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July booklist

1. Personal, Lee Child

Thanks to Netgalley, I got to read an advance copy of the new Jack Reacher book (due out in September). This is another solid offering from Lee Child: every bit as tightly written, suspenseful, and well-plotted as the last few. It's a sniper-hunt this time ... and this time, it's personal. It feels a little strange to have Reacher be working so closely with the military after so many books featuring his very *cough* independent style of doing business, but it created the chance to work in some more of his backstory, and it was a nice change of pace.

2. Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein (audio)

I think this was the first time I listened to the audio version and my goodness, certain parts hit even harder when spoken.

3. The Works: Anatomy of a city, Kate Ascher

I didn't realize the city in question was NYC when I got it, but that certainly made it more interesting to me. It divides the city's infrastructure into things like "Moving People," "Moving Freight," "Communications," and "Keeping it Clean." It's really well illustrated and full of all kinds of fairly random but interesting information, like the fact that NYC has almost 20,000 miles of streets.

4. My Real Children, Jo Walton

I keep getting Jo Walton and Connie Willis mixed up; I think it's partially the writing style and, with this book especially, partially the brain-twisty bends in the story. This one starts with the main character as an elderly lady trying to form her fuzzy memories into solid facts. The thing is, she remembers contradictory things: "She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev." (from the Amazon summary.)

Which is real and which is fiction? And if she had the choice, which life would she choose?

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book, except that the writing is masterful. Walton tells a story - or is that two stories? - in simple, domestic details that combine into something with world-wide consequences.

5. Overdressed: the high cost of cheap fashion, Elizabeth Cline

Clothes today are cheaply and badly made and cost way too little and are practically disposable, while clothes from yesteryear were bespoke works of art that were valued and made to last. I agree ... I agree ... and yet, I'm just not going to spend the kind of money it would cost to get ethically and well-made clothing today. Just not happening. (At least I can assuage my guilt with the fact that 98% of my wardrobe comes second hand, either from thrift stores or as free handmedowns.)

6. Mrs. Ali's Road to Happiness, Farahad Zama

Seriously, if you like The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency books and you haven't read these, WHY.

7. Shakespeare on Toast, Ben Crystal

Why Shakespeare is good for you, and not really as intimidating as you think. Ben - I can call him by his first name since I've met him twice, right? - has a tendency to use a few more ellipses than are good for him, but that does absolutely nothing to change how awesome this book is.

8. London from $95 A Day, Frommer's

Obviously a dated book, but I was using it to get ideas for what to see, not how to save money. :)

9. Women from the Ankle Down, Rachelle Bergstein

The concept was good - iconic shoes/shoe styles and what they say about female history and culture - but the execution relied too much on imaginary conversations and conjecture for my taste.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 5th, 2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
Agreed about the clothing issues. :\
Aug. 10th, 2014 04:19 pm (UTC)
The CNV audiobook is amazing--I found new places to cry! Didn't think it was possible! I do think that Morven Christie as Verity was perfect and Lucy Gaskell as Maddie occasionally didn't get the tone quite right, but overall it was so good.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )