Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Book Series I Started In 2017 -- And Which Ones I'll Continue

The topic for this week's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is the best books we read this year. Well, I'm not quite ready to commit to that list yet -- there are still nearly three perfectly good reading weeks left in 2017, and I've read more good books in the last two months than the rest of the year put together and I'm hoping the trend continues. Thus, I'll be waiting til the end of December to post my favorite books of the year.

So I'm putting a twist on the topic this week and talking about the book series I started this year: which ones I loved, which ones I'll keep reading, and which ones didn't captivate me enough to read beyond book one.


1. The Ancestor trilogy by Mark Lawrence: I loved "Red Sister," a fantasy novel set in a futuristic society in which the livable planet is confined to a small unfrozen strip of land. It's a cruel world in which magically gifted nuns also train as assassins, and the school reminded me a little bit of Hogwarts. I can't wait for book two, which comes out next spring. (5 stars -- my review)

2. Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers: This was an absolutely fabulous, fun, wonderful sci-fi novel! It totally made me want to hop on board the spaceship Wayfarer and hang out with the charming, fabulous multi-species crew! The second book, which I plan to read soon, is more of an accompaniment than a series continuation so I'm a little sad not to be rejoining the Wayfarer, but I'm looking forward to diving back into the world! (5 stars -- my review)

3. Lady Julia Grey mysteries by Deanna Raybourn: I love the Veronica Speedwell books so I decided to check out Deanna Raybourn's previous series, which features another likable female amateur sleuth in historical England. I loved the first book and already treated myself to the second. Unlike the two other series I adored this year, all the books in this one are published so I'm going to temper myself so I don't run out too quickly! (4.5 stars -- my review)


1. The Queens of Renthia series by Sarah Beth Durst: I enjoyed this fantasy novel about... well, this is why it's not in the favorites category -- I can hardly remember off the top of my head just what it was about! Let's see... it involves an epic battle between human magic and natural spirits. Hopefully book two starts off with a recap! (4 stars -- my review)

2. The Aaron Falk mysteries by Jane Harper: I'm always up for a good detective story (and these days it's kind of hard to sniff those out among all the psychological thrillers, which are not my preferred genre), and I was thrilled to see that this series is set in Australia! The mystery kept me interested and I liked the protagonist, Aaron Falk, enough that I'll definitely check out the next installment, which comes out in the U.S. in February. (4 stars -- my review)

3. Carve the Mark duology by Veronica Roth: I don't read much YA but I really enjoyed the Divergent series and I was anxious to check out Roth's new series, even more so when I learned it was a mix of sci-fi and fantasy. It definitely had some of the things I don't like about YA but the plot is interesting and I want to see where it heads next; book two is due out this spring. Plus I'm totally craving sci-fi and fantasy these days, so it fits right in with my mood. (4 stars -- my review)



1. Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear: I'm a little reluctant to put this in the "meh" category because I do remember enjoying it as I was reading, but as time wore on I lost interest in pursuing the series. It should be right up my alley -- it's historical mysteries set in post-WWII England, but at the moment I'm not planning to continue. Perhaps that'll change -- one of my good friends really enjoys the books and we have very similar tastes, so I may need to give Maisie another try. (4 stars -- maybe I need to lower my rating a smidge! -- my review)

2. Monsters of Verity duology by Victoria Schwab: As mentioned above, I typically try to avoid YA because, more often than not, the books don't live up to my expectations. But I looooove Schwab's adult Shades of Magic fantasy series and I was a little bummed that it came to an end this year, so I decided to try one of her YA series; I guess I naively hoped it would read more like an adult book. Nope. I did fly through it and intended to read the second book even though I wasn't in love, but I never got around to it and no longer have any intention to. (3 stars)

3. Dark Gifts series by Vic James: Another YA fantasy series bites the dust! I should have known I wouldn't like it, but the synopsis -- involving magic and Britain -- sounded so good I couldn't resist giving it a shot. Sadly, I wasn't impressed enough to continue the series. (3 stars -- my review)

4. Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones: This urban fantasy series had been haunting me every time I looked at my Goodreads to-read list -- it was right near the very top, added way back in 2012! I figured it was finally time to give it a try, and while I didn't think there was anything exactly wrong with it, it just didn't enthrall me. And it was different than I expected. Perhaps it gets better and for a time I did think I might try the second book, but I've got too many other things to read! Bye, Charley. (3.5 stars -- my review)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday Musings

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Our Norfolk pine Christmas tree!

My week: It was a pretty good week here, other than the cold I've come down with. I had been busy at work the past couple weeks getting stuff together for a bookish ornament-making program at the library and we had it on Wednesday. It went well and I think the kids really enjoyed the ornaments I came up with! Plus we gave second life to some books that were victims of the big book-weeding we're doing in advance of getting new carpet.

Saturday we cut down our Christmas tree. We got a Norfolk pine again this year -- the only kind you can get in Hawaii if you want to chop down a fresh one -- and we took Alohi with us to pick out her first Christmas tree.

Reading: I finished "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI" by David Grann, and it's a book I would highly recommend. It was definitely not a happy book, but it taught me about some disturbing and sad events in our country's history that I'd never even heard of before, and in Grann's typical style it was fast-paced and readable.

I also read "Escape From Mr. Lemoncellos' Library" by Chris Grabenstein for the kids' book club at work. It's about a super-cool library and a game to find a secret route out by using literary and library clues. My co-worker and I actually came up with a similar (much abbreviated) game for our book club kids to play at our meeting this week.

Then I blew through "Young Jane Young" by Gabrielle Zevin. I read it in just over a day -- it was a very fast and easy read -- but it was pretty disappointing. It was absolutely nothing like Zevin's previous book (which I LOVED), "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry." Pretty much every single thing I enjoyed about that book was missing here.

I finally finished "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I had intended to read a chapter a day during Non-Fiction November, but it got pushed to the wayside. Overall it was a good book and I learned a lot, though I'll readily admit some of it was over my head!

Now I'm reading "Magpie Murders" by Anthony Horowitz, which is a mystery story within a mystery story. The second story reminds me a bit of one of my favorite PBS shows, "Grantchester," which is involves solving crimes in an English town in the '50s. So far I'm really enjoying it!

I'm up to 92 books read, and I think I'll be able to meet my new goal of 100 books in 2017!





Watching: We watched "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and I really liked it! A lot of people like the Toby McGuire Spiderman best, but I've actually enjoyed each iteration more than the last, and this is my favorite so far. I liked that Spiderman acts like an actual teenager, and he's just learning -- not always flawlessly -- how to use his special abilities.

Knitting: I finished the hat for my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa!

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From the Field of Wildflowers pattern by Joji Locatelli.

Receiving: The package from my TBTB Secret Santa! Once again, I was totally spoiled. My wonderful Santa sent two books ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" ultimate edition, and "Vicious" by Victoria Schwab), socks to go with my "Hitchhiker" book, personalized notepaper with a knitting theme, the adorable "This is How We Roll" library-print pouch from Out of Print, some bookish postcards, and a canister of Starbucks peppermint cocoa. I love everything!

Blogging:
Monday Musings
10 Book Settings I'd Love to Visit
Turning the Page on November 2017

Looking forward to: Kicking this cold! And then baking Christmas cookies!

I'm linking up with Kathryn of Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Turning the Page on November 2017

november collage

November positively flew by. We spent Thanksgiving week in Colorado with my family and it was so nice to get off the island for a few days (though I definitely could've done with a few more). We got lucky with the weather -- it was in the 50s and 60s, so we got a good taste of fall but it didn't test my extreme loss of cold tolerance (when every day is 80, anything below 70 starts to feel pretty chilly). Jarrod and I spent two afternoons in the mountains (and got to see some snow) and we went to a bunch of stores and restaurants that we don't have in here in Hawaii and I desperately miss (craft stores! Red Robin! Kohl's!). We also got to see two movies in the theater while we were in Colorado, "Wonder" (fabulous!) and "Murder on the Orient Express" (pretty good).

Our (rather enormous) DVR was perilously closet to being full, so I got a lot of shows and movies watched last month. We finished up this season of "Polark,"  "Broadchurch" and "Sherlock" (apparently we were in a British mood!), and watched almost all the episodes of the new season of "Stranger Things" (we have two left and I want to savor them!). I kept up with "This Is Us" and "Grey's Anatomy," and I finished season 1 of "My Mother and Other Strangers" (a new Masterpiece show this year), plus I watched some of the final season of "Switched at Birth." On the plane home form Colorado I watched the first four episodes of the Netflix show "Anne With An E" and really enjoyed it.

So basically, in November I worked, shopped for Christmas presents, took a fabulous trip, and watched a lot of TV!

P.S. If you follow the blog much, you'll know I'm in charge of a big 9-by-13-foot bulletin board in the kids' section at work, and the turkey above is what I did for November. The "feathers" are made out of kids' handprints.


november books

Books read: 11
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas // 4 stars
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt // 3 stars (for kids' book club at work)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman // 4.5 stars
The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh // 4 stars
Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham // 4 stars (for Non-Fiction November)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid // 4 stars
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (Bone Season #3) // 4 stars
Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #24) // 2 stars
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne // 4.5-5 stars (not sure yet)
Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (Sarah's Scribbles #1) // 4 stars
Artemis by Andy Weir // 3 stars

Favorite book: The Heart's Invisible Furies was such a gripping, hard-hitting read! I loved following Cyril Avery through his life, which was both ordinary and extraordinary.

Biggest let-down: Artemis by Andy Weir. I had so been looking forward to it, but it fell pretty flat for me -- and for a lot of other readers, I'm gathering. I felt no connection to the main character and the locker room humor was pretty over-the-top.

December release I'm most looking forward to: Saga volume 8.

Book I'm most excited to read in December: Probably Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. I'm ready for some festive holiday reading!

Current library checkouts: The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowtiz, Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen, Rat Queens volume 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan, Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin, and Escape From Mr. Lemoncellos' Library by Chris Grabenstein (for kids' book club at work).

Books added to to-read list: 7 (not bad!)

Most intriguing TBR addition: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I hadn't been at all interested in the book because I don't watch his show, but I saw it on so many Non-Fiction November lists that I had to take a look, and it sounds fascinating -- and totally different from what I thought it was.

From Goodreads: The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Favorite bookstagram: The book was a disappointment, but I love the picture because it features fall colors, boots and crunchy leaves -- things I miss so much being in Hawaii! Find me on Instagram @knittinglindsay!

bookstagram


I've finally been knitting again! I got tons of progress done on the (ripped out and re-started) Newt Scamander scarf a friend asked me to knit ages and ages ago, and I also cast on for a hat for my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.



Book reviews (all in one mini review post):
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (5 stars)
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (4.5 stars)
Origin by Dan Brown (4 stars)
Setting Free the Kites by Alex George (3.5 stars)
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence (5 stars)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

10 Book Settings I'd Love To Visit

fictional settings

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a bit of a toughie in that it was difficult to narrow it down to just 10: fictional settings I'd like to hop right into and stay a while. Which books make you want to climb through the pages into the setting?

book settings i want to visit

1. Hogwarts/Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade // Harry Potter: I mean, who wouldn't want to go to those places?! Luckily, there's an entire theme park where I can pretend I'm there!

2. The Wayfarer // The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: I would love to spend some time aboard this space ship -- with the fabulous multispecies crew, of course -- and visit all the different planets they go to.

3. Early 1800s England + dragons // Temeraire series:
If you know me at all, you'd know I'd love to travel back in time for a bit to see 19th century England, but obviously I especially want to meet these sentient dragons!

4. Red London // Shades of Magic series:
A version of London where magic is not only real but held in perfect balance (unlike the other three Londons in the series) -- yes, please! Plus I'd love to meet Lila and Kell!

5. 1700s Scotland // Outlander series: The books made me pine for 18th century Scotland (minus the war with England) and the show did even more. Bonus if Jamie is there.

6. Lakeside Courtyard // The Others series: There's just something special and cozy-feeling about this place -- it's what endeared me so much to series in the first place. And, preferably, I'd be visiting the Courtyard as one of the Others (aka a supernatural being, maybe a member of the Wolfgard or an Elemental).

7. OASIS // Ready Player One: I totally want to check out this amazing virtual reality world -- plus all the '80s-themed stuff that Wade encounters in the book.

8. English country cottages // anything by Kate Morton: I'd love to visit any half-crumbling cottage in the English countryside, but the one in "The Forgotten Garden" comes complete with a hedge maze, so I'd choose that one if pressed.

9. Late 1800s England // Lady Emily series: I could do without the amateur sleuthing on my visit, but Lady Emily would be the perfect person to introduce me to the time period. She's a member of the aristocracy, but she's also super intelligent and as modern as she can get away with. I can totally see us sipping port and discussing literature. Plus she has a vacation villa on the Greek island of Santorini, where I'd loooove to go.

10. Europe // All Souls trilogy: From the Bodleian Library at Oxford to a castle in France, there's really nowhere in these books that I don't care to go!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Musings

alohi

My week: It was on ok week here... a little hard to get back into the swing of things when I was still on vacation brain from our trip to Colorado. I just wasn't feeling work, and then Saturday I had a several-hour CPR/first aid training for work. At least I learned some useful information, though I was a little sad to give up a Saturday in December! I did at least get my Christmas decorations out, so the house is nice and festive!

Reading: I finished and loved "The Heart's Invisible Furies" by John Boyne, which I guess could best be described as an epic portrait of one gay Irishman's life spanning several decades -- and at the same time it's a portrait of Ireland itself.

I also read "Artemis" by Andy Weir, my most-anticipated book of the year, and found it to be just-ok. I had such high expectations, but it was nowhere near as good as "The Martian."

And I finally read "Adulthood is a Myth," a compilation of nerd- and introvert-centric comics by Sarah Andersen. It made me chuckle and I could totally relate to most of them. It only took about an hour to flip through and I closed the back cover wanting more; luckily I also checked out this year's installment, "Big Mushy Happy Lump."

Now I'm reading "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI" by David Grann. It's a fast-paced narrative non-fiction book about a string of (disturbing) events I'd never even heard of before. I'm about halfway done and I'd definitely recommend it so far!



Watching: We finally finished up this season's "Sherlock," and overall I wasn't all that impressed. I miss the first season when it was all about solving individual cases.

Movie-wise I watched a few Hallmark Christmas movies, and together we watched a DVD of "2:22," which was ok... it had a twisty-turny plot that kept me interested, but I was kind of confused by the whole thing.

Knitting: I took a break from the Newt Scamander scarf I've been working on for a friend to knit a hat for my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa swap partner. Hope she likes bright colors!

yarn

Receiving: The dictionary-print Toms I ordered (could there be better shoes to wear to work at a library?!).

Blogging:
Monday Musings
My Winter 2017/18 Reading List

Looking forward to: Getting our Christmas tree this week! Here in Hawaii we like to go to a local farm and cut down a Norfolk pine. They look kind of Dr. Seuss-ish, but it's the only way to get a locally grown Christmas tree rather than one that traveled in a container on a ship from the Mainland.

*I'm linking up with Kathryn of Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Winter 2017/18 Reading List

I love making these quarterly to-read list posts. It's always fun to think about what I feel like reading, and see what new books are due out, and browse my very long Goodreads TBR -- even if I don't end up following it completely (I do try!).

I had a pretty topsy-turvy reading year in 2017, due in large part, I think, to focusing on new releases. So for the first couple months of 2018, I'm going to read predominantly backlist. That shouldn't be a problem -- there are approximately 10 zillion older books on my to-read list.

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish to share my list for Top Ten Tuesday.

winter 2018 to read list

1. Illustrated Harry Potter books 1-3
I just had to have the first two books on their release days -- and then they wound up sitting neglected on my shelves! I guess I was sort of saving them? For what, I'm not sure. But I recently bought the illustrated "Prisoner of Azkaban" and I decided the time has finally come to do a HP re-read and savor all three.

2. A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Veronica Speedwell #3)
This is the one winter release that I absolutely must read, despite my commitment to backlist. I love this historical mystery series!

3. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #1)
I've been in a major fantasy/sci-fi mood lately and this is the first of a few books in that category on my list. I've had this one on my TBR for quite a while; I'm fairly new to the fantasy genre, but I'm pretty sure it's time for me to finally read some Brandon Sanderson!

4. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (Farseer #1)Another fantasy series I've been dying to start!

5. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Imperial Radch #1)
This sci-fi series is a fairly new discovery for me, and it immediately went on my to-read list!

6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My Broke and Bookish Secret Santa gave me this well-loved WWII novel last year, and I never got around to reading it! It's time.

7. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
A Broke and Bookish Secret Santa gift from two years ago. Sensing a trend... (though if you read the blog regularly, you'll know I'm horrible about reading my own books).

8. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Ahem. See #6-7.

9. A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
I have heard only good things about this book and I'm so excited to read it!

10. Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Anderson
I've been wanting to read this comic collection forever, but my library in Hawaii didn't have it. I just checked again recently, and it turns out they finally got in this book and the second in the series, which came out in 2017. Yay!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Musings

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We found snow!

My week: Jarrod and I spent the week with my parents and brother in Colorado! The only way it could've been a better Thanksgiving is if Alohi were there.

Reading: I'd been looking forward to the latest novel in Samantha Shannon's Bone Season fantasy series, but my library in Hawaii never got it in. So I had my mom get it from the Colorado Springs library for me! It was pretty good, though I didn't love it as much as the second book. I was worried I might not have time to finish it on the trip, but I actually read it in just over two days.

After that I read a book my mom already had checked out, the new Stephanie Plum novel. These books haven't been good in several years, but they're bookish comfort food and I'll keep reading the series til the end. The last 10 or so installments have been ok 3-star reads for me, but this one just fell flat. I didn't really enjoy it at all.

And now I'm back to the book I had been reading, "The Heart's Invisible Furies" by John Boyne. I got a decent amount of reading done on the flight from Colorado to Hawaii and I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple days. So far I'm really liking it, even though it's pretty heartbreaking at times.



Watching: I finally made it to the movie theater! We saw "Murder on the Orient Express" (good) and "Wonder" (fabulous!!!).

On the plane back I watched the first four episodes of Netflix's newish Anne of Green Gables series, "Anne With An E," and I'm totally in love! I know it got mixed reviews, but it's been years since I've seen the movies and I've never read the books, so I didn't really have any expectations going in. (P.S. Did you know you can download some Netflix stuff to watch without an internet connection? I didn't until very recently, and it was a lifesaver on the looooong flights.)

Knitting: I'm making great progress on the Newt Scamander scarf! I'm probably two-thirds of the way done now and I'm sure I'll do a lot of knitting this week -- gotta watch everything we recorded on the DVR while we were gone!

Eating: A bunch of the restaurants we don't have in Hawaii and miss: Red Robin, Chickfila, Rudy's BBQ, Pei Wei, Firehouse Subs and Jimmy John's. Plus a delicious and nostalgic Thanksgiving dinner. I hadn't eaten my mom's holiday feast since 2008!

Deciding: To try to read 100 books this year! I just hit the 85-book mark (more than I've read since I started keeping track) and it's soooo close to that nice, round number that I figured I might as well try to make it! I did cheat a tiny bit and requested a few graphic novels I've been meaning to read. But since my current book is almost 600 pages, I guess it balances out!

Buying: 23andMe kits for Jarrod and me. I'd been looking at them forever (from there and from Ancestry) and I couldn't resist Amazon's Black Friday deal! We ordered the ancestry + health kits since they were 50% off, and I can't wait to see our results.

Blogging:
Monday Musings
Non-Fiction November Week 5: New To My TBR

Looking forward to: Ugh... not sure. I'm still firmly in vacation mode and I'm not looking forward to going back to work -- and to the grocery store -- today! Plus it was so nice to be home in Colorado and off this island, and I'm honestly not all that jazzed to be back in Hawaii. I'll just have to console myself with copious amounts of Starbucks peppermint mochas and Hallmark Christmas movies!

*I'm linking up with Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Jarrod and me with my dad, mom and brother. I'm so glad we were able to spend Thanksgiving with them!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Non-Fiction November Week 5: New To My TBR

It's the last week of Non-Fiction November! I had a blast participating in the link-ups and reading other bloggers' posts, and I will definitely do it again next year. This weeks' prompt -- hosted by Lory at Emerald City Book Review -- is about the books we added to our to-read lists this month. I included books I discovered through Non-Fiction November, plus the other NF books I came across.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Where I found it: a whole slew of Non-Fiction November posts (I had heard of it, of course, but since I don't watch Noah's show I never gave it much thought)

From Goodreads: Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of "The Daily Show" began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa's tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.


Jane Austen at Home: A Biography by Lucy Worsley

Where I found it: Goodreads Choice Awards

From Goodreads: On the eve of the two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen's death, take a trip back to her world and the many places she lived as historian Lucy Worsley visits Austen's childhood home, her schools, her holiday accommodations, the houses -- both grand and small -- of the relations upon whom she was dependent, and the home she shared with her mother and sister towards the end of her life. In places like Steventon Parsonage, Godmersham Park, Chawton House and a small rented house in Winchester, Worsley discovers a Jane Austen very different from the one who famously lived a "life without incident." She shows readers a passionate Jane Austen who fought for her freedom, a woman who had at least five marriage prospects, but in the end a woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr. Darcy.


Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly

Where I found it: friend recommendation

From Goodreads: The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly inimical to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home -- an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on another mission, his twin brother's wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space. Kelly's humanity, compassion, humor, and passion resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging step in American spaceflight.


Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Where I found it: Book Riot (I think)

From Goodreads: Award-winning journalist Barbara Demick follows the lives of six North Korean citizens over fifteen years --a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and a devastating famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today -- an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, where displays of affection are punished, informants are rewarded, and an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors, and through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her subjects fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we witness their profound, life-altering disillusionment with the government and their realization that, rather than providing them with lives of abundance, their country has betrayed them.


Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis

Where I found it: Julz Reads (Ask/Be/Become the Expert: mountains)

From Goodreads: In a monumental work of history and adventure, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing on that fateful day. His answer lies in a single phrase uttered by one of the survivors as they retreated from the mountain: "The price of life is death." Mallory walked on because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but "a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day." As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. They were not cavalier, but death was no stranger. They had seen so much of it that it had no hold on them. What mattered was how one lived, the moments of being alive. For all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad.


The Outrun: A Memoir by Amy Liptrot

Where I found it: a week 1 or 2 NF November post (didn't write down whose, though!)

From Goodreads: When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey. Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father's mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London. Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney's wildlife -- puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings -- and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction.


Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World by Noah Strycker

Where I found it: Doing Dewey (Non-Fiction November reviews)

From Goodreads: In 2015, Noah Strycker set himself a lofty goal: to become the first person to see half the world’s birds in one year. For 365 days, with a backpack, binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, he traveled across forty-one countries and all seven continents, eventually spotting 6,042 species -- by far the biggest birding year on record. This is no travelogue or glorified checklist. Noah ventures deep into a world of blood-sucking leeches, chronic sleep deprivation, airline snafus, breakdowns, mudslides, floods, war zones, ecologic devastation, conservation triumphs, common and iconic species, and scores of passionate bird lovers around the globe. By pursuing the freest creatures on the planet, Noah gains a unique perspective on the world they share with us -- and offers a hopeful message that even as many birds face an uncertain future, more people than ever are working to protect them.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Musings

leaves collage

My week: Goodbye Hawaii, hello Colorado! Jarrod and I left Saturday night to spend Thanksgiving in Colorado with my family. It's so nice to be home for the week! And to be wearing boots and sweaters! And playing in crunchy leaves! (All that's missing is Alohi -- gosh I miss her!)

Reading: After a few really productive reading weeks, I got hardly any reading done at all last week. I had actually hoped to be finished with "The Heart's Invisible Furies" before our trip, but that sure didn't happen -- I'm only 100 pages in! I also squeezed in a few more chapters of "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" for Non-Fiction November. It's well-done, educational and interesting, but still over my head at times.

Instead of either one of those books, though, I'm reading "The Song Rising" by Samantha Shannon, the new book in the Bone Season series. The library in Hawaii is apparently never going to get it in, so I had my mom pick it up from the Colorado Springs library. Luckily it's only 350 pages, since I have less than a week to read it!


Watching: "This Is Us" and "Poldark." I also watched two delightfully cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies.

On the plane I watched an indie movie starring Chris Evans called "Before We Go," which was pretty good. I had actually downloaded the first three episodes of the British show "Midsomer Murders" -- something I'd been wanting to see forever -- to watch on the plane, but I was so bored! I gave up 30 minutes into the first episode.

Knitting: Making good progress on the Newt Scamander scarf! I've knit more in the last week than in the last year!


Looking forward to: Spending time with my family, going up to the mountains, shopping at stores we don't have in Hawaii (like craft stores!!!), and eating tons of yummy food! And tomorrow we're going to see "Murder on the Orient Express," which will be Jarrod's and my first movie at the theater in a whole year, if you can believe that.

*I'm linking up with Kathryn of Book Date for It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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