What I've been reading lately

I didn't read as many books over the last few months as I wanted to, but the ones I did read had maximum impact.



Darkmouth - Shane Hegarty

There seems to be a rash of prominent middle grade books by Irish authors recently, and Darkmouth is one of the more notable. It presents a fun universe and a protagonist you want to root for right off the bat, although it perhaps expects you to keep rooting for him a bit too long--I found Finn's constant treadmill of failure kind of repetitive after a while.



The Sympathizer -  Viet Thanh Nguyen

One of those rare literary novels with an ambitiously expansive scope--the kind that some critics might be tempted to describe as being about, like, humanity, man--that comes close to justifying the praise. Come for the writing, stay for the deliciously acerbic critique of American culture.

And he has another book out next year!

The official Ronan Wills Did Not Finish Pile for October 2017

I start a lot of books. I don't always finish them. Sometimes this is the book's fault, sometimes it's not (this is particularly true lately, as medical issues sometimes render me unable to read even if I want to). Here are the ones I didn't finish lately.

Alias Grace by Margeret Atwood

I got halfway through this, and then a certain other book we'll discuss below came along and demanded my attention. I definitely mean to go back to it.

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

I feel bad about this one, because it's another prominent middle grade debut by an Irish author, and I feel like I need to represent the home team. The premise was interesting, but the story was just a bit too meandering in the early going. I might give it another shot.

SPQR by Mary Beard

At the end of August, I was suddenly taken by a desire to read some Roman history, and this is the Roman history book nearly everyone recommends. Unfortunately, a rogue migraine swarm stopped me in my tracks a third of the way in.

In Progress: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

I rushed out and got this as soon as the positive reviews hit, being something of a fan of the earlier His Dark Materials books. So far, it's not impressing me all that much, mainly due to flat characters and a story that takes its sweet time cohering into anything solid. From what I've read, the second half is distinctly more His Dark Materials-ey, so we'll see.

On my to-read list

Here's what I want to tackle next, on no particular timeline:

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell