Once again, I’m feeling overwhelmed by life in general, which is spilling over to my creative pursuits, or lack thereof in this case. I have been bad about writing on the blog, and for that I am sorry. It seems like the only things I have free time for these days are reading books for Netgalley and Goodreads, and volunteering for the Library, with occasional video game play thrown in every now and then. I’ve been volunteering for about 6 weeks now and love it. Granted, if I happen to get the job I just interviewed for, I would have to stop as it is an evening position 😦 , so we’ll try to have fun with it while I can. I think part of the reason I enjoy it are for the great people in the group, who want to be there to improve themselves and their English language skills and are genuinely nice folks. The other part is the interesting discussions we get into at times. Like this past week, when we were talking about stereotypes for different regions of the US and that developed into how harmful they can be. As for the video games, my hubby bought me this awesome MMORPG called “The Secret World“, which is supposed to be a kind of sci-fi/dystopian/horror game with three factions, who are trying to control the outcome of the fight for the world. But it kept crashing and I couldn’t figure out exactly why, and then we found out it was because I would basically need a whole new computer to run it. Since I’m not in school anymore, I think I would like a more gamer-friendly computer in the future. So stuck with playing SWTOR and Torchlight II until I can find something more interesting that my computer can handle.

On to the real topic of this post. So I saw a similar post on a Teen Librarian’s blog that I follow, and thought it was a cool idea as the year is half over, so I thought I would share my lists. She only listed YA books, but I thought I would list all three categories and why I picked the books. All of these books (minus a couple exceptions) are ones that I have reviewed on the blog, so feel free to look them up.

  • Children
    • The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex : story was hilarious and great illustrations
    • Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el: fantastic illustrations and good story
    • Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen: loved the mostly black/white/gray illustrations, with the yarn being the only splashes of color
    • Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown: This book was like watching a b & w horror movie, but way cuter
    • Tibet Through the Red Box by Peter Sis: Peter Sis is a fabulous thoughtful storyteller and and even better illustrator
    • Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop: love that she did these illustrations on wood and then photographed them, plus cute story
    • Squid and Octopus are Friends Forever by Tao Nyeu: adorable illustrations and story
    • Perfectly Percy by Paul Schmid: loved the simple story and adorable illustrations
    • Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex: Neil Gaiman, what can I say? Love his work. Discovered Adam Rex’s brilliant illustration skills with this book
    • Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer, adapted and illustrated by Barbara Cooney: The only really old book (1950s) to make it to the list, but I adored Barbara Cooney’s illuminated manuscript-like illustrations for this book
  • YA
    • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Probably my favorite book of the entire year, in all categories. Just an excellent story and Wil Wheaton was fabulous as the narrator
    • Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1) by Gail Carriger: Was hesitant to read this book at first, but now am totally in love with this series
    • Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2) by Gail Carriger: Fabulous follow-up book to the first (can’t do proper review until closer to release date)
    • The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger’s Apprentice #10) by John Flanagan: As usual, John Flanagan and narrator John Keating weave an extraordinary tapestry of adventure, action and a touch of romance
    • Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama: an unexpected book, but one I really enjoyed
    • The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2) by Y.S. Lee: I discovered the whole series (3 so far) this year and have fallen in love with Mary the half Chinese/half Caucasian main character and spy – this one is probably my favorite for story, though the romance is better in the 3rd book
    • The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth : extremely well-written story about a lesbian teen girl from Montana
    • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz : can’t explain the awesomeness of this book, but do check my review on it
    • Viva Jacquelina! Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Over the Hills and Far Away (Bloody Jack #10) by L.A. Meyer : I love his books and this was the latest in the series; how cool is it that she gets to work with the Spanish artist Goya and ride bulls?
    • The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co, #1) by Jonathan Stroud: I loved his Bartimaeus books, so checking out this one which Rick Riordan (another favorite YA author) loved seemed natural 
  • Adult
    • Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha’s Secret Library, and the Unearthing of the World’s Oldest Printed Book by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters: the title alone makes this book sound interesting, but it really was a fascinating look into Buddhism, the world’s oldest book and early 20th century exploration
    • Shanghai Love by Lynn Wong: I am so grateful to have gotten a free copy of this book and to have been able to review the book for the author
    • Home is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family’s Journey to China by Aminta Arrington: Great title and fascinating story about living in a foreign country and not speaking the language
    • In My Father’s Country by Saima Wahib: fantastic biography
    • Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King: I love Renaissance Italian art and this is a great glimpse into the art/architecture/engineering of the age
    • Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland by Nina Mukerjee Furstenau: My last post and review, a great cross-genre biography
    • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss: the true story about author Alexandre Dumas’ father, who he based a lot of his book characters off of
    • Her Ladyship’s Curse (Disenchanted & Co, #1) by Lynn Viehl: a fun steampunk magical journey
    • Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney: a graphic novel approach to explaining Bipolar Disorder
    • Gilgamesh: A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell: a classic that had one crazy story, but entertaining nonetheless
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