68. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Yes, I’m a couple of years behind on this one. I enjoyed the story, though the reviews were so glowing that the book struggled to live up to them at times. This is the story of a Dominican boy growing up in New Jersey, a “ghetto nerd” who doesn’t fit in anywhere. The book is in turns funny and sad, and I would certainly recommend it.
69. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey – I’ve written plenty about Lackey this year, so I won’t ramble too much on this one. Her 500 Kingdoms books have been hit and miss, but I would recommend this one to fans of fantasy lit with (surprise, surprise) strong, smart female characters.
70. Fortune’s Fool by Mercedes Lackey – Oh look! More Lackey. Her books make such good mid-semester easy reading. Fortune’s Fool is another of the better books from the 500 Kingdoms collection.
71. Adam and Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund – Oh dear. I don’t want to give this one a bad review because I enjoyed Naslund’s earlier books so much, but it just wasn’t good. In Adam and Eve, Naslund tells the story of the widow of an astronomer who has made a discovery that will change how we view religion and the origin of the universe. Sounds interesting, right? Instead Naslund creates a modern day Adam (mentally ill former soldier) and Eve (astronomer’s widow) and devotes much of the book to their time stranded in the middle of nowhere. Meh. To see how lovely Naslund can be, pick up Ahab’s Wife or Four Spirits instead.
72. The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey – You know how I said the 500 Kingdoms books were hit and miss? This would be a miss. She jumped between too many stories in the first half of the book, which left me struggling to get attached to the story or the characters.
73. The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey – This is the first of Lackey’s Elemental Masters books, all of which I have enjoyed. The stories are very loosely based on fairy tales, and it’s interesting to see the elements of the original tale pop up in the narrative. The Serpent’s Shadow is based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but in this version the “Snow White” character is a doctor struggling in turn-of-the-century London society because she’s a female doctor and part Indian, not to mention a mage with a mysterious enemy.
74. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville – Un Lun Dun was a sleeper success for me. I struggled to get into this YA book as I read the first 1/3, but the alternate version of London (ahem: un-London) ended up hooking me in with its quirky take on language. Recommended for YA as well as not so young adults interested in a fun adventure with a not too preachy environmental message.
Have an incredibly good New Year’s Eve!