May 2016: Variety pack

So, it's June 23. And here's the list for May. It's been a bit crazypants around here. I read every night before I go to sleep, so reading never entirely goes by the wayside. Unlike, say, binge-watching things on Netflix or vacuuming. Gotta have priorities. 

I'm going to do a list. Let's see which books move me to comment on.

1. Brush Back by Sara Paretsky. V.I. Warshawsky rides again. Just realizing that I never did figure out what the title references. 

2. Moss Hysteria by Kate Collins. A typical cozy. 

3. Eighth Grave from the Dark by Darynda Jones. A series (did the numeric title tip you off?) about the grim reaper married to the son of the devil. In this one, they had a baby. I think the charm of this series may be wearing off for me. 

4. Cold Girl by R.M. Greenaway. A murder mystery set in the modern context of the Canadian northwest. There was a secondary, or actually probably more like tertiary, character that I found particularly intriguing. An old, blind First Nations man who is working to preserve his language and teach it to the young people. I want to know his story.

5.  So Much for That by Lionel Shriver. My fingers are hesitating over the keyboard, trying to figure out which thought to pluck out of my brain and lay down for this book. There were some really frustrating moments in this story – as in life – but it all came together. Perhaps a little too perfectly at the end, but I'll take it.  

6. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot. The chicklitiest of chick lit. Eye roll-y and yet I'm complicit. Here it is on my list. 

7. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. A lovely counterpoint to the previous entry. The story of a woman to whom life has handed nothing but low expectations and how she gradually begins to break out of the metaphorical chrysalis in which she has been bound.  

8. The First Crusade, A New History: The Roots of Conflict Between Christianity and Islam by Thomas Asbridge. Moral of this non-fiction account? Religion has been the excuse for intolerance, terrorism, and assholitude since forever. 

9. Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Lynn Crosbie. Not for me, Jenn. I couldn't finish it. Not interested in self-destructive faux-nostalgia for the grunge era. 

10. The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer. Lots of unsympathetic characters, but an engrossing read. And no religious element, despite what the title might imply. 

Plus, the fam gave me a new Kobo for Mother's Day. Yay!! 

And I'm thoroughly HOOKED on a podcast series called Rex Factor. (Once you listen to it, you'll start saying that title in a very particular, majestic way.) The audio isn't great in the first few episodes, but hang in there 'cause it gets better. A couple of blokes – I feel like they'd describe themselves as blokes - discuss and score each of the kings and queens of England, starting way back with the Saxons. (They have a second series on the monarchs of Scotland, but I'm not there yet.) So good. Check it out!