Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Recommended Reads, August 2016 (Summer Book Bingo BLACKOUT!)

I'm proud to announce I achieved blackout in Seattle Public Library Summer Book Bingo. OK, so I went really easy in the Read Out Loud section...but the Elephant and Piggie books really were my favorite picture books when Miss Fraser was little, and I truly have wanted to catch up on the ones that have come out since then.

August reads are marked NEW.
  1. Recommended by a Librarian: How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by JC Lillis - A delightful m/m coming-of-age love story that's also a love letter to geek culture and fandom. NEW 
  2. Cookbook or Food Memoir: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson - a worthwhile read, especially if you like Samuelsson as a Chopped judge.
  3. You've Been Meaning to Read: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson - Somewhere in the last year or two I went from being someone baffled by comics and graphic novels to someone who seeks them out, and this one is fun, hilarious, and full of girl power. NEW
  4. #We Need Diverse Books: The Lawyer's Luck by Piper Huguley - African-American historical romance novella, and a quick, sweet read currently free to download on Kindle.
  5. Collection of Short Stories: Under My Hat, edited by Jonathan Strahan - anthology of short stories about witches by noted fantasy authors, many of whom are new to me authors I mean to try again. 
  6. From Your Childhood: By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder - This wasn't my favorite Little House book as a child, but re-reading it now as an adult and the mother of a 12-year-old (Laura is 12-13 over the course of the book), I was struck by how Laura's adolescent restlessness and uncertainty is mirrored in the family's circumstances. 
  7. Prize-Winner: The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood - I really intended to pick a Rita, Hugo, or Nebula winner for this category, but when I saw that the nonfiction history I was reading as research for my new manuscript was a Pulitzer winner, I just counted it. I will show my respect for the fantasy and romance genres in other ways. 
  8. Set in a Place You've Always Wanted to Visit: The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis - historical mystery set in Rome. (While present-day Rome is certainly on my bucket list, believe me I'd jump at the chance to visit the ancient city if the TARDIS happened by.) 
  9. Recommended by an Independent Bookstore: Born for This by Chris Guillebeau - Advice and inspiration for career changers. NEW
  10. Banned: Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin - a thoughtful and thought-provoking book profiling six transgender teens.
  11. Collection of Poetry: The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton by Lucille Clifton - I rarely seek out poetry, but as long as the library puts it on their annual summer reading bingo, I'll manage a volume a year. And, really, I'm glad I got to spend a week's worth of evenings looking through Clifton's view of the world. NEW
  12. Young Adult Book: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff - a graphic novel full of pure swashbuckling fun in the early 19th century. Gorgeously illustrated, too.
  13. FREE! Recommend a Book to a Friend: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines - I've been recommending books to my fellow former Sleepy Hollow fan friends that hit some of the same sweet spots as Season 1 of that show, but without falling apart as the story goes forward, betraying and shredding their premises, and killing their heroines in a particularly disrespectful and painful way. (Not that I'm BITTER or anything.) This series definitely qualifies (and would make awesome TV for a network that would be sufficiently faithful to the source material).
  14. Translated from Another Language: The Odyssey by Homer (Fitzgerald translation) - I do love my ancient Greeks, though I'm not sure I chose wisely in terms of translation. Fitzgerald was highly recommended in a book discussion thread I googled, but I read DH Lawrence's translation lo these many years ago (like at least 20) and seem to remember the story seeming far more vivid and lively. NEW
  15. Non-Fiction: The Other Slavery by Andrés Reséndez - about the enslavement of Native Americans, especially in Spanish-colonized areas before and after independence.
  16. Novel: Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain - character-driven historical romance, at once tender and hot.
  17. Local Author: The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson - I found this book on a list of recommended reads at Powell's and therefore meant it for the independent bookstore category, but when I saw that the author lives on one of our Puget Sound islands and used his experiences gardening there intensively in this history and biology of seed plants, I decided it belonged here instead. 
  18. Written by a Seattle Arts and Lectures Speaker: Falcon by Helen Macdonald - because I find raptors endlessly fascinating. NEW
  19. Reread: The World of Jennie G. by Elisabeth Ogilvie - A favorite from my teens that still holds up well to rereading, and I've just discovered it's back in print! But it's the middle book of a trilogy, so you'll want to get Jennie About to Be first.
  20. You Finish Reading in a Day: League of Dragons by Naomi Novik - a satisfying end to a wonderful series, though I thought the denouement was too short and didn't spend enough time on the characters I liked best. 
  21. Read Out Loud: A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems - Seriously, if you have a little kid or are buying a present for one, this series is the best. NEW
  22. Out of Your Comfort Zone: Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein - I decided this qualified for the category insofar as reading it as the mother of a 12-year-old daughter filled me with horror to think of the gauntlet of sexism, misogyny, and even rape adolescents and young women all too often endure.
  23. Memoir: Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi - The most harrowing thing I've read this year, because it's so painful to acknowledge brutality committed by my own government, paid for by my own taxpayer dollars, and therefore in some sense in my name. But I feel like it was important that I read it for the same reason. Slahi has FINALLY been approved for release, but is still awaiting transfer. NEW
  24. Written More than 100 Years Ago: Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery - published in 1915, so it just qualifies. This was one of my favorites of the series when a college friend introduced me to Anne, possibly because I was the same age as the characters.'s fun, but I'd put it behind Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, and Rilla of Ingleside.
  25. Recommended by a Friend: Lead Me Not by Ann Gallagher - Another male/male romance, this one a Christian romance about a deeply closeted man from a family that runs a Westboro Baptist Church-style ministry and his journey to a more welcoming faith. NEW