January 2018 Books

1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – This book was great. It surrounds a teen girl in the 1980s whose uncle/godfather dies from AIDS, and the things she learns about him, his life, and her family as a whole. It was a good story that made you want to keep reading to find out what was going on with her sister, and her mom, etc etc etc. It wasn’t an exciting adventure page turner, but it was a page turner. I just think it’s fantastic.

2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – Last year I read Walk In The Woods about the Appalachian Trail, this year, the Pacific Crest Trail. Obviously it’s a memoir, and it covered the hike as well as her life, which led her to escaping to the PCT. It’s an uplifting story, worth a read.

In progress: Rage Against the Meshugenah: Why it Takes Balls to Go Nuts by Dan Evans and Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg

December books

44. Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson – Lots of books focus on Presidents’ lives, this one focused on what happened to them after they died (their funerals, ceremonies, and how we remember them historically). Informative and interesting, and it featured several pages about my favorite bar in Buffalo – Founding Fathers – and it’s owner/bartender Mike Driscoll. Buffalo is awesome. (and I got some Calvin Coolidge and Zachary Taylor trivia right since reading)

45. The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg – Again, no book can approach the hilarity of her Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, but this is another good offering from Fannie. It tells the tale of a midwestern town and it’s inhabitants from founding through the current day, through their lives, and after their deaths. Sometimes it felt a bit politically preachy (the idea that the old days were better, almost approaching “make america great again” territory) but it didn’t get that into any particular interesting. It’s just an overview of how times change, and the life and death of a town.

46. I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas by Lewis Black – not as funny as I was expecting.

47.  Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore – quite amusing but I wonder if I would have gotten more funnies out of it if I was at all schooled in the actual story of Jesus.

 

Since I don’t think I’m going to finish either of the 2 books in progress in the next 36 hours, this is it for 2017. Onto 2018.

 

In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

November Books

40. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg – eh, I’m indifferent. It’s fine, it was a quick read about a woman in her late 30s who feels she hasn’t made anything of her life. It’s not a linear story but each chapter highlights some different episode of her life, but they do all work together.

41. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel – I actually started this book on the plane to Ireland, but couldn’t “check it out” again when it expired. Non-fiction biography of a man who spent 20 years in the woods in Maine, having no contact with the rest of the world. Very interesting, makes me think about being a hermit (I think I could do it, tho I do love the internet). 

42. The Nix by Nathan Hill – when I saw I had read 41 books, I wanted to make it to 50 for the year. Then it took me most of the month to read this one. Guess that’s not going to happen. Anyway. It took me a while to get into this, but once I did I wanted to know the rest of the story. A man is researching his mother’s past in the 1960s. It’s interesting enough to make you want to read more, but not too crazy. Hard to explain, but I enjoyed it.

43. The 14th Goldfish by Jennifer L Holm – a very quick read with a cute story about a young girl and her scientist grandpa. A little bit coming of age, but not heavy.

 

In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and Dead Presidents by Brady Carlson

October Books

36. The Daily Show (The Book) – I love the Daily Show, I love Jon Stewart. I cried when he left, and I cried again when he left in the book. If you like(d) the show, it’s a good read about the history and behind the scenes activities that went into producing the show during Jon’s years.

37. The Antiques: A Novel by Kris D’Agostino – this might have been another book off the funny book list I mentioned before, or it could have been another list of books everyone should read…Whichever list it was, I disagree. It was not funny and all the characters were hateful. There were some slightly amusing moments once the entire family got together for their father’s funeral, but as a whole, not funny. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it. So many other books to read.

38. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – I’ll get this out of the way – I was reaaaaallly annoyed that he made the underground railroad, that factually exists, into an ACTUAL UNDERGROUND TRAIN. It constantly bugged me, because people are dumb enough to believe that it’s true (case in point, J’s mom has an actual slave hidey hole in her house, it was a stop on the UR, has a memorial in the yard etc. She talked to someone who stopped at the memorial and the guy didn’t believe in the UR because “they never found evidence of the trains”). The era of fake news and all. So I feared that people will read this, and treat it like an actual history book. J, the english major, pointed out how the actual train is a literary device that allows Cora to experience a variety of different slave experiences blahblahblah lit stuff. And he’s right. And we both agreed people dumb enough to believe it was an actual train are unlikely to read this book anyway LOL *elitists* ANYWAY beyond that, I enjoyed it, it was a good story and gave a good/sad look at the slave life.

39. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon – recommended by a friend who mentioned the play was coming near me, and 2nd by another friend, I put it next on my reading list. A story told by a high functioning kid with some kind of learning disability (assume autism). It was a good story, but a little depressing and I don’t really know how it would translate to stage (esp if it’s a musical, which I’m not sure if it is or not). Worth reading for sure.

In progress: What Happened by Hillary Clinton and All Grown up by Jami Attenberg

September Books

32. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer – loved it. At first I was put off by the fact it was told through letters, but once I got into the story you didn’t even notice. It was cute, and sad, and uplifting, and super enjoyable.

33. Star Island by Carl Hiaasen – an alright tale of a spoiled pop singer with a drug problem, and a paparazzi trying to take advantage.

34. Chomp by Carl Hiaasen – back to a more humorous story, about a reality show star from a survivalist show who is actually an idiot, and a father and son hired to help him in the Everglades for the show. Amusing and quick.

35. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher – a girl’s story about her suicide told through cassette tapes to one of the people she “blames”. It’s sad, but it’s interesting, and sometimes you don’t like her that much because she seems super self centered, but then you remember they’re teens, and teens are self centered. A good read.

In progress: The Daily Show (still)

August Books

28. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith – it was alright. A story following a score of people, with no real plot, just a story of life. Amusing at times, not LOL funny, but just…alright.

29. Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell – a collection of essays about race issues. Some were interesting (including the title essay), some were more dry and repetitive. It was interesting but by the end I was ready for it to end.

30. Trap Line by Carl Hiaasen – not like his other books, this one isn’t a light hearted amusing Florida tale, but a serious Florida tale focusing on drug trafficking. Not bad, but not what I was expecting based on the previous ones that I read.

31. The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall – an amusing tale of a young girl with and old mom, and secrets. Compared to Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, it wasn’t laugh out loud funny like Daisy (nothing is!) but it was a cute story with some chuckles. Quick read.

In progress…The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows. and An Oral History of the Daily Show

July Books

23. The Nazi Doctors – Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton – a heavy book that took me over 4 months to read. Interesting but a bit too much for someone like me who is just looking for a little history and insight.

24. Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson – This book came from this list of 18 laugh out loud books for your book club.  The write up sounded like, sure, that could be amusing. Turns out, it WAS NOT. Nothing about this story was even the slightest bit amusing. It was sad, it felt lonely, and it was not at any point humorous. And even though I guess it had a happy ending, it didn’t feel uplifting. It wasn’t bad, but going into it thinking it was going to be funny made it into a let down.

25. Flush by Carl Hiassen – Another amusing book by Hiassen with quirky characters and a fast moving story. Many more of his books on my list to go.

26. The Girls by Emma Cline – a fairly quick read about girls in a cult, that is absolutely hands down no question based on Charles Manson. It wasn’t bad, wasn’t mind blowing.

27. Looking for Alaska by John Green – I’ve read several of his books now, they are enjoyable and typically have a good story.

In Progress:  Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith

June Books

20. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – it took 4 check outs from the library, and almost 6 weeks but I finished a book!
21. Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen – and then I read another in 4 days!
22. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – another quick read about a teenage boy suffering from depression and his week on a mental ward. Very good, especially if you suffer from depression as well.

May books

19. And Then There Were Nuns – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) – The 2nd Jane Christmas book this year, a memoir about following her “calling” to a religious life. Interesting and not overbearing with religion.

I fail at reading in May. I blame vacation week, and wanting to be lazy and play phone games.

April Books

14. Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
15. Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple – Both books were excellent, and I may have a new author to keep tabs on. I haven’t had that since Chuck Palahniuk over 15 years ago. They both take place in Seattle, with a tie in of the same school being featured in both, but they are not a series. Quirky female leads star, without being the typical bang wearing ukelele playing hipster nerdy quirky girl we’ve gotten used to (Eleanor and Park, Star Girl, Zoe whatshername Deshanel?) The storytelling style made you want to keep reading, and I finished “Today” in less than 3 days (another thing I haven’t done in years and years). They weren’t mind blowing, twist filled, stories like Palahniuk’s were, to grab my attention, they were just so well written, and entertaining. Loved.
16. Incontinent on the Continent – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) A travel memoir of a mid 50s woman taking her elderly disabled mother to Italy for 6 weeks. It was amusing, and sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. I can’t imagine what kind of insanity took over to even think that a trip like that was a good idea. In 20 years when I’m in my mid 50s, and my mom, if still alive is mid 80s, I can’t think of a worse idea than to try to go on vacation to Europe with her for a week, let alone 6 weeks.
17. Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson – (non fiction) Interesting book, with lots of history and environmental info, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.
18. The Lost City of the Monkey God – Douglas Preston – (non fiction) Enjoyed this very much. Story of the rediscovery of a jungle city in Honduras, and the trials and disease the team faced in finding and excavating it. Fascinating.