Posts Tagged ‘books’

Final 2016 Goal Update!

Time to wrap up 2016 with a report on my yearly goals! I did pretty well this year with a total of 96%. There was only one goal I didn’t complete!

1. Cook every recipe in Sally’s Baking Addiction: 100%

The final recipe was crepes!

Not perfect, but I'll take it

Not perfect, but I’ll take it

I would say out of everything I baked, my favorite had to be the homemade granola. It’s so easy, and so much more delicious than store-bought. Here’s the recipe for you:

Maple Pecan Granola
Prep Time: 5 min
Total time: 50 min plus cooling
Makes: 2-3 cups
Ingredients
2 cups (160g) old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup (165g) pure maple syrup (one time I ran out and used honey!)
1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
3/4 cup (105g) chopped pecans
2 tbsp coconut or vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine all ingredients and stir until all oats are moistened.
3. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

2. Finish all 2014 Goals: 100%
The only thing I had left on our last update was the fancy drinks!
2a) Read T-Z in Brewer’s: 100%
2b) Make 7 pies: 100%
2c) Make a fancy drink every month: 100%
Every drink I made in the last three months has been great! In October I made a fancy crock pot apple cider with apricot nectar for my book club. It was so great I made it again at Christmas! I tried another vanilla apple cider in November, but decided the first one was better. And then in December I made spicy crock pot hot chocolate and my book club loooooved it. I have made it at least three more times since because so do I. It’s from a book I got at the library called Slow Cooker Family Favorites by Maggie Shi.

Spicy Hot Chocolate
Serves 8-10
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
7 cups whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Put everything in the slow cooker and whisk together. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or until the chocolate has melted. Stir occasionally during that time.

yourewelcome

2d) Get everything then on my to-read list off it: 100%
Of course, my to-read list now has 389 books on it, but whatever.
2e) Update my blog 7 times: 1005

3. Finish all my Craftsy Classes: 80%
This is the one I failed at. When we last talked, I only had Continental Style knitting to go. I gave it a shot but it was so awkward and frustrating I gave up. Maybe I’ll give it another shot at some point in the future.

4. Complete a temperature scarf: 100%!!
This is probably the goal I’m most proud of!! Here it is:

IMG_20170102_115651872

I haven’t woven in the ends yet, so eventually those will be gone. You can tell that summer was a lot more one note than winter on both sides. I averaged the highs and lows to get each day’s temperature. Here’s the color key:

Orange=80s
Yellow=70s
Green=60s
Turquoise=50s
Blue=40s
Purple=30s
White=20s

I was going to use Red for an average in the 90s but somehow the average never got there. Ditto black for lower than 20.

5. Read one book a month someone else recommended to me: 100%
I’m pleased to say that three of the books from this project made it onto my Best Books of 2016 list! In October I read this book recommended by a library coworker:

Rat Fucked by David Daley

Rat Fucked by David Daley


This book was really interesting and also sad. It had a big chapter on North Carolina, since we’re one of the most (the most?) gerrymandered states. Check out my district, friends:

North Carolina's 4th. Designed by a computer to cram as many democrats in as possible so as not to pollute our surroundings

North Carolina’s 4th. Designed by a computer to cram as many democrats in as possible so as not to pollute our surroundings

Which isn’t as bad as District 12:

Ta Da! What the fuck

Ta Da! What the fuck

In November I read this book recommended by another coworker/friend:

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach


This one got 5 stars from me! I don’t normally go for heavy sci-fi space adventures, but I really enjoyed this one about a mercenary working on a cargo ship that’s ~not what it seems~

In December I read this book recommended by Rob!:

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay


Rob often likes really angsty books so I was wary, but I really liked the voices of the main characters. They felt really honest and real. This one also got 5 stars.

Steven has vowed not to make goals for 2017 because he hated these quarterly reminders of his own failure. Here it is one last time!
1. Cook one vegetarian meal a week
“I was doing pretty good for a while there, and then I think I forgot. I still do it, but not on a regular basis.”
2. Learn a new violin piece once a month
“Yeah, I haven’t hardly picked up the violin outside of orchestra. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
3. Finish all Craftsy classes
“No way. Nowhere near. I did finally get through the knife skills class I was putting off. It was useful.”
4. Make at least one bag out of leather
“I feel kind of bad about that one. I kept thinking about it, planning out different things in my head, and then never… I got distracted with Christmas presents actually.”

Previously: Goals 2016: Home Stretch

2016 Books: The Ugly

Here are my picks for ugliest book covers of the year (out of ones I read). I put a * next to the ones that were also on my 2016 Books: The Bad list. Rocking it with all the bad awards!!!

onemorething
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
As boring as it can get, really

uglyovereasy
Over Easy by Mimi Pond
I expected more from this graphic novel

fortunespawn
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
If this book hadn’t been recommended to me, the cover would have turned me away. I’m not into technical specs about your space ship.

feelinglucky
*Feeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson
Dude is still wearing a shirt? What kind of romance novel cover is this?

americanwerechaun
*American Werechaun in Dublin by Andy Click
Blah

uglypamela
Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson
This book was considered downright SALACIOUS in its time, so I feel like this cover could try harder.

uglyratfucked
Ratfucked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy by David Daley
This book was really interesting, but its cover isn’t doing anything for it.

uglyyoull
You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein
Those bangs, oh god

uglygates
The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young
It took me a stupid amount of time to realize that those are trees. Why are they sideways?

tocatchanheiress
*To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn
Rose clip art. Not even trying.

warlord
*The Warlord by Elizabeth Elliott
At least he’s not wearing a shirt, but the luscious flowing locks aren’t really doing it for me.

uglyeight
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
This looks like a children’s book not an angsty novel set in a winery

uglyfates
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
You can do better

cosmicsex
*Cosmic Sex by Karen Kelley
He looks stoned

uglycantwe
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
This cover makes my teeth itch

uglypogue
Pogue’s Basics by David Pogue
Boring

kanasquest
*Kana’s Quest by Anthony Ray Olheiser
Homemade

uglygirls
The Girls by Emma Cline
Eh

uglyeyes
*The Eyes of the Arab Boy by R Lamirand
I hate everything about you

Previously: 2016 Books: The Bad
Next: 2016 Books: The Pretty

2016 Books: The Bad

This year I rated 11 books 1 star on GoodReads. Here they are:

It was a tough call on Worst Book of 2016. But I’m going with Looking for Alaska, mostly because of how critically and socially acclaimed it is. That raises expectations pretty high (unlike most of the other books here, which I expected to be terrible), so when it sucked it felt worse.

lookingforalaska
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I read this for Banned Books Week. Here’s my full review of why it sucks.

Library Book Sale Trash
warlord
The Warlord by Elizabeth Elliot
A romance novel I got for 20 cents at the library book sale. It’s about a dude in 12th cent. Scotland marrying a girl to save her from her evil step father. And then they find love.

tocatchanheiress
To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn
In this crappy romance novel, an English lord/AGENT OF THE CROWN kidnaps the wrong girl because he thinks she’s a Spanish spy. Then they find love.

cosmicsex
Cosmic Sex by Karen Kelley
Library book sale has a strong representation this year! This book is about aliens landing on earth to discover what these earthmen are like.

Proving a Point to Someone
feelinglucky
Feeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson
I read this to prove a friend wrong who thought there weren’t any romance novels about Irish dudes. This is about a woman who “catches” a leprechaun by grabbing his ass and then is entitled to his treasure. He tries to seduce the treasure back. Also in this universe leprechauns are just hot dudes who like money and can dance in mid air because why not.

americanwerechaun
American Werechaun in Dublin by Andy Click
I read this book for the same reason. It’s about a dude who keeps blacking out at the full moon and waking up with gold coins in his pocket. You know, a werechaun. Eventually he learns to control his powers and brings peace to the warring leprechaun and werechaun communities.

kanasquest
Kana’s Quest by Anthony Ray Olheiser
I read this when James Fox challenged me to read a knock-off Lord of the Rings book. It’s about the war between angels and Satan and involves some angel/human romance. It’s completely insane.

passionandponies
Passion and Ponies by Tara Sivec
This book is about a woman deciding she can overlook her Friend With Benefits brony tendencies and upgrade him to Boyfriend status.

Hate Book Club
eatpraylove
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I read this for Hate Book Club, full review here.

uglyeyes
The Eyes of the Arab Boy by Rod Lamirand
This was another Hate Book Club selection, famous for the author himself volunteering it. Full review here.

Just Randomly Bad
secretswekeep
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
This book was about a dramatic car accident that killed one twin while injuring the other and everyone mistakes the one that lived for the one that died. And now she’s just pretending to be her sister?? Forever?? It’s really dumb.

mercyalbans
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
This book had a promising description: creepy house, family secrets, MURDER. But it was badly written.

Previously: 2016 Books: The Good
Next: 2016 Books: The Ugly

2016 Books: The Good

In total this year, I read 129 books! That’s 38,293 pages! According to GoodReads. I only gave five stars on GoodReads to 27 of them (about 21%). Also 3 of them were recommended to me by other people as part of my Recommended Books project! Good job, friends!

goodreads

This is the one I’m choosing as my Favorite Book of 2016, mostly because I haven’t stopped thinking about it, even though I read it near the beginning of this year. The story was so imaginative and the illustrations were awesome.

prettyencyclopedia
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
This grahpic novel is BEAUTIFUL and so imaginative. It’s a story set thousands of years ago about an explorer from one of the poles, traveling in a canoe to different places, facing monsters and hostile civilizations, to find his True Love, who lives at the other pole. The illustrations are so great.

Other Graphic Novels

lumberjanes
Lumberjanes Volumes 3- 4 by Noelle Stevenson

I can never get enough of these hardcore, more badass girl scouts. This time they fight an ancient demigod monster that lives in the mountain near their camp.

princeless
Princeless Volumes 1-3 by Jeremy Whitley
A princess trapped in a tower makes a deal with the dragon guarding her, and the two go off to rescue all the other trapped princesses! It’s so badass and amazing!!

anyasghost
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Daaaaang this graphic novel starts subtly creepy and ends TERRIFYING

tomboy
Tomboy by Liz Prince
This is a graphic novel memoir about not fitting in to society’s gender roles, so you know I’m there. #tomboysolidarity

YA and children’s fiction

dumplin
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
This book was about a fat girl entering her town’s teen beauty pageant with a bunch of other high school social outcasts to make a statement. I really liked its message and identified with the main character #fatgirlsolidarity

girlfromeverywhere
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
This book was rad. The main character lives on her dad’s magical ship that can travel to anywhere that’s been mapped. Anywhere. Ancient China. El Dorado. Modern day New York. 1800s Hawaii. It’s nautical time travel fantasy with cool maps.

thewhisper
The Whisper (Riverman Trilogy, #2) by Aaron Starmer

It’s weird that, of this trilogy, this middle one is the only book to get 5 stars. The story is about the worlds you create in your imagination as a child, and those worlds being very much real and connected. This second book is a search through the various interconnected worlds of different imaginations on a hunt for a best friend and a villain.

augie
Augie and the Green Knight by Zach Weiner
This book is an adorable and sassy retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight featuring amazing illustrations!

seaoftranquility
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
A Recommended Book! This one was set in Florida and featured angsty teens, but the narration wasn’t over-the-top and annoying COUGHJohnGreenCOUGH.

Adult Fiction

goldenage
Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age (The Last Hundred Years trilogy) by Jane Smiley
I devoured this series that follows one family through 100 years. Each chapter is about the next year. A little history, a little future speculation, a lot of family drama. It reminded me of Edward Rutherford on a smaller scale.

rejane
Re Jane by Patricia Park
A modern version of Jane Eyre where no one has to marry gross Mr. Rochester! And part of it is set in South Korea!

romeoandorjuliet
Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE ROMEO AND JULIET!!! In one of the endings you team up with Hamlet‘s Ophelia for epic revenge.

wheredyougo
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
An epistolary novel! That’s pretty silly! It has some PTA drama, some international intrigue, and an epic cruise to Antarctica! And a mystery!

fortunespawn
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Another book from my Recommended Books project! This is a sci-fi novel about a badass lady mercenary working as a security guard on an oddly accident-prone cargo ship. It’s cool to see a book from the point of view of one of the ship grunt’s, doubly so because she’s a woman.

Non-fiction

thingsnoone
Things No One Tells Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
I’m really into Health at Every Size and body positivity because my past experience has taught me that weight and health might be correlated but don’t have as clear cut a causal relationship as commonly believed. This book is a series of (funny) essays about self-image, dealing with bullies, and living life.

girlsandsex
Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
I really enjoyed Peggy Orenstein’s last book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and this feels very much like a sequel to it, featuring interviews with teens and college-age girls.

anythingbutordinary
Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Hermann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff
Bet you’ve never heard of this awesome lady magician!! Your loss, because she was awesome.

nurses
The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital by Alexandra Robbins
Non-fiction that reads like fiction! I learned a lot of worrying things about healthcare!

savingalex
Saving Alex: When I was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began by Alex Cooper
This book is terrifying, more so because it’s very real. Alex Cooper’s account of her time in “gay conversion therapy” reads like an account of kidnapped and abused child victims except her parents willingly put her there and to this day refuse to believe that was a terrible decision.

immortalirishman
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan
This was part of my Recommended Books project this year! It’s a biography of Thomas Francis Meagher, who was exiled to Tasmania for his part in a failed Great Potato Famine-era Irish revolution, escaped imprisonment, and went on to become governor of Montana-territory!! Another non-fiction book that reads like a novel; I learned a lot.

atlasobscura
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer
A non-fiction book about little-known destinations around the world!!

Previously: 2015: The Good
Next: 2016: The Bad

Top 10 books with less than 200 reviews on GoodReads

I saw this idea on someone else’s blog, a fellow member of my penpal club. It got me curious about my own books, so I headed over to GoodReads and sorted my books based on total number of ratings.

I was surprised by how hard it was to narrow it down to just ten! It turns out I’ve rated a lot of books well that are not so popular. I discounted all the picture books, since picture books are not really in GoodReads’ target audience. Some of these are relatively recent, so perhaps they will acquire more attention as time goes on. Here’s what I finally narrowed it down to:

This Day in the Life: Diaries from Women Across America ed. Joni B. Cole, Rebecca Joffrey, and B.K. Rakhra

top1011

Year Published: 2005
# of ratings: 190
Avg rating: 3.57
My rating: 5

This book is a collection of journal entries different women in the US kept on the same day. Most of them are very ordinary, but offer a really interesting look into the lives and perspectives of different people. As an avid journal-keeper, I am all about it.

Augie and the Green Knight by Zach Weiner with illustrations by Boulet

top1010

Year Published: 2014
# of ratings: 176
Avg rating: 4.16
My rating: 5

This book is hilarious and also really well-written and illustrated. It’s a retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from the perspective of the Green Knight and his sidekick, Augie. (Augie would say the Green Knight is her sidekick). I wish it had been around when I was a kid.

Why’d They Wear That?: Fashion as the Mirror of History by Sarah Albee

top109

Year Published: 2015
# of ratings: 169
Avg rating: 4.12
My rating: 4

A history through fashion covers two of my interests in one, and does so with great pictures.

Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

top108

Year published: 2015
# of ratings: 146
Avg rating: 4.00
My rating: 5

This book was SUPER interesting, with lots of great pictures about how these tiny houses are constructed and manage to fit everything in.

No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers by Barbara Hodgson

top107

Year Published: 2002
# of ratings: 111
Avg rating: 3.71
My rating: 5

I think about this book a lot. It tells the stories of a few brave women who decided to travel the world at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable or safe for women to do so. Their observations are so interesting, and their ways of dealing with their detractors are informative even for modern life.

Teen Angst: A Celebration of Really Bad Poetry ed. Sara Bynoe

top106

Year Published: 2005
# of ratings: 59
Avg rating: 3.46
My rating: 4

Pretty much what it says on the cover, and you KNOW I am here for that.

African Princess: The Amazing Lives of Africa’s Royal Women by Joyce Hansen

top105

Year Published: 2004
# of ratings: 25
Avg rating: 4.08
My rating: 5

This book introduced me to some really cool historical figures I’d never heard of before! I wish I had been exposed to more African history beyond Ancient Egypt earlier in life.

The Barbarian Princess by Laura Buchanan (aka Florence King)

top104

Year published: 1978
# of ratings: 21
Avg rating: 3.95
My rating: 5

This book is what you get when a historian is forced to write a trashy romance novel to fund her alcoholism. Because that is exactly what it is. Set in the final days of the Roman Empire, the heroine meets a bunch of historical figures and also is like a reincarnated druid princess or something (you can pinpoint the exact chapter in the writing process where the author decided, fuck it, writing drunk is good enough). Despite all of its ridic flaws, it’s probably the most researched trashy romance novel I’ve ever read. And you know my credentials on that.

Foods That Make You Say MMM-MMM by Bob Garner

top103

Year Published: 2014
# of ratings: 18
Avg rating: 4.06
My rating: 4.00

Bob Garner reviews restaurants for our local PBS show, North Carolina Weekend, but he also knows a lot about the state’s food history. I learned a lot from this book, and there were some good recipes. More about it here.

The Knit Parade: 12 Statement Sweater Patterns, 12 Motifs to Meddle with by Wheres Me Jumper

top102

Year Published: 2013
# of ratings: 5
Avg rating: 3.60
My rating: 4

This is the book I read that taught me how to do this:

Look at this beast

Look at this beast

I didn’t include this as part of the ten, but felt like I should add as a post script:

The Knight, the Wizard, and the Lady Pig by Patricia R. Ladd

top101

Year Published: 2004
# of ratings: 4
Avg rating: 4.75
My rating: 5

Gotta give your own book 5 stars on GoodReads, guys.

2015: The Pretty

I always feel like I need to make up for my The Ugly part of the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by doing a post of book covers I actually liked. Here they are:

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

This cover is exciting and breathtaking, just like the book!

Lumberjanes Volumes 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes Volumes 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

How could these graphic novels not be on here when I love the art style so much!!

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shereen El Feki

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World by Shereen El Feki

I think this cover is incredibly clever.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

Graphic novels I liked usually make it into The Pretty post because half the reason I like them is the art.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

Beautiful!!!!

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Exciting!!

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

This cover is why I read this book, to be honest.

I Text Dead People by Rose Cooper

I Text Dead People by Rose Cooper

This one still makes me laugh

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland

Okay, maybe I just like pie.

Previously: 2015 The Ugly, 2014 The Pretty

2015: The Ugly

Time for the dubious awards of Ugliest Books I read this year. It should come as no surprise that this year’s winner is:

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump

Nothing is uglier than a picture of Donald Trump, 80s style lol. Unless maybe it’s Donald Trump 2015. The rest:

101 Things You Need to Know and Some You Don't by Richard Horne

101 Things You Need to Know and Some You Don’t by Richard Horne

Boring

The Frazzled Female by Cindi Wood

The Frazzled Female by Cindi Wood

OMG I’m so frazzled, I’m trying to talk on two different phones while doing the dishes and holding random toys. WOMEN

Gender Blender by Blake Nelson

Gender Blender by Blake Nelson

I get what this cover is trying to do, but the color scheme is all wrong.

Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland

Love and Miss Communication by Elyssa Friedland

Boring AND misleading

Here's the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore "by" Mike Sorrentino

Here’s the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore “by” Mike Sorrentino

Oh god, do I even have to say

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

I actually liked this book, a family saga set in a remote seaside town. But the cover is doing nothing for me.

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

So much vampire iconography to choose from, and they go with this boring, terribly-colored thing

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

Boring

The O'Reilly Factor for Kids by Bill O'Reilly

The O’Reilly Factor for Kids by Bill O’Reilly

Has Bill O’Reilly on it

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Boring and bad color scheme

The Atlas of Languages

The Atlas of Languages

Boring

Things I Have to Tell you: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls ed. Betsy Franco

Things I Have to Tell you: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls ed. Betsy Franco

This cover doesn’t stand out at all. Even if it was color instead of black and white it would be more appealing.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Boring

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939

Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910-1939

So boring

Previously: 2015 The Bad, 2014 The Ugly
Next: Bonus Post: 2015 The Pretty

2015: The Good

This year I read 148 books! Here are the ones I rated five stars on GoodReads.

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M. H. Boroson

This was my favorite book I read this year!!! A great mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Kung Fu movies, I learned a lot about Chinese folklore in this historical fiction-fantasy-adventure. Set in 1800s Chinatown, this book follows Li-lin, a Daoist priestess who can see into the spirit world as she tries to save her city from the vengeful ravages of a man-made monster.

Lumberjanes Volumes 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

Lumberjanes Volumes 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson

These graphic novels are awesome! The Lumberjanes are like more badass girl scouts who must survive a summer camp in a forest full of mythical monsters. Also, friendship bracelets!!

Illuminae by Alice Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Alice Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This book fucked me up. It’s a sci-fi/horror/epistolary/adventure of badassness.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

This memoir tells the story of Nicole, a transgender girl, and her family’s experiences as she grew up. It’s a really interesting portrait, not just of a transgender individual, but of the family and community around her and how they react and are affected by her transformation.

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti

This book talks about one book per short chapter, a personal essay about it followed by a recipe. I liked the essays so much, because they mirrored some of my experiences with certain books (Anne of Green Gables) and otherwise just spoke to growing up as a reader and how books can affect your life. Plus delicious food!

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz

I learned a lot from this book!!! There were plenty of rad American women I’d never heard of.

The Wacky and Wonderful World Through Numbers by Steve Martin

The Wacky and Wonderful World Through Numbers by Steve Martin

This was a fun, interesting book that anyone who likes statistics or world records would enjoy!

Dietland by Sarai Walker

Dietland by Sarai Walker

THIS BOOK. I loved its message of militant body positivity and feminism, and all the different variations of each. It’s so rare to have a fat lady protagonist who doesn’t end the book living happily ever after by losing weight. I found this book really inspiring, especially when the main character muses that being fat is kind of a super power in that it shows you how people really are. The people who are jerks to her may have hid their inner jerkiness if she were pretty, but she knows their reactions to her are their genuine selves, good or bad. I think about that a lot.

The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits

The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits

This was like a cross between a diary and a series of personal essays on many different subjects. I really like Heidi Julavits’ voice and sense of humor.

Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

Microshelters: 59 Creative Cabins, Tiny Houses, Tree Houses, and Other Small Structures by Derek Diedricksen

I don’t know if I could ever live in a tiny house myself (especially not with Steven and Olivia), but it was so interesting seeing the different creative ways people packed what they needed into such a small frame.

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

This is a travelogue graphic novel about a pretty epic trip through Europe. I’ve read a few of Knisley’s graphic novels, and I really enjoy her art style and down-to-earth writing.
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