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Bells of Kells ([personal profile] absentmindedkells) wrote2015-02-04 02:17 pm

January Reads





The Books of January

Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir by Pat Benatar.
Honest I wanted to like this book more then I did. It was a book started in December but not wrapped up until January it just - it was a slog for me. Which is a shame, I love her music, and I found the way her label treated her sad, and frustrating. I don't know, it just didn't work for me.

Upside! It's been on my ereader for forever, so that is one book knocked off the To Read pile!

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation by Aisha Tyler

This was funny! Although sometimes I'd start a sentence or phrase, and get a bit confused and lost by the end. Still - super entertaining and it made me feel better about some of my own personal epic fails. I doubt my stories would be a told in such a fun manner.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective - by Kate Summerscale

It's true crime. In the Victorian Era. It's (one of my many) reading jams.

I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short

I found out after that Martin Short narrates the audio book. And does voices. So that would be a thing that I want to look into later. It's a really fun book, I laughed out loud at his list of awkward celebrity encounters (each one ending with 'and I thought damn you Marty Short!').

Random Aside: When my sister got us tickets to go see The Strombo Show (when that thing was a thing) I thought they filmed it and showed it all the same day, so Martin Short was the guest on TV the night we went to see it, and I was all 'WE ARE GOING TO GET TO SEE MARTIN SHORT! MARTIN SHORT LAURA!' and I was Very Very Very Excited.

And then he wasn't the guest. The guest was Bradley Cooper which was a lot more exciting for my sister (and okay, I was excited too) but for a moment I was crushed.

In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canonby Laurie R. King

This is a short story collection so your mileage sort of varies. There's a re-telling of The Hound of the Baskervilles through facebook posts that I found delightful, and a story that made me cry (omg my emotions this month) and some that had a kind of tenuous connection to Sherlock Holmes but were still awesome!

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

And I continue my delve into her back list, since Station Eleven was one of my top books of 2014. This is about crime, and family, and one characters quest to break free from his fraudulent family, and how that goes and who he sucks into his drama. And it's great. No rationality here! I really dug this book, and I dig her writing style.
This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test #1) by Courtney Summers

Zooommmbbiiees. But the real story is more, this is how people fall apart. The zombies are the driving force but - yeah. It's good.
Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield

I - don't have a lot to say about this, I feel bad saying I felt kind of meh about a guy writing about the (sudden) loss of his wife, and writing about their relationship before that but - I felt kind of meh. The beginning really spoke to me, but I sort of just - it stopped working for me by the end. Perhaps what my sister (jokingly) says is true, and that my heart is a withered, shriveled thing :/.
City of Thieves by David Benioff

If my heart wasn't a withered, shriveled thing this book would have done it. Holy hell was this book grim, like you'd go okay, okay we've reached as grimas we can go but then noooppeee, still going! Okay, so, it's set during the Siege of Leningrad in the winter so - I wasn't expecting a cheery romp. I had to stop reading this book last year because it was depressing me, but - look. this is an awesome book, it's grim, but it's good. it's a buddy cop story, but instead of cops it's a solider accused of desertion and a civilian accused of looting, who have to go on a mad quest for eggs. I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Ron Pearlman and that was amazing.
The Lesser Dead by Christopher Buehlman

And then I followed up that grim with this! Vampires! In 1970's New York! I am sort of over vampires / don't like vampires in my fiction in general but this one promised to be different (don't they all?) and it actually was. Not to get all spoilery, or even hint at spoilers but if kid (like young teenager and younger) vampires freak you out - well - maybe pass on the book. Or don't. They creep me out, and I had a few bad dreams while reading this book, but it was fun. The vampires are gritty, and not nice, and the book is very much narrated by someone I'd call an anti-hero, or well - actually the narrators pretty scummy but aware of it.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Confession: I've never read The Bell Jar. But this book is about that (kind of) and I don't know if not having read it impacted my enjoyment of this or not. I found it okay, but it was really hyped to me so - maybe my expectations were a bit too high.
The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel

I listened to this audio book, and the narrator sort of grated on my nerves. A lot. I also had some trouble keeping names straight (that's on me and my brain and not the book) and missed being able to flip back a few pages and double check on who was married to who. So in short -? I should have read the book I think, not listened to it. But! Having read in the past The Right Stuff and Lost Moon it was really neat to hear something that focused on the women, and their lives and how their lives were impacted by everything.
The Troop by Nick Cutter

I almost didn't make it through this book. It gets. Really. Really. Gross. I just - I couldn't enjoy it because gore, and body horror (which this book is allllll about) is not my thing. Upside - this filled the book set on the east coast square on book bingo!
Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox

And this one filled my A biography or autobiography of a Canadian Celebrity square!

A friend counts this as amongst her most favorite books, and I liked it! A lot! But it wasn't a favorite so again - my expectations may have been too high.
Catch Me If You Can: Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale

Another audio book! This one I had read in book form years ago and it's just fun. Sometimes I wonder about the truth behind it all (I mean I know that this happened) but dude was a con man, and a charming one at that, so maybe some of his tale are a bit tall. That said, it's a very fun read (or listen!).
Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2) by Rob Thomas

This feels the hole in my heart where the TV show use to live. I loved this book, although a bit at the end felt a bit - rushed to me? It also leaves plot holes a dangling, which will presumably be addressed in future outtings. Characters are moving forward though, which is exciting, although the book needed a lot more Wallace.
A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1) by Sarah MacLean

I don't really read romance- romance. Like I like a side of the paranormal or a mystery, or something. But. This book was like haunting me (okay not haunting me :P). a book site I ike talked about it in their podcast, then it was a giveaway, then a different site recommended it, and then a friend gave it a high rating on goodreads to it so -

I read it. It was as promised funny! And a little romance-y (I think? Again I don't really read straight up romances) as the hero was an ass, and the heroine was a little spunky (and an old maid) but it was good times. And it filled the red and white cover square !

Overall:
- I read more then I thought I would! Which is exiting, that's 16 read. Granted some had been started in December, so that gave me a bit of a push.

- I sort of felt at the start of the year like omg, this is so much non fiction, lets get the fiction rolling out, and hope to balance my love of both throughout the year.

- I own three of these books - Between a Heart and a Rock Place, The Troop and Mr. Kiss and Tell I need to really not buy anymore books after I obtain the new Nick Honrby that is on sale and the new Gaiman until I've tackled the pile (really, it's a pile) of books that I own that are sitting on my nightstand. That doesn't count the shelf of TO READ's I have in my spare room :/.

- I feel sort of reading slumpish right here and right now, but I'm hoping to drag myself out of it. February is a short month, and I have knitting I want to focus on but I also want to get some reading time in.