Sunday Salon: Books Read in January, 2014

Children’s and Young Adult Fiction:
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. Post-apocalyptic romance that takes Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion as its inspiration.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Well-written but disappointing in its worldview.
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. Deserving of the Newbery Medal it just won for Best American children’s book.
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos. A “problem novel” about a teenage boy who is dealing with abusive parents and depression (or perhaps bipolar disorder?). Engaging, but something about his YA novel bothered me. Cybils nominee in the category of YA fiction.

Adult Fiction:
The Circle by Dave Eggers. Eerily reflective of now and the possible future in regard to social media, in particular.
Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. A riot of a historical adventure story with loads of wordplay.
Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse. A silly romp with characters who could be Bertie and Jeeves, but aren’t.

Nonfiction:
House-Dreams by Hugh Howard. How a writer and self-taught builder/contractor/home designer built a home for his family—mostly by himself with a little bit of hired help.
Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre. World War II true espionage story about a criminal turned British double agent.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.

Did Not Finish (DNF):
Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian. Too much, you guessed it, (teen) sex and violence. In addition the characters, all of them, are extremely unsympathetic, and the dad’s 180 degree change of behavior was unbelievable. Add in nasty language and nasty behavior. I gave it a good 100 pages, and I can’t guarantee that it doesn’t get better, but I decided to DNF this YA Fiction Cybils nominee and hope that it doesn’t win.

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