Books of 2016 (Q2)

(Here is January-March 2016)

I did a lot more reading over the past few months than I did at the beginning of the year. A few of the books I read were fantastic, so I plowed through them in 1-2 days because I couldn’t put them done.  I also had some airport and plane time in late May, which is always a good opportunity for reading.

But the main reason for the boost in reading was the iPad I bought in late April.  I was resistant to tablets and ebooks for a long time because I like things like keyboards and pretty book covers.  I started to come around last year when I started a new job and got a company laptop.  (At previous jobs I’d always had a desktop in the office and had to use my personal laptop to do work at home or on work travel).  I don’t have any more upcoming work travel  but it occurred to me that I like to do things in my free time like check my personal email and  download corgi gifs and read the NY Times obituary section and boy would be it be nice to do those things on something nice and light that isn’t my tiny iPhone 5 or a company laptop.

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You thought I was kidding.

The iPad was great for those things when I was Florida but the best part is the access to the ebooks at the Austin Public Library!  I can borrow books– for free– without going anywhere or talking to anyone!  When I was in Florida and I’d finished the books I’d borrowed before our flight home, I just went to the APL site and found another book to read.

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WHAT IS THIS CRAZY NEWFANGLED TECHNOLOGY?!?!

In conclusion, ebooks are awesome and very enabling for lazy introverts.

Onto the books:

13. The Nest: Sometimes I want to read fluff.  This was fluff.  Decent fluff, but not my favorite fluff.

14. Wreck and OrderOMG.  Elsie (the narrator) is probably one of my least favorite book characters.  The book is basically 300 pages of poor decisions and navel gazing.  Look, I’ve made plenty of poor decisions and whined about them with varying degrees of insight to friends  and done the same for them.  In that respect, I found Elsie remarkably human and three dimensional.  But I also found her really unlikeable.

15. The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs: This was something I picked up at the library based purely on the cover because I love dachshunds.  Apparently it’s part of the “Professor Dr. von Entertainment series”.  There were parts of the book that were very silly and would appeal to those who like extremely British humor.  Otherwise, I thought the book was a bit disjointed.  It was more like several short stories than a novel.

16.  Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood: This was a slog.  And at 528 pages, it’s a slog that I really should have quit early instead of forcing myself to finish.  I had very high expectations– true crime! drugs!  old Hollywood!  These are all things I like (in books– not so much in life, at least for the first two).  But I just couldn’t get into this.

17.  Everyone Brave is Forgiven:  THIS IS SO GOOD.  When I mentioned “plowing through books at the beginning of this post I was thinking of this book.  I really liked Chris Cleave’s other books but this one is my new favorite.  Read it if you like historical fiction or WWII romance or just books in general.

18. The Beautiful Bureaucrat: This is more of a novella than a novel.  It’s short, and there were some weird overly long sections of word play that could have been cut.  But otherwise this was good (and very creepy).

19. Purity: Eh…definitely not my favorite Franzen.  I can’t say I disliked it but I read it ~6 weeks ago and I’ve already forgotten most of it, whereas Freedom and The Corrections (both of which I read years ago) are much more vivid in my head.

20. In the Unlikely Event: This was a fine quick read for a plane ride.  (Well, maybe not, since it centers around 3 real life plane crashes!).  I hadn’t read Judy Blume since early middle school.  The writing felt very YA, especially since several of the main characters are adolescents.

21. The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson:  I feel like I can’t mention this book without also mentioning that The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story  (which is based on The Run of His Life) is amazing.  I was in late elementary school during the O.J. Simpson trial, which means that I remember it happening and that it was A Big Deal but I didn’t have a strong understanding of why it was A Big Deal.  The FX miniseries and the recent 30 for 30 miniseries really helped me understand.  I highly recommend them both.  I was a little worn out on O.J. Simpson by the time I read this book but I still enjoyed it.

22. The Lake House: This was a fast, enjoyable read.  I have a love for mysteries in big old English houses that dates back to reading Jane Eyre in high school, so this was right up my alley even if everything tied up a little too nicely at the end.

23.  Girls on Fire:  High school in the 90s was bleak, man.  This was a strange book.  It’s possible probable that I lived a very sheltered existence in my formative years but I still found some of the teenage hijinks and Satanic worship in the book hard to believe.

I’m a little off pace to reach 50 books by the end of the year but I think I can catch up, especially since I have very little motivation to leave the house on the weekend these days unless a body of water is involved (it’s SO hot!).  To tie this into running, it’s just like running a negative split 🙂

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