Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 Reading, Books 1-3

Time to start a brand new year's reading log! My goal this year is to read 120 books, so I'm shooting for 10/month. And since I had Thursday and Friday off as well as New Year's Day, I'm off to a good start for January. 

My only other goal is to have as much fun with reading as possible this year. Unless it's part of my judging assignment for the Ritas or something I need to research for one of my manuscripts, everything I read will be chosen because it's entertaining and/or fascinating.

This is a reading log rather than my book reviews. I personally don't feel comfortable wearing a reviewer's hat as well as an author's--if you give a scathing review to a best-seller, you come across as jealous, while if you're hard on a newbie, it feels like punching down. So on this blog I'm just listing what I finish, with a few short notes on what I got out of the reading experience. Since I don't finish books unless I enjoy them, you can assume that if I was reviewing, any book listed would at least get a 3.5 stars/B- grade.

1) The Sharing Spoon, by Kathleen Eagle.

I'm not a big fan of small town/rural or Western romance, but Kathleen Eagle is one of my exceptions. Her husband is Lakota, she lives in Minnesota, and for the most part she writes the world she lives in--which means her Native American characters feel like real human beings from a real culture rather than Mystical Fonts of New Age Wisdom. This book is a collection of three holiday novellas (one Thanksgiving and two Christmas), and all of them worked well for me, though the historical "The Wolf and the Lamb" was my favorite. All in all, a good read to say farewell to the holiday season and usher in the new year.

2) Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire.

Since my introduction to McGuire was the far lighter-toned Discount Armageddon, I was surprised and initially taken aback by how much darker and grimmer this urban fantasy world is. Rosemary and Rue introduces half-human, half-fae San Francisco detective Toby Daye, who lost fourteen years of her life by being transformed into a fish while investigating a case for her faerie liege lord. Back in her own form, she doesn't want anything more to do with her old career or her fae connections. But of course she's not really going to be able to escape...

I don't think I'll ever love urban fantasy as much as I do epic and historical fantasy, but this was an intriguing page-turner, and I expect I'll keep reading the series from here.

3) Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh.

I've been a fan of Allie Brosh ever since my first encounter with Clean All the Things! So naturally her book was at the top of my Christmas wish list. It's a series of illustrated essays, a mix of blog posts and new material that's both laugh-out-loud funny and thoughtfully self-aware. The essays on depression are especially illuminating. I'm not very prone to depression myself--my personal demons tend to take the form of anxiety and panic instead--so her description helps me see and connect to what my friends and relatives who do live with depression are going through.

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