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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death
Maggie O'Farrell
Progress: 185/357 minutes
Gakuen Prince 2
Jun Yuzuki
Progress: 40/178 pages
Neanderthal Seeks Human
Penny Reid
Progress: 37/319 pages
Avengers and Thunderbolts
Pierce Askegren
Progress: 178/250 pages
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

Reading progress update: I've listened 185 out of 357 minutes.

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death - Maggie O'Farrell

And now she's writing about herself in the third person. No, I don't know why.


This is the second or third "brush with death" that boils down to "I was almost hit by a car."

Reading progress update: I've listened 174 out of 357 minutes.

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death - Maggie O'Farrell

The current section highlights one of the issues I have with this book: the premise doesn't really hold together all the way through. It's like O'Farrell had two or three good autobiographical death-related stories she wanted to tell, but even she couldn't figure out how to spin them out enough to fill up an entire book, so she picked out a bunch of other stories as filler.


The title mentions seventeen brushes with death. To me, this makes it sound like the seventeen brushes with death are in some way significant, life changing moments for the author. And several of them are. But quite a few of them are just scary moments, the sort that might make a nice, quick, scary story to tell someone - "There was this time I almost drowned, OMG!" or "You know those shows where someone throws knives at a person while blind-folded? I was once the person who had knives thrown at them!" Except that O'Farrell writes about each one of these times as though they have roughly the same emotional weight as, say, her miscarriages or her encounter with the man who later murdered someone.

Reading progress update: I've listened 126 out of 357 minutes.

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death - Maggie O'Farrell

For some reason, O'Farrell is currently talking about her miscarriages. I'm not sure yet what this has to do with the title, unless she doesn't mean her own death this time.


This entire part is written in second-person present tense. I'm not sure what effect she's going for, but I find it distracting.

Reading progress update: I've listened 47 out of 357 minutes.

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death - Maggie O'Farrell

Second "brush with death": 16-year-old Maggie O'Farrell does something stupid and almost drowns to death. Meh.

Reading progress update: I've listened 25 out of 357 minutes.

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death - Maggie O'Farrell

The audiobook came in first, so that's what I've gone with. I think the paper version has illustrations, though, so it'll be nice to see that once in comes in.


Again, this is something I'd never have picked up myself. It's not bad so far. The first "brush with death" is horrifying: the author at 18, encountering a man who she knew had been considering doing something horrible to her. She dealt with it by

talking about anything and everything she could think of, to distract him, and then finding an opportunity to leave. She reported him to the police - even though he hadn't hurt her, she knew deep down that he would have if things had gone a little differently, and that he'd likely hurt someone else. She was brushed off, big surprise. Later, she learned that he had indeed found someone else, raped her, and choked her to death, likely with the very same binocular strap he'd put around her own neck.

(show spoiler)

DRM-free Bookshops

An annotated list of sources of DRM-free e-books. I wish there was a way to sort by genre (for the ones that are genre-specific), or alphabetically, or something, but it's still very nice. The one thing I've stuck to since buying my first e-book is only buying DRM-free ones, and it seems like the online store options keep shrinking.

Reading progress update: I've listened 524 out of 524 minutes.

Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier

I don't know how I feel about this. My annoyance with Mel in the first part of the book made me think it would be a solid 2-star read (listen), but my love of Kit (who thankfully was around a lot) and Camille (who didn't get nearly enough on-page time) raised it up enough for me to think it'd be a 3-star read. Most of the ending was predictable, but the stuff between Mel and Cathy was really well done, and the last hour and a half or so made me cry multiple times. So now I'm not sure how I feel overall.

"Author Sherrilyn Kenyon files lawsuit accusing husband of poisoning her" (CW: abuse)

FYI, this article is pretty detailed about what the poison has done to her. Holy crap. The toxicology report sounds pretty damning - I hope he screwed up enough to leave plenty of evidence directly linking himself to it.


I hope it's possible for her to recover at least somewhat, physically and emotionally. :-(

Just arrived via ILL

Sometimes I Lie - Alice Feeney

When we were asked to choose a possible next read for my IRL book club, this was the one I selected from the list. Although it wasn't chosen in the end, I decided I wanted to give it a shot anyway.

Reading progress update: I've listened 262 out of 524 minutes.

Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier

I think Cathy is an idiot. However, Mel needs to realize that, ultimately, Cathy is the one who gets to decide what to do with her own life. Even if her decision is really, really stupid.

Reading progress update: I've listened 197 out of 524 minutes.

Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier

"There are books about it. There are stories in the paper all the time. Did you see that one about the vampire guy who kept dating all the girl descendants in this one family? Can you imagine being, like, 'Granny's ex sure is hot!'"


That would be so awkward.


And we still haven't addressed the issue of Francis being much, much older than Cathy. It's been mentioned, yes, but that's pretty much it. Are there laws about this sort of thing? Does Francis's physical age make the fact that he's dating a teen okay? And what happens if he and Cathy are still together once Cathy's legally an adult? Will he suddenly count as an adult then? Or does he count as both a teen and an adult right now?

Reading progress update: I've listened 171 out of 524 minutes.

Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier

"That's why it's best that I go with you, Uncle Francis. You could have one of your senile fits and end up forgetting your way home. Think how we'd miss you. Think how we'd miss the lute playing."


It has taken almost 3 hours, but I have finally found a character in this book that I enjoy. Actually, I think I like Camille too. More Kit and Camille, please.

The actual IRL book club selection

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death - Maggie O'Farrell

The official IRL book club selection has been announced. Aw man. This wasn't one of the ones that sounded even vaguely like my kind of thing.


So, my ILL request for How to Be a Good Creature was premature. I may read it anyway.

Reading progress update: I've listened 129 out of 524 minutes.

Team Human - Sarah Rees Brennan, Justine Larbalestier

I had thought I was going to love this book, but so far it's just so-so.


Mel gets on my nerves. Based on how this world has been described, her knee-jerk instant dislike of Francis was a bit much. That said, I'm also not a fan of Cathy, Mel's supposedly intelligent friend who fell in love with Francis. When Mel told her that Francis had asked a couple really racist questions, Cathy was shocked and disbelieving at first, but then started talking about how he was born in a different time, etc. Not cool, Cathy.


I do think the narrator is a good fit, though.

Reading progress update: I've read 178 out of 250 pages.

Avengers and Thunderbolts - Pierce Askegren

"Years before, a recorded copy of Wonder Man's encephalographic traces had formed the basis of the Vision's artificial intelligence, making them something like brothers. Later, after Simon had returned from his apparent death, he had felt a strong attraction to Wanda - who was, at that point, married to the Vision. Now, with Simon returned from a second deathlike experience and having taken the Vision's place at the Scarlet Witch's side, there were still ties between the two."


Okay, stuff I missed while scanning through Wikipedia pages. I had figured the tension between Simon and the Vision was due to them being the current boyfriend and the ex-husband, but instead it's that plus the two of them are actually sort of related. Oh boy.

Reading progress update: I've listened 653 out of 653 minutes.

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon, Vikas Adam, Sneha Mathan

Aww. My first time with the audiobook, second time with the book in general. Dimple and Rishi are still a cute couple.


I felt pretty much the same way during the second time as the first. Similar complaints: All that drama near the end was frustrating, especially considering how well Dimple and Rishi had meshed up to that point. And I still think it would have been nice to have seen them interacting more with Insomnia Con attendees other than Celia and the Aberzombies. Also, Dimple and Rishi spent so little time working on Dimple's app idea on-page that it was easy to forget that it was supposed to be the final Insomnia Con product - they spent more on-page time practicing their dance for the extra points.


But Rishi was sweet, and I loved Dimple's enthusiasm for her app in particular and coding in general, even as I winced at her occasional naivete (

no matter how hard she worked on her app, no matter how good it was, it wouldn't have changed the final Insomnia Con decision).

(show spoiler)


Sneha Mathan's narration of Dimple's sections appealed to me immediately - she did a wonderful job portraying Dimple's emotions, particularly when Dimple was feeling awkward or uncertain. There was only one line that didn't feel quite right to me, but it was said by a minor character, so it wasn't a huge deal. Vikas Adam's narration of Rishi's sections took longer to grow on me. I liked him a lot as Rishi, but his narration for some of the other male characters, particularly Ashish, took some getting used to.


From Twinkle, With Love's epistolary format makes me reluctant to try it, but I'm very much looking forward to There's Something About Sweetie.