An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.


Authority: A Novel - Jeff VanderMeer

When I started Authority I liked it just because it's so "normal" compared to Annihilation. Then I realized it's twice as long as Annihilation and nothing happens until the very end.


Authority wasn't good enough to hold my interest in the series so I'm stopping here.

(I read a summary of Acceptance... I think that's the last book and it seems like nothing happens in that one as well?)

(show spoiler)

I waffled on including this under my Diversity on the Shelf tag. I did in the end, but I'm unhappy that Vandermeer went out of his way to write non-white characters but seemingly didn't fight for the casting of non-white actors in those roles for the film.

Swing It, Sunny

Swing It, Sunny - Jennifer L. Holm, Matthew Holm

The 10-year-old recommended this one. It took me a while to get into this book. It felt choppy at the beginning, but came together at the end. A solid follow-up to Sunny Side Up


Pashmina - Nidhi Chanani

I feel like this book wasn't quite ready. Maybe with a little more work or a tweak to the story here and change to the characters there it would have left a better impression.

More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell

Reminiscent of I Work in a Public Library (but with fewer masturbators).

milk and honey

milk and honey - rupi kaur

I like Kaur's poetry when I see it on tumblr because it's usually paired with something else that gives it meaning. On their own the poems feel shallow. I can see young teens liking it if they're encountering these ideas for the first time. They're just not for me.


Self-Help: Stories - Lorrie Moore

I enjoyed Moore's "How to Become a Writer" in college. I didn't really enjoy this collection though. These stories didn't do anything for me. I kept having flashbacks to creative writing class. 

Same Difference

Same Difference - Derek Kirk Kim

I think I read this book at the right time. I was in the right mood and the right frame of mind. At another time I might have related too much or too little, and the story would have annoyed me. Gives me Lost at Sea vibes (but more normal).

Saga, Vol 8

Saga Volume 8 - Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

OK, I love this series, but it is so hard to only get one volume a year. Seriously.


Also, I feel like the story has stalled a little bit. This volume was good, but where is it taking me? I love the characters, but it feels like they've been wandering in space for a while now without much purpose. Let's get this story going.


Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

I don't get it.


This seems to be a book people either love or they don't. I read it mostly at work, which maybe contributed to my 'eh' reaction. If I had read it all at once I might have appreciated the writing more?


I kind of wish the book hadn't been framed as the biologist's notebook. There was one moment that made me like the idea, but the rest of the time it didn't really work for me.


I was intrigued enough by the story to start Authority, and I already like it better than I liked Annihilation. I mostly read this book because the movie is coming out soon. It looks like the film is going in a very different direction which I'm pretty excited about.

Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising - Pam Muñoz Ryan

I wish this book were longer. I wish we got to see more of Esperanza's life. I wish the plot about the strikers hadn't been dropped so quickly.


Overall, a good read. This was the pick for this month's book club (which I will be missing because of a basketball game... oops). Historical fiction that is still very relevant today.


I will say though that I wasn't a huge fan of the comparison of Mexican Repatriation to Japanese Internment and the Indian Removal Act (I assume that's what Ryan means by "Native American removals of the nineteenth century"). The comparison felt a little like Oppression Olympics. Which is weird because the book did a good job of navigating race (and class).


There has to be a better way to mention that the US is fond of treating its non-white citizens terribly. One that doesn't make it feel like the different groups are being pitted against each other. The note works without the comparison; the numbers stand for themselves (historians estimate 450,000 to one million Mexicans and Mexican Americans were sent back to Mexico between 1929 and 1935).

Under the Egg

Under the Egg - Laura Marx Fitzgerald

It took me a while to get into this book. It was different than what I expected.


I found the ending unsatisfying, and even though the story is set in present day it felt like it  was taking place in the past (1960s maybe?). As I read the book it became clear why the book couldn't be set in the past, but the writing just never felt modern/contemporary to me. 


I was drawn in by the comparison to From the Mixed-Up Files, and while I can see why people would compare the books it's 1. Not a very accurate representation of the story of Under the Egg and 2. Not fair to compare Under the Egg to children's lit perfection. 

Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams

It took me two tries to get through this one. It was just so much more boring and racist than Little House in the Big Woods. I only "finished" because I skipped the malaria and Native American parts. 

Step Aside, Pops

Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection - Kate Beaton

I always enjoy Kate Beaton's comics, even when I don't have any knowledge of the work she's referencing. My favorites from this collection are the Katherine Sui Fun Cheung comics. 

Lumberjanes Vol 7

Lumberjanes Vol. 7: A Bird's-Eye View - Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, Carey Pietsch, Ayme Sotuyo, Maarta Laiho

This volume was published relatively quickly (so it seems), but it was mostly a filler adventure. The ending hinted that something bigger is coming, so hopefully the next volume follows through. Maybe the start of a longer arc? I don't mind these shorter side stories, but they weren't what I was expecting when I started reading the series. 



Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

I don't know what happened. I enjoyed the first 100 pages I read, but I now have zero interest in reading any more. I might give it another try at another time. The story just didn't grab me the way Mr Penumbra's did.


I did like the little nod to Mr. Penumbra's, but it made me question the timeline in the novel (I'm pretty sure from Lois's age and the DS mention it has to occur in 2017... but I could be wrong).


Origin - Dan Brown

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a Robert Langdon book (except for The Lost Symbol, but I don't think any of us were here for that...).


If you like the Robert Langdon series, Origin is more of the same. Occasionally Robert Langdon will be so obtuse you'll want to hit him over the head. The descriptions will be ridiculous (I don't think I've ever Googled anything Brown has describing and gone, "Ah, yes, you captured this perfectly." It's always more like, "What caricature were you looking at when you wrote this description?"). Nothing will happen until the end, and you will guess the twist at the very beginning (the twist is so obvious).


Brown talks a lot about religion and clearly did a lot of research for this book but was apparently too lazy to research any African religions at all. At the beginning he writes "an African god parting the clouds and lowering two humans to earth" after specifically naming the Christian God, Prometheus and Brahma. Come on, dude. Try harder.


I plan on fully forgetting the plot in the next week or so. I do this with every Dan Brown book I've ever read. It makes the movies more exciting.