Well, the blog might be dying, but if there's one thing I can still write about, it's books! Here we go again, in no particular order.
1) Author Shannon Hale. I've had so much fun reading her YA books, including the Princess Academy trilogy and the Books of Bayern. They all feature strong female leads and I really, really want somebody to make a movie out of the Princess Academy. Austenland and Midnight in Austenland were also fun, so if you're an Austenite maybe start there. They're a little more adult though, so if you want something fluffier definitely go for the Princess Academy books.
2) Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, by Mary Roach. Not as much fun to read as Stiff, but still educational and entertaining.
3) The Darkborn Legacy, by Michael Griffo. Teen Werewolf and her posse. 'Nuff said. (Actually, of course I'm going to put another comment in parentheses, because that's what I do. I liked it. I thought it was kind of predictable, but there were enough little twists to keep me interested. I also appreciated the relationship between the main character and her younger brother, because it seemed pretty realistic.)
4) Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. I don't think there's anything I could say about this that hasn't already been said by someone else, better than I could say it. If you're an artist, or looking for inspiration or purpose, or you're a mentor, or looking for a mentor, or just want to get nostalgic over good letter-writing, read this.
5) Inside Out and Outside In, both by Maria V. Snyder. One of my recently favorited authors, though this pair was not my favorite. Distopian future, reminds me of Lord of the Flies in a more urban setting, but with Big Brother watching. Maybe...Meh.
6) The BFG, by Roald Dahl. It had been a long time since I read anything by Dahl, and there was a BFG mural/exhibition at Buckingham Palace when I visited this summer, so I got inspired to pick this one up. I forgot there was a new movie too, and now that's also on my list to watch. Classic for a reason! The BFG gives the best speeches with the most interesting vocabulary and I can't wait to see that realized on the BS (big screen....).
7) Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel. I powered through this one but didn't enjoy it overly much. Bizarre incident, bizarre artifact, lots of fake-science, whiny protagonists. It's like something Stephen King might have written when he was 19. But hey, if that's your thing, go for it!
8) All of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Reading these reminded me that as much as I think I'm a badass, I would not survive a zombie attack. Can you imagine giving your five year-old a pig's bladder to play with? Grinding wheat in a coffee grinder to make bread, every day, in sub-zero temperatures? No, me either. Kids these days are so spoiled...
9) When We Wake and While We Run, both by Karen Healy. A distopian future book I actually enjoyed. It's set in Australia so some of the references were unfamiliar to me, but it makes me want to recycle and conserve water and do all the things I know I should be doing but don't, or am only half-assedly doing, to help save our planet. Also, be nice to each other, because we never know who we're going to have to go on the lam with.
10) Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't, by Simon Sinek. Yawn. Turns out I don't like reading leadership books when I don't have to.
11) Before They are Hanged, by Joe Abercrombie. Tony has been raving about this author for a while, so I picked up the first book. I enjoyed it, though it was a little hard to keep track of the characters. (Abercrombie has nothing on George R. R. Martin in that respect, however.) I will continue on with the series.
I also took a mythology class and a photography class this fall for academic credit, and did lots of reading for each of those. One of my favorite sites for photography information was cambridgeincolour.com. It has lots of short articles and tutorials and examples, and I experienced several lightbulb moments due to that site. One of our main sources in the mythology class was Bulfinch's Mythology, which I found quite difficult to wade through. For one, it's from the mid-1800s so the writing style is different from what most people ready on a daily basis. And second, he often assumes a level of familiarity that modern scholars just don't get in the classroom. Still, it's worth delving into if you want to learn more, particularly about Greek and Roman mythology.
I know there were more, but that's about as good as my record-keeping gets. There were a few cooking and cookbooks, celebrity memoirs, and fluff books, plus I re-read the first HP book again. It's been a good few months for me, book-wise! I hope 2017 yields as many good finds. Next up: In the Woods, by Tana French. It's the first book in the Dublin Murder Squad series and I've already read the first two chapters, but put it down and got distracted and accidentally left it behind when I went on vacation. Oops!