An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

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


Sassafras (Serendipity Book) - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James

My note on this book says: Reminds me of the Mrs Piggle-Wiggle books but slightly less absurd. So take that as you will.


Squeakers - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James

A heavy subject wrapped up in a way that kids can understand.


Shimmeree (Serendipity Books) - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James

Fits my idea of a quintessential Serendipity book: fantastic land, beautiful creatures, moral at the end (not as heavy-handed as some…).


Fanny - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James

I feel like the intent behind this one is good, but the repetition that being handicapped is only a state of mind doesn’t sound great? I mean, the story could have hit harder on the other animals’ prejudice towards Fanny than the fact that she has three legs?

Morgan Morning

Morgan Morning - Stephen Cosgrove

This one was weirdly morbid for a kids' book.


Catundra (Serendipity Books) - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James

Conflates skinny-ness with beauty and health.
Also shows cats eating vegetables.

Little Mouse on the Prairie

Little Mouse on the Pairie (Serendipity) - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James

The tale is similar to the ant and the grasshopper. The Serendipity stories all feel like stories you've read before with a slight twist. The illustrations are the best part of the series but even those have their flaws (every single creature has suuuper long eyelashes... even the lizards). 

Truly Devious

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

Nope nope nope. 1. Why is Maureen Johnson starting a new series when I have been waiting on the last Shades of London book for years? 2. Why wasn't it at least better?


To be fair, I did read the whole thing, but I wasn't happy about it. If a book has flat characters, it better have a good plot. If the plot is weak the characters better at least be interesting. To have both... don't do it.


Also it's unfair to write a book and not resolve any of the storylines. OK, there is one reveal at the end of the book, but it's about a super boring character (from a cast of boring characters) and it answered a question no one was asking.


More rambling under the cut.

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Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel - Rachel Khong

This is a SVR 2018 book. A copy was available on Overdrive, and I needed a desk book. 


I kept getting pulled out of the story at the beginning because I kept having to Google things. Can people who are allergic to NSAIDs take aspirin? What is the difference between lo mein and chow mein? 


But once I settled into the story, the book read very quickly. It might have read a little too quickly? At the end I didn't feel like a year had passed. The book also ended quite abruptly. I would have liked a little more resolution. 


ETA: There were times where I was reading, and it was like seeing my family on the page. That doesn't happen too often, and I like when it does.

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

This book was really good, but it also made me really anxious. I had to stop in the middle and read a summary to find out how everything ended before I could finish it. 

The Rabbits' Wedding

The Rabbits' Wedding - Garth Williams

I learned about this book when a friend and I were talking about Garth Williams. It is a very sweet book. Crazy to think it was banned because a black rabbit wants to marry a white rabbit (right up there with Sylvester and the Magic Pebble being banned because the cops are pigs)... life in the 1950s/60s must have been wild. 

The Prince and the Dressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker - Jen Wang

This book is very white. Way way whiter than I was expecting. Also, what was with the "flower of the orient" part at the beginning? I almost stopped reading there, but luckily the book gets better as it goes along. I don't think it lived up to the hype though. 


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).