The Ultimate Book Geek Challenge, Part Four

Category 18, Short Story: "Novostroika" by Maria Reva

This was quite an entertaining story published in The Atlantic in December of 2016. (We had a subscription to The Atlantic for a year around then and have kept the old issues around for leisurely perusal. It's a good magazine with well-researched, good writing.) The story is about a man in Ukraine who tries to get the heat turned on in his apartment only to hear from the official that his building doesn't exist. I'd say it's funny and tragic in a way similar to A Confederacy of Dunces.

Category 19, Graphic novel: El Deafo by Cece Bell

I like that these memoir-type graphic novels kind of expose the immaturity and self-centeredness of the pre-teen/early teen protagonist. This one's about a deaf girl and was interesting and fun.

Category 20, About an animal: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket or The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo 🎧

The first has various reptiles in it, including a falsely accused snake, and the second has parts that are actually from the point of view of elephant that was magically and accidentally conjured by a magician. Both were very good.

Category 21, Fly, fly away: Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

I used this category because the main character has to flee a strange apocalyptic scenario. It's very good, very interesting, but I didn't really like how it ended. Jon and I read it at about the same time and had some good discussions about it.

Category 23, Poetry: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

There's some pretty good stuff in this little book of poetry. I liked it. (Disclaimer: It's not necessarily appropriate for general audiences.)

Category 24, Award-winning: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 🎧

I listened to this twice, which is why I'm counting it in two separate categories. (The other was "A US president.") This was Audiobook of the Year 2018. The audiobook is indeed fantastic. Since I wrote about it last, I discovered that the print book edits all of the swear words! It uses dashes. So why is there not an edited audiobook? That would be nice, so I could recommend it to more people.

Category 25, A library book: What Now? by Ann Patchett

This was a tiny little book based on Ann Patchett's commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College. I was choosing small books towards the beginning of the challenge. It was good.

Category 26, Book with a great cover: Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple 🎧

Okay, maybe it's not a great cover, but it's cute. This was a good book. Enjoyable. Seattle and also a little bit of Christian faith.

Category 27, They told me this was a good book: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty's books seem generally fun, well-written, engaging, personal. They're also a little gimmicky, but that means they're good vacation reading. This one wasn't my favorite, but it was fun.

Category 28, Biography: I Must Say by Martin Short 🎧

I listened to this and it was really good! Martin Short read it, so that was fun. He's funny and interesting and has had some really sad experiences that he has weathered with dignity and humor.

Category 29, About a sport: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Another graphic novel. They're handy and short when one is not excited about a certain category. But I liked this. It made me want to learn to roller skate and do roller derby.

Category 30, A book you liked as a kid: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This is still a very good book.

Category 32, One word title: Autumn by Ali Smith

Very good. Poetic. It's the first in a "Seasonal Quartet," of which only this one and Winter are out. I liked it a lot.

Category 33, Funny book: The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson 🎧

Read by Rainn Wilson. The introduction is by Dwight Shrute. Entertaining and funny. I loved it and now the whole family is listening to it. (Well, what's left of the whole family is listening to it. There are only two kids left at home!)


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