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Tag Archives: 2016

Here are my favorite adult reads in 2016. ¬†Only 6 months late ūüôā ¬†Hope you find something you like.

Non-fiction

20696006Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

A doctor writes about both his professional and personal experience with people facing terminal illness, and discusses different approaches to dying. As a doctor he’s trained to fix problems, but when the problem is not fixable, what then? Should patients spend small fortunes on treatments that may or may not extend their lives, suffering terrible side effects and giving them false hope? Should they do nothing at all? And what about those who are not technically dying, but too ill to care for themselves? What does research and experience tell us about how to spend our final days?

This is a book for everyone. We are all mortal, all dying one minute at a time. And so are our friends, our family, and everyone we love(dark, I know). This is a book about how to deal with the practical and medical problems of facing the inevitable.

 

26072609The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

A conversation between Anderson Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. It’s fascinating to hear Gloria Vanderbilt, 91 at the time, talk about her privileged but lonely childhood, and her tumultuous youth. She reflects on the life she was born into, and how it influenced her decisions, while Anderson Cooper reflects on how her life in turn affected his own. The point of the conversation was to deepen their relationship and understanding of each other as parent and child, and inspire others to do the same. I think they succeeded.

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David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell on advantages, disadvantages, and how sometimes they are not what they seem. Fascinating, as always.

 

 

 

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You’re Never Weird on the Internet(Almost) by Felicia Day

Fantastic biography, especially if you get the audio because it’s read by Felicia herself! I loved hearing about her weird childhood, her anxiety and insecurities, and how she began working on The Guild. She’s infinitely relatable in her enthusiasm for all things geeky, her frequent moments of mortification, her hopes and her fears. It’s all in there, including her struggles with gaming addiction, depression, and Gamergate. When I finished, I just wanted to hug her and thank her for sharing such personal memories. I have a great empathy and respect for anyone who can acknowledge that they are struggling with mental illness, get help and recover, and then share their story despite all the social stigma. Felicia, I adore you more now than ever.

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

This was probably the best book I read all year. ¬†If you or anyone you care about has suffered from mental illness of any kind, you should read this book. And if you don’t know anyone who has suffered from mental illness, then either you don’t know that many people, or more likely, they’re just afraid to tell you. Basically, I’m saying you should read this book. Jenny tells funny personal stories about her strange life and her experiences with depression, anxiety, and other disorders. But she also talks about how mental illness lies to you, tries to hurt you, and promotes a wonderful idea: if depression can make you sink low enough to want to die, then maybe you also have the capacity to rise to the height of being crazy with joy too. She wants to spite her depression by being furiously happy. I love this idea(and this book), and I’ve tried to incorporate furiously happy into my own life. ¬†I’ve had ballgown themed birthday parties, kissed people just because I wanted to, wore a dinosaur hat at work, and just generally tried to be unrestrained with things that make me happy. ¬†It doesn’t solve anything, but I’ve found it to be a useful tool in coping with depression. ¬†Thank you, Jenny Lawson.

 

Fiction

25735012Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

This is book 3 in a series, and I love it, so I’m gonna list it even though it’s not the first one. ¬†Get used to this. ¬†Cormoran Strike and Robin are up against their first serial killer while Robin and Matthew’s wedding date looms… Once again, I wasn’t sure about the killer until Strike revealed his hand, but oh, the ending! ¬†Gah! ¬†I want the next one already.

 

 

 

16071701Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaason

A fisherman off the coast of Florida reels in a human arm flipping the bird. ¬†A disgraced police detective demoted to restaurant inspector starts investigating, hoping to earn his badge back. A Bohemian fisherman and his spiteful pet monkey try to put a voodoo curse on a the white man who’s bought his family home out from under him. There’s also a sexy morgue doctor, a fugitive sex offender, a drunken voodoo hag, and a few unscrupulous land developers. Wackiness ensues. I love the crazy character back stories, including the monkey’s back story, and the way all the characters find that their paths cross in a satisfying ending. ¬†A very fun read if you don’t mind a little crude humor.

 

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Timeline by Michael Crichton

Classic Michael Crichton, and definitely one of his better stories. A big tech corporation funds a historical dig of a medieval castle while doing research on time travel. Then a history professor steps into the past and his graduate students must go back in time to get him. But of course, everything goes wrong, and they are caught between warring medieval factions with no way home…

 

 

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Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Fat Charlie Nancy is easily embarrassed, gullible, and kind-hearted. He is also, unbeknownst to him, the son of Anansi, the spider trickster god. Then he gets word that his father has died, and learns of a brother he doesn’t remember, and everything starts to get weird.

This was touching, hilarious, mysterious, and filled with wonder, all of the things I love about Neil Gaiman.

 

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Saga volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples

One again, a book that is pretty far into a series, but there’s nothing stopping you from going out and getting volume 1(and you should). ¬†This volume made up for the sucker punch at the end of volume 5. Reunited with many of my favorite characters, and Hazel is finally old enough to begin speaking her mind. ¬†Loved it.

 

Happy reading.

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Only like 5 months late this time. ¬†Improvement! ¬†In an effort to put something out sooner, I’m posting this now, and I’ll post the adult books later. ¬†It seems I finished off a few great series this year, so I’ve mentioned the first book in each series in the description.

Children’s Books

25745002Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce the bear accidentally becomes a mother. Very silly. Very cute. Good for storytime, with fun jokes for kids and parents.

 

 

 

23281865I’m Trying to Love Spiders By Bethany Barton

Great storytime book with lots of humor and actual information about spiders. Try to learn about spiders instead of squish them! Though I’m a little sad about all the spider squishing(because I DO actually love spiders), I’m just twisted enough to laugh. ¬†It has lots of good opportunities for audience involvement too.

 

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Nuts in Space by Elys Dolan

Captain Moose and his crew have obtained the Lost Nuts of Legend, and now all they have to do is get home. But they’re lost, and they’re very hungry! A silly combination picture book and graphic novel with jokes for kids and adults. Fans of Star Wars or Star Trek will especially enjoy.

 

 

I really want to eat a child by Sylviane Donnio, illustrated by Dorothee de Monfreid
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A baby crocodile wants to eat a child. Funny and cute, and just a little twisted. ¬†Good for storytime if the kids(and their parents) aren’t
too sensitive.

 

 

 

Teen Books

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Winter by Marissa Meyer

A good ending to a great series. Can’t wait for the next book ūüôā ¬†Book one of the Lunar Chronicles is Cinder, a science fiction retelling of Cinderella where Cinderella is a Cyborg. ¬†And just to up the ante, there’s also a deadly plague killing tons of people and an evil sorcereress queen. ¬†Each successive book builds on the story by adding another fairy tale retelling. ¬†Book two is Red Riding Hood, book three is Rapunzel, and this last book is Snow White. ¬†Seeing how all the characters from all the books come together through fate and friendship, each one using their own unique skills to build a formidable team, is heartwarming. ¬†I especially liked that Winter’s skill was her overwhelming kindness and empathy, and that she was stunningly beautiful even with her facial scars. ¬†Kindness, empathy, and friendship are not often considered skills outside of children’s books, and I like that this series values them.

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Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

If you like the Lunar Chronicles, this is a must read, if only for the short epilogue story at the end. A lot of the stories are back stories for the characters, but there are two new stories, and they’re both worth reading.

 

 

 

 

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

You know all those kids who stumble through doorways to other worlds like Oz and Wonderland? Ever wondered what happens when they come back to our world? Nancy’s family doesn’t understand and they think she’s crazy, so they send her to a special school. It turns out everyone else there has been to another world too. Nancy thinks she may have found a refuge, but then someone gets murdered…

This was a great little story, and it’s nominated for a Hugo.

 

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Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger

A satisfying ending to a very fun series. ¬†The first book is Etiquette and Espionage, and it’s a comedic, steampunk adventure about a girl’s finishing school that doubles as a spy school. ¬†Highly recommended. ¬†The audiobooks are especially good, partly because you don’t have to figure out how to pronounce some of the ridiculous names.

 

 

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Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The first book in this series is The Raven Boys. ¬†I loved that first book, but didn’t get around to the second book, The Dream Thieves, for a couple years. ¬†And then I just couldn’t stop.

The main characters are Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah. ¬†Blue is a girl raised in a house of women psychics, but who’s only psychic ability is to magnify the abilities of others. ¬†Gansey is a rich prep school boy with a fascination for history, and an obsession with a legendary Welsh king. ¬†Ronan is foul mouthed, perpetually angry, but fiercely loyal and truthful to a fault, and he has very unusual dreams. ¬†Adam grew up in a trailer park with his abusive father and he works hard to be allowed to stay at the prep school with Gansey and Ronan, hoping to someday leave his small town life behind. ¬†Noah is quiet and gentle, but has a very dark secret.

Living with psychics, Blue has always known that she will kill her true love with a kiss. When she sees Gansey’s future in a graveyard, she knows he will be dead within a year, and most likely he is the true love she’s destined to kill. ¬†Completely unaware how little time he has, Gansey pursues the grave of the Welsh king Glendower, and the legend that whoever finds and wakes the king is granted a wish. ¬†Ronan, Adam, Noah, and Blue are caught up in Gansey’s obsession, and consequently they’re pulled into the magic surrounding the search and the ruthless people who will do anything to control the magic themselves.

I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style, and I love how complex the characters are. ¬†I truly care about what happens to them all. ¬†I also like that the magic is dark and alien, and each book had at least one moment so creepy that I literally got goosebumps. ¬†Some mysteries are solved, but many things remain strange and unknowable. ¬†I was left with many questions at the end of The Raven King, but apparently Maggie Stiefvater will be writing a couple more books about these characters, so maybe I will get my answers eventually. ¬†If not, I’m finding Maggie and asking her!