Friday, November 4, 2016

The Short Stack: October Favorites


We love alpacas!

Originally posted on the University of Texas' School of Information Info Portal. Visit it here: The Short Stack: October Favorites

As I write this, I’m thankful for the read-a-thon. Reading got bumped down yet another peg this month because I was doing the Hill Country Yarn Crawl with my husband and my dog. We met alpacas, no big deal. (Totally big deal, we love alpacas!)

But yes, spend two weekends driving around the totally beautiful hill country without an audiobook and suddenly you’ve read next to nothing. That’s why the read-a-thon is important, because I spent a few hours devoted to my larger-than-ever to-be-read pile. At some point, I’m going to have to freeze my library card like some people freeze credit cards, but still. I read things! It made me happy!

1.  To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown

I love the cover of this book so much, which is why it sometimes does work to judge a book by its cover. This story is told in verse from the perspective of a survivor of the Donner party, the notorious California-bound pioneers who were stuck in the Sierra Nevadas in winter and resorted to cannibalism. Really, it’s the last part that people remember—cannibalism. Skila Brown gave them back their humanity in this young adult novel, making their choices part of their survival and not their claim to fame.

2.  The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

This novel drove me insane, perhaps intentionally, as the main character is also being driven insane by her situation. Set in the 1850s, Lib is an English nurse sent on assignment to Ireland to watch a girl who claims to exist without eating. Lib is waiting for the girl to slip up and for her secret food source to reveal itself; the rest of the town is waiting for her death and sainthood. Sometimes, I’ll look up the ending to a slow book to see if it’s worth finishing. It’s a testament to how good the story was that I didn’t, despite the slow burn and how crazy the story made me. The Wonder made me need to know the ending, which is why it’s on my list.

3.  Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A. Allen, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis and others

If I had ever gone to summer camp, I would want it to be just like Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. There are the traditional camp activities, but also a woman who turns into a bear and all sorts of other supernatural oddities. It’s great because, not only does it sound like fun, but the campers are allowed to really be themselves in whatever way they want, whether it’s embracing their oddities or their skills or figuring out their gender or sexuality. All hardcore lady types welcome—it’s your choice if you are or are not a hardcore lady type.

4.  Vision, Volume One: Little Worse Than a Man by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this one, honestly, but I am glad that I did. Vision, the synthezoid member of the Avengers, has created a family for himself and moved them into a Virginia suburb so that he can commute to work at the White House. Except nobody trusts a robot living in their town, even one who has saved the world 37 times, according to his count. When a villain attacks while Vision is away, his wife Virginia murders him while saving herself and her children. To cover it up, she buries him in the backyard and lies to Vision, ensnaring the family in an excellent family drama.
Just remember as you look at this list of books you don’t have time to read that Thanksgiving break is super close and then it’s just a blink of an eye until winter break. We’re almost there!

As always, follow me on GoodReads or just say hi in the halls! I love book suggestions even if I might not read them until this time next year.


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