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What I’ve Been Reading – December 2017

Ok, so this post is late. In fact it’s over a week late. In my defense, the Children’s Museum just announced that it bought a building and will be moving in a few years, which means work has been cray-z. But that’s no excuse for not getting writing done.

My resolution for 2018 is to write more. Which means more posts here and more writing on the project I’m currently working on. Which may mean fewer books read. I’m ok with that.

New Books
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF by Amy Reeder
ONSET: To Serve and ProtectONSET: My Enemy’s Enemy by Glynn Stewart
Natsume’s Book of Friends, Vol. 1, and Vol. 2 by Yuki Midorikawa
Turning Pro by Stephen Pressfield
The Magic Misfits (Magic Misfits, #1) by Neil Patrick Harris
Blood Ladders Trilogy: An Heir to Thorns and SteelBy Vow and Royal BloodshedOn Wings of Bone and Glass by M. C. A. Hogarth
First Watch by Dale Lucas
Shut Up and Tweet by  Phil Pallen
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky

Rereads
From Ruins (Princes’ Game #6)Mindtouch, and Mindline by M. C. A. Hogarth
Silent Blade (Kinsmen, #1)Silver Shark (Kinsmen, #2) by Ilona Andrews

Mini Reviews

First up, let’s talk comic books:

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1 was actually a little disappointing to me. I’d read a number of good reviews praising this comic, but overall it was just kind of “eh” for me. I liked Devil Dinosaur. And the encounter with the Hulk. But this volume felt like it took a while to get things started. I’ll probably check out the next one too, just to see if it starts to go anywhere.

Natsume’s Book of Friends is a decent slice-of-life manga in which a boy who can see yokai (a catch-all term for ghosts, magical creatures, and things that go bump in the night) is hunted for the book in which his grandmother recorded the names of the yokai she met to bind them to her service. This one also had a pretty slow start, but picked up pretty quickly, introducing new characters every few chapters. I’m told it really begins to pick up a plot a few volumes in, so I’ll probably continue this one at some point as well.

Fiction:

I picked up the ONSET books after reading Glynn Stewart’s Changling’s Blood last month.  In these a small town cop is attacked by vampires, discovers he has magical powers and is whisked into the *super secret* agency protecting humans from supernaturals (and vice versa). Stewart produces consistently good books, but these felt rushed. Things progress really quickly, so fast its hard to keep up sometimes. Character development, especially for side characters suffers as a result. And I especially liked some of the side characters. A decent read overall, but I liked the Fred the Vampire Accountant books better for the same tropes.

I got to see Neil Patrick Harris talk about his book Magical Misfits at Symphony Space early in December as a freebie from work. It was awesome. I picked up a signed copy of the book, but honestly I would recommend getting the audiobook because he rocked the reading. The book is funny, the kids are doing real magic (of the stage variety), and it doesn’t talk down to kids or gloss over harsh realities. The tone is clearly inspired by Lemony Snicket, but that’s not a bad thing. Really fun to read.

I read the Blood Ladders trilogy in the run-up to the holidays. Like most of Hogarth’s works I loved it, even when it got a little difficult to read. She’s not afraid of tackling difficult subjects. This one takes on crippling infirmity, slavery, and intercultural relations and manages to be a romantic fantasy story at the same time with a truly epic scope. Exactly what I was expecting from her having read her Pelted universe books. Seriously, her books deserve to be much more widely read.

Nonfiction:

Shut up at Tweet was a purchase for work after a colleague recommended it at a training early in the month. It was quick, I read it through on the train home (less than an hour), but so far has been useful in changing the way I think about tweeting. I haven’t gotten the chance to try out its recommendation for gaining twitter followers yet. So I’m not sure if that works. But its recommendations on content have been spot-on so far.

Making Ideas Happen and Turning Pro were lent to me by the incomparable Lance Schaubert after I complained that I never finish anything. Both are good on the motivation front. Turning Pro is meant to me more of a devotional, I think. It’s a follow-up to the War of Art I read last September and it has the same extremely short, pithy chapters. This one focuses on what it takes to be a pro at just about anything. Making Ideas Happen was a little more useful to me at this time. I’m still working through some of its sections, but overall it’s a primer on the “action method” which consists of breaking goals down into actionable steps and then accomplishing them one by one. So far it’s helped me focus on what needs to happen next, rather than getting caught up in the big picture too much. Overall they were both good reads to launch me into the New Year.

That’s it for 2017. I’m going to write a wrap-up post too and pick out my favorite books for the year. Stay tuned for that.  Leave me a comment below if you got this far. What should I read in 2018?

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