53. Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem – I don’t typically enjoy short story collections, but this book of quirky stories was quite good. Each tale has an element of science fiction that makes it interesting (like a spray the police use that shows the shapes of all the items thieves have stolen from a home), but Lethem keeps the worlds in these stories is still realistic enough to hit close to home.

54. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami – Such a good book! If you haven’t read anything by Murakami yet, you really should remedy that as soon as possible. I had already read his Kafka on the Shore and was surprised that Norwegian Wood didn’t include any of the fantastic elements found there, but it is an incredibly well told story. It does have some very depressing story lines, but on the scale of depressing literature (0 = Dr. Seuss; 10 = Andre Dubus) it’s probably only a 7.

55. How to be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway – The plot description sounded trite to me (it’s the story of a Japanese woman who marries an American soldier during World War II and movies to the US with him) , but I gave it a try thanks to the recommendation of assorted book bloggers. And? SO glad I did.  I highly recommend this easy to read and interesting story.

56. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman – I stole this 1970s sci-fi book off Cajun husband’s boookshelves after he mentioned that it was likely going to be made into a movie. For a book that spans thousands of years it’s quite brief, but in that small space Haldeman condemns the military industrial complex in a compelling and effective way.

57. Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (The Sharing Knife, Book 1) – After hearing all about the loveliness of Bujold online lately, I had to give her a try. I know, I know. For someone who as recent as 2 years ago refused to read fantasy or sci fi, I’m reading quite a lot of it now. And I’m enjoying it! But back to Beguilement: this was the first Bujold book I picked up, and I enjoyed the tale. Bujold’s characters are well-drawn, and the plot is compelling. Beguilement is the story of Fawn, a young woman who runs away from her family only to face mystical malices and be rescued by a patroller. Despite the rescue plot line, Fawn is a strong character who doesn’t just sit around and wait to be saved.

Stay tuned for a full speed tour of the rest of the year’s reads as I catch up on my blogging!

*Photo is property of the author and her lazy cats.

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