SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #79-80

Book #79 was "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt. I get the feeling this is a love it or hate it kind of book, since when I was googling it, I found an essay called "Ten reasons we loved 'The Secret History'" and another that was titled "Why I hated 'The Secret History'". At first, I wasn't sure what to make of it. It's shelved as a mystery at my library, but it's not a "Whodunnit" -- you know who died, roughly who did it and roughly how it happened in the first few pages. The suspense comes from finding out what series of events lead to the murder and what would happen to the protagonist, Richard, and his friends, after the murder. I don't want to say too much about the plot and spoil it, because once I got sucked into the book, I really enjoyed it. The book is ostensibly about murder, but it's really about the masks we put on and the social lies that we tell, and what happens to someone who isn't good at masks and social lies when the stakes are high. I really liked it and would like to read more by Tartt.

Book #80 was "Mississippi Sissy," a memoir by Kevin Sessums. Growing up in the south in the 60s as a young sissy boy is tough, tougher still when your father is a retired pro athlete and a coach at the local high school. Sessume loses both his parents in one year and grows up parented by his grandparents. He later goes on to be a celebrity and entertainment journalist, but the book mainly covers his childhood and young adulthood up to about age 19, when he is out as gay and ready to get out of the South. In between, he's the target of predatory older men who sense he's a young gay man on the brink of discovering his sexuality. Luckily, he also has some wonderful mentors along the way, including Frank Hains, a journalist, and Hains' friend, southern novelist Eudora Welty. I found the explicit description of his sexual abuse to be pretty squicky, but overall really enjoyed this book a great deal. I found myself chuckling through a lot of it and empathizing at others. This won a Lambda award for best memoir by a gay man, and it is richly deserving.

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
59. Ancillary Sword (2nd in the Imperial Radch trilogy) [fiction]- Ann Leckie
60. Roadside Picnic [fiction]- Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
61. Orlando [fiction]- Virginia Woolf
62. Wakulla Springs [fiction]- Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
63. Desert Solitaire [nonfiction]- Edward Abbey
64. The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures [nonfiction]- Christine Kenneally (unabridged audiobook)
65. A Gathering of Old Men [fiction]- Ernest J. Gaines
66. Ancillary Mercy (3rd in the Imperial Radch trilogy) [fiction]- Ann Leckie
67. Ash [fiction]- Malinda Lo
68. The Female Man [fiction]- Joanna Russ
69. Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater (3rd book in The Raven Cycle) (unabridged audiobook)
70. Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence [nonfiction]- John Hockenberry
71. The Windup Girl [fiction]- Paolo Bacigalupi.
72. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage [mix of fiction & nonfiction/graphic novel]- Sydney Padua
73. Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
74. The Comfort of Strangers [fiction]- Ian McEwan
75. Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity [collected essays]- ed. Matt (Matilda) Bernstein Sycamore
76. Cold Comfort Farm [fiction]- Stella Gibbons
77. The Raven King (4th book in the Raven Cycle) [fiction]- Maggie Stiefvater (unabridged audiobook)
78. Station Eleven [fiction]- Emily St. John Mandel

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