LeahBird's List of Books (Probably Listened to in the Car) in 2019!
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Describe yourself: Tess of the Road
Describe how you feel: Tomorrow Will Be Different
Describe where you currently live: The Long-Lost Home
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Afar
Your favorite form of transportation: Spinning Silver
Your best friend is: Imprudence
You and your friends are: The Wise Man's Fear
What’s the weather like: The Fifth Season
You fear: Dietland
What is the best advice you have to give: Sink or Swim
Thought for the day: Call Me By Your Name
How you would like to die: The Unmapped Sea
Your soul’s present condition: Carry On
1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
2. The Name of The Wind Series by Patrick Rothfuss
3. The Fifth Season Series by NK Jemisin
4. The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
5. Tomorrow Will be Different by Sarah McBride
6. The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
7. Tess of The Road by Rachel Hartman
8. Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
9. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
10. The Long-Lost Home by Maryrose Wood
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by G Willow Wilson
Saga Volume 8 by Brian K Vaughan
A year full of books
A year full of friends
A year full of all your wishes realised
I look forward to keeping up with you, Leah, this year.
I think I originally started this back in August and then my loan ran out before I finished it. It was taking FOREVER for my hold to come back up so I finally just bought it and it was the first book I finished this year.
There is a lot to like in this story: the characters and world are richly created, the allegory is compelling, and it fits nicely into my recent obsession with AfroFantasy. There are a few twists that I anticipated that, while I don't disagree with them in principle, were not handled especially well. They were just too abrupt of a direct change, both times.
I do look forward to seeing where the next book takes the story.
This story inhabits a very interesting world with a lot of reimagined mythology. But Chakraborty leans a bit too heavily on the ancient feud thing and leaves too much of the meat of the story unexplored. It robbed the story of a lot of depth and interest.
Most disappointing, though, might have been the narration. Soneela Nankani has a fine voice and I would be happy to listen to her read something else. But my expectations have been heightened with all the fantastic accented narrators reading stories these days. Now, listening to a pan African/Persian/Indian story populated with characters that speak in American accents is just too much of a let down. Narrators like Bahni Turpin, Robin Miles, Lisa Flanagan, Julia Emelin, and Yetide Badaki have set the bar too high.
Life Update: I officially accepted a second year of AmeriCorps service so I will be at UT Recycling through August 2020 at least. I will be graduating in December 2019 and will either take it easy for a little while, ONLY working full time instead of working full time and taking 3 classes, OR I will use those 8 months to coordinate with some coauthors to get my research article from my Peopling of the Americas class ready for, hopefully, publication.
And then it'll be right back into school, but likely full time at that point as I don't think I will be up to working AND completing Master's level work.
So, busy as can be, but really happy and really enjoying the adventure. Now off to do the never ending homework.
I liked this well enough but couldn't truly get into it. It's a clear set up for a series and I might be tempted to read another one to see how a couple of the threads play out but I won't be rushing to pick it up right away.
4. The Power by Naomi Alderman (Adjoa Andoh)
This book is so good. And so terrible. There were times when I was loving the growing power of the women and times when everything gave me knots in my stomach. It commits one of my biggest pet peeves of not wrapping up the threads of the story completely, but whatever, it's Alderman's prerogative.
The secondary narrative that bookends the main story were very fascinating. I could have happily had another chapter's worth of the ending information. It was wonderful and unexpected.
Adjoa Andoh does a great job narrating.
5. The Rastafarians by Leonard Barrett
This is the classic work on the foundation of the Rastafarian religion and culture. For a religious history mostly written in the 70s, this is an easy and engaging read. The subject matter helps of course. I read this for one of my classes this semester.
6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (read by Caitlin Kelly)
I felt much the same about this one as Renegades: not bad but not as engaging as I had hoped. I don't know if I'm interested in the sequel but I'm not ruling it out.
I still love Flavia and Dogger and I had such high hopes for this last installment in the series but it wasn't all that interesting or eventful. Sad to see them part on a lowish note.
The play was wonderful. I had bought the script when it first came out and was NOT very happy. It just did not seem right. The voice was wrong, characters were not behaving as I expected. I just could not understand. But seeing it staged is a completely different story! It all finally made sense! It's so good. It's also sad and poignant and so so funny! If you get a chance to see it, take it! Especially at the Lyric Theater. I'm sure they are going to make the other theaters as awesome as the Lyric but, come on, it's BROADWAY! The original West End cast is about to finish their run in NYC but I don't doubt that the new cast will be great.
We also went to: the American Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium, the Met Cloisters, MOMA, viewed the Statue of Liberty (from the Staten Island Ferry), the Met, American Girl store, Chinatown, and so so many subways and buses. All in all, a great trip!
8. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (read by Lynn Chen)
I was looking forward to listening to this after really enjoying the movie. The plot of the film was pretty good but it really shone because the characters were so richly portrayed. I was expecting more depth from the book in both departments but I was a bit disappointed. Mostly everyone was pretty much the same but somehow felt less than. The biggest let downs were the characters of Eleanor and Astrid. Eleanor is magnificent in the film, poised and calculated, cold but clearly dedicated to her son. In the book she just seemed screechy and conniving. Astrid is amazing in the film, strong and beautiful but unassuming and kind. Book Astrid is similar but the plot does not serve her at all.
I'm glad that people liked the books so much that the film got made, but I'm definitely team film.
Lynn Chen has a good voice for the narration but not for the Chinese characters. They all sound a it like a caricature.
This was a delightful listen! The plot was frustrating at times, mostly because of the pacing with time jumping ahead to each important event rather than letting things develop slowly, but that is a small complaint. The characters are wonderful and the world is vivid. Gemma Whelan's narration was great.
Can't wait for the sequels!
Ugh, this one was not a great read. I was surprised to find that Nick and Rachel are even less of the main focus than in the previous book, the story shifting to the minor character of Kitty from the previous book and a host of new characters connected to Rachel. Everyone is pretty much The Worst. Most horrifying is the story of Astrid. God, it was just so disappointing. I'm so glad that film Astrid got so much more than book Astrid.
The positive is that Lydia Look does a much better job with the accents for the Chinese characters.
I am still likely going to listen to the last book in the series but my expectations are low.
11. The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (read by Moira Quirk)
I definitely think these books are more fun than they actually are. The previous one is a riotously great character sketch that gets wrapped up in intrigue that's not nearly as interesting. This one, unfortunately, never really even gets the chance to get interesting. The characters deserve better than this.
12. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand (read by KATHERINE KELLGREN)
I picked this up off someone around here's good review but really only because of KATY KELLGREN. God, she is such a treasure and sorely missed.
I honestly didn't know a lot about the story of Jane Grey but I think this would have been fun either way. It is CERTAINLY not serious so fuddyduddies need not pick it up but if you like a funny, creative, fantastical romp through English royal history, there is a good time to be had here.
I don't really know how to review this book. It's Jasper Fforde and it's weird? That's not surprising to anyone who has read his books but it's really about all I've got. It's an alternate reality almost like ours but more ice-agey and people have hibernating adaptations? Yeah, that's about all I've got.
It's fun as all Fforde's books are. It didn't completely scratch the Fforde itch I've had in the 10 billion years since Shades of Grey came out but I enjoyed it.
14. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (read by Gemma Whelan)
Just as magical as the first one but not as nice. There's some hazing in this book that I supremely dislike but Morrigan is on her way to finding out important things and finding her way. Looking forward to more adventures.
Better than I was expecting really. I like the people most of the characters have become and when I don't, it made sense for the plot.
We'll see what book three has to offer.
16. European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss (read by Kate Reading)
I didn't particularly care for the plot of this one but the characters are still intriguing. Too much of the action was