Thursday, April 5, 2018

March, or spring forward


I continue to be impressed by the number of my books that don't suck. It's almost like I managed to curate a decent collection without even trying. #humblebrag

It also means that I've been doing so well cleaning off my shelves that a) I have room for library books again and b) I have to start thinking about what the empty middle shelves will eventually hold. Will I rearrange my shelves again? Leave the shelves for my library books and knickknacks? These are incredibly important questions, obviously. If we can't agree on how to shelve some books, how will we ever achieve world peace?

Let's cut to the good stuff because honestly, this is already late. :)


Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
I probably read this too fast for most of it to sink in, but I still enjoyed it. Intended for a much younger audience, this is a beautifully illustrated collection of short biographies. Each women gets a full page illustration of herself plus a page about her and her contribution to scientific progress. I really liked it and hope that it inspires a generation of nerds, but I also wanted more information on literally every woman included. I can definitely see some science biographies ending up on to-be-read shelves after reading this.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Oh, Amy Poehler. I really loved her in Parks & Rec along with everything she's ever done with Tina Fey. I'm having a ton of trouble describing this book, mostly because it's a little bit of everything. She writes about her time with the Upright Citizens Brigade, how she eventually made it to New York and SNL, her ex, her new beau, her babies. Some people won't love this because they expect Amy Poehler, Comedian, and this is Amy Poehler the Human Being on a Normal Day. She's still funny, but also very real. I walked away from this one loving her more.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Any My Favorite Murder fans will know this title, but other people will know the author as Patton Oswalt's wife. Michelle McNamara, who sadly passed before this title was finished, was a true crime writer who became absolutely obsessed with the man she dubbed the Golden State Killer, a serial rapist and murderer across the state of California in the 1970s and 1980s. This book is totally out of my usual repertoire, but I was drawn in so quickly that I finished it within days even though I had a few nightmares. The crimes themselves are described with an amount of respect that keeps this from being torture porn, but the most fascinating part is how much work McNamara put into trying to find the killer. It's part true crime and part confessional, with each portion blending into a really interesting work. Fair warning, pieces were edited and pieced together from her notes by her assistant and another true crime writer. The killer, who many thought she would actually find, has not been discovered.


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
One of my friends said she had avoided this book because she worried it would be too sad, which is the same reason I've avoided it for so long. Except it really isn't. Yes, it does deal with darkness, but it isn't dark. Plath is funny and real, portraying someone who is on uneasy footing and becomes depressed once her life is seemingly going nowhere. Like Esther's life, the novel was a bit meandering, but that lack of urgency can be rather refreshing. Unlike my last two classics, I found myself wanting to finish this one for its conclusion and not because I needed it to be over with.


I skipped this month, though I did read Remembrance by Meg Cabot, which is the adult novel to conclude The Mediator series that she wrote for teens while I was actually a teen. It sort of counts. Not recommended for someone to just pick up, but Mediator fans will enjoy it.

Best of the Rest:

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I actually read some other decent things this month, but Bardugo's illustrated collection of short stories blows everything else out of the water. Each story is loosely tied into the world she built with The Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology, but is entirely readable without knowledge of either. They're slightly creepy, dark stories that touch on traditional fairy tales but never become them. The endings aren't happily married and who cares what happens ever after, but instead have protagonists gaining independence and knowledge. Come for the drawings, stay for the stories.

Coming up this month are two of my favorite events and they're both on the same date! April 28th will be one of the biannual Dewey's 24-hour Readathons AND the Austin Bookstore Crawl. I'm not sure which way I'll go this year. On the one hand, there are new stores on the crawl. On the other, I have a ton of books I already need to read. Either way, you'll find out about both next month!


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