would be, and more.  And that’s saying something.
  3. The Usual Path to Publication by Shannon Page – Spoiler: there is no usual path. But this book is full of cathartic stories of joy, and also made me realize that there are more things I can be trying while pursuing my own path.
  4. Witches of Lichford by Paul Cornell – Also amazingly good, though too short to fully realize all the story lines. But I’m basically obsessed with the concept of big box store mixed with fae and devils, and it was well done. Can’t wait for the sequel.
  5. A Gentleman Never Tells by Eloisa James – I’ve read her back list, so now every time something new comes out it’s cause for celebration. This one was especially good, with plenty of house party fun, croquet, and general quippiness.
  6. The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels – This was actually fairly good fun, if a little unbelievable. It felt like one of those books people make fun of where there’s a mean brother, and a family secret, and a chase up the moors, and a graveyard, and a haunted house, and… but all in all a solid effort at that type of thing.
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I think this is one of my favorite books right now. Cath’s crazy makes me feel less crazy myself.  Or that there’s hope for me, at least.  And you have to love Levi.
  8. My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke – An interesting read for anyone who’s a fan of Dick Van Dyke’s work. He’s brutally honest and reveals all sorts of fun in addition to the hard.  Written simply, but good.
  9. Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas – Okay, so I guess we should have a talk about Lisa Kleypas. I’m reading Kleypas because I’m out of Eloisa James and Julia Quinn and haven’t found anything else of their same caliber yet.  I’m not 100% on board with Kleypas because there’s a lot of: woman – “No!” man – does it anyway; woman – “ooh, nice.”  Which isn’t my favorite, even in historical romance.  No means no. That being said, the rest of the book is usually so awesome that I’m able to go on.  And romance novels are my escape now, so there’s no not reading them.  This one has nice reformed scoundrel propensities and much making out in corners.
  10. Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas – Probably one of my favorites of the Kleypas variety. Misunderstandings and class differences keep 2 people apart.  Bonus points for lady doctor who literally kicks ass, and much department store fun.
  11. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas – Interesting premise of hired escort that doesn’t really pan out like it should. It was fine, but nothing to write home about.
  12. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – I feel like this is everything I wished Twilight was; a more feminist version of teens in a small town dealing with the supernatural. But at the end of the day, it’s a book I’ve already read.  The writing is BEAUTIFUL, though.
  13. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater – Things in Linger get a little bit more original, but not much. Still gorgeous writing with a good emotional pay off at the end, but it’s also still something I feel like I’ve seen.
  14. Mine ‘Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas – I do kinda LOVE the Hathaway sisters. This one has a Romani hero and is super steamy.  The best of historical Kleypas, for sure.
  15. Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare – I mean, it was a cute idea that tried to be a bit My Fair Lady but ultimately didn’t succeed that well.
  16. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK WAS GOOD. I always forget that I’ve never read anything by Black that I didn’t like, and she blows me away every time.  This one is sort of a dark but modern take on the Tam Lin fairy tale.
  17. Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas – The Hathaway sisters book 2. Nice stoic hero and recovering heroine who have to re-connect after long absence.
  18. Tempt Me At Twilight by Lisa Kleypas – Hathaway sisters book 3. This one featured a hero who was a little too forceful for my tastes.  But, you know.  Still okay.
  19. Married By Morning by Lisa Kleypas – The governess in this series is my favorite, and her quippyness with the hero insures that there’s plenty of fun to go around.
  20. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn – A re-read. The Brigertons are my favorite.
  21. An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn – I really could say the same about all of the Quinn that’s below…
  22. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
  23. When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn
  24. Lean Thinking by James P. Womack and Daniel Jones – A read for work. It was fairly dry, but I do hope that it will lead to more streamlining within the university.  The ideas were good, if you can stick with it.
  25. Love In The Afteroon by Lisa Kleypas – Hathaways still. Kleypas left my favorite heroine for last.  Beatrix finally gets her own book, and it’s a good one.  She is a seriously strange lady and I love her for it.
  26. The Coldest Girl In Cold Town by Holly Black – A re-read. I forgot how violent and heartbreaking this book was.  But it’s still as good as ever, if more disturbing than I remembered it.
  27. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – Oh man. I don’t know.  I didn’t really enjoy it, but I almost did.  It was nice to be back at Hogwarts and in the Wizarding world, but it moved too fast and was ultimately a bad story line, though the fact that it dealt with some real issues redeemed it a bit.
  28. Devil In Winter by Lisa Kleypas – Another book in which the hero is rather too forceful, though I did enjoy a lot of the novel anyway. It deals with gamblers and prostitutes, which isn’t something most romance novels do, so that was a change.
  29. Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas – Yeah, I don’t know. This one is basically a bunch of vultures lying in wait for a girl to go bankrupt so they can schtup her without having to marry her.  Eventually the hero redeems himself, but it’s not my favorite.  The relationship between the 4 girls, though, is a gem.
  30. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – A re-read, and another one of my favorites. I’ve been recommending this one to everyone I can.  You should go read it.
  31. It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas – Fairly good. The usual unsuitable manners vs. impeccable reputation thing, which Kleypas does well.
  32. Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Made me fall in love with fantasy novels all over again. It was exactly what I wanted and reminded me of McKinley and LeGuin while still being something totally new.  Go read NOW.
  33. Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas – Again, the wallflowers are good gals, but I didn’t ultimately love the book.
  34. Storyteller by Kate Wilhelm – Basically a memoir of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop that made me yearn to go even more than I already did. A great read.
  35. The Lady Most Likely by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway – Oh so much fun. It’s basically about 3 couples who fall in love at the same house party with the premise of all of them being on one guy’s “marriageable” list and slowly being whittled away. It reads like they had a blast writing it, and it’s very well done.
  36. No Place for a Dame by Connie Brockway – On the strength of the last book and the fact that this was free via Kindle Unlimited, I decided to Try Connie Brockway. Her books are solid, but nothing at all to write home about.  I would pick up Kleypas before I would pick up Brockway again.
  37. Highlander Undone by Connie Brockway – Again, another free one. Fine, but nothing exciting.
  38. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L’Engle – A re-read. I’m in love with this book and have been for a long time. The Austin’s live just as I’d like to, and it says different things to me as I get older, which is the mark of a good book.  I’ve been reading this one regularly since I found it in junior high.
  39. All Through The Night by Connie Brockway – Well, the hero actively locks up the heroine in his bedroom in this book, so there’s that. But there’s some thievery and other fun beforehand.
  40. Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas – Holy Crap this is the book I’ve been waiting for from Kleypas for all the time I’ve been reading her work. It has all her perks –amazing use of language, fantastical richness that still somehow seems likely, strong men, steamy sex – with none of the no/yes stuff that plagues the historical romances.  Read immediately.
  41. Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas – Another of the Travis series, and my favorite of them. Because of the past of the heroine, it reminded me a little bit of Kingsolver’s Bean Trees (as unlikely as that is). Another read now, if you like the romance novel thing.
  42. Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas – Again, a Travis series novel. This one has some pretty egregious domestic violence, so trigger warning.  But it’s a crazy good book, and the heroine gets an amazing redemption.
  43. Brown Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas – Who doesn’t love the wedding planner trope? This book is the conclusion of the Travis series.  Good and still a read immediately, though I liked some of the other Travis books just a tad better.
  44. Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin – I’m torn on this one, because it was really interesting and lots of fun. But Rapkin uses some metaphors and phrasing that kinda offended me.  And for the boys groups it’s all about getting some, and for the girl groups it’s all about managing the drama.  Ultimately I’m glad I read it, though I did leave feeling annoyed.  You can definitely see why they made a movie of it.
  45. The Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine – This book is probably great if you’re new to writing and critiquing, and does have great advice on starting or joining a group. That being said, most of the book is dedicated to teaching you how to crit, which I’m already good with. I didn’t get a lot out of it, but I would expect that others would.
  46. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean – Holy crap this book is GOOD.  Basically, a spinster decides that her respectability isn’t doing her any good so she decides to do what she’s always wanted to.  And keeps running into the hero while she’s up to the inappropriate tasks.  Steamy and SO fun.  Just ignore the cheesy name, okay?
  47. Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean – Awesomeness confirmed.  This one features a house full of spunky girls who are all struggling to keep their manor house from ruin while offering sanctuary to girls in trouble.  Bonus points for hot statuary.

As always, happy reading!

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An Early Summer Reading List

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I have not been thinking very bookishly lately, I’ll admit. I have also not been reading so much as I’ve been writing.  Brian and I are STILL plugging through re-writes of the novel, although we are getting about 4 chapters done per week.  My original self-imposed deadline was August 1, but I have amended that to September 1st.

I am giving up on my summer reading challenge, and so I’ll post what I’ve read so far down below.  I didn’t get nearly as much read as I wanted to, and for that I am a bit upset with myself.  I am keeping all those books on the To Be Read pile, though, and hope that I will get to them soon.  Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is top on the list.  I’m giving up because I’ve just lost the will-power.

It was SO HARD to keep to this challenge.  I can’t even express.  I am used to being able to grab books on a whim and read them, whatever the subject. I expected that Person Of Color books would be harder to find, that I would have to look longer and deeper to find them.  What I didn’t expect was that I would NEVER find a book about certain topics by POC.  This was especially true in the non-fiction realm, and even more so in History.  I mean, I decided I wanted to read about the California Mission system and could not find a book that wasn’t written by a white author.  THE CALIFORNIA MISSION SYSTEM, guys. If that isn’t ironic, I don’t know what is.

I am a white historian, and it still made me horrified a bit to realize that our history, perhaps especially the history of POC, is largely being written by white people.  It makes me distrust everything just a smidge.  Like, I’m sure all the facts are correct but there has to be an angle on this stuff that isn’t being explored; that didn’t even occur to us.  What are we missing that we don’t even know about?  I’m certain we are missing something.  It makes me uneasy.

I fell in love with several new authors, though.  The last time I did a summer reading challenge, I actually enjoyed only about 4 of the books and read thirty six (The Graveyard Book, Of Plimoth Plantation, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Watership Down, if you’re wondering).  This time I enjoyed SO MANY, and only read twelve.  In that respect, it was a success.

I can only wrangle myself so much, and so I’m letting myself go back to comfort books while I try to keep myself on track to finishing this novel.  I am leaving this challenge with a greater determination to fold books by POC into my regular reading habits.  I am counting the days until Renee Ahdieh releases that sequel to The Wrath and The Dawn.  I’m following Varian Johnson and Jenny Han on Social Media.

Here are the books:

  1. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – I was unsatisfied by the ending, because I didn’t feel like either boy was really good enough. But there were so many parts of this book that felt imminently familiar, especially the dregs of how we all try to cope when the capable one is gone (even if they are just a phone call away).  A GREAT read.
  2. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han – I did not know that a book could replicate so much of my own life. There are differences, of course, but living in someone else’s house by the beach every summer is something I’m very familiar with.  The book broke my heart, in the best way.
  3. Bud, not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – Weird to be in the head of an unreliable, and not that bright narrator. Bud falls for some stuff he shouldn’t (heads I win, tails you lose?).  But I can ultimately see why it won the awards it did, and it’s a great slice of depression-era life.  Plus music, how can you not appreciate a kid with a saxophone?
  4. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh – Holy CRAP is this book good. I could not put it down. I have been longing for a more feminist Scherezade tale, and wondering if I should write it (and how I would), but this is it tenfold.  Better than I could imagine, everything I’ve wanted.  Could not put it down.
  5. Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson – In a setting completely foreign to me, but great just the same. It’s about the juxtaposition of good Christians and bad Christians, self-fulfilling prophecies, and  the nature of goodness.  I loved Maddie and her spunk so much.
  6. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan – A beautifully written book that deals with a lot of the problems facing migrants and others during depression-era America. Esperanza’s growth was less than I would like, though.  Ryan leaves a lot unresolved with strike issues etc. in the end.
  7. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han – Not as good as the first “Summer” book, but still good. I do like the way Belly is just as flawed and makes as many mistakes as the boys, even though it makes me exasperated with her sometimes. Is the parental story happening in the wings more exciting than the kids’ in this book?
  8. Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston – Not my favorite, because THE ENTIRE THING was written in phonetic spelling; i.e.: hard to read. After I got about ½ way through part one, I skipped it and went to the Voodoo stuff at the end.  More an anthropological curiosity than something I enjoyed.  I loved Tell My Horse, so go read that one instead.
  9. S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han – Why do I always want Han’s leads to get together with the one they don’t? It’s frustrating.  But it’s also so good, and I can’t stop reading them.  Rooting for the wrong guy at least keeps me guessing.
  10. Kindred by Octavia Butler – Holy crap. I was expecting it to be hard to take, but not THAT bad… trigger warning for  rape and huge amounts of violence.  It’s well written and compelling, though.  Hard to put down, it’s just that I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it back up once I had put it down. Didn’t finish it because I was having nightmares, but maybe I’ll go back.
  11. Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier – A strange mashup of literary fiction and high school coming of age. I liked it, but I didn’t feel pulled by it.  It was beautiful, but didn’t possess me.  Perhaps it was just that I hated Gwen a bit and didn’t understand why everyone else loved her so, especially Dimple.
  12. Same Sun Here by Neela Vaswani and Silas House – CRAZY good, although I do wish that each of the protags got a little bit more of an ending.  Especially Meena, who I felt didn’t have as much of an arc as River.  But it was a beautiful book, nice to see contemporary issues represented, and a well-done exploration of Redneck/Immigrant stereotypes and the problems both groups face – similar yet different.
  13. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – Oh SO good. I loved rooting for the boys and their complicated lives, but I loved the writing so much, too.  Deserving of all the awards it won.

You should also know that I cheated (full-disclusure) and read:

  1. When Beauty Tamed The Beast by Eloisa James – I just CAN’T get over these names… can’t we call them something less embarrassing? But this one, I think, was her best yet.  The men in romance novels often don’t feel real, but Piers was such an ass that he was perfect.  Or maybe I’m just married to a rather endearing ass myself.
  2. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman – The resolution seemed a bit easy to me, but otherwise this book was perfect. I love that his children’s books have hard things in them, and that this one was about Norse Gods.  His writing is so beautiful.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Oh, this book is my favorite thing ever. I fell in love with it the first time because of the Cath/Levi relationship.  I fell in love with it this time for the Cath/Regan relationship, and the quips.  Which I kept reading out loud to my husband, who laughed in all the right places.
  4. Sunshine by Robin McKinley – I forgot how violent this book is. But Con, man… You have to love him even while he frightens you.  The world is so robust that I wish there were more books.  McKinley has said there won’t be, though.  As vampire books go, it’s one of the best.
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I Need Diverse Books

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I have decided that I’m reading only books by non-white authors this summer; and only books I haven’t read before.  I realized that, although I don’t try to be exclusive, most of the authors I frequent – my favorites – are white women.  Nothing wrong with being a white woman who writes books (after all, I am one).  But summer is for stepping out of the usual, am I right? (I’m right)

I’ve been following the We Need Diverse Books movement online.  I know the reality is that diverse books only get made if diverse books get bought.  Therefore I will buy some (hence the “haven’t read before” rule). I’m also hoping that by reading only non-white authors I’ll learn something new.  Yay for learning new things.

I usually get through somewhere between 20-35 books over a season.  I have a lovely little list going on at Goodreads, but I’m posting my thirteen Must Reads below (I started with ten, and then had to keep going).  It’s been sort of a challenge to find things because I’m not thrilled with literary fiction; I like genre much better and YA or Fantasy in particular.  Recommended reading lists for those genres are few and far between.  But I digress.

Below is my list.  If you have any others you think I should definitely put on there, please, PLEASE let me know.  I have read the Great Greene Heist, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, How The Garcia Girls Got Their Accent, The God of Small Things, some Virginia Hamilton, some Laura Esquivel, and much Sherman Alexie, but anything else is (probably) fair game.

  1. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson
  3. Kindred by Octavia Butler
  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  5. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renaee Ahdieh
  6. A Colored Man’s Reminiscences of James Madison by Paul Jennings
  7. My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson
  8. Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston
  9. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  10. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  11. Written In The Stars by Aisha Saeed
  12. For The Record by Charlotte Huang
  13. An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay

See, I read all of these titles and I get REALLY excited for those students to graduate and for the summer to officially start.  Commencement is this weekend, so SOON. (!!!)

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Summer Reading List, 2014

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Tomorrow is orientation day.  I will be checking Freshman into dorms and handing parents welcome packets.  That means that summer is officially over, I think.  I don’t know why that should be such a sad thing.  After all, summer doesn’t mean anything different than the rest of the year when there is a full time job to work.  But there is something about knowing that the days will get colder and darker that makes the end of summer seem like the end of something bigger.

Here is the list of all the things I’ve read this season with a brief review.  28 titles for just three months is pretty good, I think!  That’s a few more than last year.  Also, you’re not allowed to judge me for my love of smutty fantasy literature.  That is in the (invisible, hypothetical) contract we have together.  

Summer Reading List:

  1. Bon Courage by Ken McAdams – It really wasn’t written well, but there was something about the idyllic life fixing up a house in the French countryside that made me want to know what happened. Old people sex advisory…
  2. The Dark Lord of Dirkholm by Diana Wynne Jones – Hilarious because I know the D&D genre, but at times a bit slow. Magical creatures and this fabulous world make it worth the read, though. Dragons, griffins, and flying pigs!
  3. The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson – From the Blitz at the Fitz to the Mid Day PDA, to the awesome way these kids run a heist to make sure Gaby wins the school election, I fell in love. Can I have a Jr. High career as cool as these guys do?
  4. Popular by Maya Van Wagenen – Watching her navigate 1950s world in today’s less tolerant (supposedly) version was hilarious, mostly thanks to her great sense of humor. Bonus points for giant girdle pictures and 4-butt diagrams.
  5. Clever Maids, the Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales by Valerie Paradiz –I never realized that these stories were never for children, nor did I realize how much women had a part in collecting them. A great, easy to read history.
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott –When I read the bit where Amy cries over her math problems, I remembered why I fell in love and binge-read this book in my early teens. We may be 150 years apart, but I know those feels, Amy. I really do.
  7. Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott – It’s like ointment for the crazy writer in my soul. Plus, it’s funny, and I’m beginning (to my chagrin) realize that it’s all true. All of it. Even the neurotic bits that I don’t want to be real.
  8. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons– A novel published in the 1930s to make fun of the popular country novel style of the time, and oh, so funny in the quirkiest way! I was laughing aloud enough to keep Brian awake. Sorry, dear.
  9. The Philosophy of Composition, by Edgar Allen Poe – It took me a minute to get into the Victorian style again, but it was a VERY interesting look into his process. It’s so methodical, despite the high emotional content of his writings.
  10. Typhoid Mary by Anthony Bordain – Lots of fun, but… He’s goes overboard just to shock and disgust, and judges Mary by modern standards. Both are taboo when analyzing History. I loved it, recommend it, but wouldn’t take it too seriously.  
  11. Train by Tom Zoellner – Beautiful and languid and not at all compelling. I like that I can put it down and pick it up at will. I can revel in beautiful language and scenery, and not think too much. But I liked A Safeway in Arizona better.
  12. Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J. B. West– Simple, but interesting to see what it was like to serve everyone from the Roosevelts onward. He concentrates on the families as people, not politics. I couldn’t put it down.
  13. The Raven Ring, by Patricia C. Wrede – I’m a fan of hers. This one had a bunch of tropes that usually annoy the crap out of me but didn’t seem to in this incarnation. It was essentially a D&D campaign, but it didn’t read like that at all.
  14. The Twisted Tower, by Patricia C. Wrede – Okay, I’m totally hooked on the Lyra novels now. I might need to stop soon, so I don’t spend every night up until 1 am because I can’t put the books down. There are a ton more…
  15. Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King – yup, I’m re-reading this one because it’s so helpful. I’m suffering from a lack of ideas right now, which means I bone up on technique until I have some. No rest for the wicked.
  16. Shadow Magic, by Patricia C. Wrede – Not as charming as the others. I actually stopped about 1/3 of the way through because I still couldn’t tell what the plot was and, unlike her others, the writing wasn’t compelling. Unpleasantly surprised.
  17. Chalice, by Robin McKinley – A re-read. I love this book so much it’s unquantifiable, because nothing and everything happens. It’s all internal. There is a half fire demon Master, grieving land, and so many bees. I want to move here.
  18. Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine– I think she sometimes goes a little off the deep end disproving a point or two that laypeople don’t care about, but overall it’s been fascinating to learn how much expectation influences brain performance.
  19. Looking for Alaska, by John Greene – I knew I couldn’t handle TFIOS, but I wanted on the bandwagon. HOLY CRAP. Totally good, but still super sad. I laughed, I cried, I loved those boarding school boys and their antics. I loved Alaska too.
  20. The Hero and The Crown, Robin McKinley – Another re-read about damaged Aerin and her damaged horse, who eventually take on dragons of many kinds. The ending is interesting, too, because she gets her prince and she doesn’t at the same time.
  21. An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green – Oh John Green, you’re books are SO GOOD. This one has a grand theorem of dumping, a pig from hell, the body of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, anagrams, Islam, 19 Katherines, and a dark cave.
  22. The Graveyard Book, Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman – I love this book, and the graphic novel is a delight. I recommend reading the book first, but the expressions and art in this one! Each chapter is by a different artist. I can’t wait for volume 2.  
  23. The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green – Fun and quippy, even as it’s also the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever read. This is the only book this season that struck me and changed the way I think of things forever. I did not expect that.
  24. The Elements of Style by William Struck Jr. – This is so much more of a reference book and not an outright reading book. I’m glad I have it, but I didn’t finish it. I’ll go back and peruse when I need specific answers on formatting, etc.
  25. Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge– A self-pub and I liked it! Language wasn’t polished and it was definitely a paranormal romance. But the story line was so good that none of it mattered. I bought book 2.
  26. Graveyard Shift by Lana Harvey – Another with language that isn’t super polished, and the end was slow in arriving, but the world this book is set in!! So cool! The main character is quippy, there’s plenty of underworld “celeb sightings.” So fun.
  27. Cobweb Bride by Vera Nazarian– the writing is beautiful, the story concept is interesting. I had to stop reading it, though. Graphic war descriptions where no one dies are not good for lunch hour. And that’s all the time I have to read right now…
  28. Trinkets, Treasures, and other Bloody Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge– Full of gratuitous sex, but that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. It was exactly what I expected it to be. Lots of fun, lots of adventure, and lots of supernatural twenties angst.
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Summer Reading List:

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I usually try to keep a summer reading list.  I work year-round these days, so I’m not sure why a summer reading list is different than any other season.  For some reason it seems appropriate, though.  It’s fun to look back and see what you thought, what you liked and didn’t.  I was a little bit of a slacker this summer.  I didn’t read nearly as much as I usually do, due to afghans, no lunch breaks, summer school, and Hulu, among other things.  Still, I think it’s a pretty respectable list.  I started keeping track the week I graduated.  Chapman starts school next week (in which I’ll finish Archer’s Goon), so summer is officially over. 

  1. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery (Read a thousand times before, and love)
  2. Anne of Avonlea – L. M. Montgomery (Ditto for all Anne novels…)
  3. Anne of the Island – L. M. Montgomery
  4. Anne’s House of Dreams – L. M. Montgomery
  5. The Blue Castle – L. M. Montgomery (Okay, maybe ditto for all LM Montgomery novels)
  6. Beauty Queens – Libba Bray (Hilarious mash up of the Miss America pageant and Lord of the Flies)
  7. Don Quixote – Miguel De Cervantes (Not at all like I thought it would be.  Much funnier, in a winky ‘you get the joke’ sort of way)
  8. The Thirteenth Child – Patricia C. Wrede (Alternative history, magic, and the frontier? Yes!!)
  9. Beyond the Great Barrier – Patricia C. Wrede (Continuation of the above.  Not as good, really, and ends on a cliffhanger.  Boo.  Still debating on whether I’ll read 3)
  10. The Enchanted Chocolate Pot – Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (I’m now convinced I need to find someone to do this with me.  The letter game becomes a magical novel set in Regency England)
  11. The Grand Tour – Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (And now they’re both married!!!  I admit this is smut, but I like it anyway)
  12. Spindle’s End – Robin McKinley (Sleeping Beauty kicks ass in typical fairy tale setting)
  13. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (Another re-read.  Eleanor’s silent heartbreak is why I keep returning, I think)
  14. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman (Neil Gaiman!!! Need I say more?  It was better than any of his other things, and this is saying a LOT)
  15. Make Good Art – Neil Gaiman (Art book that oddly reads like he spoke it.  Brilliant.)
  16. A Matter of Magic (really two novels put into one) – Patricia C. Wrede (Oh, why do I love these things so much?  It’s smut, but it’s such FUN smut… This one has a coming out party!)
  17. On Being Ill – Virginia Woolf (Wow.  Short read, and highly recommended)
  18. A Safeway in Arizona – Tom Zoellner (Also another wow.  It’s so much less political and much more human than I thought it would be, and I loved every bit of it.  Heartbreaking in spots, and a lot to think about)
  19. Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories – Flannery O’Connor (I realized that I just don’t like her.  A lot of it is about southern racism in the 1950s and I just don’t understand and can’t empathize.)
  20. The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years Later – Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (The letters continue.  They all have children now!!!)
  21. Arthur – by some lady from Scripps College (I can’t decide if I find her argument that Arthur was real compelling because it is, or because I so want Arthur to be real)
  22. Four Queens – Nancy Goldstone  (Makes me very glad I wasn’t a woman in the middle ages, and yet I can’t put it down.  It’s gripping)
  23. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones (Reminds me much of The Game, but more satisfying.  Not as well-written a book as Dogsbody or Fire and Hemlock, but infinitely fun and funny like most of her work.) 

I had hoped to get to these, but didn’t.  On the to-read list (and checked out of the library, so it will be soon):

  1. The Hero and the Crown – Robin McKinley
  2. Kung Fu High School – Ryan Gattis (a former teacher of mine with such an amazing command of craft)
  3. The Big Drop: Homecoming – Ryan Gattis
  4. Chalice – Robin McKinley
  5. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (because it was recommended as a must read)
Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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