December 2018 books

I might make it to 52 this year!

50. 2am At the Cats Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino – 24 hours in Philadelphia as a group of characters lives intertwine, sometimes in big ways, sometimes small. They all converge at a jazz club who is struggling to survive. Cute story, quick read.

51. The Immortalists¬† by Chloe Benjamin – this book was on a ton of “to read” lists. It was fine. I liked it. But I expect books on must read lists to be mind blowing, and it wasn’t. The story follows 4 siblings after they visit a gypsy who tells them when they will die, and who was accurate. It’s interesting enough but I wouldn’t tell everyone on earth that they need to read it.

In progress: HP5,  some poker book, The music store

November 2018 books

47. You Can’t Be Neutral On A Moving Train by Howard Zinn – a historical memoir of Zinn’s involvement in the civil rights movement in the south, as he taught in Atlanta and then Boston. I bought it after the election to feel inspired, but I didn’t realize it was a memoir, so it didn’t have that exact result. But a great read.
48. Blackout by Connie Willis
49. All Clear by Connie Willis – these 2 books were excellent. The future discovers time travel and historians use it to get first hand knowledge of events in the past. These 2 focus on WWII, but something goes wrong and the historians get stuck in the past. The books follow them as navigate their current situation and try to figure out how to get back to the future. That might not seem super fantastic but they are. The characters are likable and you care about what is going to happen to them as they face challenge after challenge.

In Progress: HP5, some poker book, The immortalists

October 2018 books

42. Less by Andrew Sean Greer – a book that was on yet another list of funny books that wasn’t funny. There was the odd amusing bit, the irony of Mr Less’s life, but it was not funny. A story of a gay author who goes on a world tour to escape the fact that his ex is getting married. A comedy of errors happens from time to time, but as a whole, he’s reviewing his sad life, and it’s just sad. It has a happy ending, but…I only kept reading because I kept thinking it would get funny.
43. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke – a teen historical fiction, and the most recent historical fiction book I’ve read – Berlin 1988. There is a bit too much teen drama/love story in it to be ranked against some other teen classics, but it’s a good quick read, with a good connection between the main characters history and her current situation.
44. Forever Barbie by M.G. Lord – I watched the Toys that Made Us on Netflix and the Barbie episode mentioned this book. I looooved Barbie, I still love Barbie. The book is a history of Barbie’s beginnings and history, sociological theories, and controversy. It’s interesting if you like Barbie.
45. The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian – another book from some list that sounded interesting. I don’t remember why. It was alright, an action thriller. Made me want to find out what happened, but not “high literature” by any means.
46. The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker – from a list, again I don’t remember why it was appealing, but it was a good read. 2 women meet in college and end up working together in animation. A lot goes on, it almost feels too much, but then again I don’t know what could have been taken out. Friendship and family, life and death, a bit sad, but enjoyable.

In Progress: Harry Potter 5

September 2018 books

38. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle Macnamara – True crime on the Golden State Killer, published right before he was actually caught. Reads like fiction, until she died mid-writing and associates had to finish it. Unbelievable at times, and paranoia inducing haha.
39. Shrill by Lindy West – about feminism and fat, great book for women to read about being women.
40. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh – I loved this book when I was a kid so I wanted to reread it and see why. I learned to play Town, which I did all the time. But the story itself is kind of sad. I still enjoyed it but I didn’t at all remember the sadness.
41. The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews – enjoyable read, a road trip story surrounding a slightly screwed up family. A mother with severe mental illness goes into the hospital, and her sister takes her kids to find their dad. Sounds sad, but is actually funny and amusing with good characters, and not a depressing ending lol

In Progress: Harry Potter 5, Forever Barbie, Girl with the Red Balloon

August 2018 books

32. I know I am but what are you by Samantha Bee – very funny “memoir” of her early life in Toronto. More of a collection of personal essays than a day one to present true memoir.
33. True Confections by Katharine Weber – a story of a dysfunctional family and their candy business in Connecticut. Told as a long winded court deposition/affidavit, it’s an amusing tale.
34. In The Woods by Tana French – police detective novel around the death of a young girl. It’s the first in a series, and it was good enough to read more.
35. Harry Potter 3
36. Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen – super great overview of all the horrible and hilarious ways humanity has tried to treat disease. Funny and interesting.
37. All The light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Historical fiction set in WW2, two very different stories and perspectives that entwine for a short period of time. Very good.

In Progress: Harry Potter 4, Shrill, I’ll Be Gone In The Night

July 2018 books

27. Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – a very amusing travel log of a journey from the one end of Great Britain to the other.
28. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – I wasn’t sure about this one when I started. The way it’s told, like a screen play almost, with each paragraph attributed to a different speaker (or source material), bothered me. But I pressed on and I learned to ignore the format and just enjoy the story.
29. The Wonderous Brief Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Dias – this was on my to read list for a long time, for whatever reason. I found it in a bar that also sold books for $5 so I picked it up last year. It tells the story of a Dominican family through the 1900s, and there was a lot of untranslated Spanish in it. I’m not sure I missed a ton by not knowing the Spanish, and some you can kinda assume the meaning, but it might bother some people. I guess I liked it, but I don’t know that I find it as amazing as others did.
30. Mindhunter by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker – non fiction of Douglas’s career in the FBI, starting their Behavior Science (profiling) unit. I love true crime and serial killers, so I enjoyed it greatly.
31. Calypso by David Sedaris – I want to love Sedaris, but after reading almost all of his work, I don’t. It’s occasionally amusing but I want it to be hilarious. I think he needs to be heard, and not just read.

In progress: Harry Potter 3, I Know I am But What Are You? by Samantha Bee

Las Vegas and NIN #55

We picked our random vacation week then Trent announced shows in Las Vegas at the same time, so decision made. We stayed at The Plaza because I wanted to be able to go to a nice pool, since it was going to be sweltering, and they have a new rooftop pool area. Adam decided to go to the show too after I bought my tickets, so he joined us after a few days.

As soon as we got there, off to Drag Brunch at Treasure Island. There were 6 queens, all past RuPaul’s Drag Race alumns, it was awesome. And there were bottomless mimosas, so we drank 3 bottles of champagne with the (not great) breakfast buffet. That didn’t end well for me, but the show was awesome, and though I lost the rest of the day, it was worth it lol.

Monday we made plans to meet up with Adr1 and Tom and the kids. We were going to try to do some trivia but there wasn’t really any going on so we met up to check out the Container Park, then went up near their house to a pizza place for dinner who was having music bingo. Tom didn’t feel well so he left us there, and we ate and played for a bit. It was fun, even though it wasn’t trivia really because you could use your phone to look up the songs if you didn’t know them.

Adam arrived Tuesday morning, we hung at the pool a bit and Adr joined me with the kids. So we had a good time in the water, and chatting, and Adr said the nicest thing ever – that I’m still her favorite person to do nothing with LOL awwww. <3 She needs to move back to Buffalo! Tuesday night we ended up checking out the High Roller giant ferris wheel on the strip, which was pretty neat. Wednesday was the show. Honestly, I wasn't all that excited about it because I really don't care for the EPs, but I told Adam that I would try not to be an asshole about it lol. He had VIP and went down early, plus I had no interest in queueing. I've gotten too old for this shit. Plus the lack of excitement, I didn't feel the need to be up front. BUT, it's still Trent and I still love him. The line was insanely long when we finally did get there, but we didn't end up with a bad spot. Pretty central in all ways, and other than the guy who didn't put his arms down, filming the entire show on his phone, I could see decently. I hate that I have to admit this. Maybe I've aged out of NIN shows? Don't get me wrong, it was still good, but I don't get any of the catharsis, or really any of the energy I used to get from the shows. Is it because I'm not up front? Have I just seen too many that they've lost their effect? I am pretty tired of seeing March of the Pigs after all. It makes me sad though. The setlist was pretty good, Year Zero heavy up front, not too many new songs, and some deep cuts that were very welcome. But as J said, the middle got a little boring with The Lovers and Find My Way back to back (he was probably bored with Even Deeper too, but NO!!! I will always take Even Deeper as a slow song!) And BONUS!!! NO HURT!!! And no Closer, which I do always enjoy, but it's ok. 1. Pinion / The Eater of Dreams 2. Metal 3. Me, I'm Not 4. The Beginning Of The End 5. Survivalism 6. March of the Pigs 7. The Lovers 8. Find My Way 9. Burn 10. God Break Down the Door 11. Letting You 12. Gave Up 13. Even Deeper 14. I Do Not Want This 15. I'm Afraid Of Americans 16. Less Than 17. Came Back Haunted 18. Only 19. Wish 20. Head Like A Hole So...it was good. But I just don't get the emotional benefit that I used to, so...I am very unlikely to travel to see him anymore (unless he puts out something I love, or does some kind of very unusual out of left field tour, like an all acoustic tour or something), and if he continues to do stupid things like "you can only buy tickets in person" crap, this may have been my last show. 55 is a good number to stop on. Now this brings me to his new EP, Bad Witch. I haaaate it. And if I'm honest, I basically hate the other 2 EPs as well, though there are a few tracks I like here and there. But everything I liked about NIN is gone. Trent's brilliance was in his ability to craft a song that could be loud, angry, noisy and heavy but still have a musicality to it, with a catchy hook and a melody. It's all gone. If he wants to experiment fine, go for it, but it is not what you expect and want from NIN. Even though I didn't love Hesitation Marks, it had solid actual songs, and not just movie scores for a non existent movie that he decided to put lyrics to. Because that's what it feels like. And I hate it. And I'm not going to listen to it.

June 2018 books

22. Armada by Ernest Cline – a decent outing from the author of Ready Player One which I loved. It took me a bit to get into it, I had to get past the descriptions of gaming setups and game playing, to really get into the plot. You kinda know what’s going to happen, it’s almost the opposite of Ender’s Game, but it’s still really entertaining and enjoyable.
23. October by China Mieville – a history of the Russian revolution. Yes it took a while to get through this and I’m not sure I will retain any of it. There are far too many people and too many groups, who all seem to really believe in the same things, all fighting or not fighting for control. And we know Lenin wins in the end haha.
24. Little Bee by Chris Cleave – wonderful and sad story of a refugee fleeing to the UK, and the story behind why she had to flee, and why she sought out a particular couple in London. Sad but you didn’t want to cry, and it doesn’t have a happy ending, but you still didn’t want to cry, and it was written beautifully.
25. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
26. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell – a very short book (novella? short story?) about a Star Wars geek spending days in line for the new movie and the people she meets. Very relatable to me, since I’ve spent a lot of time in lines with other fans of *fill in the blank*

2 more books started and will not be finished: The Elegance of the Hedgehog and Rich People Problems

In progress: Harry Potter 4, The Road to Little Dribbling, The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

May 2018 books

19. Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan – charming book about a secret society and the big mystery they’re dedicated to. It’s funny, it’s cute, it’s interesting. Great story.
20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – reviewing for trivia
21. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – again, reviewing.
21.5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – again, for trivia. Got through half of it before trivia day. Which, we won, btw.
21.5 This One Is Mine by Maria Semple – I had read 2 of her books last year and loved them so I picked up this one, which was her first. Wow it was completely different in tone, subject and style. And it was not good. The characters were all pretty heinous, and I paused reading it to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. When I went back to it, it was almost time to return it to the library and I decided I didn’t care enough to take it out again. So I got half way through.

In progress: October and Harry Potter 3 and Armada

April 2018 Books

15. Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett – another book about a young girl struggling with the death of a family member (this time her mom), a sister with mental issues, and the secrets she learns as she grieves. Cute story, not super sad, and well written. Enjoyable.
16. Flat broke with two goats by Jennifer McGaha – a internet book club pick, with goats in the title, I was in! After getting through the beginning of the memoir where you get to hear the background story of how a rich family screws up their finances, and you get over the anger you feel when you hear about rich people screwing up their finances the rest of the book is amusing and interesting.
17. Mosquitoland by David Arnold – yet another book about a young girl finding herself while running away from her dad and stop mom, to go back to her mom. A quirky main character who meets some other quirky characters along the way, I really enjoyed it.
18. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – a young girl has an accident while spending the summer with her family on their private island, and has to put events together to remember what happened. Interesting enough to keep me reading, and even though I had a fleeting thought about something in the story, I didn’t quite predict the twist.

In progress: October