2016 got off to a slow start for me, reading wise. The move was definitely taking up most of my time and then for a while I was on the waitlist for a ton of books but none of them seemed to be arriving, so I just re-read a bunch of stuff (I do love having a bookshelf in my house again, with all my old favorites). New reads only here:
A God in Ruins - I love Kate Atkinson, so I was excited to get to this one. It was beautiful and follows the same family as Life After Life. I think Life After Life remains my favorite, but only because I tended to start skimming when it got to the really technical plane details in this one. I'm sorry, I don't care about planes, but this book almost convinced me.
Where All Light Tends to Go - Such a good title, right? This novel was fairly well done, and so sad. I had a hard time at first really believing in the characters, mostly because the underlying plot premise is a little tired (bad boy loves a girl who is too good for him) but I got attached to them as I read further and I will fully admit that the ending surprised me.
Among the Missing (by Morag Joss - there are so many books with this title!) - This was tense and creepy and I really enjoyed it. A woman who is feeling uncertain about her life seizes the opportunity to suddenly disappear. For several chapters in the middle I thought this had transitioned to an interesting novel, rather than a thriller, but no. It gets creepy again and it's good.
Bull Mountain - I thought this was a novel when I started reading it, but it's actually more of a mystery/thriller about a family of outlaws (and one rogue brother who becomes a sheriff) in Appalachia. It has a rough start, at least for me, because it's a ton of dialogue and that is so hard to get right. The long paragraphs of conversation felt clunky to me, and not realistic. But as the plot picks up and the conversation dies down a bit, I was pulled right in. The wrap up to this book is pretty crazy, in a good way.
Secrets from the Eating Lab - An interesting look at diets, eating, etc. I mostly read this because I loooove reading the behind the scenes information about food studies. The set ups are so tricky! I liked this book and it's very accessible for the layman. Perhaps too accessible? There are a ton of footnotes but it's light on much actual scientific information so you'd have to dig to read more about the studies - that might not bother you if you don't like reading actual studies but I'm always curious about how robust they actually are. Anyways, if you want to feel justified in never dieting again (a worthy ambition, I think), you will probably enjoy this book.
Depraved Heart (new Patricia Cornwell) - OMG, so bad. At this point I think the only possible explanation for this terrible-ness of this series is that all the bus billboards have gone to Cornwell's head and she refuses to accept any input from an editor. Either that or they're in cahoots and just testing us to see when we'll stop reading. It's not just the insane plots, guys, there are sentences in here that I had to re-read multiple times to figure out what she was trying to say. I know, I know - why continue to read these? I have no good answer for that. I've been reading this series since I was 13 and my mom asked the used bookstore lady what she would recommend next for a girl who had read all the Agatha Christie mysteries already (note - this was a terrible recommendation for a 13 year old. I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep for a month). Every time a new one comes out, I dutifully put myself on the wait list at the library and then kind of dread getting the email notification that lets me know it's my turn. This probably indicates some type of deep rooted psychological problem.
Gold Fame Citrus - This might have hit a little too close to home for me, since it's set in a near future scenario where California has completely run out of water and the remaining inhabitants live in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Reading this as we experienced our hottest February on record (when the promised El Niño rains had failed to materialize) made me feel incredibly anxious. Drought aside, I'm still a little torn on it. The writing is sometimes beautifully lyrical, but other times it felt like it was working too hard to be lyrical and the plot sometimes drove me a little mad. But all in all, I liked it more as I got further into it.
A Manual for Cleaning Women - And then I moved right on to this collection of short stories, which is both lyrical and cutting and feels effortless. There are a lot of stories in here and many of them are wonderful. There are just a few that fell flat for me, but in a collection this big that isn't really surprising. I had a hard time slowing myself down while I was reading these and it was one of those books where I wanted to be re-reading it even as I was reading it for the first time, if that makes sense. As soon as I finished I started selectively re-reading some of them, but it's turning into most of them.
As seems to happen with the library, after the dry-spell of February I suddenly started getting emails this last week that all the books I've been waiting for have come in, and now I'm going to have to really set aside some time to try to get to them all before my loan period is up. Which probably means I should be putting some books on hold now, so that I don't hit empty as soon as I finish this current batch. What are you guys reading?