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[personal profile] sarahmichigan
Book No. 37 was "The Book of Strange New Things" by Michel Faber. It's the story of Peter, a liberal Christian minister sent off to be pastor to a flock of aliens on a planet called Oasis. While he's gone on his mission trip, things don't go well back home on Earth for his wife, Bea. I hate to say too much more about this book and spoil plot points, but I will say that though it's ostensibly about a Christian pastor's relationship with aliens, it's just as much about human relationships with each other. I cried a couple times and found this book affecting and beautiful. I'd like to read more by the author.

Book No. 38 was "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt, as an audiobook. This book won a Pulitzer Prize but was controversial among critics, with some of them raving about it, and others criticizing it. It tells the long (26 discs on audiobook/500-ish pages in print) rambling story of Theo Decker, starting as he's a 13-year-old boy who loses his mother in the bombing of an art museum. The title of the story comes from his relationship to a painting, "The Goldfinch," thought lost during the bombing. I felt the earlier passages of the book were the strongest because Theo as a grieving young teen is immensely relate-able and sympathetic, so that carries you along through the story. Later, when the story jumps ahead to Theo in his 20s making a lot of the same mistakes his father did, my sympathy began to wear a bit. I really loved some of the support characters, particularly his mentor Hobie and his teenage best friend Boris. I think this book is imperfect but there's a lot to like about it. Recommended.

1. Death's End (3rd in the "Three-Body Problem" trilogy) [fiction]- Cixin Liu (translation by Ken Liu)
2. Brat Farrar [fiction]- Josephine Tey
3. Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored [nonfiction]- Mary Gabriel
4. Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home [fiction]- Sheri Booker
5. Heap House (1st in the Iremonger trilogy) [fiction]- Edward Carey
6. Air [fiction]- Geoff Ryman
7. The Intuitionist [fiction]- Colson Whitehead
8. The Monster of Florence: A True Story [nonfiction]- Douglas Preston, with Mario Spezi
9. Foulsham (2nd in the Iremonger trilogy) [fiction]- Edward Carey
10. The Secret Place [fiction]- Tana French (unabridged audiobook)
11. Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga [nonfiction]- Pamela Newkirk
12. Between the World and Me [nonfiction]- Ta-nehisi Coates (unabridged audiobook)
13. Everfair [fiction]- Nisi Shawl
14. The Departed (first in the "The Departed" trilogy) [fiction]- Kristy Cooper
15. The Night Circus [fiction]- Erin Morgenstern (unabridged audiobook)
16. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [fiction]- Anne Bronte
17. The Story of My Tits [graphic nonfiction]- Jennifer Hayden
18. Long Black Curl (a novel of the Tufa) [fiction]- Alex Bledsoe
19. Ursula, Under[fiction]- Ingrid Hill
20. The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World [nonfiction]- David Jaher
21. The Sheltering Sky [fiction]- Paul Bowles
22. Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond [fiction/short stories]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
23. The sound the stars make rushing through the sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft [fiction/poetry/biography]- writings by JJS, ed. Robert Dale Parker
24. Love in the Time of Cholera [fiction]- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
25. The Golden Ass [fiction]- Apuleis
26. Ghetto Klown [graphic memoir]- John Leguizamo (illustrated by Christa Cassano and Shamus Beyale)
27. Good Kings Bad Kings [fiction]- Susan Nussbaum
28. The Night Gardener [fiction]- Jonathan Auxier
29. Close Range: Wyoming Stories [fiction/short stories]- Annie Proulx
30. The Things They Carried [fiction/short stories]- Tim O'Brien
31. Elephants Can Remember [fiction]- Agatha Christie
32. The Shadow Hero [graphic fiction]- Gene Luen Yang (illustrated by Sonny Liew)
33. Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want [nonfiction]- Nicholas Epley
34. The Mistress's Daughter [nonfiction/memoir]- A.M. Homes
35. The Silence of Our Friends [nonfiction/graphic memoir]- Mark Long and Jim Demonakos (ill. Nate Powell)
36. Under the Udala Trees [fiction]- Chinelo Okparanta
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