I was on a bad streak at the beginning of this latest batch. It's my fault, since I was short on time and just haphazardly choosing books and throwing them in my library cart but it was still discouraging.
Fit2Fat2Fit - I can't help it, I'm a sucker for weight loss stories, even though I sort of hate myself for it. This one is particularly terrible. Health obsessed guy (seriously, you will hear ALL about how amazingly healthy he was compared to the rest of us slobs) decides to purposely gain weight so that he can then lose it and have more perspective. It's about as bad as you'd expect it to be. I really wanted to deny that I'd read this (you guys, there are NUMBERS replacing words in the title) but I'm trying to be honest here.
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles and So-Called Hospitality - I love, love, love behind the scenes stories. I want to know what's happening in restaurant kitchens, on reality TV sets (sadly, I haven't found a memoir about how reality TV series are produced, but the second someone writes one I will read it), everything. Unfortunately, the author of this particular memoir is almost unbearable. I managed to get through it by telling myself that he was a character (and maybe it was? that would be clever) and it distanced me just enough from his supreme doucheyness that I could tear through it. I did love the insider info.
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder - I DIDN'T FINISH THIS BOOK! That's all in caps because I literally can't remember the last time I didn't finish a book. I'm a chronic finisher, even if I have to groan the whole way through. I think I was exhausted with annoying male narrators after the last two books and I just couldn't handle one more. I got 25% through and decided to call it quits. I checked it out because the premise sounded interesting (building strength through adversity, if I boil it way, way down), but by the time I'd finished the introduction I felt I'd already heard every single point the author had. Maybe an essay would have been better? Or maybe he gets to new and revelatory information right at the 26% mark and I gave up too soon? I'll never know.
Criminal - I love the Karin Slaughter series and this is the latest one my library had with Will Trent. If you love brutal, twisty serial killer novels, you'll want to read this series from the beginning. But I mean brutal. If you aren't on board with disturbing images, you should stay far away.
MaddAddam - Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors and I particularly love her dystopian novels. Not only do I have a soft spot for apocalypse literature (survival stories!) but it's just so clear she enjoys writing this series. That said, I didn't love this third book as much as the other two. Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood are a little more solid.
Happier at Home - I read the Happiness Project a while ago (and thought I posted about it, but I can't find it?) and found it mildly interesting. I liked this one less. I have only the usual criticisms - it just reads as self-absorbed, privileged and overly obsessive. The big question is why did I read it, knowing that it would be?
Why is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality - I try to read all of Jared Diamond's books, since anyone who can get the general public interested in science is a winner for me. This is a really quick, light read and I enjoyed it. It's not as in-depth as Guns, Germs and Steel, but I think that's just the subject matter.
Swamplandia! - I was won over by the title on this one. It's the story of a family of alligator wrestlers running an amusement park on an island in the everglades. I think I was expecting a rollicking mapcap novel, which it is at times. But it also gets weirder and darker than I expected. When I finished it I wasn't entirely sure if I loved it, but I do think it's worth a read.
The Cutting Season - A mystery set on an old plantation, with elements in both the past and the present. I thought the writing was a little bit like your standard cozy mystery (i.e. not really literature). This was just okay for me. There is some suspense but it didn't grab me the way I expected.
The Snowman - I'm not sure why I continue to attempt to read so many Scandinavian crime novels when they are almost never my cup of tea. They tend to be so low key as to border on somnolent (feel free to hit me and/or disagree violently - there are millions of people who adore this particular subgenre so I know I'm in the minority here). This one started off slooooowly and I almost quit at 15% but if you can push through to 20% things get much more exciting.
When Will There Be Good News? - This was a re-read for me but I loved it just as much the second time. Kate Atkinson weaves together several different plot lines and keeps all her characters right on point. It's a mystery, but first and foremost a novel. Her dry humor kills me.
I'm currently re-reading The Twelve because I need to re-stock my Kindle. If you're looking for a saga about America after the vampirepocalypse, start with The Passage and read on through. I'm dying for the third one to come out even if the writing occasionally gets bogged down a bit with some overly fanciful phrases.