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.
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.
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?
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