December, 2019

December 1st, 2019, 2:12 p.m. - We have to save the planet so Lindy West can keep writing books!

48. The Witches Are Coming (Lindy West)
Reading this was listening to a friend and just going, "Yes! Yes! I know! I totally agree!" the whole time.

Up next: The Need (Helen Phillips)

December 7th, 2019, 2:14 p.m. - E pluribus unum

49. The Need (Helen Phillips)
So...did she...did she kill the...the other...?

I'm so confused.

Up next: Trust Exercise (Susan Choi)

December 8th, 3:54 p.m. - "I have empathy. That's the one where you care about other people, right?"

Modern Family – "Tree's a Crowd": Luke and Sherry? Doubtful. And didn't he learn his lesson a few years ago about not pursuing someone Manny liked? Rating: 4 too many people living in Phil and Claire's house

Supernatural – "Last Call": I can't be the only one who was expecting the episode to end with Dean and Castiel going to Sam's room and finding a sock on the door. Then Cas could ask what it meant and Dean would have to explain. Anyway, remember how Dean can't sing? Yeah. Rating: 3 inside jokes about Misha Collins being Russian

December 14th, 2019, 4:43 p.m. - Yeah, yeah, unreliable narrator, we get it

50. Trust Exercise (Susan Choi)
This is the book everyone's been raving about all year? Really? It switches back and forth between past and present tense, the second section goes between first and third person, we never find out what happened after the end of the second section, and the third section is just...nothing. I don't get the buzz.

Up next: In the Dream House (Carmen Maria Machado)

December 15th, 2019, 4:22 p.m. - "I have a sixth sense. I know when stuff is going to happen. Like I knew the ending of The Sixth Sense"

Modern Family – "The Last Christmas": Why do shows always think they need to end with people moving away? It would be funny if, after everyone mentioned the possibility of moving, the series ends with everyone staying put. Rating: 4 bad pieces of relationship advice

Supernatural – "Our Father, Who Aren't in Heaven": This wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be (especially for an episode with such a perfect title), but at least we got what I wanted for Rowena. And Jake Abel was terrific playing dual roles. Rating: 4 burgers craved in Hell

Perfect Harmony – "Merry Jaxmas": I can honestly say I've never seen Bollywood dancing in a Christmas episode of a TV show before. Gotta love a groundbreaker. Rating: 3 birthstone earrings

December 21st, 2019, 11:44 a.m. - Time to add Machado to my list of writers I'll always read no matter what

51. In the Dream House (Carmen Maria Machado)
Now, this book, I get the buzz. It's heartbreaking and challenging, but also hopeful. Machado is a brilliant writer and I loved every word.

Up next: This Is Going to Hurt (Adam Kay)

December 26th, 2019, 12:09 p.m. - Everything was going great until...

52. This Is Going to Hurt (Adam Kay)
If I'd known Kay was going to make an anti-Islam joke just pages from the end of this up-till-then great book, I wouldn't have read it.

Up next: Recursion (Blake Crouch)

December 30th, 2019, 12:03 p.m. - Unforgettable

53. Recursion (Blake Crouch)
I can't say much about this book without spoiling what it's really about (much more than false memories), but I'll say that it's almost perfectly paced, and once again, Crouch has earned the right to be called a thriller writer. I can't wait for the Netflix series.

Up next: The Fact of a Body (Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich)

December 31st, 2019, 11:49 a.m. - The 13th Annual Year-End Book Round-Up

I read 53 books this year, and I didn't overly hate any of them, so I'd say 2019 was a success, book-wise. And there are a bunch I'm looking forward to in 2020.

1. The Incendiaries, R.O. Kwon
2. Three Little Lies, Laura Marshall
3. The Chalk Man, C.J. Tudor
4. How Long 'til Black Future Month?, N.K. Jemisin
5. The Book of M, Peng Shepherd
6. Jar of Hearts, Jennifer Hillier
7. Severance, Ling Ma
8. Last Woman Standing, Amy Gentry
9. Splinter in the Blood, Ashley Dyer
10. We Cast a Shadow, Maurice Carlos Ruffin
11. My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite
12. Parkland, Dave Cullen
13. Because We Are Bad, Lily Bailey
14. No Exit, Taylor Adams
15. Act Natural, Jennifer Traig
16. The Hiding Place, C.J. Tudor
17. Sounds Like Titanic, Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman
18. Good Talk, Mira Jacob
19. All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung
20. Fraternity, Alexandra Robbins
21. The Recovering, Leslie Jamison
22. On the Come Up, Angie Thomas
23. The Dreamers, Karen Thompson Walker
24. Southern Lady Code, Helen Ellis
25. I Miss You When I Blink, Mary Laura Philpott
26. Less, Andrew Sean Greer
27. No One Can Pronounce My Name, Rakesh Satyal
28. Middlegame, Seanan McGuire
29. The Last House Guest, Megan Miranda
30. There There, Tommy Orange
31. Disappearing Earth, Julia Phillips
32. The Chain, Adrian McKinty
33. Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant, Joel Golby
34. Do Not Become Alarmed, Maile Meloy
35. Gingerbread, Helen Oyeyemi
36. The Last Widow, Karin Slaughter
37. The Swallows, Lisa Lutz
38. Because Internet, Gretchen McCulloch
39. The Warehouse, Rob Hart
40. Never Have I Ever, Joshilyn Jackson
41. The Institute, Stephen King
42. Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino
43. Make It Scream, Make It Burn, Leslie Jamison
44. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, T Kira Madden
45. Miracle Creek, Angie Kim
46. Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo
47. The Oracle Year, Charles Soule
48. The Witches Are Coming, Lindy West
49. The Need, Helen Phillips
50. Trust Exercise, Susan Choi
51. In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado
52. This Is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay
53. Recursion, Blake Crouch

The best: No Exit; Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant; The Last Widow; The Witches Are Coming; In the Dream House

The worst: Do Not Become Alarmed

The most memorable/impactful: The Dreamers, No One Can Pronounce My Name, Middlegame, Disappearing Earth, Recursion

Favorite characters: Darby Thorne (No Exit), Kylie O'Neill (The Chain)

Least favorite characters: Sarah (Trust Exercise)

Book that most lived up to its hype: Good Talk

Book that least lived up to its hype: The Recovering

Book I was looking forward to that didn't disappoint: The Witches Are Coming

Book I was looking forward to that did disappoint: The Chain

Books I'm most looking forward to in 2020: Wow, No Thank You (Samantha Irby), The Dark Corners of the Night (Meg Gardiner), Something That May Shock and Discredit You (Daniel Mallory Ortberg), I Don't Want to Die Poor (Michael Arceneaux)

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