November 2013 Books
1. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers, finished 11/1/13 Dark revisionist history of late 1400s Brittany in which a convent trains the progeny of Death (a god of some kind?) to be assassins. Our heroine has some special gifts that take her to the court of Anne of Brittany… and straight into the arms of a hot romance. Ha cha cha.
2. Mothership, by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal, finished 11/3/13 This one could have gone either way– in the future, a group of pregnant teenage girls are sent to live on a spaceship orbiting earth. Get it…. MOTHERship? The pun is so great, you have to try the book; but you know it’s a risk. The good news is that the risk pays off, and the whole book is as delightfully funny as the title. In discussion with my male cousin about this book, we agreed it’s a crying shame that the sequel is not called Fatherland.
3. My Booky Wook, by Russell Brand, finished 11/5/13 A legitimately good memoir. My friend J says that it sounds like an erudite English gentleman is politely commenting on the rascally antics of his raunchy alter-ego, and that’s about right. Brand writes frankly but also humorously about addiction, and he gives all the gory details of his debaucherous early life. Surprisingly great.
4. Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal, finished 11/7/13 More of the witty prose of My Booky Wook, but with a coda about Katy Perry that will make you feel unreasonably sad that the pair of them didn’t end up working.
5. Fierce Reads, by various authors, finished 11/8/13 A collection of short stories written by YA authors signed under the Fierce Reads imprint of Macmillan Publishing. You can download it for free from your favorite ebook retailer! I picked it up for the sake of the prequel to Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles (such a good series, y’all!), but it also turned me on to the fantastic Leigh Bardugo with her short story, “The Witch of Duva.” In fact, I picked up the first book in her Grisha Trilogy after reading it. It’s a free download, so you really can’t lose.
6 . Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo, finished 11/11/13 Seriously good start to an epic magical trilogy taking place in some kind of alternate universe Russia where some men and women known as Grisha can command the elements. Raised in an orphanage, Alina shows some early signs of Grisha ability, but she stomps down on her powers when they threaten to separate her from her best friend Mal. When they both serve in the army, her powers come to the forefront again when she catches the notice of the sinister Darkling. Alina is swept into the glittering world of the Grisha– and away from Mal. Great world-building and page-turning writing.
7. The Willoughbys, by Lois Lowry, finished 11/11/13 Lois Lowry just writes a little of everything, doesn’t she? Here she writes a gentle parody of all the literary tropes found in “old-fashioned” children’s literature: incorrigible children, the dotty nanny, the baby left on the doorstep, the reclusive wealthy man, and so forth. Quick and fun, but possibly more amusing for the adults reading it to their kids than to the actual kids. Hard to say since I am no longer a kid and have limited access to kids.
8. Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu, finished 11/12/13 Lovely re-telling of the Snow Queen that also ruminates on the struggles of transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Hazel and Jack are BFFs…. until Jack just shuts down on Hazel. Maybe there’s an ice chip in his heart and he’s been taken by the Snow Queen, but maybe they’re just growing up. Regardless, Hazel is bravely facing the magical snowy woods to save her friend. Some really wonderful lines about reading and childhood and life. Beautiful illustrations too.
9. Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo, finished 11/13/13 Sequel to Shadow and Bone. Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling and his scary new abilities, all while Alina is still learning to control her newly discovered powers. A good example of a sequel that manages to move along the story without getting stuck in the boring middle ground.
10. Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh, finished 11/14/13 Allegedly, this collection of Allie Brosh’s greatest hits from her identically titled blog also features some new content, butI didn’t notice it. I’ve read several of her essays/comics more than once, and they still make me laugh out loud. And did you listen to her interview with Terry Gross in which Terry Gross boldly asked about her suicide plan? Damn, Terry. I’m a crisis counselor in my real life, and I don’t even ask that question so casually.
11. The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield, finished 11/18/13 A gothic style mystery for all the book lovers out there. Reclusive beloved writer Vida Winter contacts quiet Margaret Lea to write her true biography– significant because she’s given so many false stories to reporters over the years. While it is a twisty mystery story, it’s also a love letter to books and the power of stories. I highlighted many sections in this one.
12. Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel, finished 11/27/13 First entry in the Matt Cruse books. Another alternate universe story with a steampunk vibe in which we use Zeppelins for air travel. Matt loves to fly, and he’s embarking on an unforgettable journey on his home, the Aurora. Also on board- spunky, burgeoning scientist Kate. In a YA landscape packed with doomed romance and supernatural whatevers, it’s a refreshing story with high adventure and scientific discovery.
Total Books Read to date in 2013: 133
Last month’s list: October