Books I read: August 2017

favorite books of 2016

I’m still in that fiction rut I talked about last month. I liked most of the books I read this month, but….well, see below.

Fiction

Kraken, China Mieville: After reading this and a few other urban fantasies this year, I’ve realized…urban fantasy is just not for me. Like, I read the book and understand why people like it, but I couldn’t get into the story myself.

Dreamers of the Day, Mary Doria Russell: This book is set during the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference. It’s meticulously researched, so if you want to learn about the people and events of the time you could do worse than imbibing them in novel form. But…the main character is improbably shoved into the middle of everything. My suspension of disbelief snapped more than a few times.

The Doomsday Book, Connie Willis: I really enjoyed this book overall. BUT. It contains one of my pet peeves (SPOILER): a time travel plot where everything wraps up neatly at the end. Come on, would that ever really happen?

Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne Valiente: Another of my book-ending pet peeves: the “what, that’s it?” ending. But again, I like the book overall.

Non-fiction

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Humboldt’s New World, Andrea Wulf: A biography of a largely-forgotten 19th century scientist who did a prodigious amount of research on the natural world. While the subject himself is fascinating, the writing is sometimes dry and sometimes hero-worshippy.

Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of an American Landscape, Brad Tyer: This is probably a super niche book. The title grabbed me immediately because I research mine site remediation, have a background in water quality, and live in Montana. I thought the journalistic parts of the book – which is most of it – were excellent for the most part, but I felt like the memoir snippets didn’t mesh with the rest of the book.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant: This was an interesting read, but heavily, heavily slanted towards businesses and organizational culture. Hey, did you know you can have original ideas that don’t involve starting a business or changing an existing one? </snark>

 

Man, I was a cranky reviewer this month. I enjoyed probably 80% of what I read, just never all of one book. If any of these books sound interesting to you I would probably recommend them.

 

What are your plot pet peeves?

Are there any super niche books that you love?

 

Linking up with Show Us Your Books

9 Comment

  1. Kerri says: Reply

    I read an urban fantasy a few months back and I’m with you, they aren’t really my thing. Although half of that could have been the book too. I think I could like the right urban fantasy but I’d have to keep searching for it. It’s the same for thrillers and the like, I feel like there would be ones out there that I would like, but I just have to find them. So far, not so good.

    My biggest plot pet peeve has to be… actually i’m not too sure. It all depends on how much fun I’m having and whether I’ll let things slide in a book. I’d probably go with the time travel thing that you mentioned, but I can’t remember the last book that I read that had that kind of ending.

    If I’m being picky, I’d go for books that want to be witty and clever but are doing a terrible job at it, but that’s not exactly the plot, that’s just my own humour-snobbery haha.

    Here’s to a great reading September!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I think I might like an urban fantasy that wasn’t described as “gritty”. Don’t know if I have seen one of those yet.

  2. I read a lot of social policy books and those can be pretty niche. I have one right now that focuses specifically on one town.
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    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Social policy is definitely niche from my perspective. I wouldn’t know where to start.

  3. SMD says: Reply

    My husband would LOVE the last one if it was not so slanted towards business. Missed opportunity for that author!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      The general info was more broadly applicable – but I can’t remember a single example that wasn’t about a business.

  4. Farrah says: Reply

    I haven’t heard of any of these, but I hope you enjoy your September reads more! My plot pet peeves are when there’s no character development or characters are too perfect/plots are too easy to guess!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Definitely! What’s the point if the characters are boring?

  5. I’m impressed with the amount of non-fiction you read. I definitely want to fit more in before the year is up. Here suuuper late from SUYB. XO – Alexandra

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