SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
SarahMichigan
sarahmichigan
50bookchallenge

Books #59-60

Book #59 was "Ancillary Sword" by Ann Leckie, the second in her Imperial Radch trilogy. I'd heard from others that this was the weakest of the three and/or that if felt like a bridge from the first to the third, but I still enjoyed it. Our main character, Breq, an AI who was once a ship with many "ancillary" bodies and now with only one, has determined in the first book that the Lord of the Radch[Spoiler (click to open)]has a split personality and that the war between herselves will tear the entire civilzation apart. In the second book, Breq goes to the star system where the surviving relative of a human she cared about lives in order to offer her help to the relative. The relative rejects her offer, but in the meantime, Breq gets caught up in politics and intrigue on the space station and planet and positions herself for the chaos she knows will spread as word about the Lord of the Radch spreads. I agree that this wasn't as good as the first novel, but I did still find it very satisfying and look forward to finishing the trilogy.

Book #60 was "Roadside Picnic" by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Russian science fiction from the 1980s. The brothers' books are much better known in Russia than in the U.S., but if anyone here has heard of the Strugatsky brothers, it's usually this book, which was the basis for both a movie and a videogame. In the near future, aliens have come and gone without acknowledging man in any way and leaving behind their artifacts in "zones", much as picnickers leaving behind trash. People called "stalkers" sneak into the zones to try to profit from alien technology, and a government agency tries to stop the stalkers and take the artifacts for their own purposes. The novel primarily follows Red Schuhart, a stalker who sometimes acts as an illegal stalker and sometimes uses his talents for the government agency. The characters try to make sense of and profit from the alien artifacts but think they may be doing the equivalent of smashing walnuts with a sledgehammer even when things go right, but many objects in the zones are dangerous and even deadly. It's a strange but charming little book, less than 200 pages long. The introduction to my edition is by Ursula K. LeGuin, with an afterward by Boris, reflecting on how times have changed since the Soviets tried to censor the Strugatsky brothers. Highly entertaining.


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)
49. The Dark Forest (second in the The Three-Body Problem trilogy) [fiction]- Cixin Liu
50. The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family [nonfiction/memoir/graphic nonfiction]- Paul Karasik (author/illustrator) and Judy Karasik (author)
51. Bossypants [nonfiction/memoir]- Tina Fey (unabridged audiobook)
52. The Golem and the Jinni [fiction]- Helene Wecker
53. Lock In [fiction]- John Scalzi
54. Broken Harbor [fiction]- Tana French
55. The Buddha of Suburbia [fiction]- Hanif Kureishi
56. Something Wicked This Way Comes [fiction]- Ray Bradbury
57. The Dream Thieves (2nd in the Raven Cycle) [fiction]- Maggie Stiefvater (unabridged audiobook)
58. The Shadowed Sun" [fiction]- N.K. Jemisin
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