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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.

Because I work in a library, these may never stop coming.

 
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Shalala, don’t stop now, don’t try to hide it, how you want to… KISS THE EARL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#SexyMistakes! ¬†Ok, not gonna lie, this is both ridiculous and awesome. ¬†I might actually read this at some point. ¬†I’d also kinda like to feel the need to use that hashtag at some point in my life. ¬†Seems like an important mistake to make at least once in your life…

 

 

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Why this one? ¬†Because it reminds me of my friends, that’s why.

 

 

 

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Once again, I’m twelve. ¬†And this book is called Mocha Dick. ¬†Haha, dick.

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Honestly, I think it’s that earnest, adoring look on the lady’s face, combined with the pensive, confused look on the guy’s face. ¬†And somehow I think this is supposed to be a romance? ¬†I dunno, confusion isn’t super romantic for me. ¬†And neither are Amish beards while we’re at it.20160107_175624

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What?! You’re giving it away Macbeth, quit tweeting about your murder plot! ¬†And hashtags, srsly? ¬†lol

 

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Adorable, but deadly. ¬†Look at his little face! ¬†Just look at it! ¬†I’d be super dead.

 

 

 

 

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It’s a chihuahua in a tiny sailor outfit driving a boat! ¬†Can you stand it?! ¬†And his name is Pepe!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not actually surprised that this book exists. ¬†Indeed, by all rights, it belongs in this world more than I do. ¬†Mostly I’m just super entertained that my library system carries copies(plural) of it. ¬†This is amazing. ¬†Such times we live in that you can go to your public library and pick up a book of Star Trek alien philosophy on war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what deserves to exist even more than the Klingon Art of War book? ¬†The scratch and sniff wine book of course! ¬†I leafed through it, and yes, I sniffed. It describes in detail¬†many types of wine and how to tell them apart by appearance and by smell. ¬†¬†Such a combination of sophisticated connoisseur and childish glee may never have existed in book form until now, and my library owns copies. ¬†You’re welcome. ¬†I would have checked this out if a co-worker hadn’t beaten me to it.

 

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Baby it’s cold outside… not really because this is Arizona. But I’m a desert rat, and I want soup. And because this is Arizona, it’s tortilla soup. ūüôā
Tortilla Soup

1 can of corn, drained(or you can use about a cup of frozen)

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of black beans(drained and rinsed)

3 or 4 cups of veggie broth, or 1 of those aseptic containers of broth

1 small can of roasted green chiles, chopped

3 or 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1 red pepper

1 green pepper(I usually swap this one out for an orange pepper since I don’t like the green ones)

1 yellow pepper

3 onions

fresh cilantro, chopped

shredded cheese for topping

tortilla chips

Put a tablespoon of oil on the bottom of a big soup pot and heat on medium high.¬† Chop up the peppers and onions, and saute them for a minute or two.¬† Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Pour in the broth, green chiles, tomatoes, corn, and black beans and heat to boiling.¬† Turn off the heat and ladle the chunky soup into bowls.¬† Top bowls with tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and cilantro.¬† Pour a little broth from the soup over the top to melt the cheese.¬† Now you have a lovely bowl of healthy, colorful soup to make up for all the holiday goodies you’re going to eat later!

And just because I’ve started collecting photos again, here are some more silly book covers:

Dump Cakes by Cathy Mitchell Yes, I am 12 years old, and it is hilarious to me that a marketing department allowed this to happen.

CAM00792 It’s a choose your own adventure! Just like the game!¬† Remember how you used to name your all your party members after your friends, and watch them die one by one around you?¬† Was that just me?

CAM00757 You have to look closely, but the title of this gem is “internet-linked Romans.” Those Romans were way more high tech than anyone knew!

CAM00931 Heh. Heh heh. Yeah, still 12.

Night Probe! by Clive Cussler¬† Ummmmm. . . as a co-worker pointed out, that exclamation point just adds something that maybe it wasn’t meant to. . . heh heh.¬† Still 12.

CAM00761 They’re taxidermy bunnies!¬† At school!¬† This is actually a really interesting, if terribly disturbing read… My fear and fascination with death, wrapped up in pictures of animals…

CAM00755¬† And the winner is this book.¬† I should have looked up the copyright while I was in the thrift store, but I didn’t.¬† This is just, I mean… It’s Gorbachev the anti-christ!¬† Someone was actually serious about this!!

Happy Holidays!

Can I just say I‚Äôm kinda tired of books with titles like¬†The Bonesetter‚Äôs Daughter, and The Pilot‚Äôs Wife, and The Magician‚Äôs Niece, and the Undertaker‚Äôs Sister in Law and so on. Yes, I made some of those up, but only because no publisher‚Äôs marketing department has thought of it yet. They sound like they‚Äôre about women who‚Äôs identity is only important because of their relationship to someone else, usually a man. You don‚Äôt see books called The Teacher‚Äôs Son, or The Nurse‚Äôs Husband.¬† And yes, I know there are male teachers and nurses.¬† Maybe I’m sexist too.

So that’s my little rant for today. To counterbalance, here are some book covers I saw at work that just cracked me up:

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I don’t think this requires any explanation.¬† That’s just damn funny.¬† I’m totally going to yell “It’s my ovaries, stupid!” at someone some day.¬† It’s coming, people who have the misfortune to see me regularly!¬† Prepare yourselves!

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Someone put this on the display shelf.¬† I started snorting with laughter and had to take a photo.¬† The title should be yelled like a drill sergeant.¬† The MAN’s guide to manly MAN things, like MUSCLES, and STRENGTH!¬† It made me think of Power Thirst.

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Took this picture because someone I know dated a girl who believed in the hollow earth theory.¬† I like that it’s on the shelf next to a book about the end of the world and conspiracy theories.¬† In the non-fiction.¬† Maybe this is only funny because I’m a cynic.

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A co-worker showed me this one, which might be the only one that’s really funny on purpose.¬†

Other funny books may have to posted at a later date.¬† Or maybe I’ll just start listing the titles of ridiculous books that don’t currently exist outside of my head.¬† Like Easy Cooking for Mans.¬† Or Scolding Your Cat and Other Exercises in Futility.

These days, we are bombarded with Christmas starting even before Halloween. This is ridiculous.¬† But now it’s actually December, time to do Christmassy stuff, and I find myself a little blah.¬† Not that I ever had a huge attention span for sentimental Christmas stuff, but I’d like something a little unsentimental.¬† So, here’s a few holiday books that are more than just your average sentimental Christmas story:

Cover image for Hanukkah ShmanukkahHanukkah Shmanukkah by Esme Raji Codell

Mr. Scroogemacher is a cranky old man who runs a factory in turn of the century America.¬† He has no Hanukkah Spirit or love for his fellow man until he is visited one night by three magical rabbis…

 

 

Cover image of Miracle on 49th Street by Mike LupicaMiracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica

This one borders on sentimental as the ending is truly miraculous for even a¬† children’s “realistic problem novel.”¬† But what I liked about it was the struggle between 12-year-old orphaned Molly, and the Boston Celtics MVP Josh Cameron, who may or may not be her father.¬† I liked that it was a non-traditonal family structure, and that the characters are faced with very modern moral dilemmas.

 

 

Cover image of The Stupidest Angel by Christopher MooreThe Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore

An angel arrives in a small town in California to grant a wish to a small boy.¬† Unfortunately the angel is non too bright, and also kinda weird, so he’s mistaken for a child molester, and run over by a stoned cop.¬† Throw in an aging B movie star who’s off her meds, a pilot and his fruit bat, and the lovely ex-wife of the recently murdered town curmudgeon, and things really start to get interesting.¬† Like with zombies.

 

 

Cover for Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Just before Christmas, the young nun Evengeline comes across a letter she cannot seem to ignore, and it begins to lead her down a path of self discovery.¬† She finds that her family’s past is deeply rooted in Angelology, the study of Angels, and that she herself is in the middle of the war between the children of men, and the children of angels.

 

Original cover image for the Hogfather by Terry PratchettThe Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

I haven’t read this book yet, but I don’t have to read it to know that it may be one of the most off the wall “Christmas” books out there.¬† Set on Pratchett’s Discworld, the ever present Death decides to take a hands on approach to the annual winter holiday of Hogswatch, and becomes the Hogfather.