I ended up getting into “Romantasy” vibes this month. It started with the first book of the “Blood And Ash” series, then I was intrigued to read the second book, and then I got into “The Fourth Wing” sensation. I listened to a non-fiction audiobook, and there was one fiction book I read for my book club that I didn’t enjoy. But overall, I had lots of fun with dragons and vampire-like folks!
Still Distracted After All These Years: Help and Support for Older Adults with ADHD by Kathleen G. Nadeau, 288p (Audiobook): Good information, it brings successful examples of how to make life adjustments after retirement for people with ADHD. It mentions the importance of keeping a simple life, reaching out for help or support groups, exercising, diet, practising mindfulness and having social support. It gave me some insights on the difficulties adults with ADHD can face when getting older.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, 320p: The premise is beautiful, it hints at deep reflections about being human, but it didn't work for me. The dialogues were super weird and unnatural, they really bothered me. I missed more exploration of the technology behind the Artificial Friends (AF) and how they worked. Was Klara all mechanical? Was she an android? I wasn't convinced that AF's would find mystical significance in the Sun. The story hints at several themes but never really goes deep: environmental pollution, empathy, robots taking over human jobs, loneliness, gene editing, social class privilege. The plot is super simple and predictable, and the ending was very bleh.
From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 613p: I just couldn't put this book down! Twisty tale. I enjoyed following the story through only one point of view (the female main character). I liked the level of suspense and how aspects of the world building are unveiled slowly. All is told through the point of view of The Maiden, our main character Poppy. She is a guarded figure in the realm, nobody can interact with her. So she doesn't know the world outside and we as readers are there with her discovering nasty secrets about the kingdom. The romance was interesting. It's not really enemies to lovers in the beginning, it's more like stranger-bodyguard romance (Hawke) that turns into enemies to lovers. [SPOILERS AHEAD! ] ===> This book had some plot twists that got me by surprise. I was expecting a typical “enemies to lovers” romance trope plot, but it actually had some surprising elements I was not expecting. The romance is not “happily ever after” in this one. I was not fully prepared for the ending. I was shocked by the final plot twist. We discover there are vampire-like and werewolf-like people in this world. Hawke was disguised as a royal guard all this time just to capture Poppy, and he is an Atlantian, aka “The Dark One” who basically wants to destroy Poppy's kingdom. Hawke turns out to be a ruthless, brutal killer. It's a very complicated relationship, and it got me curious to read the second book in the series. But I still enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood And Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 531p: This second book continues right off where the first one ends. There is a lot of world building info dump as it explains a lot more about the Atlantians, wolven bonds and Vamprys. The world of politics and magic just continues to get more complex and nuanced. The pace slows down halfway through as there is a lot of travelling and lodging. [SPOILERS AHEAD! ] ===> The main characters are on their way to Atlantia and there is time for Poppy and Casteel to reconcile, so their “reunion” didn't feel rushed or forced. I was surprised at how I changed my mind about Casteel: he turned out to be a nice guy in light of all the terrible things happening in this world. Poppy discovers that her whole life was a lie, and we see her growing, regaining her confidence and being able to express her true self. It felt to me like a “second chance” type of romance, because now Poppy knows Casteel's true identity and there is relationship development all over again. It ends with a bang, and it seems the explanation of exactly what happened in the end is in the next book. I was intrigued again!
Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros, 512p: Another book that I enjoyed more than I thought I would! We follow Violet SorrengaiI when she joins the Basgiath War College to become a dragonrider in the kingdom of Navarre. All she wanted was to become a scribe, but her mother, who is a war General, forces her to join the Dragonriders Quadrant, instead of the Scribe Quadrant. Just to keep family tradition (her older siblings were also dragonriders). I feel bad about the ruthlessness nature of this military school (there are zero concerns with safety and well-being of the cadets) but I got past that. Cadets die if they make mistakes or fail the crazy challenges and tests assigned to them. They are prepared to bond with a dragon and become a rider. The bond is strong, rider and dragons can telepathically communicate. And if you're a rider and your dragon dies, you die! I'm loving the mental banter-dialogues between the riders and the dragons. The romance is a slow burn, well-developed enemies-to-lovers. It's over the top and I loved it! I definitely want to check out the second book in the series.
Babel by R.F. Kuang, 556p: This is probably the first Dark Academia genre book I've read and although the theme is indeed dark, I'm enjoying it. It's a mixture of alternate history with fantasy and serious criticism of colonialism. It's very well written, using England's Oxford University in the 1800s as background. I liked it, even though it’s a sad book. It's sad, but it was a page turner for me (which doesn't usually happen with sad books for me). I loved the writing style, and I cared about the characters, I wanted to know what would happen to them, and that kept me going. I also enjoyed the discussions about origin of words and how they relate in different languages (etymology). I didn't think the “magic” system (silver working) was super exciting. It was subtle, and it was interesting that the author used the concept of “missed translation” between languages to create power. Cool to see a magical version of the industrial revolution, explaining why the British Empire was so much more powerful than the rest of the world. The author's time and effort put into research was obvious. It goes deep into racism and colonialism. It goes deep into privilege and wealth and power over oppressed people. Inequality. Cultural appropriation. Xenophobia. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.
A Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London #2) by Elizabeth Everett, 322p: Another historical romance with some modern twist. This one is about the lady mathematician Letty, and Lord Greycliff. I thought Lord Greycliff was super annoying at the beginning, although he gets better by the end. There were some fun banter moments between the two. The plot of this one was not as interesting as the first book.
A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) by Tessa Dare, 400p: I loved the setting: a place by the sea where unmarried women can go to restore and explore their interests, like a summer camp. They go on country walks, they go sea-bathing, they garden, they even shoot firearms! No men allowed until a group of military men reaches Spindle Cove. This was a super fun and lighthearted enemies-to-lovers trope book. I loved the writing style. This is the second romance book I read by this author (I read “Romancing the Duke” years ago) and I forgot how delightfully fun and sexy her writing was. It was the perfect fluffy read with a strong red-haired female lead (Susanna Finch) and an alpha hero who was not cringy (Bram, or the new Earl of Rycliff).
The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World by Max Fisher, 389p: This is a very in depth presentation of facts on how technology can impact society and social movements. It describes in detail how Facebook aimed to increase the number of friends users had (they wanted to surpass the Dunbar limit of 150) by enforcing it through changes in their algorithms. Then it discusses the Trump election and the rise of right-wing posts, videos and groups in social media. Chapters 4 and 5 covers the rise of machine learning algorithms and how all platforms started promoting and amplifying more outrageous/radical content. And how the average user's time on these platforms skyrocketed around 2016. And then, Trump's and Bolsonaro's election in the USA and Brazil respectively, which were fuelled by social media. The rise of alt-right movements. The pandemic and all the misinformation campaigns during that period. It’s a full exposition of how social media had (and still has) real life dire consequences.
Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10) by Jim Butcher, 420p: I wasn't as invested in this book as the previous ones. It sure is fun and full of action, but I guess I wasn’t in the mood for so much action all at once. I can see that this book will bring serious repercussions for the plot in the future. Harry Dresden is again pushed to his limits, with overpowering supernatural entities. I was worried about a particular character's future health, something I'll have to discover in the next book.
Finder (Finder Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Palmer, 400p: Space adventures of Fergus Ferguson, a finder. He just wants to find a ship and bring it back to the owner, but he ends up entangled in local affairs. Fun, light space adventure. Excellent to sit back and relax. I continued on the next in the series.
Driving the Deep (Finder Chronicles #2) by Suzanne Palmer, 400p: Nice follow-up! It was cool to know more about the Shipmakers of Pluto. Interesting setting as well, deep into Enceladus thick ice sheet ocean. Fergus becomes an undercover deep ocean hauler pilot to investigate things. I thought the plot was more tidy than the first book, and it has a very satisfying ending.
Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom #1) by Rowenna Miller, 480p: This was not the book I was looking for. The blurb mentions it is French Revolution-inspired in a fictional world with magic. The magic system is interesting: a few seamstresses can cast charms into their stitches, making charm protected garments. The protagonist, Sophie, is one of those expert seamstresses and has her own business. Her brother, Kristos, is a revolutionary that wants to overthrow the monarchy (hence the French Revolution inspiration). But the revolution didn’t seem convincing. It was a bit of a slow burn towards political revolution from the POV of someone who is connected to it (Sophie) but doesn’t really want to get involved. Sophie was so reactive and her lack of agency annoyed me at times. There was not enough texture in the story to make it a compelling revolution inspired story.
Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore, 356p: I’m truly enjoying these historical romances with a modern twist. In this one the main character, Annabelle, is a bluestocking in 1879 studying in Oxford, who joins the suffragette movement. They are fighting to get the “Married Women’s Property Act” amended, so that women can keep their own property after marriage. Annabelle is tasked with getting the Duke of Montgomery to back the cause, and romance ensues! It has a rich plot with believable political background. Beautiful romance story with a strong female character.
Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly #1) by Gail Carriger, 180p: a stand-alone romance novella set in Gail Carriger’s steampunk universe. Lady Preshea Villentia, a deadly, accomplished assassin, is hired for a job in a country house party. The plot is simple, so the story is self-contained, and the focus is the romance between Lady Villentia and Captain Gavin. Delightfully entertaining and cute.
Time Surfing: The Zen Approach to Keeping Time on Your Side (Stressontknoping #1) by Paul Loomans, 176p: This book discusses how we can concentrate on doing our work intuitively. The approach suggests using to-do list as merely checklists to see if we are forgetting something. The author says he doesn’t even use lists anymore, unless he’s very busy. I liked the idea that we have to face the “gnawing rats”: all the things in our lives that we put off and which then start to “gnaw” at us. He suggests we visualize the next actions of what is worrying us, identifying what we find difficult or scary to make the solution real, and leave it to our intuition to carry out the task later. Also, lots of good ideas: do one thing at a time, give things your full attention (no multitasking), take short breaks often to recharge, practice mindfulness. Some of the ideas were familiar to me, but he manages to present them in a fresh and simple way. The illustrations are gorgeous!
This month I finally finished reading the Planetfall series by Emma Newman. The interesting thing about this series is that the 4 books can be read in any order because each book is set in different places and timelines. It's sci-fi with touches of thriller, mystery, psychological themes, very engaging.
If you are interested, I'd only recommend reading “After Atlas (Planetfall #2)” before “Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4)” as these two books are the only ones that are very close together in terms of timeline (Atlas Alone is a close continuation of After Atlas). My reading order was:
1. After Atlas (Planetfall #2) – Nov, 2022
2. Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4) – Apr, 2023
3. Planetfall (Planetfall #1) – Jun, 2023
4. Before Mars (Planetfall #3) – Jul, 2023
And here goes all the books I read this month:
Axiom's End (Noumena #1) by Lindsay Ellis, 336p: This one is an alt-history first contact story set in 2007. I kinda liked it, it's action packed, the writing is good. The focus was more on the relationship between the main alien and the protagonist, which was well done. There is lots of focus on the communication aspect: how to develop something that translates totally different language structures and alien sounds. That was cool. I thought that the CIA agency was too nice to be true in terms of letting outsiders in and treating people nicely (for the most part). It is a page turner with cinematic action scenes.
Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman, 338p: Planetfall is the first novel in the Planetfall series but I read it after “After Atlas” and “Atlas Alone”, since it is set some 20 years after “After Atlas” in the universe's timeline. It focuses on the colonists who left Earth on a mission to find God and landed on this new planet, where there is a bio-mechanical alien structure they named “God's City”. Things get complicated when one day the grandson of the missions' leader wanders into the colony from the wilderness, having survived all these years far from the colony. The main character is Renata Ghali, an engineer knowledgeable in 3D printing. The books features anxiety disorders and extreme hoarding themes in an intimate way, all through the lens of the main character. Big secrets are revealed, with a more mystical ending than the other books in the series. It's the slower paced book of the series.
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg, 171p: I heard about this book when I was researching about a technique called free writing. This author developed this method of “writing practice” where you set a timer and free write whatever is in your mind, nonstop, flow-of-consciousness style. The book is a compilation of fun small essays about writing. It's light and amusing!
Duchess by Night (Desperate Duchesses #3) by Eloisa James, 384p: This book had some interesting elements, like the main character cross-dressing pretending to be a man. That had some hilarious dialogues and situations. But romance wise, I didn't find the couple attraction convincing enough. It's a light and fun read, but I found it a bit tedious towards the end. Also, it has the very predictable trope of happily ever after with kids, which may just be in all this author's books. I picked it up because I wanted to get back into this series, but I feel like it's not my thing anymore.
Before Mars (Planetfall #3) by Emma Newman, 352p: A brilliant sci-fi book with emotional and psychological depth. Set on a base on Mars, it's a mysterious thriller with untrustworthy AI's, conspiracies, personal trauma and complex characters. We get a lot of the main character's thought process, it's very intimate. The main character is a geologist and a painter, and she struggles with her decision to leave behind her husband and her daughter on Earth to pursue a one-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. Weird things happen at the base and from the first chapter I was totally into the mystery, wanting to know what happened. It features excellent mental health representation, it's raw and real. I had tears in my eyes when I finished it.
I have not read any non-fiction this month! Well, I actually started an audio book called “A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence” by Jeff Hawkins but I stopped at 42% because it wasn’t catching my attention anymore. It could be I didn’t like the narrator’s voice. I’ll give up trying audio books, it’s not really my favorite format.
Legendborn (The Legendborn Cycle #1) by Tracy Deonn, 511p: This one was intriguing: a secret society that hunts creatures from another dimension, in which the members are descendants of King Arthur’s knights, with magic. The Arthurian legend lore of the book was the least interesting to me. It had a well done representation of feeling of grief by the main character (Bree), who is a smart black young lady. She has just gone to university and she experiences a lot of stuff: joining a secret society, fighting demonic creatures, magic powers, discrimination, grief, learning about her ancestors struggles. I didn't see the plot twist at the end coming and it actually a delightful surprise! But it is still a YA book with its genre tropes, so it felt a tad longer than it should be to me.
A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity #2) by William Hertling, 262p: I didn't like this one as much as the first one in the series. It is still a sci-fi thriller, with lots of insights into how a virus that turns into a powerful A.I. would start evolving and basically take over all digital systems in the world, from smart devices to cars and computers. The chapters describing how the virus developed intelligence and its communication with each other were a bit boring.
A Lady's Formula for Love (The Secret Scientists of London #1) by Elizabeth Everett, 336p: This was a perfect summer read. Delightful romance with a smart scientist protagonist in Victorian 1800's trying to fight patriarchy. Lady Violet Hughes is a widow who founded a secret society composed of brilliant female scientists. I love women in STEM stories! It was super fun with all these women in their 30's/40's blowing things up and inventing new things! Lady Violet is working on a confidential mission for the Crown and she needs some professional protection. That's where the body guard romance comes in: Arthur Kneland, hot scottish dude. It's more of an instant attraction trope, not slow burn at all, and it was great. They were both mature and open with each other, I enjoyed that! There were some fun dialogues of Lady Violet explaining Avogadro's law to Arthur (or whoever was close by). I want to read more from this author.
The Mimicking of Known Successes (Mossa & Pleiti #1) by Malka Ann Older, 169p: Cozy space mystery set in Jupiter. The setting is interesting: humanity has fled a dying Earth and has build rings around Jupiter with interconnecting platforms. All transportation is made through rail cars that connects to stations. A university professor mysteriously disappears: did he jump off the rings? Was it murder or suicide? It has Sherlock Holmes vibes with Investigator Mossa and her scholar girlfriend Pleiti. Intertwined with the mystery, there are discussions about ecosystem's equilibrium and the hope to transform Earth into a habitable place again. There is also some romance but it's very subtle. The language was a bit over the top to me, too formal. It made the dialogues seem unnatural. One thing bothered me: Jupiter is 10 times bigger than Earth in diameter, and building rings going around the whole planet seems....impractical? almost impossible? It wasn't clear if those rings were actually surrounding the whole circumference of the planet.
Machinehood by S.B. Divya, 416p: This book is full on ideas and questions about artificial intelligence and how it can integrate with humans. It presents a future dominated by the gig economy, humans have to take advanced enhancement pills to compete with bots and weak AI's (WAI) in the labour force, people have online “tip jars” to receive money from other users that are watching their live social media feeds. It is a disturbing view of the future where there are swarms of nano cameras everywhere, watching and broadcasting everything you do to the internet. The main plot point is the conflict raised by a movement to defend WAI's and bots rights and end the inequality between humans and artificial intelligence. It also touches on the human+machine integration, and how that could change the world. It has lots of interesting ideas, it shows personal insights of the day to day lives of the characters, new views on religion, glimpses of life in space stations, some simplified politics conflicts. I thought that the final resolution of the plot was too easy, and a little bit too rushed.
Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 599p: Earth is dust, humans are looking for new planets to settle. Generation ships travelling for thousands of years, genetically engineered spiders, failed terraformed planets, first contact, a look into an alien society evolving through the years. Even though there are wars and the classic conflicts for power, I liked the optimistic ending.
Honor and Shadows (Starlight's Shadow #0.5) by Jessie Mihalik, 70p: Short story, not much to it. Just another day in the life of Captain Octavia Zarola, trying to do good in the world.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas, 419p: It was not my cup of tea. I didn't really like any of the main characters, I thought the Fae magic powers were loosely explained, it felt limitless and inconsistent. The romance didn't convince me at all. Can’t say more without huge spoilers.
Avogadro Corp (Singularity #1) by William Hertling, 302p: What if a generative artificial intelligence is incorporated into an email program to help users write more compelling messages based on data from all the emails that are sent back forth? Sounds familiar? What if this AI receives a directive to benefit its own development and starts to write emails on its own? The book was written in 2011 and it already talks about generative artificial intelligence. An interesting premise, it got me hooked till the end. It made want to continue reading the series.
Homo Distractus: Fight for your choices and identity in the digital age by Anastasia Dedyukhina, 282p: Lots of references about how technology is impacting us and possible strategies to fight the downsides. I enjoyed the first chapters talking about how devices affect our focus, the advantages of deep reading, the ineffectiveness of “multitasking” and the importance of making space for boredom. It is still relevant today.
Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett, 503p: I enjoyed the magic system of giving the power of sentience to objects. It adds a whimsical feel to the story. I loved the main character, Sancia: she's a rogue/thief, living in the outskirts of society getting by as best she can. She is smart and independent. She has a dark past, being a victim of unmentionable experiments that left her with uncomfortable (but useful) abilities. One of her goals is to get enough money to cure herself. The world building is cool with an everyday magic aspect based on using ancient alphabet to imbue commands to objects and convince them to behave in certain ways. This process is called “scriving”. For example, a sword can be “scrived” to believe it is as sharp as ten blades in one, capable of cutting through nearly anything. The last third of the book dragged a little bit, but overall, it was very interesting with a main character that I sympathised with.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax, 304p: It's an interesting account of some analog technology that came back after the phase of digitisation that started with the first computers in the 60's and 70's. My favorite chapters were the ones about the revenge of Vinyl and Moleskine notebooks. After the music industry distribution went digital, culminating in music streaming services, there was a movement to get back to vinyl. Records pressing plants were restored and put into operation again. Moleskine started a designer trend towards nice and beautiful paper notebooks. Film directors helped the movement for analog film movies again, film producing factories were re-opened and it's possible to get new Polaroid and Instax cameras nowadays. It also touches on board games, meditation sessions in the workplace, high-end analog wristwatches, print books: all things that are contrasting with the digital environment we live in today. The author praises these analog experiences, reasoning on why we need them more than ever and points out these markets tend to grow even more. Sometimes I found the tone of the arguments too geared towards consumerism and these non-digital options were just creating a market for wealthier people to consume more things. I've been reading digital books for years and I don't plan on going back to paper books (the irony of reading a book about non-digital things in an e-reader).
Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4) by Emma Newman, 320p: This book takes place 6 months after the events of Planetfall #2 (“After Atlas”). We have Dee as our main character and she gets unknowingly involved in a suspected murder inside the colony ship. As we know from the previous book, Dee is an avid gamer, and she soon joins elite game servers, or “leets” where the gamers real life abilities are represented in game, making these games extremely challenging. This is another unputdownable book by Emma Newman with virtual reality immersive games, discussions about AI and consciousness, corporate indenture, social justice and revenge. It's all intertwined with the main character's journey confronting her traumatic past while she investigates and plans for the future. It's intense, thrilling and the ending was breathtaking.
Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab, 282p: This is a light read on the topic, offering practical examples on phrases to express verbally our boundaries. I had the impression the topic was over simplified. The author mentions a lot of “results” from polls she conducted in her Instagram account with her followers and that took away some of the credibility of the facts presented.
Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files # 8) by Jim Butcher, 496p: We get to know a lot more about Molly, Charity, and Murphy, who are all strong and bad-ass female characters and are given more space in this book. I thought this one was a little bit more self-contained with less overwhelming magic battles, and more character development, which was good. And Dresden apparently gets an apprentice, cool!
Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention- and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari, 368p: There is so much information in this book! The author explores various sides of the topics covered, citing scientific research and interviews. Some topics discussed: the importance of mind wandering, how slowness and mindfulness activities nurture attention, that reading a book is the simplest form of experiencing the flow state, and how the Internet is training us to read information by skipping and jumping from one thing to another, instead of reading in a linear and focused fashion. He also covers some of the debates and controversies around the increase in ADHD diagnoses, what is going on with social media, the importance of sleep, the idea of perpetual economic growth and how it affects our worldview, and some ideas on why we can't focus enough on the climate crisis challenges today. Excellent read, it doesn't try to find a single magical solution. Our ability to focus is complex and it is entangled with technology, mental health, our environment, our economy and our culture.
The Getting Things Done Workbook: 10 Moves to Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, 224p [RE-READ]
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, 356p: I didn't know I liked contemporary romcom novels about women in STEM and academia, and yeap, I do! This was fun and light-hearted! Just what I needed to get out of a sudden book slump at the end of the month. I empathized with the characters, their academic struggles, and their self-doubts. The romance was adorable, I just wanted a happy ending for all the characters!
A big ship at the edge of the universe (The Salvagers #1) by Alex White, 473p: It is fantasy in a sci-fi setting which I found was unusual and cool. I liked the diverse group of characters in a “found-family” kind of setting. I missed having more information about the villains, they seemed underdeveloped. Some action scenes where magic, space battles, or spacewalking were being described seemed a bit confusing to me, it was hard to understand exactly what was going on. It is a light read, with lots of action scenes and I tried not to overthink the magic to enjoy it. I don't think I will continue reading the series, but the book builds nicely for the sequel without ending in a cliffhanger.
The Air War (Shadows of the Apt #8) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 646p: This book escalated way more than I thought it would. I don't know why I wasn't expecting so much war in a book with “war” in the title. So, it's heartbreaking while both the Wasps and the Beetles are developing new weapon technologies. It focuses on the development of fixed wings airplane fighters and a more efficient way to drop bombs from them. The parallels with the Second World War are inevitable. Taki, the Fly-kinden pilot shines on this one. This series continues to be very entertaining.
Exhalation by Ted Chiang, 352p: I don't usually read short stories but this one was recommended to me. Maybe I had too high expectations? Anyway, I enjoyed the first stories “The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate”, “Exhalation” and the “The Lifecycle of Software Objects” and “Dacey's Patent Automatic Nanny”. But I had a hard time engaging with all the other stories. I didn't find the ideas that interesting and for the most part, I didn't care at all about the characters/narrator of the story. Most of the stories were disturbingly weird to me. I was a little bit disappointed overall.
Selfish, shallow, and self-absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum and others, 288p: It was nice to read thoughts on the topic from people of various ages and sexual preferences, males and females. I find it’s hard to have an open conversation about this topic nowadays. The essays are very personal and honest bringing diverse perspectives. I'm glad these voices are out there debunking the prejudice that childless people (especially women) are selfish or that there is something wrong with them. Being a woman who decided at an early age to not pursue motherhood, this was a refreshing read for me.