bookish posts reviews

2016: favorite adult books + reading notes posts

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman
Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi
Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus
White is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips

This was a good year for biographies: the three I’ve featured here were not just my favorite non-fiction reads but some of my favorite books of the year, full stop. (The Lady Byron and Tiptree bios in particular still have an incredible emotional power for me.) If you have favorite biographies, especially of women of color, please tell me–I’d like to continue this trend in 2017! In terms of the rest of my list, what can I say? SFF by women is clearly my thing. Bujold’s latest was surprising and beautiful. Roses and Rot is one of those books that felt like it was written for me. The Fifth Season is probably my favorite Jemisin to date. Ascension is a lovely, thought-provoking read, featuring a chronically ill, queer woman of color as the main character. It was hard to decide which Oyeyemi book to feature here, because I’ve loved both that I’ve read, but White is For Witching has a kaleidoscopic power that is really fascinating. All in all, I don’t think I read as much adult fiction this year as some other years, but what I did read was pretty outstanding.

The Reading Notes series that I do here are some of my favorite kinds of posts to write. (Although I totally fell down on the job with my Joan Aiken posts! Whoops!) I thought I’d highlight a few favorites from the past year here.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
A Coalition of Lions by Elizabeth Wein
The Sunbird by Elizabeth Wein


By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

7 replies on “2016: favorite adult books + reading notes posts”

I’m sure I’ve said this previously, but while I don’t read many bios, I loved Marion Meade’s “Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This.” Also, in queer women, Janet Malcolm wrote an excellent book about Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas called “Two Lives.” I really feel literary biography is Janet Malcolm’s metier. And did I mention Pamela Newkirk’s book “Spectacle,” about Ota Benga? Very sad but very good.

Some great lady bios/autobios/memoirs from past Bloomer reading:
Alone Atop the Hill: Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press (significantly edited by Carol McCabe Booker)
How to Be A Heroine (Samantha Ellis)
Sally Ride (Lynn Sherr)
Good Girls Revolt (Lynn Povich)
Double Victory (Cheryl Mullenbach)
Keeping Hope Alive (Hawa Abdi)

…and probably more! But those are some that have stuck with me.

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