Tag: 2023 books

As this was my best reading year yet, I had lots to choose from. This list does not include some rereads but I did include one in audiobooks. This was difficult especially the other fiction. All because it’s not here does not mean they weren’t the great. It’s been such a fantastic reading year.

Children and Middle Grade

  • The Tea Dragon trilogy by K. O’Neill
  • Garlic and the Witch series by Bree Paulson
  • The Only Child by Guojing
  • Marshmallow Clouds by Connie Wanet and Ted Kooser

Graphic novels

  • Ducks by Kate Beaton
  • Seance Tea Party by Reimena Yee
  • Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman
  • Monstress series by Marjorie Liu
  • The Night Eaters series by Marjorie Liu

Fantasy and Sci-Fi

  • Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett
  • Heart of the sun warrior by Sue Lynn Tan
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

Other Fiction and Literary Fiction

  • Yellowface by R. F. Kuang
  • The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman


  • Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs
  • Chinatown Pretty by Valerie Liu and Andria Lo
  • All the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell


I consumed 18 audiobooks which is the most I’ve ever done. I hope this continues for the next few years especially for nonfiction.

  • Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper, narrated by the author
  • These Precious Days by Ann Patchett, narrated by the author
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet – technically a reread but I needed to highlighted the narration
  • Graphic Audio’s A Court of Mist and Fury, narrated by a full cast

I have been waiting to read this novel for awhile now. Once I heard this bestselling novel of 2023 had dragons, I knew I had to read it. The hype for it and the sequel were high. At a local community event before I left for my trip, I put a silent bid on the hardcover of Iron Flame and won it while I was on my trip. With that in mind, I knew I would wait until I got home to read the sequel even though I got both ebooks for this trip. I also wanted to make sure I had at least a couple of days to read this anticipating from the hype and a friend that I needed time and energy for it.

Continue reading →

The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman

This was a good historical action adventure romance. The author cited Georgette Heyer in the Acknowledgments which made me like her more. The characters were rootable and likeable. It was three cases rather than one and there was a good setup for the next novel. I liked the romance decently as well. The novel had more dark elements of regency life such a mentions of slavery and trafficking unlike a typical regency romance. It could have been slightly anachrosistic if not for the catharsis of the characters winning. It was good fun and I hope the book becomes more popular.

4.25/5 stars. Dec 16-18, 2023. Kindle.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

For many years, I thought or felt I had read this novella. Like most people, I grew up with adapations of it. My personal favourite is The Muppet Christmas Carol. I think I did listen to most of Patrick Stewart narrated audiobook version over a decade ago but I did not track it anywhere. In any case, this really is a perfect novella. Great character development. Well written with gripping elements. It set the tone for Christmas. I can see myself rereading this one in the future.

4.25/5 stars. Dec 24-27, 2023. Kindle. StandardEbooks version.

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was cute. While TJR’s writing and characters don’t always knock my socks off, I really appreciated how she weaved characters and plots in a slightly different way. Her endings have not been sickly sweet even if they are happy. While there wasn’t a love triangle per se, the two love interests in this book are believable and equally good. I really appreciated that.

3.75/5 stars. Dec 10-11, 2023. Kindle.

Dubliners by James Joyce

Like all short story collections, there were some stories better than the others. First off, Joyce was a really good writer. Joyce had a way of describing people and feelings very well. He was a wordsmith. This was more of a language book. I didn’t like most of the characters. A lot of them are feckless alcoholics or creeps. Some of the female characters were fine but they were sad due to the theme of stagnation that Joyce carried through most of the stories. I found it slow to read. I do think the last novella story ended on a good note and pushed my rating back up. I think I will read Ulysses one day, but not Finnegan’s Wake ever. I am not in a rush to read Joyce again soon.

3.5/5 stars. Dec 11-13, 2023. Kindle.

Shady Hollow by Juneau Clay

I needed to go back to something cozier and more whimsical after the Dubliners. This was a sweet low stakes cozy fantasy mystery novel where all the cast are woodland creatues. It was like a gentle balm and I look forward to reading more from the series.

3.75/5 stars. Dec 13-15, 2023. Kindle.

Cigars of the Pharaoh (Tintin #4)

This one is where it starts to feel more like the regular Tintin adventures. The pacing is still very fast as it is a comic book but it feels there is more breathing room. I still don’t think Tintin has much personality. Snowy has more but he can be a troll sometimes. I really do like the illustrations.

3.25/5 stars. October 7, 2023.

The Blue Lotus (Tintin #5)

I rewatched the animated cartoon version not too long ago so this story was fresh in my mind. I really enjoyed it because the pacing has gotten much less frenetic and Tintin developed more friendships and personality. I like Chang and the political tension of China, Japan, and other international powers in this time period.

3.5/5 stars. Nov 5, 2023.

The Broken Ear (Tintin #6)

The pacing to the plot is much better now. The art continues to be good too. I liked the mystery and the investigative nature of this one as well and the political commentary continues. It still had some issues. Tintin used blackface in this one.

3.25/5 stars. Nov 9, 2023.

Lab Girl by Hope Jaren

Narrated by the author. This was recommended a couple places and I found a trade paperback copy in a Little Library. As a way to spur me to read my TBR collection, I put a number of audiobook versions on hold on Libby. I thought I may switch but as sometimes the case, the narration by the author was so good I kept listening. This memoir is really well written. Often times, I felt like I was reading a novel. It’s not a surprise given how intelligent and well read Jaren is. I enjoyed her relationship with her lab partner and best friend Bill who himself could be a character in a novel. I liked how she narrated their adventures and struggles. In fact, the book had some heavy topics given the sexism of scientific academia and Jaren’s mental illness whether it was depression or bipolar disorder. It’s very reflective but so well narrated. She actually sounded emotional at certain parts which was effective. It was a slow narration so I went up to 1.75 reading speed but still great. I hope Jaren considers writing more prose or even fiction in the future.

4/5 stars. 1.75x. October 16-22, 2023.

The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

Narrated by Michelle Williams. I listened off and on by audiobook and read half on ebook. I grew up with Britney Spears. I remember watching the “Baby One More Time” music video and the zeitgeist of Britney. Her era for more than ten years. Watching her being vilified in the media for so many things and go through the conservatorship was heart breaking. None of it ever added up in terms of how they demonized her. She always seemed like a nice person who was a talented performer. I do not usually read celeb memoirs because the writing is usually quite packaged and rote. The prose in this book was straightforward but I think it did capture her style. It delivered her story. I liked Williams’s narration but I switched the ebook after 55% or Chapter 26 because that’s when she lost custody of the children and the conservatorship started. The book has a lot of tough subjects including intergenerational trauma and emotional abuse. A lot of it reminded me that society really shapes our view on public figures and celebrities especially women. Famous people can have their narrative spun by themselves or others and how they can be taken advantage of. I don’t know this woman and this is her story, so I can’t say what she didn’t say or what she embellished. However, her family and the media did her wrong for decades. This book was tough and sad. I am glad I read it. I hope Britney can heal with space and find stability and joy in her life.

3.75/5 stars. 1.3x-2x. Read half on Kindle. October 24-25, 2023.

Botanical Folk Tales from Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau

Narrated by Joan Walker. A series of short folk tales with botanical and plant themes. I gave up listening before bedtime. I listened to it in the mornings after I woke up. It was actually very cozy. Great narration. Some of the stories are too short and forgettable but there were classics which I enjoyed.

3.5/5 stars. Listened October 15-29, 2023.

Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee

This has a very similar premise to Anya’s Ghost as it was also a middle grade graphic novel about middle graders struggling to grow up and becoming friends with a ghost. I enjoyed this one more for being more wholesome and gentler. It was also more relatable with its themes and the protagonist being Chinese. I really liked all the characters including the ghost Alexa. Very sweet.

4.25/5 stars. October 28-30, 2023.

Maid by Stephanie Land

Narrated by the author. I only listened to about one quarter of the book on audiobook. A friend who enjoyed this book lent it to me. I found the content morose for listening for long periods so I switched to the paperback. I could relate to things in this memoir. My mother was a cleaner. She was a janitor and a house cleaner. It was hard work for her but she enjoyed for the most part. I sometimes witnessed the strange relationships that often develop between people and their cleaners. As a result of my mother, I notice cleaning people a lot because they often ignored or worse, belittled. I could understand these stories. There were other things I could relate to including the anxiety of poverty. The author’s panic attacks and depression were difficult to read about as well. I felt sympathy for the author but I didn’t find myself moved or emotionally attached. I found the writing lacking in some ways, but I can’t explain why. I didn’t really care for the audiobook narration either. It was an okay memoir that I could even relate to but it didn’t hit the mark for me enough to say I liked it a lot.

3.25/5 stars. 1.5x. October 26-30, 2023.

Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

This is apparently one of the funniest novels in English literature. I did not really find most of it funny but it was really amusing in parts. I have not read that much Dickens. Actually, I’ve only read Great Expectations before this and even though I feel like I’ve read A Christmas Carol, I haven’t actually read it. I keep forgetting that. I will read it for this holiday season. Back to Nicholas though, I did not find it that hard to read though there were a lot of tangents and side characters. I did like the principal characters but a lot of the women in the book are passive or two dimensional. It’s too bad because I think Kate had potential to do more but I think most Dickensian female characters are like this. I liked Nicholas too because of his loyalty to his family and Smike. Poor Smike. What a tragedy. This book is very melodramatic with a lot of villainous and horrible characters. All in all, I did find it engaging for the most part and Dickens is objectively a great writer how he weaves so much ridiculous drama and comedy for 800 pages.

3.75/5 stars. October 7-10, 2023.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Narrated by Kate Winslet. Read about this one from the Reading Glasses Slack. I wanted to listen to this before bed as it was one of my favourites as a kid. Winslet’s ability to change voices made it too intense especially since there was a lot of emotional child abuse. Her ability to become the awful Wormwoods was great. She did such a fantastic job. This was a good follow up to Nicholas Nickleby because it’s referenced twice. Maybe I subconsciously remembered it. I certainly did think about bad adults and headmasters. I usually do not like reading precocious children in books but Matilda is one of the exceptions. Most of the characters are so awful that you need a fantastical brilliant child like Matilda to teach them lessons. Very satisfying ending and reminded me why I loved it as a kid. I rewatched clips from the 1996 adaptation and it really is one of the best adaptations. Danny DeVito and the whole cast did such a great job.

4.5/5 stars. 1.1x. October 9-12, 2023.

Relaxation Revolution: The Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing by Herbert Benson and William Proctor

This one has more details than The Relaxation Response so I liked it more. I am keeping ebook version to have as reference. Even though the info is repetitive at times, I’ve become a big believer in the relaxation response meditations.

4.5/5 stars. Sept 26-Oct 13, 2023

The Cartographer by Peter Twohig

A book club friend of mine who use to live in Melbourne lent this to me. This is a longer than average debut novel at 400 pages. It crossed a few genres as well. It is from the perspective of a middle grade kid who is known only to the reader as the Cartographer. The protagonist is having a rough time dealing with the grief and loss of his twin brother. It documents his adventures in his Richmond, Vic neighbourhood and all the violent and crazy things in the 1950s. It was slow because the writing is a bit too padded in parts, but once things got going, a lot happened. It’s an adventure story with a dash of thriller and some mystery. It’s a historical fiction and a coming of age story with elements of literary fiction. It’s ambitious and different. I wish more people knew about it because it was good.

3.75/5 stars. October 14-15, 2023.

All the Living and the Dead: From Embalmers to Executioners, an Exploration of the People Who Have Made Death Their Life’s Work by Hayley Campbell

Narrated by the author. This took me awhile to listen to because most of the book’s subjects are very heavy. The heaviest death book I’ve read yet. I could have read it faster via an ebook but I really enjoyed the author’s narration. Due to the nature of the topics, the audio gave it more intimacy. This is a more personal look at death and the people who work in it. The author is not detached from her subjects which made it more emotional and human.

4.5/5 stars. 1.4x. Sept 18 – Oct 2, 2023.

The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter

This was my bedtime reading but over the last couple of months, I stopped reading it before bed. I use red lighting before bed now and that didn’t display the illustrations well. I was als too tired and would listen to a podcast and audiobook instead while knitting. At least I tried. I am more aware of what I can read before bed at least. I read the last 20% during the day.

When I was a child, I would remember vividly the tiny books set from my elementary school library. I read at least a couple of these as a kid. They were always so lovely. I also watched the animated series which was wonderful as well. This was a really cozy read as a result and it’s been lovely to spend time with them again.

4.5/5 stars. July 4-Oct 4 2023

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Another Little Library find. This is a surprisingly dark middle grade graphic novel. The twist was creepy. The protagonist Anya was annoying at times because she was an outcast and unhappy like a lot of teens. I did like it as there was strong character development in the end and I could relate to Anya’s experiences as an immigrant child.

3.5/5 stars. October 5, 2023.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Narrated by the author. I like Gilbert but have not read much in the way of her fiction. I primarily listened to this book because I like her voice and it was short. I hesitate to call myself a creative person because I often compare myself to actual working creatives whom I admire or even friends. I am creative in the sense that I craft and have more hobbies that I know what to do with. I wish I could write fiction or produce visual arts. The book itself was not really helpful to me but it was nice to listen to Gilbert talk about creativity and writing. Ann Patchett, an author I really like, was mentioned too.

3.5/5 stars. 1.4x. October 2-8, 2023.

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Ann Bogel

Narrated by the author. This was fine. It was short and I related to the author’s musings about being a bibliophile. It was amusing.

3.25/5 stars. Mostly 1.5x. September 16-18, 2023.

The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson

I became interested in Dr Benson’s work after the Gregg D Jacobs CBT-I programme. I have been using the Relaxation Response meditations from that course. While I have meditated on and off for decades, these meditations are some of the best I’ve encountered. I do find them useful for my anxiety, depression, and likely my sleep. This book was first written in 1975 and updated in 2000. Dr Benson has a foreword which surmised that only two things are needed to elicit the response: something to direct the attention such as a word or phrase and a passive attitude. The book focused more on stress and hypertension. Like a lot of self-help or science books from the 1970s and 1980s, it was very fast paced. It was also surprisingly spiritual and religious in a good way as it discussed how the relaxation response is an ancient practice among humans. I do wish there was more science on what is actually happening to the body when you use it. I have a couple of other Benson books which I look forward to exploring.

4/5 stars. September 23-24, 2023.

The Night Eaters, Vol. 1: She Eats the Night by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda (Illustrator)

The amazing duo from Monstress. I was happy to hear that they have another series. It’s more urban fantasy than high fantasy with a heavy dose of horror. It’s set in a world similar to ours and it has themes of family and migration. It’s funny and compelling. Looking forward to the next installment.

4.25/5 stars. September 24, 2023.

DNF: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

I should have given up on this years ago after I finished Power of Now. I bought the two Tolle books in 2009 from Waterstones Piccadilly. I didn’t want to waste them, but I had give up on this one. I got the audiobook narrated by the author via Libby. I barely made it through the first chapter. I don’t dislike Tolle or have much of an opinion on it other than finding him boring. I don’t like the writing style and I didn’t like his audiobook narration either. I do think on spiritual matters and do read books about it sometimes. I am more particular and critical now about it though. I flipped through the copy of the book that I had. I knew this would be harder to read than Power of Now. Off it goes to the neighborhood Little Library.

DNF both audiobook and print book. September 24, 2023.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Gramus

I have been seeing this book around on the internet and in real life for the past couple years. I expected something better since I had heard it was fun. I didn’t love it. This is a debut novel and you can tell. There are a lot tropes including orphans, precocious children, bad childhoods, sudden pregnancy, sudden death of a lead, sexual assault, and lots of others which I won’t spoil. It felt like fantasy and not the kind fantasy I like to read. It seemed like the author wanted to change the past but did it through this odd alternate history. Most of the characters were excessively horrible or mean to the main characters. Thankfully, there are a couple friendly and good characters but they don’t get enough development and depth. Even Elizabeth the protagonist whom I do like is missing some in depth. Still, I couldn’t help like some of these characters. The dog was cute. I did find the ending predictable and abrupt. It was easy to read at least. A lot people liked this book because it’s probably cathartic so I’m glad for that and not some other hackneyed novel at least. I do think it’ll adapt well because visuals could add onto this story and I do like Brie Larson. I may check out the adaptation.

3/5. September 24-25, 2023.

Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World by Ha-Joon Chang

Narrated by Homer Todiwala. This was an odd book and the author even acknowledged it in the conclusion. It’s strange in that he took foods and used them as a launching pad to discuss political economics and development studies. The author is a professor at SOAS in London and has lived in the UK since the late 80s. I enjoyed his stories about moving to the UK and discovering all these foods. The economics was a bit random and haphazard but I understood all of it because I have a background in this field. I do not think a lot of other people could dive in as easily. He explained his thoughts well but the book was all over the place. In any case, I liked the narration and I think the author had a few good thoughts.

3.25/5 stars. 1.4x. Sept 19-26, 2023.

The Book of Sleep: 75 Strategies to Relieve Insomnia by Nicole Moshfegh

I was decluttering my Calibre library and skimmed through this one quickly. All of this is based on CBT-I so I was familiar with all the techniques. The book format was good as a reference.

3.75/5 stars. Read on computer. September 28, 2023.

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli

I remember seeing this book when I was younger. Some time ago, I put a few Newberry award winners on my holds and this one seemed to stick more than the others. This is a medieval story about a young boy from a noble family. It’s a gentle adventure story. Robin the protagonist has limited use of his legs probably as a result of polio. I didn’t know the plot until I started it. It was fitting as I have mobility issues due to leg and back pain. I liked it.

3.75/5 stars. September 11, 2023.

Edelweiss by Cédric Mayen, illustrated by Lucy Mazel

I don’t remember where I got the recommendation for this one. It’s a French graphic novel. I vaguely thought it would be YA but it’s actually for adults. It took me a little bit to get into as I started looking up the words. It’s been years since I read a French book. I was using Duolingo to keep up French up until a month ago, but I’d prefer to watch French movies or TV or read to keep it up. The visuals helped as I began to understand most of the dialogue after awhile. I did learn or relearn some expressions and vocabulary. I read it out loud to myself a few times because I’ve found French easier to understand orally. The story is a slow at first but covers the relationship between an independent upper middle class woman named Olympe and working class Edmond. Olympe wants to climb Mont Blanc like her ancestor. Over the years, a lot tragedy happens in their lives. It was a bit too much because a lot of the sad events happened very quickly in the second half of the book. I did cry at the end because it is a sad book. It was movingly done and well drawn. I liked Olympe.

3.75/5 stars. September 12, 2023.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

I decided to try this series because the court series books were taking too long from my library. This was the author’s debut novel and first series. The writing is rougher here than ACOTAR. It took me 3 workdays to read this and it felt slow because I was bored most of the time. The main character Calena is too perfect: a beautiful famous assassin, likes books, likes dresses, like dogs, plays the piano, a good flirt, speaks at least two languages, and of course, has two male love interests. As a character reader, I am trying to be lenient since these are more plot and setting stories. All of the characters were thinly drawn. The plot was slow. I do think a lot of the characters are likeable even though they are not that well developed. I also appreciated the small female friendship in this novel. I am not rushing to read the second novel in this series, but I may return after awhile since I’ve heard this series also gets better.

3/5 stars. September 12-15, 2023.

Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

It has been many years since I read the Sandman series. It was one of the few 5 star graphic novels of my youth. I am wondering now if I would rate it as highly. I do think the ideas, art, and writing are great but having come from reading Monstress, I find the latter superior and personally more relevant. Morpheus as a character is compelling but I aso find there is a lack of emotionality because they are the Endless. It’s been awhile so I forgot a lot of the characters as well. It was fine with great visuals as usual.

3.5/5 stars. September 15-16, 2023.

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty

Narrated by the author. This was not as good as her previous book. It’s more for middle grade readers but it still has lots of info about death practices.

3.5/5 stars. Mostly 1.5x. September 8-16, 2023.

DNF: The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You by Margareta Magnusson

Narrated by Natascha McElhone. Juliet Stevenson narrated the first one and I was disappointed she didn’t narrate this one. McElhone has a nice voice and natural accent but she puts on a Scandinavian accent. It was distracting and unnecessary. I enjoyed Magnusson’s first book for its tips and considerations about death cleaning, but this book did not really have anything useful. She has lived a great and privileged life and talks more about it in this book. It’ wasn’t relevant to me and I found myself too bored. I thought I could bear it for the 4 hours but when I got halfway, I realized I couldn’t tolerate it anymore.

DNF. September 16, 2023.

My husband grew up with Tintin and had been collecting the hardcover editions of the Adventures of Tintin. I have nice memories of watching the French and Canadian made Tintin animated series in the 1990s which is probably one of the most faithful comic adaptations. I maybe read one of the books as a kid. I remember browsing them at the library. Recently, I’ve been trying to read the books that we own and also read books which are important to my partner.

As of this writing, we own eight of these books. He had collected seven of the books in hardcover and one softcover given by a friend. His goal was to buy one hardcover every year or so. He hasn’t really been doing that the last few years so I ordered one to this collection before I started reading. They are imported books and take awhile to come in. I am going to read the ones we don’t have in French from the library. They are middle grade and would be great practice for me.

Tintin in the Congo (TinTin #2)

We do not own the first one which is “The Land of the Soviets” as that was not part of the canon when he was a kid. He also never read this Congo one because it was likely restricted due to its racist content.

It was hard to read. Originally published in 1931, Herge coloured it and published it again in 1946. He said it was an experimental early work. Let’s start with the good. Some of the drawings are fun. Snowy goes “Woooaaah”. I learned the word psittacosis. Snowy is adorable except when he said, “Missionaries are the tops!”

The bad. Belgians were arguably the worse colonizers which is saying something. Their view of Africans was problematic even when this book was written. The Africans are not drawn well literally and figuratively. It it was extremely patronizing. Tintin is a white saviour figure. The hunting is awful as many animals are shot at or tortured for comic relief. The plot was really flimsy. Also why is it that Tintin is so popular as a journalist? He was offered $10,000 to be a correspondent making him one of the most in demand journalist in history. I didn’t really see the Tintin character or appeal at in this comic book.

2/5 stars. Read August 9, 2023.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (Tintin #1)

My husband never read this one either and I didn’t expect much due to Wikipedia article which noted that it was “joyously bizarre” and allegedly Hergé’s worst.

The worst part is up for debate. I think the Congo was worst in some ways because of the racism and animal abuse content. This one had racism too but it wasn’t there as much and it wasn’t in colour. This one moved at an even faster pace yet I became bored me with how many messes Tintin got himself into. Tintin lacks personality in both these books. Snowy is still sassy at least. Overall, the book felt very dated and not really a classic. I look forward to when the stories and characters get better.

2.25/5 stars. Read August 30, 2023.

Tintin in America (Tintin #3 )

This one was better than the first two because of its satire on America. It still has racist depictions of Native Americans, but the satire about how America treat them in the story was not bad. I still found Tintin a blank slate of a character. I don’t understand why he’s so special. The pacing is very fast because these are comics but this was less overwhelming than the first two books.

2.5/5 stars. Read September 16, 2023.

The Book that No One Wanted to Read by Richard Ayoade

Cute and amusing but didn’t knock my socks off.

3.25/5 stars. Read on Libby app. Sept 1-4, 2023.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosch

This was suppose to be a funny webcomic collection. This was a bit hard for me to read since it deals heavily with depression and suicidal ideation. The author is severely depressed and I could relate to some of the things she wrote about. Some of the comics amused me but the humor didn’t always work for me. I admire the author’s ability to create art. It is good but it doesn’t lift me up so I won’t read her next works.

3.5/5 stars. Sept 5, 2023.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

Narrated by the author. Another Reading Glasses recommendation. Doughty has a nice voice. As someone with an interest in death, this was right up my alley. I didn’t love all the locations but I enjoyed Dougthy’s observations and reflections in many of them.

4.25/5 stars. Sept 1-6, 2023. Mostly 1.4x.

We are never meeting in real life by Samantha Irby

Narrated by the author. I have mixed feelings. The author and I are very different people. There was too much sexual content for me. There was aggressive humor which I didn’t find funny most of the time. On the other hand, I’ve heard Irby on a podcast and reading between the lines in this book, I find myself respecting and even liking her. She is raw and upfront about who she is and her life. I also liked how she discussed depression, anxiety, and death. I got the feeling she is a great friend. Considering her life circumstances, she’s faced things with her head held high. I do admire that. I have her next two books on hold as well and they are actually easy to listen to in some ways so I’ll likely try the next one.

3.25/5 stars. Sept 5-8, 2023. Mostly 1.5x.

Monstress Vol 5-7 by Marjorie M. Liu, Illustrated by Sana Takeda

I hadn’t caught up to this epic fantasy graphic novel series since pre-pandemic. I forgot almost everything but started remembering some as I went through. The world building is so deep and complex. As a character and setting reader, this series is very intense.

I love this series. It is dark and emotional and even spiritual and humanistic. It has female relationships and found families. It’s also amazingly illustrated. I actually think this is my favourite graphic novel series now over both Sandman and Promethea. Since the story was created by two Asian female writers and has influences in East Asian history and symbolism, I can relate to it much more. I would really like to reread this series when it is done. I love how so much has unfolded. There is a lot of emotionality. I look forward to the next edition.

4.25-4.5/5 stars. September 9-10, 2023.