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June booklist

1. Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan

This is sort of ... realistic fantasy for techy, book-loving nerds. I mean that in the best possible way: the overwhelming feeling I had reading this book was "these are my people!" even though I am not technically that techy of a person. The plot was almost secondary for me compared to the general feel and atmosphere of the book. (Also the writing is super top notch, and very clever.)

2. Tuesdays at the Castle, Jessica George

A lovely little fantasy about a trio of royal siblings and their enchanted castle; I personally would have enjoyed it more if it had been written for a little older audience (I often wished for more details/emotions being explored more fully) but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to its intended age group.

3. The Girl Is Murder, Kathryn Miller Haines

There aren't that many young adult period mysteries out there (What I Saw and How I Lied comes to mind). This is one; and it's quite good. It's set in the early 40s, so it has some great discussion about the war, but it also is just really a good old detective story.

4. Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith

Apparently this is a book form of a popular column? I'd never heard of Patrick Smith before, but he has an engaging way of demystifying airlines and the process of flying.

5. Made in America, Bill Bryson

The first Bryson I haven't enjoyed unreservedly: it just seemed to drag on forever and be mostly an excuse to share lists of facts.

6. Jerusalem: the Biography, Simon Sebag Montefiore

Oh, Jerusalem. Is there another city that has as varied (and bloody) a history? For as much history as this book covers, it manages to do so rapidly and with verve, always keeping things interesting.

7. Lost Cat: a true story of love, desperation, and GPS technology, Caroline Paul

So adorable. :) A memoir of sorts, about the bond between cat and human - and the eternal mysteries of cats (catcams and GPS trackers are involved.)

8. Killing Floor, Lee Child

The first written Jack Reacher book: while Child's style is always just a little too choppy for my taste, it's especially apparent in the earliest books. This was a little painful at times, but daaaang Jack, your coolness just makes up for everything.

9. Strange Stones, Peter Hessler

Essays on China and a few other places - as always, I find Hessler's writing exemplary and absorbing.

10. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

I loved this in all kinds of ways! First, the setting - how many YA books nowadays are set in the 1980s, amirite? And yet for long stretches I would forget about the time period, because it wasn't in your face. And Eleanor - she's a severely disadvantaged teen (unstable family, abuse, horrible home life, poverty) and the book manages, while presenting all these things about her in a realistic way, to NOT define Eleanor by them.

In some ways the love story feels a little melodramatic, but what relationship doesn't when you're 17?

11. Die Trying, Lee Child

Continuing the series - good, but not as good because I prefer Jack when he's not in captivity for most of the book.

12. In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters

Historical YA about the flu epidemic of 1918. I assumed that it was sort of alt history/steampunk but nope, it was actually pretty straight historical except for some bits of fantasy that crept it because of the inclusion of spiritualism.

13. Mary as the Early Christians Knew Her, Frederica Mathewes-Green

A collection of three ancient works about/praising Mary, with some comments by Frederica (whose writing voice I adore.) Even if you can't bring yourself to regard Mary as the Catholic and Orthodox do (and indeed, the ancient Christians did), I think it's important that Protestants are exposed to this sort of thing, as Mary's presance has been deliberately under-emphasized.

14. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Normally I wouldn't count a cookbook, but this one includes a lot of explanation as to why their recipes are the way they are, and I did sit and read it cover to cover. I've tried three of the recipes so far and have been impressed. I was initially very skeptical of the instructions not to knead the doughs, but I do love the crumb a very wet dough produces, and wet dough is extremely difficult to knead. An alternate method = win!



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
YES, on Tuesdays at the Castle! I thoroughly enjoyed it and would hand it to a kid without a second thought, but as an adult reader I kept wishing for a little bit more.
Jul. 5th, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
"Mr Penumbra..." has been on my "try to find" list for ages. I can see I'll have to push it waaay up :)
Jul. 6th, 2013 08:21 pm (UTC)
I think it would be JUST your kind of book. :)
Jul. 5th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
I think I'm just going to make you my book-list muse, and follow you around, literarily speaking. Not that I could even dream of reading as much as you do. But even so. :-)
Jul. 6th, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
Literally, literarily, or figuratively, you are welcome to. :D
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )