1. Welcome to Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor - I discovered Welcome to Night Vale a couple of months ago when I heard an interview with the creators/writers on NPR and decided to check it out. To my great delight, the podcast is a real treat - a whacky, X-filesish take on a small town radio show that's consistently laugh out loud funny. I listened to more than half of the episodes and then bought the book. I'm so happy to say that the book is equally delightful. It's probably not for everyone, but I loved it!
2. Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay - It's been a long, long while since I read Kay, and I had truly forgotten how beautiful his books are. This one is a historical fantasy (one of his specialties) based on Tang China. I loved his characters, and wept (literally) over the ending. There is a lot of detail in this book that I could spend days unpacking and gushing over. I just loved it....and I loved the pacing, which is interesting at times but makes complete sense. Kay is a master, and in addition to purchasing the book that followed this one I may have to dig out my paperback copies of all of his older books for a reread.
3. A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab (audio) - I decided to check this one out because I had seen quite a bit about it on various lists over the last year. This was another delightful find. The characters are nicely drawn out, the worlds are unique, and the plot is interestingly drawn out. I'm annoyed a tad with having stumbled on a new series with only the first book done! The second book is preordered, and I can't wait!
4. Lumberjanes, Vol.1, Vol. 2, issues 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 - I wish now I could remember where I saw reference to these books, but wherever it was it was glowing enough that I immediately ordered the first two volumes for my youngest daughter. I devoured them in one sitting and put up a glowing review on FB for all of my friends who want strong girl-centric books for their kids. They're fun! And super-smart. One of the characters swear by yelling the names of feminist icons...and I had to look several of them up. Math and science save the day a couple of times. Greek mythology is tied up in there. And on and on and on. (I checked out the individual issues through the library's digital services, but because there's a limit on the number you can check out I haven't finished up everything that's available yet.).
5. Life in Motion, Misty Copeland - Santa brought this book to my eldest for Christmas. She devoured it in one day, and then loaned it to mom! Copeland's autobiography is a rags to riches Cinderella story, and it's another book that I'm glad is out there for my girls. Love watching her dance!
6. The Folded Clock: A Diary, Heidi Julavits (audio - unfinished) - I'm not sure I'm completely done with this book, and I may continue reading it next month. It's lovely, it really is...but it's not something I found myself reaching for often. Perhaps in print it would be better. I will say that I did very much enjoy the portions I listened to. Of course, anything 'diary' is something I tend to love.
7. Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, Lisa Randall (audio - unfinished) - I heard a fantastic interview with Randall on the podcast OnBeing, and pretty much fell in love with her very approachable and very beautiful take on very difficult physics. (If you've never considered math and science to be beautiful, I would sincerely suggest you listen to the OnBeing interviews with mathematicians and scientists!). I waited a long time for the audio of this book to become available...only to discover it's not at all a good medium for this book. The reader was far too dull, which made it impossible for me to focus. I may try again in print.
8. My Year of Running Dangerously, Tom Foreman (audio) - I love to listen to audiobooks when I run. Even better if they're about running! Foreman is a producer at CNN, and he's a talented - and very funny writer. He tells the story in this book of coming back to running after years away, taking on the challenge of a marathon with his daughter and then transitioning into ultra running. It was super-fun to listen to, and often made me laugh out loud!
9. The Witches: Salem, 1692, Stacy Schiff (audio) - Now here's how you do nonfiction audio. An amazing reader plus a history book that reads like fiction. Bravo! It's a pretty in-depth look at the Salem Witch Trials, and not only is that a fascinating subject but it's also chilling. The public madness on display during 1692 just boggles the mind.
10. The Witch of Lime Street, David Jaher - Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, spiritualism, belief, and doubt. What's not to love?! My one complaint is that the writing style does occasionally tip over into being a bit much. I get it. You don't want to produce a boring nonfiction book that's strictly the facts. You also don't want it to lean into melodrama...which this did, a bit. Still, a fascinating subject! Sent me online multiple times to look up pictures and references.
11. All The Birds In The Sky, Charlie Jane Anders - This is a brand new book which came highly recommended on BOTNS. When I saw it pop up on two more lists of exciting new books I decided to go for it. I fell in love with this book within just a few pages, and devoured it! It's early in the year yet, but this is already on my list of contenders for best of 2016. If I had to pick my favorite part, it would definitely be the two main characters, who are superbly drawn.