Book It – Memoirs & Mysteries

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I can’t believe it’s almost the end of May already. Where has this year gone? I feel like I’ve lost days or even weeks inside the pages of a book, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.  I’m managing to knock a few more items off my checklist, and even get through my pile of books to read, without adding to many more. (You can see the goals for my reading list on the 2015 Reading List from PopSugar.)


My shelves are still full of books. I keep having to re-stack them to make all of the books fit, but I like it that way.


The collection of books I’ve finished and am willing to part with for my Little Free Library has grown, but there are still so many books to read. I can’t seem to help buying more. (Booklr problems…)

Finished Books This Month

Then Again

Having found it at a local discount store for $1, I didn’t have any choice but to pick up and read Then Again by Diane Keaton. It was a beautifully honest memoir about her life, focusing heavily on her relationship with her mother. I highly recommend picking up this book, whether you are a fan of her acting or not.

Checked off the list:

  • A book by a female author
  • A nonfiction book – Isn’t a memoir automatically non-fiction?
  • A memoir
  • A book with antonyms in the title
  • A book that made you cry – There were some very sad parts to this story, but also some very happy ones.
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan showed up in my Amazon recommendations a few months ago, and after reading the synopsis, it seemed like the type of book I would love. It totally was. And a great big thanks Janie of Isabella’s Whimsy for pushing me to start the book. It was amazing- the type of book that made me happy to be such a nerd. The book referenced Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information as well as xkcd comics and Ruby programming. Yep, totally a nerd.

Checked off the list:

  • A book with a number in the title
  • A mystery or thriller – I know this book probably wouldn’t be categorized this way by most people, but the story was written in such a way that I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.
  • A book a friend recommended – Thanks again Jaine!
  • A book you can finish in a day – I don’t know if most people would be able to finish this book in the span of 24 hours, but once I started reading this novel, I just couldn’t put it down.
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

The Gods Themselves

The Gods Themselves by Issac Asimov was an amazing story. I’ve always loved science-fiction but it’s been a long time since I’ve set down and read a classic science-fiction novel. Most of my love for science fiction is in Heinlein’s work  And – don’t judge – it’s the first of Asimov’s novels that I’ve read.  The book was divided up into 3 different parts, each telling a different side of a story across universes. The explanation of science in the novel went over my head a time or tow, but if you enjoy science-fiction, I definitely recommend you picking it up.

Checked off the list:

  • A book with non-human characters
  • A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. – as a child who grew up on Trek, I’ve always wanted to go to space, even though I’m sure I’d never have the nerve, even if it became possible in my lifetime.
  • A book with a love triangle – quite literally, but I’ll leave you to understand that in the 2nd part of the book.
  • A book set in the future
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

Nancy Drew

The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk is the 17th book in the Nancy Drew mystery series. Nancy Drew, who first appeared in The Secret of the Old Clock in 1930, was originally created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer and was ghost written by several authors, all under the pseudonym Carolyn Keen. This particular novel was actually penned by Mildred Wirt Benson.

In this particular mystery, we follow Nancy, and her friends Bess and George, as they get tangled up in a mystery revolving around Nancy’s steamer trunk during a trip to South America. I can’t tell you much more than that without giving away the plot, but I will tell you that I always enjoy a Nancy Drew novel. They’re a quick, light read when I need a break from more grown up novels.  As a note: I always read the originals, because that’s what I started with, but I am told that they have also been rewritten/updated for new audiences.

Checked off the list:

  • A book by a female author
  • A mystery or thriller
  • A book set in a different country
  • A book by an author you love but haven’t read yet.
  • A book your mom loves – OK, I’m not sure that she “loves” this book in particular, but she is the one who got me started on Nancy Drew by purchasing my first several books.
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book from your childhood – Granted, I hadn’t read this one until now, but Nancy Drew was very much a part of my growing up.
  • A banned book – Did you know that when these books were first published, many libraries and bookstores wouldn’t carry the novels because they thought that Nancy Drew was not a proper role model for young girls. This was because she was often going off by herself, disobeying her father, and the like in order to solve her mysteries.


stir-book-coverStir: My Broken Brain and the Meals That Brought Me Home is a memoir by Jessica Fechtor, author of Sweet Amandine, a food blog. The book tells the story of the aneurysm that burst in her brain and her journey to recovery which began in the kitchen. Read my full review of the book here. The book will officially be released on June 23, 2015.

Checked off the list:

  • A book published this year
  • A book by a female author
  • A book with a one-word title
  • A book set in a different country (only parts of it)
  • A memoir
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant is a novel by Alex Gilvarry. This novel, written as a 1st person memoir about a fashion designer named Boy Hernandez is beautifully written and researched. The whole time I was reading the novel, I kept wanting to look up news articles that were mentioned to find out more. I’m not a fan of book about war, but this book was not about war. It was the story of one man’s attempt to break into the fashion industry and how it went horribly wrong.  I would recommend this book to anyone who like fashion or memoirs.

Checked off the list:

  • A book set in a different country – parts of this book take place in the Philippines, and in “No Man’s Land,” formally known as Guantanamo Bay
  • A memoir – this one is fiction, but still written as a memoir
  • A book with antonyms in the title – “non-enemy” and “combatant” are obviously opposites
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

The Lost Island

The Lost Island is the 3rd novel in the Gideon Crew series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. Their thrillers are always well written and researched. I’ve enjoyed reading novels by Preston & Child since I picked up The Wheel of Darkness in paperback circa 2008. Each of the books by Preston & Child can be read by themselves, but there are over-arching storylines for characters that appear in multiple books, so I recommend reading these books in order if at all possible.

Checked off the list:

  • A book with non-human characters – I don’t want to give anything away, so let’s just say, it’s not a dog.
  • A book set in a different country – almost all of this book takes place in desolate parts of the Caribbean.
  • A book by an author you love but haven’t read yet
  • A trilogy – at least until the next book featuring Crew is published.

Squirting Milk at Chameleons

Squirting Milk at Chameleons: An Accidental African by Simon Fenton was an interesting memoir about a British ex-pat living in Senegal. This book will be available in the US on June 1st, 2013 and I’m publishing a full review of this book in a couple weeks.

Checked off the list:

  • A book published this year
  • A book set in a different country – this book takes place in Senegal and the Gambia with a few trips to England for good measure.
  • A memoir
  • A book by an author you’ve never read before

Currently Reading

The Way We Live Now

According to my Kindle app, I’m about a quarter of the way through The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. I feel like it’s taken ages to make it that far into the book, but things are beginning to get interesting. I imagine that if you like soap operas, you would really enjoy all of the goings on in this book. I still get lost in the language from time to time, and there are more characters than you can shake a stick at, but I’m beginning to think the book will be worth it in the end.


S. is a book created by J.J. Abrams and written by Doug Dorst. This book is very strange in that the point of it is the story of two strangers which is told in the margins of the novel called Ship of Theseus. This is one of those books that I originally picked up because of it’s cover design. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I started reading it ages ago and ended up putting it down because I was getting lost. Thanks to Goodreads, I’ve figured out the order I should be reading things in, so we’ll see what happens.

The Carpet People

The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett is an interesting little story originally published in 1971 and updated years later.  I started reading this novel, the first Pratchett novel I’ve ever read (excluding his work on Good Omens with Neil Gaiman) before his passing in March. It is amazing what a creative mind he had.

To Read:

Some other books I’m wanting to read this year include:

  • Ten Thousand Devils– the 3rd book in the Outlaw King series by S.A. Hunt – The 1st two books were amazing, but I waited so long before the 3rd came out that I’ll probably reread the 1st 2 before tackling the 3rd in the series.
  • Worn Stories– a collection of clothing inspired narratives written up by Emily Spivack – I love fashion, and with a newly discovered love of essays, I want to give this one a try.
  • Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution – a book about Walt Disney’s only real rival in the world of cartoon animation. This book written by Richard Fleischer chronicles the life and work of the man behind the creation of Betty Boop and the animation of Popeye the Sailor and Superman.
  • Dorothy Must Die– a book about another girl from Kansas, who ends up in Oz. She discovers that Oz isn’t like it was in the books. You can’t trust the good witches and that flying monkeys might just be good guys.
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