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bookish posts monthly book list

April 2022 Reading

We have moved! It’s been really nice settling into our new house and working on the garden, etc, but I didn’t do as much reading this month. Anyway, here’s what I did finish! A lot of Agatha Christie, because my brain flat out refused to take in more complicated stories for a while.

Dumb Witness by Agatha Christie, read by Hugh Fraser
Novel
4/1/2022, eaudio, reread

Third Girl by Agatha Christie, read by Hugh Fraser
Novel
4/3, eaudio, reread

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott, read by Natalie Naudus
Novel
4/10, eaudio, first read

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie, read by Hugh Fraser
Novel
4/13, eaudio, reread

Jade City by Fonda Lee, read by Andrew Kishino
Novel
4/17, eaudio, reread

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C Bunce, read by Bethan Rose Young
Novel
4/18, eaudio, first read

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells, read by Kevin R. Free
Novella
4/19, eaudio, reread

Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie, read by David Suchet
Novel
4/21, eaudio, reread

Lorraine Hansberry: The Life Behind A Raisin in the Sun by Charles J Shields
Biography
4/24, print, first read

The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay
Novel
4/25, print, first read

The Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood
Novel
4/26, print, first read

Thorn by Intisar Khanani, read by Shiromi Arserio
Novel
4/27, eaudio, first read

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie, read by David Suchet
Novel
4/28, eaudio, reread

Merci Suarez Can’t Dance by Meg Medina
Novel
4/30, print, first read

April round up

  • Books finished: 14 
  • Favorites: The Thousand Eyes, Merci Suarez Can’t Dance
  • Format: 4 print, 10 eaudio / 1 biography, 1 novella, 2 novel
  • Reading: 7 rereads, 7 first reads
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bookish posts monthly book list

February 2022 Reading

February was a busy, intense month around here, but it had some very wonderful moments and I got a fair amount of reading done! I didn’t quite get two reviews up, but given that we went on a big trip to see my mom and brother and spent most of the month looking at houses, I’m giving myself a pass on that one.

Sabriel by Garth Nix
Novel, HarperCollins, 1995
Read 2/2/2022, print, reread

Sabrielllll. I hadn’t reread this one in a very long time and I really enjoyed revisiting this story.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Novel, Tor, 2019
Read 2/4/2022, eaudio, reread

I loved this book when it came out and liked this even better as a audiobook; woof, it’s an intense story but so good!

A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske
Novel, Tor.com, 2021
Read 2/4/2022, print, first read

This was a very enjoyable story, although I have to say that I thought we’d have a few more answers about the central mystery by the end of the book.

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
Novel, Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2020
Read 2/4/2022, print, first read

my post here

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Novella, Tor.com, 2017
Read 2/6/2022, eaudio, reread

Murderbot, Murderbot, it’s gonna murder your freaking butt. (Our household’s Murderbot song.) It was fun to revisit the first book and see how far everyone has come later in the series.

All the Feels by Olivia Dade 
Novel, Avon, 2021
Read 2/11/2022, print, first read

I had very mixed feelings on this story. I liked the point of view experience of adhd, which felt very natural and organic. But I felt an emotional distance from the main characters, and the solutions felt simplistic.

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho, read by Catherine Ho
Novel, Macmillan, 2021
Read 2/11/2022, eaudio, first read

Ooh, I love Zen Cho and I loved this book! I was genuinely not sure what was going to happen throughout the story and the resolution worked very well for me! Also, I loved Ho’s narration, which really brought the story to life. 

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Novel, Tor, 2021
Read 2/16/2022, eaudio, first read

Great follow up to the first book, taking a turn into very effective body horror. There’s some compelling ongoing tension between the main characters that works well within this world. Also, I love 8 Antidote! 

The Wizard Hunters by Martha Wells
Novel, HarperVoyager, 2004
Read 2/18/2022, print, reread 

I love Tremaine so much and I enjoy the Ile-Rien books a lot. I like revisiting them every few years and I always find them rewarding.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Novel, Del Rey, 2020
Read 2/19/2022, print, first read

A deliciously creepy story! I loved Moreno-Garcia’s take on the Gothic genre, set in 1950s Mexico.

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien, read by Andy Serkis
Novel
Read 2/26/2022, eaudio, reread

All in all, I found it pretty satisfying to reread this one! The audiobook was so-so; while I didn’t love all of the interpretations, there were some nice narrative choices too. 

February round up

  • Books finished: 11
  • Favorites: Sabriel, Every Body Looking, Black Water Sister, A Desolation Called Peace, Mexican Gothic
  • Format: 6 print; 5 eaudio / 1 novella; 10 novels
  • Reading: 6 first reads; 5 rereads
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bookish posts monthly book list

January 2022 reading

It is February! I know it seems a little weird to be excited about the month that’s basically 1) the dregs of winter and 2) the shortest month. But R and I are supposed to visit my mom & brother and it will be the first time I’ve seen either of them in two years!

Anyway, I’m trying to get back into the groove of both reading on a consistent, focused basis and writing about what I’ve read. These are both activities that were absolutely second nature to me at one point. But the last–good grief–six years have been one doozy after another, personal and not. I don’t want to be 2015 Maureen again, exactly, but I do want some of that energy.

So! Here’s my January round up.

Mid January TBR stack

Books I finished

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg
Novella, Tachyon Publications, 2020
Read:1/1/2022, print, first read

my post here

The Hermit of Eyton Forest by Ellis Peters read by Roe Kendall
Novel, Blackstone Audio, 2000
Read: 1/1/2022, eaudio, first read

As a mystery, this is one of the more complex Cadfael books, although the characters felt very much like a copy-paste of her usual types.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett read by Stephen Briggs
Novel, Harper Audio, 2004
Read: 1/4/2022, eaudio, reread

Tiffany is always a delight, but I forget how young she is in the first book!

The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones
Novel, Greenwillow Books, 1993
Read: 1/7/2022, print, reread

Whewwww, the age difference! But I like the time travel bits and the way the different pieces of the series come together. It’s satisfying but also has that lovely dream-sense that runs through all the Dalemark books.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Novel, Baen, 2001
Read: 1/11/2022, eaudio, reread

I love the way this story focuses on those who have been disregarded for some reason. But in this reread, I also struggled with the pervasive fat shaming and the treatment of infertility.

Lavinia by Ursula K LeGuin, read by Alyssa Bresnahan
Novel, Harcourt, 2008
Read 1/16/2022, eaudio, reread

As a note, I really loved the narration for this audiobook! It was a lovely interpretation of the text. Lavinia is one I hadn’t reread, I think since it first came out, but remembered liking. There were a few things I wasn’t wild about, but overall it rewarded another read. The interplay between everyday life and the numenous rituals gives texture to the world and the characters. There’s a fascinating look here at what is remembered and what is forgotten in history and stories.

Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North
Novel, Orbit, 2021
Read 1/22/2022, print, first read

my post here

House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier
Novel, Orbit, 2012
Read 1/26/2022, print, reread

I think I’ve reread this one since I bought it in 2012, but not for a while. It’s one of my favorite Neumeier books, with a lovely fairy tale quality to it. And–granted the genre typical attitude towards monarchy–I found the resolution satisfying and hopeful.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Novel, Bloomsbury, 2004
Read 1/26/2022, eaudio, reread

Ahhh, my beloved! I really noticed this time how Clarke makes the fairies in this world almost incomprehensible to the humans, and yet they have what feels like a very consistent internal logic. It makes me want more stories set in Fairy!

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Novel, Tor, 2021
Read 1/30/2022, print, first read

Oh, I loved it! A fascinating look at the historical period, and the tension between choice & fate, the determination of characters vs their expected paths!

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Novel, Tor, 2017
Read 1/30/2022, eaudio, first read

This is a lovely entry into the novel of manners genre, with exquisitely observed characters and an interesting look at the boundaries of choice. On a personal level, I didn’t find it particularly emotionally engaging, but did appreciate what it’s doing.

January round up
Books finished: 11
Favorites: The Four Profound Weaves, Lavinia, House of Shadows, Jonathan Strange, She Who Became the Sun
Format: 5 print; 6 eaudio / 1 novella; 10 novels
Reading: 5 first reads; 6 rereads

Categories
monthly book list

May 2021 Reading Review

Hello, friends! It’s been forever, but I’m currently on a break from grad school before my last two classes (!!) and guess what? It turns out that without a huge time/energy burden, I actually sometimes read books! Wild. 

Also, a brief housekeeping note: I’m planning to take a look at my archives and do some cleanup there. It’s been 15 years since I started By Singing Light (ahaha, wow) and a lot has changed personally & in the world since then. I may also refresh the site design a bit since I haven’t touched it for probably 10ish years. In any case, things may look different around in the next couple of months. 

So, on to the books! 

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson (adult science fiction, 2020) has a relatively simple premise: there are many worlds and each of them has a slightly different version of the same people. Some of those people can walk between worlds, thanks to a technological innovation developed by a visionary scientist. But Johnson doesn’t stop there. The inequalities that riddle the world are part of what make this process possible, as the people who walk between worlds are the ones whose counterparts have died, usually young and violently. The system chews people up and spits them out, and the main character of the book exists uneasily betwixt and between the literal and metaphorical worlds. 

The Space Between Worlds is Johnson’s first published novel, and it’s a very solid debut. While I have some slight quibbles (the imagery is sometimes a little on the nose, and the ending seemed rushed), the meat of the story is complex and thoughtful. It’s possible to draw some analogies to current day people and concerns, but the world of the story feels fully realized on its own. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what comes next. 

The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson (adult/teen memoir, 2020) popped up on my radar because I’ve been a fan of Stevenson’s work since Nimona was a webcomic. It was interesting, and sometimes sad, to see how Stevenson experienced that moment in her own life. The Fire Never Goes Out is a thoughtful exploration of identity, sexuality, and the pressures of fame at a young age. I’m glad to have read it. 

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (juvenile fantasy, 2017) is one that I read because it’s still relatively popular at my library and I wanted to be able to do some readers advisory for it. Cowell wrote and illustrated this one and the illustrations are really striking: jagged and dark, with an underlying eeriness. As an adult reader it wasn’t my favorite, but I can see the appeal. It’s also a relatively quick read, making it a good title to hand to reluctant readers or kids who aren’t quite ready for the denser fantasy books. 

Peaces (adult surreal fantasy, 2021) is Helen Oyeyemi’s latest book and it’s quite a wild ride (heheh). Full of Oyeyemi’s typical absolutely bonkers situations, this one follows Otto Shin, embarking on a magical train journey for a not-honeymoon honeymoon with his spouse, Xavier. Also, there’s a hereditary mongoose, and secrets, and the distinct possibility that Otto is constantly lying to everyone around him–including the reader. 

Do you ever read a book and just marvel at the brain that produced it? How, Helen Oyeyemi? What is it like inside your mind?? (Frances Hardinge is also in this category for me.) Personally, Peaces doesn’t rank amongst my favorite Oyeyemi titles (White is For Witching and Mr. Fox) but even a not-quite-favorite Oyeyemi is still very good indeed. 

For whatever reason, I sometimes love Aliette de Bodard’s work and sometimes bounce off of it really hard. Fortunately, Fireheart Tiger (adult fantasy, 2021) was in the love category for me, although it’s slight enough that I was left wanting more. The story unfolds in a really interesting way, weaving backwards and forward across the timeline. The shifting loyalties and relationships mean that the reader is trying to understand the full extent of what’s happening just as Thanh herself does. I also really loved the descriptions of the magic, wild and beautiful and dangerous all at once. 

Micah: The Good Girl by Ashley Woodfolk (YA realistic fiction, 2020) is one that I’m sure I put on hold on a whim after having read one of Woodfolk’s earlier books. I’m glad I did, as Woodfolk weaves together grief, friendship, and first love in a very thoughtful and effective story. Micah is nearing the one year anniversary of her brother’s death, and the way Woodfolk portrays her grief felt very understandable and real. It reminded me a bit of The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney, which I read last month, although that story has a mythic fantasy element to it. However, both deal with the aftermath of losing someone close to you, and what it means to come to terms with that. 

I didn’t realize that this is actually the second in a series, but I suspect they stand alone relatively well and now I’m interested in going back to read the others. 

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bookish posts monthly book list

April 2019 reading

Tender by Sofia Samatar [review]
A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland [review]
The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
A Life of My Own by Claire Tomalin [review]
Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks [review coming tomorrow]
The Hidden Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag
Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine [review coming Friday]
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke: listened to the audiobook again
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas [review coming Monday]
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon [review coming Monday]
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw [review coming Monday]
Attucks! by Phillip Hoose [review coming Monday]
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

Totals:

  • Books read: 14
  • rereads: 1 (Jonathan Strange)

Favorites:

  • Tender
  • A Conspiracy of Truths
  • A Memory Called Empire
  • On the Come Up
  • Attucks!
  • Maresi

Other posts:

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bookish posts monthly book list

March 2019 reading

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
Two Naomis by Audrey Vernick and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Always Coming Home by Ursula K Le Guin
Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard
The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Salt by Hannah Moskowitz
The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Total books read: 9

Favorite books:

  • The Raven Tower
  • Always Coming Home
  • Salt

I’ll be honest, February and March have been really disappointing reading months. I keep trying to tell myself that I was DNFing a ton of books and catching up on the books I didn’t get to last year. And that’s true. But it’s also just frustrating to have a run of less-than-satisfying reading experiences. Really, really hoping April goes a little better! (I’ve already finished two books and am close to finishing a third so….maybe?)

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bookish posts monthly book list

February 2019 reading

February was not my month in a lot of ways, including reading. But there were some big things I’ve been thinking about and planning for in my personal life and I think that took up a lot of time and energy. Here’s hoping March is a bit smoother!

 

 

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri {review}
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee {review}
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss {review}
Here to Stay by Sara Farizan {review}

Total books read: 5

Favorite books:

  • Dragon Pearl
  • Empire of Sand
  • Here to Stay
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bookish posts monthly book list

January 2019 reading

I did not read as much as I wanted to this month, but I read some really awesome books. A few of these I suspect will end up on my end-of-year favorites list! As I mentioned the other day, I’m trying out a new system for my active TBR, and I’m hoping it will result in getting more books either read or passed on.

The Winged Histories –  Sofia Samatar [review]
Sawkill Girls  – Claire Legrand [review]
The Prince & the Dressmaker – Jen Wang
Nate Expectations – Tim Federle
I, Claudia – Mary McCoy [review]
Frederica – Georgette Heyer
Begone the Raggedy Witches – Celine Kiernan [review]
Merci Suarez Changes Gears – Meg Medina
The Dinosaur Artist – Paige Williams
Sanity and Tallulah – Molly Brooks
A Spark of White Fire – Sangu Mandanna [review]
The Girl with the Dragon Heart – Stephanie Burgis

Total books read: 12

Total rereads: 2

Favorites:

  • The Winged Histories
  • I, Claudia
  • Begone the Raggedy Witches
  • Merci Suarez Changes Gears
  • Sanity & Tallulah
  • A Spark of White Fire
  • The Girl with the Dragon Heart

Other posts:

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bookish posts monthly book list

December 2018 reading

I was in the middle of a reading slump for most of December, so I really didn’t get as many books finished as I wanted. But I did go out with some pretty strong titles!

Also, some of you know that I had surgery last December–I finally wrote up everything that happened and shared it. If you’d like to learn more, that document is here.

Mistletoe and Murder Robin Stevens 12.27 175

Arabella Georgette Heyer 12.25 174

For a Muse of Fire Heidi Heilig 12.24 173

The Song of Achilles Madeleine Miller 12.22 172

Cousin Kate Georgette Heyer 12.18 171

The Word for World is Forest Ursula K Le Guin 12.18 170

Keeper of the Isis Light Monica Hughes 12.12 169

The House on Chicken Legs Sophie Anderson 12.11 168

When You Reach Me Rebecca Stead 12.7 167

Lumberjanes v. 7 12.6  164-166

Lumberjanes v. 8

Lumberjanes v. 9

 

Total books read: 12

Total rereads: 3 (When You Reach Me; Cousin Kate; Arabella)

Favorites:

  • For a Muse of Fire
  • The Song of Achilles
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bookish posts monthly book list reviews

November 2018 books

The Death of Mrs Westaway Ruth Ware 11.29

This was on the NPR Book Concierge and it sounded like the kind of mystery I’d like. It was! I’m always a sucker for the “assuming someone’s identity” trope, and Ware plays nicely with that here. I also liked Harriet a lot. It feels very old-fashioned on several levels, I think intentionally, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about that aspect.

Pride Ibi Zoboi 11.29  (review tomorrow)

Girl at the Grave Teri Bailey Black 11.25 [review]

Darius the Great is Not Okay Adib Khorram 11.17  [review]

The Language of Power Rosemary Kirstein 11.16  [review]

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road Sheba Karim 11.14  [review]

Making Friends Kristen Gudsnuk 11. 9  

The Witch Boy Molly Knox Ostertag 11.8 

The Proposal Jasmine Guillory 11.9  [review]

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster Deborah Hopkinson 11.7  [review]

 

Total books read: 10

Total rereads: 0

Favorites:

  • Darius the Great is Not Okay
  • Pride
  • Witch Boy

Weekly reading roundups:

I kind of stopped doing the weekly roundups towards the end of this month, but I could be persuaded to try them again if anyone is interested!