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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.

Terry Pratchett, me, Nick, and Maureen.

Terry Pratchett, me, Nick, and Maureen.

It was my privilege to go to Tempe and meet Sir Terry Pratchett at the first North American Discworld Convention.¬† I was also lucky enough to meet Jennifer Brehl, Colin Smythe, Bernard Pearson(the Cunning Articifer), and Diane Duane and¬† Peter Morwood.¬† They are all wonderful people.¬† Jennifer Brehl is truly passionate about her job and her authors, Colin Smythe¬†seems a very honest and friendly person, and the Cunning Articifer¬†is hilarious.¬† He also has the sexiest voice I have heard from an old man who was not Patrick Stewart.¬† ūüėȬ† And Diane Duane and Peter Morwood are a riot, terribly energetic, and rather frighteningly passionate about food.¬† I had hoped to get into their writing workshop, but alas, so many people signed up that they had to do a raffle, and I did not win.

One of the first things everyone asked me about afterward was how Sir Terry is doing.¬† His memory is still good.¬† He can hold a conversation quite well, no matter how many beers he’s knocked back, and I rather think he spent much of the convention drinking. ūüôā¬† What I heard over the weekend was that Terry’s memory is mostly affected in his ability to write and type.¬† He has difficulty communicating the words to his hands, so he is now dictating his books.¬† He is truly friendly, and spent the entire weekend talking to people, and even singing to them.¬† And of course, he’s funny, even when he’s put on the spot.¬† Here are a number of quotes I jotted down, but don’t blame me if they’re not completely accurate:

There’s a little man from Australia with a timeshare in my head.

Sometimes a typo yields something useful, like the leopard cannot change his shorts.

I’m a humanist. . . I think.

The power of the Lord cannot be that great if it can be defeated by a few yards of neon tubing.

I’ve had a beard since my honeymoon, since I didn’t have time to shave.

The sirens were snarling like cats in the canyons of the night.¬† It’s as if someone was conducting this strange symphony of crime.

I put chapters in my children’s books¬† because my editor threatened to cut my testicles off if I didn’t.

(on Discworld) It was just a world model lying around that no one seemed to be using.

It has been a lovely tour because I met many of your homeland security people.

That’s one of the nice things about becoming a knight.¬† I’ve decided to become irascible.¬† I can bully the bullies because they don’t know if I know a bigger bully.

I have problems with my short term memory. . . which are exacerbated by my short term memory problems.

I will not die of Alzheimer’s.¬† I will die before that, and I will take the disease with me.

So there it is.¬† I had a fantastic weekend meeting other fans, doing regency dancing, hanging out with¬† friends, and ogling costumes and famous people.¬† I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention a number of cool things, so forgive me.¬† Peace.