Reading Room: December

**EVERY YEAR I DO A READING CHALLENGE THROUGH THE SITE GOODREADS. FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, I’VE SET MY GOAL AS 365 BOOKS FOR THE YEAR. IT’S NOT SOMETHING I REALISTICALLY THINK I CAN ACHIEVE, BUT THERE’S DEFINITELY A SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT IN STRIVING.**

 

Slowly running out of steam for the year. This month was more about clearing out as much as I could from my digital ARC library so going into January I wouldn’t have any reading anxiety hanging over my head. We’ll see if that happens. What held this month up was making my way through Tariq Goddard’s family saga tome. It was worth the read, and I hope to have a review of it come early 2018. The same is true of Brittney Cooper’s essays collection and the great book by Kate Manne.

With the goal being 365 books, I’ve managed to read 217. Well off of my goal, yet I think this is an impressive haul. It also set me up nicely with a mark to surpass going into 2018.

This month, I give you the December playlist…

as well as the entire Reading Room music catalog.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

**

 

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Nature And Necessity by Tariq Goddard

The sheer ambition of this novel is impressive. The book is huge, a door-stopper. It manages to succeed not as a send-up of family saga novels but as a fresh breed of the same. While there are certainly some beautiful and/or biting passages, I found the narrative to be rather needlessly elongated and lacking an impact.

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Down Girl by Kate Manne

Manne is a superb philosopher. Her feminist critiques are not just compelling but plainly stated. In this study, which I’ve been eagerly waiting for all year, she analyzes the systematic misogyny and sexism built into our culture and politics. It is a vital work demonstrating just how women are policed and silenced. Alongside Bailey Poland’s Haters, it is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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What Weaponry by Elizabeth Colen

This year I finished writing a poetry manuscript and when I sent it off to Black Lawrence Press for consideration part of the fee I paid granted me a title of their of my choosing. This collection of prose poems is elegant and engaging. While I found myself wishing for more traditionally lyrical moments, I couldn’t help but be impressed with these inviolate shards.

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Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper

It was reading black women (bell hooks, Audre Lorde, & Patricia Collins) that brought me to a feminist consciousness. This superb collection of essays functioning as both analytical critique of culture and compelling personal narratives is a must-have for 2018.

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The Lauras by Sara Taylor

Finally got around to finishing this novel I picked up through NetGalley. I love how this story paces itself allowing the mother-child as well as all the woman-to-woman relationships to naturally evolve and run their course. And, of course, the non-binary narrator’s journey of self shirks any trite YA tropes leaving readers to experience a story of high literary merit.

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I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years by Ilchi Lee

A commissioned review, this self-help, new age guru guide to longer life is definitely for a specific audience–perhaps one that is rather well-off and suspicious of science.

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Lake Superior Agates by Jim Magnuson & Carol Wood

I read this short pamphlet as part of a proofreading gig. Neat info well worth having at your disposal should you ever go agate hunting on the North Shore.

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Defying Expectations by Simon Veness & Susan Veness

With the exception of Orlando City supporters and the insistent league boosters, this book has little to no value. In fact, it reads as though Rawlins is looking to run for political office, it’s such a hokey book. So less biography and more propaganda. Yet to what end is unclear.

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Prime Meridian by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A fantastic novella of extremely realistic and grounded science fiction. Actually, it this story is barely sci-fi or even speculative fiction and while it may exist in a near future where resources are scare and the divide between haves & have-nots is wider than can be imagined, it is less a fantasy than it is a gritty coming-of-age tale.

 

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The Locals by Jonathan Dee

Rather meandering and at far too many moments excruciatingly dull. The narrative is dry in that literary manner presupposing meaningfulness yet the plot is trivial at best. This is poor literary fiction.

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Red Famine by Anne Applebaum

A thorough & well paced historic survey giving us a necessary window into not just Ukraine’s culture but also its contemporary moment battling a revitalized imperial Russia.

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Shattered Minds by Laura Lam

The fractured nature of the narrative wasn’t terribly difficult to follow. However, it was sometimes difficult to generate enthusiasm for the story. It’s a fascinating world and a rather adventurous tale, but ultimately it felt distant to me.

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A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne 

I enjoyed the structure & conceit, it made ‘bard’ something less stupid & had an air of Homeric storytelling. However, I found myself less interested in the action and story arc. At times, many times, the prose felt labored and needlessly meandering.
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Artemis by Andy Weir

I thought this was a pretty good story, and I rather loved the character Jazz. But I felt there was a bit too much exposition. The prose was also too simple for me, however it will certainly fit for any casual pre-teen/teen reader.

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

I’m behind the curve when it comes to this series. I got this book for free as part of a download promotion as the new book in the series is primed for release. This is perhaps one of the most fun fantasy adventures I’ve read of late, a great way to end the year’s reading.

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