Books Read in May 2024

Started doing a lot more reading in April so I thought I should start documenting what I’ve read. Not that I ever stopped but it’s picked up a lot as I’ve started doing more ebooks and audiobooks in addition to all the physical books I check out from the library or buy. If you live in the US, consider using the Libby app. Generally I prefer checking out physical books over digital copies since book publishers like to screw over libraries through ebook/audiobook fees, but sometimes this is the only way they’re available to me. I also document all of this on my Storygraph but this feels more permanent to me.

Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky: Pretty cool shorter book that works both as a sci-fi and a fantasy story based on the viewpoints of the two characters. This is the first book I read by Adrian and plan to read more. Did this one as an ebook.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: Bought this one a while ago and finally got to it in my backlog. I know this one won a bunch of awards so maybe it’s just me but I didn’t care for it. A lot of good ideas but I thought some of the characters were really poorly written and the book could have probably actually been longer to give some of those ideas more time to develop. Oh well. It’s short so you could probably check it out from the library and see for yourself.

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton: This is a graphic novel memoir by the author of King Baby and The Princes and the Pony, two picture books I love reading to my kids. This is definitely not a kids book but I do think it’s Kate’s best work yet. The book is about Kate’s two years working in Alberta’s oil sands to pay off her college loans. I cannot recommend the book enough if you have an interest in graphic novels or memoirs. Just be sure to read the content warnings first since it has some heavy subjects in it. Did this one as an ebook from my library but will probably buy a physical copy at some point.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto: This is another short book that has been sitting in my backlog years after I bought it. Wish I didn’t wait so long to read it because I also loved this one. The book is actually two stories but the main one, Kitchen, is about a young woman who is taken in by another family after her grandmother, her caretaker, has passed away. I guess this book was a big hit when it came out and won a lot of acclaim so it’s not a hidden gem but I don’t see it come up so consider checking it out!

Tea and Murder: Stories of the Xuya Universe: The Citadel of Weeping Pearls & The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard: This is an audiobook I checked out from my library containing two stories, The Citadel of Weeping Pearls & The Tea Master and the Detective. Both stories are set in Aliette’s Xuya universe, a timeline where Asia became dominant in space, but you don’t have to read one to understand the other. I had a hard time following along with Citadel of Weeping Pearls, mostly because it was an audiobook and sometimes that happens with me and sci-fi, but I really enjoyed The Tea Master and the Detective. It’s just a Sherlock Holmes-inspired story but I thought it was a fun read. This was the first story I read by Aliette and also want to read more by them.

The Aquanaut by Dan Santat: I’ve read some of Dan’s picture books before but this is the first graphic novel that I’ve read by him to my kids. Really enjoyed this one as well and thought the art was great.

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes: A Classic Collection of Poems by a Master of American Verse: Another book that had been sitting in my library a long time. It turns out that the universally celebrated poet is very good at writing poetry!

The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw: A short horror fantasy audiobook I checked out about a mermaid and plague doctor. Really liked this one with my only gripe being that I thought the gore descriptions went on too long, to the point of it getting tedious. But I still really liked the book! My first by Cassandra but I’ll read more by them.

All about Me: My Remarkable Life in Show Business by Mel Brooks: While his movies can be hit or miss to me, I also really enjoyed this autobiography by Mel. He intentionally doesn’t go into his personal life in this book, choosing to mostly talk about his works and things that went well and what didn’t. I listened to the audiobook version from my library, which seems like the way to go for this book. I’m just a big comedy history nerd and like stuff like this.

Detriot: A Biography by Scott Martelle: This is a book about the history of Detroit and everything that led to where it’s at today. It’s probably the one I’d recommend if people wanted to know how a city ends up this way. It does a very good job explaining how racist policies, corporations, and other things led to its downfall and the author clearly loves the city and wants to to succeed. My only complaint about it, which isn’t its fault, is that it came out in 2012, at the lowest point of the city when it was bankrupt, and I wonder how things would be different if it were published today. Not that the city is completely fixed, but things have been improving and I would have really liked to have seen the author’s take on it since he has a better understanding of it all than I do.

Doctor Who audio dramas: I also listened to two Doctor Who audio dramas from Big Finish. The Flames of Cadiz and The Age of Endurance. Both are solid 1st Doctor stories and feature the living members of the original cast.

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