Mid-Year Reading Roundup

It’s been a while, and boy what a while it has been! This COVID-19 thing is crazy crazy, and I hope you are hanging in there. Wishing you good health.

Unfortunately, my little book club came crashing down as the stay-at-home orders were put into place in March. As you know if you’ve been here a while (and haven’t abandoned me for not being a consistent poster), I loved that little book club. Hanging out with the girls, drinking tea, eating snacks, and talking about our current read in the context of our every day lives was often the highlight of each month. Even so, things were starting to take a turn so maybe it was time for it to end.

So what have I been up to? In addition to my new work-from-home routine which I am LOVING and want to do forever (happy introvert here), I’ve been spending time writing and reading (and watching lots of movies).

I’m still working on a book of essays and short stories, which now requires a professional edit and a decision about which self-publishing option(s) to use. I’m trying to convince myself to be more active on social media despite currently being on a break. Between my COVID-related anxiety, George Floyd, and general social media foolery it was too much and I just had to shut everything off for a while.

But this post isn’t about any of that! This post is about what I’ve read so far this year.

I ended 2019 and started 2020 re-reading Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Series in the form of Lilith’s Brood, which I still love. Next up was Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. It’s a book of short stories that was so interesting it made me want to read everything else Roxane Gay has ever written. Of course, I haven’t gotten to any of her other writing yet, but I will! Ayiti is next on my to-read list. I also read The Giver Quartet which consists of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. I really liked all four books. they were quick, easy reads with decent story lines. I was a bit disappointed in how easily evil was overcome in Messenger though, it just seemed like she needed to end the book and wrapped it up too quickly.

Next was Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and the first half of Octavia Butler’s Patternist Series. Being Mortal was eye-opening. It discusses aging and death and how we deal with elderly people. Some parts broke my heart and other parts filled it. All of my old people are gone, but this book really made me sit and think about how my parents should be treated as they age. Fortunately, my parents are still young and relatively healthy, and we decided when my brother was 5 that they would live with him if they ever ceased to be able to live on their own. Gawande is a fantastic storyteller, and even if you aren’t particularly interested in aging populations, you’ll learn quite a bit reading this book.

Buttler’s Patternist Series, Seed to Harvest, is also a re-read for me. It starts with Wild Seed and Mind of My Mind. Of the two, Wild Seed is my favorite. I like the feel of it. It’s warm and earthy, feels good. Mind of My Mind feels modern and cold, like concrete. Then comes Clay’s Ark and Patternmaster. Clay’s Ark doesn’t even feel like part of the series at all. While the first two books are about immortality and telepathy, Clay’s Ark is about a microscopic alien invasion. It’s a good book, no doubt, and I would’ve been interested in a separate series based on that storyline, but it doesn’t quite fit with the first two. Even more, it feels like the connection between Clay’s Ark and Mind of My Mind is forced. There needed to be a book between those two. The final book in the series is Patternmaster, which brings us back to the theme established in Mind of My Mind and is a direct connection to the events in Clay’s Ark. I’m still reading this last book so I haven’t made the determination about liking it or not.

[Technically, Survivor is the last book in the Patternist Series, but it was never reprinted after it’s initial run because Butler didn’t like it much. It’s super expensive on Amazon so I haven’t gotten it yet.]

In between book two and book three of Seed to Harvest I read Liane Moriarty’s The Hypnotist’s Love Story. This one is about a hypnotherapist who is dating a man who is being stalked by his ex-girlfriend. Lots of shenanigans ensue. I was hoping for a more interesting ending though. I get that people generally like happy endings, but when someone is being stalked for three years, the ending is rarely happy. In this book everybody wins at the end. I was a bit disappointed as I like interesting endings.

That’s it for my mid-year reading roundup! Once I’m done with Patternmaster I’m going to really focus on a couple of non-reading projects. I love to read, but let’s be honest, it can be a real distraction when we want it to be.

Let me know what you’ve been reading this year. What have you enjoyed the most?

Until next time, HAPPY READING!

3 thoughts on “Mid-Year Reading Roundup

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