SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #49-50

This is the earliest in a given year that I've gotten to 50 books since I started tracking in 2006! I have a summer job that permits me to read when it's slow, and it's fairly typical for me to read 80-120 pages on a slow shift, and I'm also listening to more audiobooks this summer.

Book #49 was "The Dark Forest" by Cixin Liu, the second in the Chinese sci-fi trilogy "The Three-Body Problem." In the first book, Earth learns that aliens from an unstable planet that humans dub "Trisolaris" are coming to Earth to find a more hospitable home. Humanity breaks up into factions who advocate giving up and helping the aliens, fighting back, or fleeing. In the second books, the aliens are still on their way, and this fact has altered human society and progress. Those planning to fight the aliens learn that while the aliens seem to know everything happening on Earth, they can't see into human minds. So a "Wallfacer" project is implemented, where 4 men are chosen to come up with plans to save earth, and are authorized to use many resources and to lie and confuse the public about their real plans and motives in order to keep the aliens in the dark as well. The faction that has deified the aliens and wants to help them create an opposing program, the Wallbreaker program, to try to discover what the Wallfacers are hiding. One of the main characters is Luo Ji, a Wallfacer who doesn't understand why he's been chosen to be in the program, and yet he comes up with one of humanity's most powerful plans, and the Trisolarans know he is a threat and constantly come up with plans to try to kill him. I am really enjoying the series and am looking forward to the third one coming out in English in September.

Book #50 was "The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family" by Paul Karasik (author/illustrator) and Judy Karasik (author). The format of this book is really interesting: it is told in alternate chapters by a brother and sister, with the sister using a more traditional prose memoir writing style, and the brother doing his chapters in comics style. The book tells the story of growing up with their profoundly autistic brother David, who is obsessed with old Superman shows and "performs" them (and other shows, including the news) on a daily schedule, becoming upset and slightly violent when he's thrown off his schedule. I really liked this story a lot, even though it has many sad moments, from a fire that kills two disabled people to the revelation that the group home that the family thought was so good for David turns out to have allegations of sexual and physical abuse brought against it. In general, I've been trying to read books BY disabled authors, rather than books about disability by able-bodied people, because they bring a different sensibility to it. For instance, the brother and sister more than once refer to David's brain as being "broken" in some way, a phrase I almost never see autistic people using about themselves. However, it's full of warmth, love and humor, and, overall, I really liked this book a lot and recommend it.

1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time" [nonfiction]- David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson (unabridged audiobook)
2. The Detroit Electric Scheme [fiction]- D.E. Johnson
3. Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1964-1973 (Volume 5  in the Classics of Modern Science Fiction series) [fiction/short stories]- PJ Farmer
4. "The Aspern Papers" and "The Turn of the Screw" (omnibus volume with notes and commentary) [fiction]- Henry James
5. Ever After (11th in "The Hollows" series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
6. On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family [nonfiction]- Lisa See
7. Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama [nonfiction/ graphic memoir]- written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
8. My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir [nonfiction/memoir]- Noelle Hancock
9. House of Leaves [fiction]- Mark Z. Danielewski
10. Ready Player One [fiction]- Ernest Cline (unabridged audiobook)
11. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America [nonfiction]- Barbara Ehrenreich
12. Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life [nonfiction/memoir]- Harriet McBryde Johnson
13. The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
14. Ivanhoe [fiction]- Sir Walter Scott
15. Ancillary Justice [fiction]- Ann Leckie
16. Beauty Queens [fiction]- Libba Bray (unabridged audiobook)
17. Burnt Mountain [fiction]- Anne Rivers Siddons
18. Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia [nonfiction]- David Greene
19. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex [nonfiction]- Mary Roach (unabridged audiobook)
20. The Likeness [fiction]- Tana French
21. Atonement [fiction]- Ian McEwan
22. The Westing Game [fiction]- Ellen Raskin (unabridged audiobook)
23. Nappy Edges [poetry]- Ntozake Shange
24. Childhood's End [fiction]- Arthur C. Clarke
25. Tartuffe [play/drama]- Moliere, translated and with introduction by Richard Wilbur
26. Bicycle Diaries [nonfiction]- David Byrne
27. Cotton Comes to Harlem [fiction]- Chester Himes
28. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
29. House of Sand and Fog [fiction]- Andre Dubus III
30. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes [nonfiction]- Maria Konnikova
31. Blood Colony [fiction]- Tannarive Due
32. All the Light We Cannot See [fiction]- Anthony Doerr (unabridged audiobook)
33. The Summer Prince [fiction]- Alaya Dawn Johnson
34. The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science [nonfiction]- Douglass Starr
35. The Three-Body Problem Cixin Liu [fiction]- Cixin Liue (translated by Ken Liu)
36. Daisy Miller [ficiton/novella]- Henry James
37. Raven Boys [fiction]- Maggie Stiefvater (unabridged audiobook)
38. Faithful Place [fiction]- Tana French
39. Babyji [fiction]- Abha Dawesar
40. Motherless Brooklyn [fiction]- Jonathan Lethem
41. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? [nonfiction/memoir]- Jeanette Winterson (unabridged audiobook)
42. Unbound (third in the "Magic Ex Libris" series) [fiction]- Jim Hines
43. The Undead Pool (the Hollows series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
44. On Such a Full Sea [fiction]- Chang-Rae Lee
45. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [nonfiction]- Annie Dillard
46. A Widow for One Year [fiction]- John Irving
47. The Broken Cord [nonfiction}- Michael Dorris
48. The Count of Monte Cristo [fiction]- Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook)

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