Now that you’ve had a peek into Mumu’s bookshelf, it’s time for me to share a bit about what I’ve been reading. (And yes, I had to scroll through Goodreads to actually remember what I read in 2016). We can all agree that 2016 was a pretty miserable year, but these books kept me going.
Favorite Book of the Year: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is great. If you haven’t read any of his books, stop everything and do it now. His stories are fairytales, political commentary, social justice, mythology and science fiction all rolled in to one. Some are more whimsical than others. American Gods was dark and fantastical but based in enough reality that you can see reflected around you. Gaiman’s writing doesn’t hurt. If you want to start small with Gaiman, I recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Also, American Gods, the TV series, will air on Starz in 2017. Verdict: Curl up under a blanket with a mug of something and get sucked in … what are you waiting for?
Most Stress-inducing: The Circle by Dave Eggers
I like reading science fiction and technology stories; I find them entertaining and enjoyable. This novel gave me anxiety. Written in 2013, Eggers drops us in to the world of the biggest and best new tech giant – a fictionalized company that combines Facebook, Twitter, Google and everything else – and takes you on a rollercoaster of stress levels and emotions. If you think social media and Amazon are taking over your life, this will reinforce your fears. It’s a great extrapolation of what our world could be and it doesn’t see so far fetched. It’s an easy read, you just may want to close down all your accounts after. Verdict: Read it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Best start to a new series: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine
I like Young Adult books. But I hate YA books being written/planned as trilogies (ahem … Hunger Games, Divergent … ahem). So I’m always wary of a new YA book being published and being told on the front page there will be at least 2 more books in the series. This book was a fun read and a clever premise. The Great Library of Alexandria has survived history and books are considered contraband. It’s a dystopian/science fiction/historical fiction world that lends itself to a deeper exploration. I’m curious to see where it goes. Nevertheless, the book stands on its own and I had fun speeding through it. Verdict: Skip this if you haven’t finished the likes of Harry Potter
Look, I read non-fiction too: Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick
This graphic novel is one I’d been meaning to read but I have issues reading colorful, image-imperative books on my Nook so I had to get this from the library. Besides being a well-crafted graphic novel, it also does a pretty impressive job of describing quantum physics, why Richard Feynman is important and how he fits into the history of physics. I also read this before I went to a presentation/lecture event at Cal Tech all about Feyman’s contribution. I would say I was perfectly prepared. Verdict: Read it. You’ll be smarter after.
Most Hyped on my list: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
This landed on my to-read list as soon as I heard about it. Add to that a National Book Award and a ton of media hype and I was eager to read it. I would love to say it didn’t disappoint. And I wasn’t disappointed, but I just don’t think it reached the heights I was expecting. That’s not to say I didn’t like it. I think it’s a fascinating premise and a really interesting way to explore to oft-tackled topic of slavery. But that was it. It was a good book. I just wasn’t blown away. I sort of feel like a terrible person for saying that … don’t judge me. Verdict: Definitely read it.