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December booklist + 2015 statistics

First off, books for December:

1. Sidney Chambers & the Forgivness of Sins, James Runcie

I'm not fond of the way much of the dialog is written, nor what I perceive as some ambiguity in Sidney's marriage, but I liked the way these stories fit together and the way certain subjects were handled.

As a side note, I assumed while watching the show (Grantchester) that it was based on books written in the 50s or 60s. I was so surprised to discover it's a modern series! It really has the tone and feel of something written much earlier.

2. Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe

Review This is brilliant: take big complicated things and explain them using small, simple words (and some really excellent diagrams.) And since it's by the creator of xkcd, there's a lot of nerdery, deadpan humor, and cleverness.

Sure, it was fun and entertaining - but I also legitimately learned a lot, as well.

3. Shades of Milk & Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal

A passable "in the style of" Jane Austen novel, although I dislike the author's choice to use certain Regency spellings - shew and chuse, for example - as they only serve to remind that this writing, though perfectly good, doesn't rise to the level of Austen herself.

The incorporation of magic is excellent - IT, at least, never feels jarring or out of place. Many of the character's names, however, do.

4. The Wild Swan, Michael Cunningham

You know my love for fairy tales with a twist ... these twists are by turns horrifying, comedic, macabre, beautiful.

5. How to Build a Cathedral, Malcolm Hislop

Lovingly illustrated, a veritable feast of architecture.

6. Monstrous Regiment, Terry Pratchett

I read this last maybe ten years ago, and I find that I appreciate the underlying feminism much more than I used to.

7. Heist, Jeff Diamond

Kids, crime doesn't pay. Don't steal. You'll end up sad and afraid in Mexico.

8. Cheerful money, Tad Friend

Best line: "Life is about saying yes to the mystery of the future."

One suspects that the family qualities Tad Friend writes about are rather less a symptom of WASPishness, as he assumes, and more just garden variety dysfunction. Dysfunction there is, and in hindsight I'm not sure it was worth the time spent reading it.

9. The Road to Little Dribbling, Bill Bryson

(ARC graciously provided by NetGalley.)

This is the classic Bryson I love: often grumpy but clearly besotted with his adopted country, fairly certain things were better in the Good Old Days(tm), frequently branching off into barely-relevant side notes, perpetually arriving places just as things close (srsy, I would love to be his travel minder and make him a schedule and *keep him on it*).

This is a solid addition to any collection of travel books - and added a few more places to my travel wish-list

10. Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers

... guys. This book. It's disjointed and Mary Poppins is not a nice person. I mean, she GASLIGHTS THE CHILDREN. This is a childhood favorite I should have left in my childhood.

11. Young Elizabeth, Kate Williams

I've read a lot of biographies of Queen Elizabeth II, but not many written in the last 15 years, and none drawing quite as lovely a portrait of her as a child and young woman. She truely is remarkable.

12. Wild Ducks Flying Backwards, Tom Robbins

The man does have a way with words.

13. The Spaces Between, Diana Gabaldon

A novella set in the Outlander world - it doesn't directly involve Jamie or Claire, but a really lovely glimpse into the lives of some of the more minor characters.


And now, some stats for 2015:

I read 101 books - up slighty from last year's 96, but a far cry from 2013's 131 (not to mention 2012's 175.)

Fiction and nonfiction were almost equally split. My young adult reading continues to fall, taking up only 6% of this years list (63% in 2011, 33% in 2012, 20% in 2013, 12% last year.) It's not intentional - I'm just not seeing as much that catches my eye. Audio took up 10% this year (up 9% from last year, thanks to the ease of using the Overdrive app!) I'm not sure I've ever counted graphic novels before, but they made up 13% this year - surely the highest except for maybe the year I read the entire D.Gray-Man run.

I read 4 books each about travel and food - shockingly low.

This year there weren't any clear obsessions reflected in my reading - remember the year I read all 18 of Lee Child's books?

Authors I met this year: Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Erik Larson. 


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2016 11:36 am (UTC)
ha! Yeah, mom read Mary Poppins when I was about 10 and told me I wouldn't like it. She had the same reaction: "MARY POPPINS IS NOT A NICE PERSON. The movie is so much better," which you know my mother practically never says. ;)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )