Moranifesto, by Caitlin Moran

Five stars, read in April 2018. It is possible that, as an American under the age of 40, I have been so deprived of sensible and ethical political discussion that what seems like earth-shattering brilliance to me is just common sense to the rest of you. But as I read this book, Caitlin Moran officially…

Harmless Like You, by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Four stars, read in May 2018. Good book, well-written, poignant, frustrating, a little heartbreaking, with a pretty satisfying conclusion. Emily Woo Zeller is an excellent narrator, but I didn’t care for P.J. Ochlan, who does irritating pseudo-falsetto for female characters’ voices. (Given that I already didn’t like Jay, the character he was narrating, I think…

Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi

Five stars, read in February 2018. Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy. Despite one of the best first lines I’ve ever read, I’m certain I wouldn’t have finished this if I hadn’t read, and been so impressed by, What is Not…

The Glorious Heresies, by Lisa McInerney

Four stars, read in February 2018. I was drawn into this hard, once it got going. The audio narration is excellent, but gives no indications of the physical format—sections that are printed in italics, occasional illuminating “chapter” titles (they’re not really chapters but what do I call them?)—so the book wasn’t really working until I…

The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Four stars, read in June/July 2017. I loved the premise and the atmosphere of the post-Arthurian setting, and found the first half of this book very engaging. It follows characters who live in sort of medieval villages of Britons and Saxons, and although no one seems to remember any specifics, we know it’s been a…

A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Four stars, read from October to November 2017. I decided to read this book right now because of some TV show we were watching recently, and I’m hoping that by the end of this post I’ll be able to remember what it was. A character must have made a reference to the opening lines of…

The Bedlam Stacks, by Natasha Pulley

Five stars, read in September 2017. I’ve never read anyone who writes male characters the way Natasha Pulley does, and it’s irresistible to me. This book took longer to get going, but it’s also more polished than her first book; by the end, I’d fallen in love with Merrick and Raphael nearly as hard as…

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Four stars, read in October 2017. The Remains of the Day is absolutely masterful. I was constantly impressed by the subtlety, the way the protagonist’s voice is so careful and forthcoming that it didn’t occur to me to question his accuracy, until suddenly the perspective would widen and I’d realize what he’d been leaving out. Mr….

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

Two and a half stars, read in October 2017. Eh. This book has a great premise, and Gaiman is surprisingly good at narrating his own book, though I can’t figure out how he sounds exactly the same whether I’m listening at regular speed, 1.2x times it, or even 1.4x. (Have to admit, I ended up…

Slade House, by David Mitchell

Four stars, read in August 2017. I love the format of this book, the way each section is told from the perspective of one of the house’s victims. It felt especially intimate that way, making the story personal and a little emotional as well as creepy. This is the sixth of Mitchell’s books that I’ve…

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

Five stars, read in May 2017. Man, I have not been keeping up with things lately. I’ve started a new job and no longer have all the blogging time I used to, but the only computer we have at home is a shitty laptop that is so shitty I never want to use it. So…

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, by Helen Oyeyemi

Four stars, read in November 2016. This ended up being my choice for fiction for the Goodreads Choice Awards.  I am still a little torn because I loved this book, and I didn’t understand it—not all of it, anyway, and it’s hard for me to not be able to understand completely. It took me until…

This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Four stars, read in May 2015. This reminded me of The Way, Way Back—obviously because of the setting, but also the age of the main character, that time in adolescence that’s so rough because you’re trying to figure out what’s going on around you and how you’re supposed to relate to it. It was so…

Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent

Five stars, read in September 2014. It’s been almost a year and a half since I read this book, and I still think about it often, wishing I could find more media that I can feel the same way about. I still don’t know what words to use to describe it . . . Haunting, maybe. Atmospheric….

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell

Four (and maybe a half) stars, read in January 2016. I don’t know how this book was written before The Bone Clocks, unless Mitchell was planning them at the same time. The connections are too small and intricate for me to imagine. I can’t say how the experience might have been different if I hadn’t…

The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell

Four stars, read in January 2016. There is significant potential for David Mitchell to be one of my favorite authors as I continue reading his books. I didn’t love this quite as much as I did Cloud Atlas, but it was a book I relished reading nonetheless. I gave it four stars on Goodreads; for the…

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley

Five stars, read in October 2015.  The first several chapters were intriguing enough that I kept reading despite having a very hard time focusing on it, and I will say that it was a bit of a slow start. I got really into it after a while. I fell completely in love with the middle,…

How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran

Five stars, read in October 2012. Well, you’ve been wondering, and so I am not going to keep you in suspense: Yes. This book is amazing. Caitlin Moran is British, she’s a feminist, she’s a music journalist, and she’s hilarious. That is really all you need to know. What’s that? You want to be enticed?…

Longbourn, by Jo Baker

Three stars, read in February 2014. I really don’t do Jane Austen fanfiction, or adaptations or whatever you want to call them; I love Austen’s books, but I don’t love her as a Thing (in Internetspeak), and the fanfiction has just never appealed to me. I have to admit that I roll my eyes every…

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Five stars, read in July 2014. I was really excited to win this through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway, because it’s one I’d been hearing about for a while. Even so, I wasn’t expecting what I got. I was completely caught up in reading it, and almost wished it didn’t have to end, even after…

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Five stars, read September/November 2011. You miss a few things if you listen to this on audio, because I saw some illustrations and formatting when I picked up a hard copy—but the narrator is also fantastic and it’s a lot of fun hearing it read in a German accent, so you’ll have to just decide which…

Abarat, by Clive Barker

Three stars, read in 2010. This book is as interesting as the cover looks. It’s almost 400 pages, but goes quickly because many of the pages are beautiful, full-sized illustrations done by the author. Barker has a kind of impressionist style, and the characters and places in the book are imaginative, sometimes a bit grotesque. Even the setting…

The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters

Four stars, read in November 2014. This book takes a lot of unexpected turns, particularly if it’s your first of Sarah Waters’ books (it was mine). I had the sense of a Downton Abbey-type situation when I picked it up, the story of the upper classes having to adjust to the postwar world, losing their…