Mabith's 2024 Reads

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Mabith's 2024 Reads

2mabith
Jan 1, 9:14 pm



After a three year break from LT due to a variety of factors (pandemic, sudden long-term cat death, father's death etc...) I'm back! Excited to see some familiar names and get back to having more variety on my reading (and to-read) lists.

The photo is my dad with my cousin and myself.

When I was feeling like I was ready to come back to LT he got a diagnosis of Alzheimer's and late stage multiple myeloma at basically the same time and then died six months later in September of 2022. My mom died in 2017, roughly a month after her cancer diagnosis, and being only 38 years old the mental adjustment to Orphan has been very challenging. My grief over my mom only seems to grow in scale each year with the sheer enormity of what was lost (for both of us).

My dad wasn't a great father or friend to his adult children (just didn't have the emotional maturity for it), but he was very fun when I was a kid and so many of my reading interests were informed by his interests (which he very successfully passed on to me). He was a librarian for all of my childhood, so being stuck in libraries for full work days growing up during the summer or school breaks also informed how much I enjoyed reading and libraries in general.

3mabith
Editado: Jan 1, 9:38 pm

2023 Favorite Reads:

Fiction:
1632 by Eric Flint
The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
10 Things That Never Happened by Alexis Hall
Babel by RF Kuang
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

Non-Fiction:
Kissinger's Shadow by Greg Grandin
Unmask Alice by Rick Emerson
Unruly by David Mitchell
The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to the Civil War by Joanne B. Freeman
Madame Restell by Jennifer Wright
State of Emergency by Dominic Sandbrook
Things Are Never So Bad That They Can't Get Worse by William Neuman
The Domestic Revolution by Ruth Goodman
Ambition and Desire by Kate Williams
Delicacy by Katy Wix
Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton
River of the Gods by Candice Millard
The Reason for the Darkness of the Night by John Tresch
Born to be Hanged by Keith Thomson

I did so much re-reading this year that it was certainly easier to pick favorites out of the new-to-me books!

4Eyejaybee
Jan 2, 12:01 pm

Welcome back, Meredith. I was sorry to read about your loss and the difficult time over the last few years. I hope that 2024 is a huge improvement, and that you have a great year of reading.

I am looking forward to catching a lot of book bullets from you and the rest of the Group.

5pamelad
Jan 2, 3:32 pm

It's good to have you back, Meredith. I'm so sorry to hear about the deaths of your parents. No matter how old you are, you're cut adrift. I hope things go well for you this year.

6mabith
Jan 2, 8:19 pm

Thank you both! It's been so nice to see so many familiar names still active on here (not really a surprise exactly, but you never know with online communities).

7mabith
Jan 2, 8:43 pm


State of Exile by Cristina Peri Rossi

A quite small read to get myself going for the year. Rossi was exiled from Uruguay in 1972 (after her work was banned), after which she moved to Spain. These poems were written during her journey and the first period of her exile. They are largely quite brief and mostly speak to the day to day feelings. I feel like it's less a collection to become a favorite and more stands as an interesting window to that specific experience and the disconnects it imposes.

I'd marked a couple to copy out, but I can't retrieve the book as now my cat is sleeping on my lap, and well, I am a sucker. Let's pretend it's just because she had a difficult time over the holidays when there were a lot of guests around a few times so I have to make it up to her.

Cat placeholder for eventual poem:

8mabith
Jan 4, 9:28 am

Adding the Cristina Peri Rossi here

Proximities

I don't need to go very far
to dream
A train to the suburbs is enough for me
Some rusted tracks that run
along the seashore
and I feel I'm already in another world
My ignorance of the nomenclature
allows me to baptize with other names
My foreignness
--I am the foreigner, the passing strange--
is the universal citizenship of dream.

Cercanias

No necesito ir muy lejos
para soñar
Un tren de cercanias me basta
Unas vias herrumbrosas que corren
al borde del mar
y ya me siento en otro mundo
Mi ignorancia de le nomenclatura
me permite bautizar con otros nombres
Mi ajenidad
--soy la extranjera, la de paso--
es la ciudadania universal de los sueños.

What a way to learn I still remember the alt code for an N with a tilde! Thank you high school Meredith for memorizing so many of those.

9mabith
Jan 8, 12:05 pm


The Club: Johnson, Boswell, and the Friends Who Shaped an Age by Leo Damrosch

This book suffers a bit from containing very interesting information but scattered across a range of people who spent most of their lives apart. Damrosch gives potted biographies of each but the length of time he's covering and the variety of figures makes the book feel disconnected in a way I wasn't prepared for.

In the end, some of the most interesting sections were about the women in and around this group (the most well known of whom is Fanny Burney). Approached as a collection of interlinked essays, I think it would be a more satisfying read. I didn't dislike it, it's a great start to approaching any of the figures it covers, or this period of history, but it is limited. Damrosch is not as skilled at building the full picture as, say, Candice Millard or Caroline Alexander.

After reading this I've also cursed myself by looking up Damrosch and discovering a much earlier book that I'm desperate to read but cannot find at an affordable price, The Sorrows of the Quaker Jesus: James Nayler and the Puritan Crackdown on the Free Spirit. Most of my high school years I attended a very small Quaker boarding school, and I bet this was in the library when I was there (or in the library at the meeting house). So tempted to call and ask about it.

10mabith
Jan 8, 12:16 pm


Saving Sunshine by Saadia Faruqi

This is a middle-grade aimed graphic novel about a set of twins (a brother and sister) on vacation with their family. They've been bickering so badly that their phones are confiscated and they're forced to amuse themselves together at the beach.

I found this through the illustrator (Shazleen Khan), who writes and draws a webcomic I really like. A friend of mine has a sort of mini-book club with her daughter, and as the friend's birthday is coming up I snapped this up for her. Of course, what kind of person would I be if I didn't read it before mailing it off.

Needless to say, I really liked the art. The story is largely focused on the siblings attempts to understand each other but brings up wider issues as well (the sister has started to wear a hijab and the brother has trouble sticking up for her when kids make ignorant comments). It's well balanced, and feels like the right length for the story, which has become quite a problem after publishers realized graphic novels were popular but felt every title should be 100 pages long. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone looking for middle-grade graphic novels.

11wookiebender
Jan 15, 12:47 am

I'm sorry to hear about your parents' deaths. I'm back after a long LT break that also encompassed the death of both my parents (Mum after a long running battle with cancer in 2021 during the second long Sydney lockdown from COVID; Dad from a shorter battle with cancer in 2022; it took my sister and I some 9 months to clear out their house as well because they'd lived there for 45 years and had all sorts of beautiful things that we both wanted to sort through, as well as the mandatory odd drawer full of rusted jar lids, etc). Some days the grief still hits me out of the blue, and I go and hug Dad's cat Pippi who is living with us now and bringing us much joy. I'm glad you have a cat to help you through the difficult days.

12mabith
Jan 24, 8:41 pm

I'm so sorry you're on this train as well, Tania, and with such a small gap between the deaths. Cancer is an absolute bastard. I'm sure the cats especially give themselves a lot of credit for comforting us.

13wookiebender
Jan 24, 9:57 pm

The cats deserve all credit, tbh. 🐈 ❤

14mabith
Jan 25, 11:16 pm


The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

Wyld is a writer I particularly like, but I put this title off for a few years. It's her third novel since 2009 (she's very much not a full time writer), and her second (All the Birds, Singing) was so impressive, so innovative in form, so soul-shattering, that I couldn't stand to pick up The Bass Rock. This one does not quite reach those previous heights, but it was still incredibly immersive.

The book opens with a little girl finding a dead body in a suitcase on a local beach and cycles us through three time periods and groups, largely in Scotland. We go from the target of a literal witch hunt, to a woman embarking on a new marriage as the second wife and adapting to a new community after WWII, to one whose life is falling apart in the wake of her father's death. There are ghosts, secrets, and strangeness galore, along with so much grief in varying forms. Everyone is struggling and haunted and facing personal demons, and the atmosphere is delivered extremely effectively.

Since I knew I'd read this book no matter what, I didn't actually read the publisher's summary at any point. I can only thank myself for this grace, as I don't think it represents the book all that well (makes it sound more 'book clubby' than it is, in the negative sense, and speaking as someone in book clubs). On the other hand, I probably could have used the heads up for parent deaths in the book. Six of one, half dozen of the other I guess.

Wyld is one of those novelists particularly skilled is creating living characters, and I'll continue to seek out her work. This year I might try to carve time and energy for a re-read of All the Birds, Singing.

15mabith
Jan 25, 11:31 pm


You Use a Gun, and I Use a Bow by Hu Sheng You Meng RE-READ

Re-read of a Chinese webnovel. I started casually learning Chinese some years ago, which led to watching a lot of Chinese TV and then reading heaps of webnovels (sometimes the basis for those shows). Even though I'm reading translations there are always a lot of interesting notes of word usage and idioms and cultural points.

This is one of the pro-gaming focused novels, and just a pure comfort reread after I had to heal myself from Wyld's too-real characters. This one is a particularly amusing queer romance. Given that most of these writers are doing this as a side gig, I'm often pleasantly surprised by the quality of the work and the different culture around webnovels, where authors frequently say things like 'hey don't worry about X happening because it won't.' It's also fascinating that SO many Chinese dramas are based on webnovels, and they're often adapted extremely well.

16mabith
Jan 26, 11:07 pm


Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution that Made China Modern by Jing Tsu

This is about the various hurdles that written Chinese faced over the late 19th through the late 20th centuries, with how to use it for telegraphs, how to develop a typewriter for it, how to standardize a phonetic form, how to develop computer fonts and allow input, etc... For those who don't know, when you're typing Chinese on a computer or smartphone you use the phonetic form which brings up a list of characters with that syllable (or with phones especially there are usually handwriting inputs as well).

This was interesting, particularly the section on typewriters, I don't know how on earth anyone felt confident about developing that. A lot of the book is also just about the place that the written language has in the culture and the push back against the idea that it had to be scrapped in order to become a modern country. It's an absolutely ludicrous idea that you could change the written form given the number of homophones (and I don't even mean the same syllable with different tones, though there are loads, I mean same syllable AND same tone). Even the simplification of common characters experienced a lot of outrage, due to changing the radical in a character.

Probably only a more interesting read if you're already into the language and somewhat familiar with it (which I am).

17mabith
Jan 27, 12:34 am


Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

It's always a bit strange finally reading a book that you've known the title and author association for so long without knowing anything about the plot. This was picked for my book club, otherwise I probably wouldn't have gotten around to reading it.

I can see why the novel became such a touch point of 20th century novels, the atmosphere is very strong and quite compelling. However, I felt the narrator was too contradictory. She is obsessed with her new husband's first wife, who she knows tragically drowned. She is constantly in her own head about what the first wife was like, the fact everyone seemed to love her, her own place in her new husband's thoughts, and of course the oppressive house where every corner was touched by the woman who came before her. Only then, despite the obsessive thoughts and low self-esteem and insecurity, she'll be talking to people about swimming at the beach where the other woman drowned and not understand why the atmosphere shifted for minutes at a time. I don't think du Maurier remotely understood how that kind of anxiety manifested.

Where the plot went also felt fairly predictable, but the contradictions in our narrator (and the husband to a lesser extent) is what constantly got in the way for me. I could see so many ways to accomplish what du Maurier seemed to want with her in other less contradictory ways. The husband had quite a few of those moments as well, but they are less prominent because he is largely less prominent.

18pamelad
Jan 27, 3:52 pm

>17 mabith: Daphne du Maurier writes a good gothic romance, but they're not great literature. They follow a formula. The heroine of this one is typical: weak, worried and alone in the world. You don't expect insight and intelligence from a gothic heroine (unless she's Jane Eyre). Maximillian de Winter is also typical: silent, brooding and mysterious. It's all about the melodrama! The Hitchcock film is worth watching too.

I just finished Dragonwyck, another good gothic which I really liked despite its many flaws. Dragonwyck and Rebecca were written in the thirties and forties, when being dependent and not very bright weren't necessarily bad qualities in a romantic heroine.

I'm currently plodding through du Maurier's The King's General, which is a bit too worthy and serious.

19mabith
Jan 29, 11:14 pm

Pamela, I'd say gothic novels generally won't be my thing, though I'll get to Jane Eyre eventually probably.

Typically for me, I suppose, I've read two of Anya Seton's books and loved them, but they're both her biographical novels rather than her gothic novels.

20mabith
Jan 29, 11:40 pm


White Teeth by Zadie Smith

I've been meaning to read this for over a decade and finally got to it. Despite the years of hype for this novel and Smith in general, it exceeded my expectations. I'm blown away that this was her debut novel. I imagine it must have been difficult to have to come out SO strong when it came to the immediate followup. The writing was just fantastic. and enjoyable the whole way through.

Other than knowing that race would be a theme of the novel, I didn't remind myself of the specific premise of the book, and as usual I feel like going in ignorant of specifics works in my favor. The loosest summary of this one is simply the dynamics of two close family groups in the second half of the 20th century (well two and half families really). If it's on your list to read already, don't keep putting it off.

21mabith
Fev 12, 9:56 pm


Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 by Dominic Sandbrook

Last year I read the book before this one, covering 1970-74 and really enjoyed the deep dive into a short period. Sandbrook is very good at tying in the threads of popular culture and events with the political situation. He also seems reasonably good at being fair to the public figures involved, or at least looking well past common knowledge/assumptions and pointing out where they're inaccurate. I don't always agree with his conclusions but that hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the books.

They are quite long (in paperback this is 840 pages), and this one felt like a particularly hard slog. I found so many of the key figures incredibly stressful, partly I'm sure because this period is so responsible for building much of our current world and the events of my childhood. It's hard to look at it in isolation and 'watch' the politicians make the stupidest, most short-sighted decisions. He does try bring the humor where he can, but it's a dark period.

Of course, part of me still wants to immediately read the next in the series so take from that what you will (keeping in mind that history of almost any sort is my favorite reading subject, so your mileage might vary).

22mabith
Fev 12, 10:00 pm

In the last few weeks I've also reread seven or eight of my Chinese webnovels, but none of them really need posting about in isolation.

For months I've had various disability benefits review appointments going on and the stress has made me reach for all the rereads. Everything *should* be fine, certainly nothing in my health situation has changed, but when your ability to live a semi-independent life is on the line it's hard to be calm about it (especially after losing both my parents).

23mabith
Fev 12, 10:09 pm


Angelica by Sharon Shinn REREAD

A night-time audio reread for lying awake in bed but knowing the 'rest' is needed... This was the last book Shinn did in her Samaria setting, a far future world where the population was whisked away from their home planet after devastating war and started over with minimal technology and protections in place from their god to keep the peace. But all is not what it seems.

I enjoyed the Samaria trilogy (starts with Archangel), it has an interesting arc and she generally writes compelling characters. After those three books, she did two stand-alone works in the world, of which this is the weakest one. The pacing and personal development just seem a bit off. It feels like maybe she just needed a guaranteed payment and the publisher was more open to another set in this world vs a new series. The two main characters are also just less interesting and compelling than her leads usually are.

24mabith
Fev 12, 10:35 pm


Don't Call it a Cult by Sarah Berman

This is a about the group NXIVM, led by Keith Raniere who was found guilty of various charges in 2019. There's a two season documentary series mostly focusing on one aspect of it called The Vow.

It's really hard to understand how so many people just missed all the red flags about this group and its teachings, particularly all these young women. There was a lot along the lines of 'if you feel upset by something that's probably your own fault so you need to examine your own behavior.' Even as a seven year old child my older sister saying she couldn't *make* me feel bad, she couldn't *make* me feel any particular emotion, *I* was in control of that, smacked of bullshit.

The book went into the fuller story whereas the documentary is heavily focused on a supposed women's empowerment group Raniere had set up which involved a lot of sexual coercion and being branded with his initials among other things. It was an interesting, if disturbing and confusing read. I know we'd all like easy answers to our problems, but I'm constantly surprised how many people fall into believing those actually exist and are held by one random guy.

25mabith
Fev 12, 10:58 pm


Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp

I'm a big fan of Sharp's Rescuers books (which the Disney movies were inspired by, one can't really say based on). They're smart, very funny, and a great time, so I've been meaning to read a few of her more adult works. The Rescuers at least was actually not exactly written for children either, which is fairly clear as you're reading it though I think she tailored them more for kids after that.

Cluny Brown is a young woman who doesn't know her place, so people keep telling her. She does shocking things like use her own money to take herself to tea at the Ritz (quite abover her station) and speaks plainly to people around her. Her uncle decides the solution is to send her into service and she becomes a parlor maid. We bump merrily along with her, her employers, their son, a Polish house guest, and the local pharmacist. Unusually for a book of this vintage (originally published in 1944), you never feel quite sure of what's going to happen, which was an enjoyable aspect. The ending somehow felt neither utterly predictable or particularly unusual, but did feel right. Though I think Sharp could have made any of the possible outcomes feel right.

While it's not an absolutely fantastic read I'll be pushing at everyone I encounter, it was a fun little snapshot of the era and I really enjoyed Cluny as a character. I'm certainly still thinking about it and how it might have fit into contemporary novels of the time. I don't know enough about this kind of 1940s novel and I wish I did to have more context for it (most of my reading from the 30s-40s are mystery novels or children's novels).

26mabith
Fev 12, 11:14 pm


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 6: Who Run the World? Squirrels by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

I'm not a big mainstream comics reader, but Squirrel Girl is such a fun series. It's such a silly character that all of the nonsense that accompanies Marvel anything doesn't feel jarring in the way it does with other characters. I'm still happiest with the more alternative side of comics (or with old Carl Barks and Walt Kelly) but these always make for a nice break.

27Eyejaybee
Fev 13, 1:52 am

>21 mabith: I enjoyed this book, too, (as I have all of Dominic Sandbrook’s history times) although I agree that it was perhaps overlong. I remember 1974, when the book opens, quite well as it marked my last terms in primary school and the move to secondary school. I turned eleven in the April of that year, so the two general elections for 1974 are the first that I can remember.

I was also struck by the opening in which he describes Crichton School in Muswell Hill. Back in the 1970s, with the wife of Labour Politician Roy Hattersley as head teacher, it had a bad reputation, and was frequently placed in the Draconian sounding ‘special measures’. Since then it has evolved into Fortismere School, now one of the best performing schools in the borough. I know about it because it is situated literally across the road from my house!

Dominic Sandbrook delivers a very entertaining podcast called ‘The Rest is History’.

28mabith
Fev 16, 12:28 pm

Certainly a chaotic general election to be the first that made an impression! The school sections really did my head in, partly as that non-school is the best school attitude largely came later in the US. 1974-75 in my county brought a textbook war over inclusions of multiculturalism and egalitarianism where numerous schools were bombed and school buses were attacked with shotguns to intimidate parents who continued to send kids to school (whose homes were also attacked at times). Slightly different issues...

I do love The Rest is History, though I lost a lot of reading hours to it last year. I wish they'd take the line of another history podcast I like (You're Dead to Me) and avoid focusing on WWII and the Tudors. There's just such a glut on those topics already, and yet, have they done an episode about AD Wintle? They have not!

29mabith
Fev 18, 1:58 pm


For Real by Alexis Hall REREAD

Starting in 2023, Hall has become one of my favorite authors. This is perhaps, unexpected, as he largely writes romantic novels (many or most with LGBTQ characters). I've never been a big one for romance, in fiction or real life, and I'm one of those asexuals who assumed for years that sexual attraction (as opposed to aesthetic attraction) was made up for fiction. Five or so years ago I fell into a romance drama TV pit after years of cutting off my own emotional life and it hasn't let me go since.

So here we are with a romance novel also centered around BDSM and I liked it enough to reread it. A scrawny young man, a would-be dom, meets an older man still struggling with the end of his previous relationship, and they form an unlikely duo, fraught with problems due largely to insecurity.

What Hall does so well are the emotions involved, realistic dialogue, and humour. His books have made me laugh more than almost anything else (equal amounts of laughter to reading Terry Pratchett or Donald E. Westlake). He also clearly loves literature, most of his books are packed with literary references, some obscure, some mainstream (the metaphysical poets get quite the nod in this book).

This is not my favorite of his books, and not the first one I'd recommend to others (just writing this review has felt rather embarrassing), but it is one of his most deeply emotional, in a way. Many of his others take a well-known romantic trope (fake dating, enemies to lovers, etc...) and breathe a terrific amount of complexity and real emotional into them. It probably helps if you're familiar with UK pop culture though. My favorites by him are Something Fabulous, 10 Things That Never Happened, and Boyfriend Material.

30mabith
Editado: Fev 18, 2:03 pm


Rogues' Gallery: A History of Art and its Dealers by Philip Hook

An interesting little jaunt into the art world, and how dealers have shaped trends in collecting and, at times, artists themselves. Not the most fascinating book I've ever read, but full of interesting tidbits.

31mabith
Fev 18, 2:13 pm


It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood

This is a graphic memoir largely covering a short period of the author's life when she seems to have particularly struggled with her place in the world, as an artist and as a person. She draws many versions of herself, who have slightly different views of the situation. Her depression and suicidal ideation is a central part of the work, so be forewarned.

The art is wonderful and captivating, but it was a hard read. This is partly due to age, I think. Thorogood is only 25, but somewhat comes across like one of those very young people who consider themselves old or haven't realized that even when they're 50 they will largely still feel 25 (until faced with actual 25 year olds, of course).

32mabith
Fev 18, 2:26 pm


Girls and Their Monsters: The Genain Quadruplets and the Making of Madness in America by Audrey Clare Farley

As the subtitle makes clear, this is about a set of identical quadruplets. Born in 1930, all four developed mental health problems, at varying rates in childhood and teen years, diagnosed as schizophrenia. Because they were identical, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), did a study on them to try to investigate a genetic origin for schizophrenia.

What was often ignored in the study are the actual factors of their home lives, with extremely controlling and often abusive parents who both treated them as a single person and but also heavily favored two of the girls. The girls' problems were often taken entirely out of the context of their lives. The book attempts a fuller picture, and also a mini-history of studies into nature vs nurture around mental illness.

The author does a pretty good job with looking at the wider picture and trying to be fair to those involved. Bringing in the mini-biographies of a couple of the main scientists involved in the research was also done well. The book felt balanced, and like it brought enough general information to make the importance of the this study (and the flaws) clear.

33mabith
Fev 27, 6:21 pm


The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy by James Anderson

This is a book I looked at on the bookshelves at home for years. Age six, I thought the title was the funniest combination of words ever devised. It also had a great cover which I could not find online, and I'd meant to read it for years. I so regret I didn't specifically rescue it when we moved during my teen years.

I had been led to believe, from who knows where, that this was a spoof of a golden age mystery (it was published in 1975), but it really isn't. It does bring in a lot of classic tropes, and it has some funny aspects, but definitely not a spoof or parody.

Classically, it involves a group of people having a weekend at a large country house. There are foreign office types dealing with representatives from a foreign nation who they want to keep on-side ahead of WWII (this is set in 1937 or 1938), an American gun collector there to look at the homeowner's collection, a now-struggling girl from a formerly well off family, hidden identities, etc...

Not a mystery you can figure out from clues by reading but a great time. I'll definitely be reading the others he wrote in this vein.

34mabith
Fev 27, 6:46 pm


The Picts and the Martyrs by Arthur Ransome

After see Lisa (labfs39) read Peter Duck on her thread, I remembered I hadn't actually finished this series! I got anxious about 'running out' and was saving the last couple for some unknown point. I am skipping Missee Lee, as it's another fictional story written by the children vs a novel about them and I know it's going to annoy me.

In this one, the Amazons (Peggy and Nancy) are on their own with the cook, but their mother is letting them host the Ds (Dick and Dot) on their own as they arrive to pick up their own small sailboat. However, horror upon horrors, the Great Aunt has learned of their mother's absence and taken it upon herself to take charge. Nancy won't have the GA harassing their mother about her lax parenting, so is determined that they hide Dick and Dot and pretend to be perfect little ladies during the five or six days of her stay.

Banished to a shack in the woods, Dick and Dot become Picts while Peggy and Nancy are Martyrs at home. Dick and Dot, unlike the Swallows, have only recently learned to sail and have not taken care of their own cooking and such before. The book is occupied with this and avoiding the GA, but also pointing out the ways Nancy and the GA are actually quite similar. I really liked that aspect, it's something I see in a lot of people. There's this person they complain about, but cannot recognize their own behavior in. He doesn't moralize on this, or focus on it hugely but it's a classic little Ransome element and part of why I've loved these books.

These books are also, essentially, my ideal childhood, and I'm thankful I'm old enough and grew up in a rural enough place that I did get to run around on my own from a young age (though nowhere near to this extent, unfortunately).

35mabith
Fev 27, 6:49 pm


Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and then Lost it to the Revolution by T.J. English

Well the subtitle really says it all on this one. It's a quick little popular history book. Not the most amazing read ever, but generally interesting, and maybe a useful addition to wider reading about 20th century Cuban history. The writing and organization of the book worked fine for me, no big complaints.

36mabith
Fev 27, 6:52 pm


Heart in a Box by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Meredith McClaren

This is a seven-issue comic about a woman who agrees to wish away her heart so she can stop feeling heartbroken over a past relationship. I mostly had it on my list because I'm a huge fan of the illustrator (one must support fellow Merediths). It's a nice little meditation on humanity in a way. Nothing super deep, but a fun quick read, and again, fantastic illustrations.