[I've been
« May, 2024 »
What It’s Like To Be a Bird

Sibley is a huge name in birding and this attractive book is a compendium of interesting bird facts as well as some details about various species. One of my favorite things about it besides the gorgeous illustrations is how much Sibley lets you know what the science says about birds and their behavior including some of the things we don’t know (why some birds do dust bathing) or can only guess at. You can either read the facts straight through in the front, or read them alongside lovely illustrations of birds that they reference. A great book for people who like bird facts.

Marie Blythe

I’ve liked Mosher’s other books and this one I had mixed feelings about. I loved the natural world descriptions of a place not far from where I live, I even liked some of the “just so stories” about how things (maybe) used to work in Vermont. I only sort of believed in the female character he created--Mosher only mentions what she’s wearing when it’s important to the plot, she just didn’t seem female somehow to me--and I definitely didn’t appreciate some of the casual racism in the book (anti-Roma in particular) which was just totally unnecessary and weird that it was included. I know the 80s were another time but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read the book through modern sensibilities


. Probably an interesting story, told in a weird way. There are many popular history books out there where you can tell by reading them what references the author used to assemble their narrative. Long recitations of menu items is a tip-off. In this case there was a fancy well-documented 50th anniversary party feting the guy who created the color mauve. And I assume Garfield read that and did the rest of the digging himself. A lot of long quotes from letters. A somewhat dry story after the initial discovery. The book explains why it was a big deal but a lot of it is about the history of colors and dyes and him being forgotten by history

The Book That Wouldn’t Burn

I try to read most books that I notice which take place in a library. I got about a fifth of the way into this book and just could not handle the relentless struggle and fear and pain that the main characters (who were also all young people, late teens or even younger in flashbacks) had to endure. I’m sure there is a great plot in there, and I’m not against ups and downs, but this was too much for me.

Floating Hotel

You hit a certain age, you’ve read a lot of books and you can say “Another book in the luxury space hotel mystery genre.” Turns out I like that genre quite a bit and this was a good example of it. People wind up on the floating hotel because they’re escaping life circumstances in a dystopia where there’s been one Emperor for 500 years and you’re not allowed to even mention aliens. But... someone’s speaking truth to power. And are they in the floating hotel? And how do you find them?


Reminiscent of Rabbits and another book I can’t remember that used travel-through-mirrors (Rajaniemi?) as a device. This tale is told mainly through the eyes of an unreliable narrator about what might be the end of the world but might also just be a video game or a social media jape. I enjoyed where this book took me and liked the way the tale was told, gradually revealing what is going on. A lot of themes of parenthood and making your own determinations of how to keep people safe. People who don’t want a plot that has aspects of suicide cults, steer super clear of this one.

Marooned in Realtime

The book that was suggested to me that the previous book was the sequel to (and I missed a novella in-between them). I liked the concept, that there are these stasis bubbles you can be in where the world ages around you but you remain the same age. People bop around “through” time by letting it pass on outside the bubbles, strategically. So they might advance to millennia in the future to avoid global cataclysms, but they can never go backwards. This is more of a cop story than the last one which was more post-apocalyptic in some ways. The cop (who showed up in the novella I did not read) was trying to figure out how someone had gotten, as the title says, marooned in the past. I liked it in some places, it dragged in others.

The Peace War

I had to go back and read this one so that I could read the second one (which I started before noticing it was part of a series). This is a classic novel from my high school years which has that adorable almost-there social sensibility (i.e. talks about racism but still employs things that are clearly now racist tropes, similar with sexism) surrounding a tale about what is essentially peace-through-facism and the ones who fought it. A little sleepy but a good read.

The Stars Turned Inside Out

It’s hard to talk about this book without discussing where it does or does not go but I will say I was expecting it to be one sort of book and it turned out to be another. This story of a dead scientist found in the LHC tunnels had a great plot and super uneven pacing. It also had some expository devices which I didn’t really enjoy (i.e. some of the plot reveal takes place in a holiday play sort of format and I felt like I was in some sort of Shakespeare situation) but maybe they’re right for a different type of person. It nearly entirely takes place at CERN and there’s a lot of fun Swiss stuff and science-y stuff in it but ultimately it didn’t work for me as a novel, I was left at the end not sure if I had understood the plot or not.

The Perfect Vehicle

I got this book from a local Little Free Bookshelf and it reminded me pleasantly of the brief period of time when I had a motorcycle and also of the positive and negative aspects of motorcycle ownership especially for a woman. I also did not know that the author had been married to an acquaintance of mine, so that was an odd little surprise. A lot of fun motorcycle stories, a little bit floridly told. If you like Moto Guzzis, this is the book for you.