Reading List 2018 – May

I’ve decided to give up on the Romance genre. It’s just not for me. I like a drop of romance as a flavour to the rest of the story, but reading solely about people trying to come to terms with their feelings for each other just makes me tired. I spend too much time yelling, “JUST FUCKING TALK TO EACH OTHER LIKE ADULTS!” and it drops me out of the story. Also, frankly, I’m not often wowed by capital-R Romance writers’ actual writing style, and life is too short for bad books.

This month, my new thing was nonfic interior design & decor books. I felt dangerously inspired. In other news, the layout of my lounge has changed for the better, and I’m starting to actually make this rental feel like home.

I also tried an eBook, kind of. “8 Hour Sleep Affirmations” starts with a guided visualisation that helps you relax your muscles enough to fall asleep, and then uses soft, calming music to help you drift off. Half way through, the narrator’s voice slowly ramps up again to utter positive affirmations, before subsiding into music. It’s ridiculously relaxing, and seems to be working to improve my mood, so I’ve introduced it as a nightly ritual. My spouse is very open minded, and he has come to quite enjoy the soothing sounds.

Under My Hat by Jonathon Strahan
World of Warcraft: Chronicle Vol. 2 by Chris Metzen and Matt Burns
I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale
The Best Man to Die by Ruth Rendell
A Guilty Thing Surprised by Ruth Rendell
A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie
8 Hour Sleep Affirmations: Anxiety & Depression Self Help by Joel Thielke
Goldenhand by Garth Nix
The Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes
Collected Poems by Adrienne Rich
No More Dying Then by Ruth Rendell
The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney
The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney
The Kinfolk Home by Nathan Williams
The Great Interior Design Challenge Sourcebook by Tom Dyckhoff
The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons
Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
Dangerously Bad by Eden Bradley

18 in total. Thanks to Amanda for the Fleur Beale rec – it’s very good!

Reading List 2018 – April

I struggled a lot with low mood this month, and so I went looking for comfort reads (Diana Wynne Jones – one of my fave childhood authors – and Agatha Christie), and dug into some depression-focused non-fic. Also had a chance to pick up another of the new Mahy reprints, which made me very pleased!

I also want to take a minute to talk about Grace Bridges’ teen novel Rotovegas, the first in her “Earthcore” series. A young female protagonist discovers the geothermal waters of Rotorua imbue her with supernatural powers, so she seeks out and teams up with other enhanced people to battle against a land developer who wants to destroy the source of the spring waters. Solid plot, diverse characters, and a deft hand with Māori mythology makes this book great for youth aged about 12-16 who have an interest in magical realism. Also, it’s SUPER cheap on Kindle so maybe go give it a try?

Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones
Spells for Coming Out by Ian Wedde
Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim
Rotovegas: Earthcore Book One by Grace Bridges
Just This Once by Rosalind James
Drowned Ammet by Diana Wynne Jones
World of Warcraft: Chronicle Vol. 1 by Chris Metzen and Matt Burns
The Spellcoats by Diana Wynn Jones
Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts by Sally M. Winston
Exploring Depression And Beating the Blues by Tony Attwood
We’re All Mad Here by Claire Eastham
The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones
The Catalogue of the Universe by Margaret Mahy
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
From Doon With Death by Ruth Rendell
A New Lease of Death by Ruth Rendell
Lamp of the Goddess by Rae Beth
Wolf to the Slaughter by Ruth Rendell
The Murder Bag by Tony Parsons
The Fallen by David Baldacci
The Depression Cure by Stephen S. Ilardi

23 in total.

P.S. You can read an Earthcore short story by Grace Bridges at her website.

Reading List 2018 – March

March was a pretty productive month, in terms of finishing my TBR list. I wrapped up the last of the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series by Sue Grafton, finally had a chance to get to the latest Reacher novel, and picked up a couple of books I’ve been waiting a long time for: Catherynne Valente’s first Fairyland novel, which I’ve been wanting to read since Palimpsest came out in 2009, as well as Tammy Pierce’s latest Tortall book.

I also read the debut novel from Krysten Ritter (a.k.a. Jessica Jones!), and enjoyed it. Certainly, for a debut, it’s very polished. My only real criticism would be that the plot points are nothing very new – I dunno how many “protag returns to hometown and has to deal with unfinished business” thrillers exist, but I bet it’s a lot. But the familiarity made for easy reading, and I can see Ritter’s potential. She’s a solid writer.

The Fix by David Baldacci
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton
Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton
Moon Journal by Sandy Sitron
X by Sue Grafton
You Know How the Story Goes by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton
The Midnight Line by Lee Child
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
The Book of Tarot by Danielle Noel
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland for a Little While by Catherynne M. Valente
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
The White Goddess by Robert Graves
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
Mythos by Stephen Fry

24 in total.

Final note: R.I.P. Sue Grafton, who died on 28 December 2017 before finishing her alphabet. Z is for Zero new Kinsey stories. 🙁

Reading List 2018 – February

A short month, with a short reading list. I’ve been having daily headaches, thanks to a recurrence of my IIH (whiny post about that to come!) so my ability to read has been somewhat limited. Especially because unconsciousness seems to be the only way to relieve the pain. Ah, bless. Anyway!

There are a few books I need to give the double thumbs up to this month. The first is The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch. More post-apocalypse sci-fi (I don’t know how I end up reading so many of these sorts of books), this is an ecofeminist’s nerdy dream of a novel. I loved it. It was poetic and deep and moving and brutal. I think it would be an amazing movie. One day!

The second book I recommend is Bird Box by Josh Malerman. This one is post-apocalypse horror (ha!) and just the premise is SO CREEPY – a world where you can’t open your eyes because seeing the monster will kill you. Like, god. I didn’t know whether to sleep with the lights on, or a blindfold.

The third is a YA romance, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, that made me feel things. Nice things. For what it’s worth, my depression has been kicking my ass, so feeling nice things is amazing and wonderful. Also, this book is the best bits of being a teen in love juxtaposed with the worst bits of being a person dealing with other people. Plus, fat redhead weirdo poor girl falls in love with a skinny punk Korean rich boy in the ’80s? I’m here for it.

Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
Burials by Mary Anna Evans
Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Woman Most Wild by Danielle Dulsky
Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole
American Witches by Susan Fair
For Real by Alexis Hall
Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart
The Last Mile by David Baldacci
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
P is for Peril by Sue Grafton

18 in total. Thanks to Rebecca T. for the Fever series rec.

Reading List 2018 – January

In 2017, I finished 234 books. Let’s see if we can top that.

I got addicted to Sue Grafton, I admit it. Her Kinsey Millhone alphabet series is really enthralling; a female PI investigating all sorts of mysterious and murderous cases in ’80s South California. The writing style is easy, the characters are recognisably individual, and the plots for the most part flow fast and smooth. They make for a great read.

I also decided to dip my toes into the genre of romance. Primarily written by women for women, it’s a genre that’s often dismissed for reasons that are decidedly unfeminist, so I thought I’d seek some recommendations and give them a go. Certainly, I’ve enjoyed non-genre-specific romantic stuff in the past, as well as things like Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series, the classics by Austen and the Brontes, some YA stuff, and a couple of Anita Shreve novels. So I picked up Kresley Cole’s first book in her “Warlord” series, but it’s not my cup of tea… True to form, I enjoyed her Young Adult post-apocalypse/fantasy novel Poison Princess far more.

Aside from that, I’ve been picking up some tarot gems on Overdrive, especially the Jodorowsky which has made me long for a Tarot de Marseille deck, and then it’s my usual mix of whatever takes my fancy. I would like to especially recommend the sci-fi Hammerfall by C.J. Cherryh as it’s really diverse and colourful and dark.

So far this year, I’ve finished:

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole
Hammerfall by C.J. Cherryh
The River King by Alice Hoffman
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton
C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Eyes of the Tarot by Bruce Coville
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson
The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks
D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton
E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton
F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton
H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton
Who Are You in the Tarot? by Mary Greer
I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
J is for Judgement by Sue Grafton
K is for Killer by Sue Grafton
L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton
M is for Malice by Sue Grafton
N is for Noose by Sue Grafton
O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
Blood Red Roses by Lin Anderson
Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
Driftnet by Lin Anderson
Torch by Lin Anderson
Deadly Code by Lin Anderson
Dark Flight by Lin Anderson
The Special Dead by Lin Anderson
The Way of Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky

33 in total. Thanks to Jinny for the Kresley Cole rec.