Not Martha

What I’ve Been Reading

I read almost exclusively on the Kindle app on my iPhone these days which makes it much more difficult to insert the photograph of a stack of these books:

Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries
By Jon Ronson, obviously. I’m a fan of Ronson’s from hearing his stories on NPR but this is the first book of his that I’ve read, the sample chapter on Juggalos pulled me right in.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal
By Mary Roach. This is a nonfiction book about the human digestive tract, it’s entertaining and so fascinating.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
By Allie Brosh. I read this one on my iPad because it’s full of her signature illustrations. Her stories about childhood and depression and things in general are hilarious and touching.

By Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant. It’s about a future where engineered parasites are used to keep us thin an healthy, what could possibly go wrong? I’m a fan of Seanan McGuire’s Feed trilogy (Feed, Deadline and Blackout) which is about bloggers and zombies and government conspiracy and I really love the novellas she’s released that are set in the same world (see: San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats and Apocalypse Scenario #683 among more). I’m also really enjoying her Indexing serial about fairy tales invading the modern world and her book about what superheros might really be like, Velveteen vs. The Junior Super-Patriots. Can you tell I’m a fan? I’m a fan.

Someday, Someday, Maybe
This was written by Lauren Graham, yes Loreli Gilmore, and it has the sparkling, funny, bumbling character that you would hope for. It’s about a struggling actress living in New York in the 90s when a show called Friends was just starting to air. Utterly enjoyed it.

The Cuckoo’s Calling
By Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling. I liked the first part so much I saved it for travel reading.

Knight School
By Andrew Mayne. A YA novel about a secret society of battling teens between two high schools. Does love get in the way? Yes, of course. I also really liked Mayne’s two The Chronological Man novels (it’s steampunk Dr. Who, The Monster in the Mist and The Martian Emperor) and his spin on zombies called Public Enemy Zero. (His books are also nicely inexpensive.)

Daring Adventures of Lucy Smokeheart
By Andrea Phillips. This is a year-long monthly serial and each new addition contains a puzzle, the answer to which unlocks a page on the Lucy Smokeheart site. At the end of series there will be a real treasure hunt (!!!). I saved these for some serious puzzle solving time on trains while on our trip. Each part is available to download and she’s also collected parts 1-3 and parts 4-6. Here are links to each she’s published so far (and she’s not done yet!): Book of Secrets, The Mermaid’s Crown, Port St. Never, Lizards of Skull Island, Ice Storm, The Governor’s Ball. These are all short and very fun.

By Hugh Howey. This is a series of books about an apocalyptic society living inside a bunker for generations and the first set, Wool, kept me really engaged but I don’t find myself quite wanting to revisit the story in the follow up books called Shift and Dust. Still, I didn’t know how the original story ended and it was one of those times when I was glad to be free of spoilers, it was fun. Has anybody read Shift and Dust? Should I keep going?

By Peter Stenson. I feel like I’ve read my way through all the zombie novels and am quick to abandon any that don’t keep me. This one I read and enjoyed. It mixes drug addiction and zombies and, well, the end isn’t the happy sort.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple. I don’t know if I’d have liked this book as much if it wasn’t set in Seattle and I didn’t recognize some of the character types. That said, it started in Seattle and ended up very far away and I liked the journey.

And Another Thing
By Eoin Colfer. I was a huge fan of Douglas Adams (I listened to the original Hitchhiker’s radio series on road trips over and over again) and I’m also a fan of Eoin Colfer but for some reason I cannot bring myself to read past the first few pages of this book that is an extension of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. I feel like I am cheating on my celebrity crush with an imposter, even though I know that Adams’ widow chose Colfer to write this. Give me encouragement? Did you read it and love it? What am I so afraid of?

Your turn – what are you reading? What have you really enjoyed lately? Tell me because I’ve completely run out and my eyes need more words to consume!

· comments [33] · 01-21-2014 · categories:books · shopping ·

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sarah // Jan 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Tell The Wolves I’m Home
    …a really powerful, poignant coming of age story.

  • 2 Tina C. // Jan 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Have you read Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series? it’s similar to the Indexing serial. :) I love all her work.

  • 3 nap // Jan 21, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I love Jon Ronson! I also love that he reads his own books for the audiobook version. I enjoy listening to him tell the story more than I enjoy reading the story.

  • 4 Katie Lynn // Jan 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I just finished The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simison. Incredibly good book. I believe it’s a KDD for $2.99 all month.

  • 5 megan // Jan 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Tina C – I have seen those as well as the Incryptid series but urban fantasy doesn’t grab me the same way that her writing as Mira Grant does. Those are good books for when I don’t know what to read next though, and I know they are two of her favorite things to write.

  • 6 megan // Jan 21, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    nap – I should have gotten the book on tape! While I’m reading his book I do hear his voice very clearly, I’ve been listening to him on This American Life for a few years now.

  • 7 megan // Jan 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    These are all great suggestions, thank you!

  • 8 Pam K // Jan 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I loved the Rainbow Rowell books – Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, especially.

    (Also liked Wool, but don’t care to read the rest. I think because it’s been so long I’d have to re-read it to get back into it.)

  • 9 Brianne // Jan 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I need the answer to the Wool question as well. Our book club read it and loved it. Erik read it and loved it, but I don’t think anyone has moved on. Erik has Shift out to sea with him right now so perhaps I’ll have an update when the Navy brings him home.

  • 10 kayceebee // Jan 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Katie Lynn…..
    The Rosie Project looks interesting. I just bought it for my Kindle on Amazon for $1.99.

    I just finished Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman and both were very good. Another really good book I’ve read a couple times is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

  • 11 Julia // Jan 21, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Just finished The Rosie Project, it was delightful

  • 12 Donna Sue // Jan 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I couldn’t put Wool down, and I read Shift and Dust just as voraciously, though Dust was probably my least favorite. I just bought Half Way Home on my Kindle, but I haven’t cracked it open yet.

  • 13 Donna Sue // Jan 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Oh! And I’ll put in a good word for Flowertown by S.G. Redling. It’s not perfect, but I enjoyed it.

  • 14 Maria // Jan 22, 2014 at 12:20 am

    The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared

    Just finished it and it was so great.
    I introduced a coworker to the Wool series, and he told me about the subsequent sequel. He really liked it.

    I also really like most of the stuff by Jasper Fforde, especially Shades of Grey. The latter books in the Thursday Next series didn’t grab or hold my attention as much as the first, but they were still enjoyable.

  • 15 amy // Jan 22, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Jon Ronson’s other books are excellent. I especially love the audiobook version of “Them”, which Ronson reads himself.

    Everyone is talking about Donna Tartt’s new novel “The Goldfinch”. I just started it and it’s beautifully written.

    And of course, Mary Roach’s other books are must-reads.

    I wouldn’t recommend the “Wool” follow-ups.

  • 16 Adrienne // Jan 22, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Don’t bother with the Colfer book. Leaving aside the whole “he’s not Douglas Adams” thing, it’s not a very well written book and never really pays off in the end.

  • 17 jenlyjen // Jan 22, 2014 at 7:41 am

    since you’re an NPR fan you may have heard a review a few months ago of Elena Ferrante’s newest book, the second of her “Neapolitan trilogy.” The reviewer was so enthusiastic about her writing that I requested that my library order the 2 books of the trilogy and I tore through them. She is amazing and her writing stays with you, reverberates throughout your day.

  • 18 Miss B // Jan 22, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Since everyone else apparently thinks this is normal, I’ll ask the question I want to ask you — and everyone I see doing this on the bus, ever — how on earth can anyone read anything more than a text message ON A PHONE and actually enjoy the experience even the tiniest bit??? I don’t get this at all.

    As for books, though, I will second “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out A Window And Disappeared” — I was unexpectedly charmed by it. Oliver Sacks’ latest (from a year or so ago) “Hallucinations” was really excellent (but I’m a huge Oliver Sacks fan). Any of Antonya Nelson’s short story collections (I just read “Nothing Right” several times — she does small-scale tragedy and small-scale beauty like nobody else).

  • 19 Katrina // Jan 22, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I adored Wool and Shift and Dust. I actually re-read Wool and Shift in preparation for Dust. Someone else mentioned Halfway Home and it was okay, but YA and pretty short. I also enjoyed Hugh Howey’s Molly Fyde stories, those are also YA and set in space!

    Hugh Howey did just release Sand and I enjoyed that also, it’s also set in the future, but a really neat premise.

  • 20 LauraVW // Jan 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Interesting list! I have just finished Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I loved it so much. I don’t read a lot of fiction these days, but this had me hooked all the way through, so I shall work through her other books soon. Now I’m reading the Morrissey autobiography, which is well-written and interesting, albeit gloomy.

  • 21 Manders // Jan 22, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I just finished The Cuckoo’s Calling and found it delightful, although I’m still ruminating on its thoughts on race and adoption. (And she did that signature J.K. Rowling thing of “drop a whole lot of subtle hints and then unravel the whole thing in a significant conversation at the very end with the antagonist!”) Working my way through Stiff by the aforementioned Mary Roach (this one’s about cadavers and I freak people out by reading it during my lunch break at work) and a book called Daily Routines, which catalogues exactly what it says in the title.

  • 22 Kate // Jan 23, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Good timing—I recently read Wool and really enjoyed it. The second book, Shift, is aptly titled: it takes a complete tonal and content shift. It felt like a fair amount of work to get through the first third of it, and generally I read this book much more slowly than the first in the trilogy. I’m stubborn, so I’ll probably pick up Dust too, but if I were you, I might cut my losses and remember Wool as a standalone story.

  • 23 Kate // Jan 23, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    PS, I listened to the audio version of Gulp, read by Emily Woo Zeller, and I LOVED it!

  • 24 Carol // Jan 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    The Lifters….it is set in Seattle, the Seattle of the 1900’s. Enjoyable read and a great deal from Amazon right now.

  • 25 Ellen // Jan 27, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I loved Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Right now I am reading Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam, having reread the first two books of the trilogy. I was on the fence about the first two books when I first read them, but found more to love on the second pass. Margaret Atwood’s work can be deceptively simple. What seems like an easy read often has a lot of meat.

  • 26 Kate // Jan 27, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Nthing the Wool stuff…I liked Shift and Dust too, but I think Shift was my least favorite.

    I did NOT really care for Halfway Home, but I did really get into the Sand series he just released.

  • 27 AD // Jan 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Keep reading the Wool, Shift and Dust series – so worth it! The author’s writing gets better and better. In the middle of Shift right now and have a hard time putting it down.

  • 28 Kim // Jan 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    When I Found you by the author of Pay it Forward – so sad but so happy.
    Rosie Project by author of Silver Linings Playbook – so funny, so written for the movie.
    Also – another love for the Wool series.

  • 29 barb // Jan 29, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I read Wool and Dust, I tried to read Shift but I also had a hard time getting through the first part, so I just skipped to Dust. I found Wool definately better than the other two, but Dust was good too, and I would read it!

  • 30 jennifer // Feb 13, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    thank u for your awesome blog! im always passing on your suggestions to my family. my daughter just read lucy smokeheart #1 and is trying to describe it to me to figure out what the puzzle is… is the puzzle figuring out what the symbol is? (im sorry to say we aren’t even sure what we are solving…)

  • 31 megan // Feb 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Jennifer – I have no idea how to decipher the first clue! I’m close to cheating and looking it up online.

  • 32 megan // Feb 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you everybody for the great suggestions and commiseration!

  • 33 Veronica // Feb 16, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Just finished Eleanor & Park and loved it! It’s still $5 for Kindle right now. Put it on the list :)

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