Friday, May 11, 2012

November & December 2011

100. Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris. Including Books, Street Fashion, And Jewelry. Saturday, 14 February 2009, New York by Leanne Shapton
This is amazing! The story of a whole relationship from meeting to break-up told in objects. Excellent experimental fiction.

101. Black Bird. Vol 8

102. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

103. Comfort Me With Apples: More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl
Great writing, memoir with food. Excellent.

104. The Orphan Tales: In the Night Garden by Cathrynne Valente
Valente is amazing. This is a novel in the Arabian Night's style. Each piece is exquisite unto itself, I didn't even care when I sometimes lost the overall plot arch.

105. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Very well written, a delightfully sinister novel set in a hyper exclusive college...

106. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

107. Brusel: Cities of the Fantastic by Schuiten & Peeters
Picked up for the fantastic art, plot was a bit was really amazing.

108. Habibi by Craig Thompson
Graphic Novel Genius in action, beautiful, tragic, ultimately inspiring.

109. Yotsuba&! Vol 10.

110. The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (re)
Held up really well in re-reading. Beasty & the Beast with way more magic set... and fun historical details.

October 2011 Readings

86. Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I was into the academic side but I'm more than over the supernatural romances. Cliff-hanger ending, & probably won't bother with the sequel.

87. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Loving Sarah Addison Allen, read-like-Alice Hoffman.

88. Secret Lives of Dress by Erin McKean
Fun, chicklit, but not silly enough to make me feel bad for having put time into it. Imagine a vintage dress shop with a file of short stories, one for each dress. Wouldn't that be worth trying to preserve? :)

89. Yotsuba&! Vol. 7 by Kiyohiko Azuma
Seriously love this manga.

90. The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
Fictional autobiography of the commoner who became the queen of japan after meeting the crown prince at a tennis match.

91. Yotsuba&! Vol. 8

92. Yotsuba&! Vol. 9

93. Amphigorey: Fifteen books by Edward Gorey
I should make a point to read Gorey at least every October.

94. Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

95. The City & the City by Chine Mieville
Excellent! A mystery between two city that aren't quite in the same reality! Amazing, particularly for city/culture junkies.

96. Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks

97. Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

98. Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story by Fredrik Peeters
One of the best memoirs or graphic novels I've read. Recommend to Craig Thompson fans. What if the love of your life was HIV positive?

99. The Clockwork Girl by O'Reilly & Hanva

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

September Reading

81. Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge (also published under the title "Lost Conspiracy")
Written for children I suppose, but that's never stopped me. Great World & Culture building. Also about a girl always livign in her sister's shadow stepping up to save the day.)
More on the awesome world building: The Lost are psychics who have the ability to leave their bodies and check on goings-on far away from their physical selves. (When they are young they can have trouble finding their way back into their bodies hence "Lost.") The tribe these psychics occur in is native to an island with three (or more?) volcanoes of various levels of activity. The island has been colonized by generations by a civilization bogged down in formality & protocol with very little practical knowledge of how the tribe, the Lost, or the volcanoes really operate, but they depend heavily on the Lost for settlement to settlement communication. So what happens when there are no Lost, or maybe only one?

82. Stuff Hipsters Hate by Ehrich & Barty
...I might be a hipster. This was a great lesson for me in taking myself less seriously. Also revealed many interesting insights on the hipster male, of which the dishing-on was primarily laid.

83. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (audiobooked)
A mystery for bibliophiles. What lengths would a person go to for their favorite author whose books are being quietly, secretly being collected an destroyed? Full of wonderfully turned quotes about life, love & the power of a good book.

84. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (audiobooked)
Another amazing & eventually sweet little novel. She has a running theme of not fitting-in in small town settings, but different every time. Also as always, mostly realistic but with just a smidge of magic.

85. Castle Waiting. Vol 2. by Linda Medley
The adventures of the motley crew at more about the  castle itself which really is acting almost as a character it is so active. While this is appropriate for children there are some jokes hidden for older readers without getting scandalous. If you liked Princess Bride this will be up your alley!

Monday, September 19, 2011

August Reading

71. Fables. Vol 15: Rose Red
Fables has sort of lost momentum for me, but I'm not giving up on it yet. In their favor someone did apparently hear me cussing about Rose Red turning into Sleeping Beauty...

72. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Another frothy tale from Sara Addison Allen, sweet and a bit chick lit. but with so very much heart. Also addresses how living in a small town can make it hard to grow out of your former selves.

73. The Sweetness a the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (re)
Re-read this to help out at a book group. I thought being a mystery I might not enjoy the re-read as much as the first reading, but it held up very well. & Flavia the 11-year-old, poison obsessed sleuth is still absolutely fabulous. (Although YA appropriate, don't count this book out post-YA-ers.)

74. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Historical fiction biography of Thomas Cromwell. Mostly my reading on Henry VIII's court has been decidedly queen-centric, this was an interesting shift in point of view.

75. The Stories of Ibis by Hiroshi Yamamoto 
For me this was very sci-fi, I tend more toward fantasy. Set in the future when humans are nomadic tribes & the dominate civilization is that of robots. But this is so much more than a human vs. robots plot; this was some of the most thought-provoking futuristic fiction I've read in a few years. The short stories told within the plot line of the novel were extremely well-crafted in their own right, any one of them was outstanding on it's own, but they built on each other...  I was impressed by the portrayal of  how cultures are informed through their stories, possibly one of the best examples of this I've read. (So good I made my library buy it just so I could Staff Pick it.)

76. Beastly by Alex Flinn
Audio-booked. Sweet, YA rewrite of Beauty & the Beast. I did try to read it first but got bogged down in the open scene in a chat room with way too much webspeak for my poor little brain to handle, luckily this does not carry on for the majority of the book. Mostly I picked this up because of all the nice teens who are reading it...

77. The Virgin Project by Kevin Boze & Stasia Kato (now Stasia Burrington)
I picked this up because I came across the art of Stasia Burrington (& the lady herself) at Seattle Art Walk in Occidental Park a few months ago. I have since become a raving fan of her illustration. Raving. (& she has an Etsy shop.)
....And this was an interesting project. Admittedly the art was less amazing than I had expected, but it is much earlier work & there are crumbs of the charm & heart that she has so greatly developed now. The stories are amazing, strange, tragic, wonderful and so many other things. I highly recommend it.

78. The Virgin Project 2 by Kevin Boze & Stasia Kato

79. Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods by Florent Chavouet
This was a bright, fun little travel journal. It is exactly a beautiful sketch book of a guy in Tokyo. If you will be disappointed by a lack of plot arc this is not for you, but if you like little details & noticing them & the kind of people that do notice them, than it is.

80. A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot (re)
I realized I did not remember this well enough to reference in conversation & was shamed. It held up extremely well to re-reading. If there is a great long list somewhere amazing war novels then this should be on it, because of what has to say about the pettiness of humans and the astounding lengths we go for love.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

July Readings

55. Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
 Sucked my heart out with amazing writing style & imagery, I had to make sure she'd written more so I could chill on rationing pages to make it last... but is difficult to recommend generally.... I think it would be particularly enjoyed by people who are really into urban spaces on a philosophical level if they can manage not to be offended a shared dream STD. you've been warned....

56. Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist: Book One- Flight of the Phoenix by R.L. LaFevers
Cute little fantasy orphan coming-of-age novel for the elementary set particularly for fans of James & the Giant Peach, but less demanding than Dahl generally is. I'd be interested to see how this series develops.

57. Your Pinkie is More Powerful Than Your Thumb :And 333 Other Surprising Facts That Will Make You Wealthier, Healthier and Smarter Than Everyone Else by Mark DiVincenzo
Delightful collection of recent science trivia.

58. Library Wars 1: Love & War by Kiiro Yumi
General concept: the government has taken up heavy censorship that can only be stopped by an active military force within the library system, excellent. On the other hand this is definitely shojo, in content & labeled as such. There is an awful lot of the main character bemoaning a mystery crush and a teacher who seems harsh. I might read the next volume...

59. Black Bird 6 by Kanoko Sakurakoji
The romance between a special human girl & the leader of a demon clan continues. Jealousy is a major theme in this volume, again handled on a very shojo level.

60. Black Bird 7 by Kanoko Sakurakoji 

61. Mouse Guard, Winter 1152 by David Peterson
A great little graphic novel, perfect for Redwall fans.

62. Castle Waiting by Linda Medley
A great graphic novel. I think this was a cataloged as juvenile, but it isn't too light for adult reading. This would be good for fans of the Princess Bride, and for fans of the Fables series though much lighter in tone. Also this is a graphic novel that is weights in as a 472 page hardcover so there is none of that volume-over-before-it's-gained-momentum issue that less lengthy comics are prone to. It did take me well into the first chapter to be sold on this and then I was hooked. Very much looking forward to the next installment.

63. Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
This book broke my heart. High-functioning, preteen boy in the Autism spectrum, getting through the days... read it.

64.Ship Breaker by Paulo Bacigalupi
Action adventure, good as an audiobook. Lowly peasant saves snotty princess who gets less snotty, in a future where all the resources we have are the trash we dropped at the bottom of the oceans when we didn't need it. An interesting vision of where our global choices will put individuals in years to come, lots of great hard-boiled characters.

65. Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
Audiobooked. I picked this up because it was recommended to me by someone very dear. I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise as the form is a little bit "Chick-Lit," but sometimes that can be exactly the right thing. These are not extraordinary lives, but they are women with tough stuff in their souls, and that reminds me of the tough stuff in my soul & of she who recommended it. That is what makes this worth reading. Might be good for fans of Alice Hoffman, lighter magical element, less dire generally.

66. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
Jane Austen fans rejoice! Now with Magic! The temptation to go out and buy this for my seven favorite Austen fans after the first ten pages was high. (Saved only by being so ill I could barely convince myself to stand up...)

67. Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) by Lauren DeStefano
I'm a sucker for dystopian futures. Humanity thought it could wipe out all diseases  associated with old age & did but in the next generation all the girls die at twenty, all the boys at twenty-five. Social order rewrite. Polygamous social politics... Would recommend to fans of Matched by Ally Condie.

68. Ooku: The Inner Chambers, vol. 5. by Fumi Yoshinaga
The alter-history of Japan continues...

69. BoneShaker by Kate Milford
A great juv. novel set in 1914 Mid-West. Tomboy girl. Machinery, automatons. Sketchy traveling sales folk. Magic. It was wonderful!

70. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Fans of Alice in Wonderland take note! This is one of the best fairy tales I've read in an awfully long time. I think it would be great for a child but it also has metaphor and life lessons that will appeal to adults of the right persuasion. I rationed myself on this book to make it last as long as it could.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

June readings

50. How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo (Another great modern love story by DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole...Dream for An Insomniac... these are not romance novels in a genre sense, these are romantic in a gut-wrenching, gambling with your soul sense. It feels way more accurate to me.)

51. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Stories by Aimee Bender (Bender blows my mind. These stories are nothing like real life, they are so far beyond reality, past reality, twists of reality. Amazing, bend your mind, stretch it.)

52. The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical & Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Some great quotables in this, not all agreeable but much to provoke thought & some laughter.)

53. Oh No She Didn't: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make And How to Avoid Them by Clinton Kelly (Not high literature by any means, but a bit funny if you're in the mood for the very lightest of reading with a sprinkle of snark.)

54. Death: a User's Guide by Tom Hickman ( A fun survey of death culture in many nations and throughout history. The writing was humorous without being discourteous to any particular view. It was a book that didn't care how long I took a break from it, worked on it off and on without any loss of enjoyment or educational value.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

May Readings

46. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (re)

47. Love Comes First: Poems by Erica Jong 

48. A Rare and Curious Gift by Pauline Holstock (This was another case of maybe I should have just let it go half way through. In trying to take pictures of a whole Renaissance art community attention got spread so thin I started merging similar old-guy painter characters. On the other hand she was pretty amazing at showing how very, very differently an action can be interpreted depending on which character is viewing it, the extreme tint our own point of view puts on the story we believe we're living in. This could be described as a tragic clash of points of view. I wish she'd just stuck to the names of the artists she was basing it on, or at least put the historical note at the beginning...I spent way too much time trying to figure out if she was referring to who I thought she was. She was.)

49. The Girl Who Played with Fire (re)