Thursday, October 29, 2015

What I've Been Reading: October 2015

I have to admit, folks, that although I read six books this month, it feels like I really could have, should have read more. I've been watching a lot of baseball in the evenings this playoff season (Let's Go, Mets!) and learning to knit socks (nearly done with the first pair!), so that's at least 2-3 books worth of time doing other things. But let me share what I did read!

You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost), by Felicia Day. This memoir by thirty-something self-professed geek, entrepreneur, actor, writer and director Day was amazing in so many ways. From her unusual upbringing (homeschooled before homeschooling was a thing) to her trailblazing career (if it doesn't exist, bulldoze what does exist and build from there), Day embraces her awkwardness and makes it deeply endearing. Readers who are unfamiliar with Day's work should go and check out her series, The Guild, available on Netflix and YouTube--if videogames and awkward social situations aren't your thing, you may also know her as Charlie Bradbury from the hit TV series Supernatural. And if geekery isn't your thing? Well, you're missing out.

The Knitting Circle, by Ann Hood. When Mary Baxter loses her only child, her mother gets her to join a knitting circle, knowing Mary will need something occupy her mind and her hands, to fill her empty hours. As she learns more about knitting, Mary also learns about the stories each of her fellow knitters has to share, the wisdom they can impart. Eventually, it will be Mary's turn to tell her story, and to pass on all she's learned to another new member. It's a lovely novel about friendship, both sad and heartwarming. Perfect if you need something to curl up with on a chilly, rainy weekend.

Devoted in Death, by J.D. Robb. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is on the case when a new killer is on the loose in her city, but what looks like a single person's deadly work may be that of a team, with a long, bloody wake trailing behind them. She and her team at the NYPSD must work quickly if they can save the most recent abductees before they meet their end. Robb (Nora Roberts) always delivers a quick, easy read, and for that, I thank her.

The Girl with all the Gifts, by M.R. Carey. I loved this one so much, I couldn't keep it to myself. It's not to late to pick up a copy, so you can spend your Halloween with the cleverest of zombies for company.

The Courtesan, by Alexandra Curry. China, 1881. Young Jinhua is orphaned and sold to a madame in a brothel by her stepmother. Here she makes a friend in an older servant girl, wise beyond her years, who will be her best and only friend in the difficult years to come. When she is bought, years later, by an emissary of the emperor, Jinhua travels with him to Vienna, where she learns that she has a talent for languages, and where she meets the one true love of her life for a single afternoon. She returns to Peking, disgraced and alone, only to find herself caught up in the Boxer Rebellion as a foreign collaborator. A story of friendships, of women, of East meets West. Enlightening, if not uplifting.

Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter. In this stand-alone from Slaughter, two sisters have been silent in the twenty years following the disappearance of their third, eldest sister. They have grown into very different people--Claire is the trophy wife of a multi-millionaire, Lydia is a single mom struggling to make ends meet and dating an ex-con. But when Claire's husband is brutally murdered, the sisters grudgingly reconnect, forced to confront the question--is this act of violence connected somehow to their sister's disappearance all those years ago? Absolutely riveting--I couldn't put it down.

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