Sometimes I stop liking books, or at least I think I do. Usually what this really means is there’s too much dumb life stuff going on, but that means I usually forget the real problem and think it’s just that I don’t like books. As I start to come out of that, I often still have a chip on my shoulder about books, until the next time I read one I enjoyed. (And sometimes when this happens I’ll re-read If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler.)

The most recent books I remember enjoying:
The Lovecraft Middleschool series.
Irvine Welsh’s Skagboys.
Lemony Snicket’s All The Wrong Questions series.
Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Lovecraft Middleschool is fun. I enjoyed reading Lovecraft when I was younger, and I hated middleschool, so it’s a good combo. There’s no fireworks at the level of the prose, but the stories move forward and the sense of creepy scariness is just right.

Skagboys is the prequel to Trainspotting. I’ve read almost all of Welsh’s books. Trainspotting and Skagboys are the best, and of the two I’m not sure which is better. The book is powerful, empathetic, and very sad. I love that it opens with the Battle of Orgreaves during the miners strike, something I’ve only just learned anything about. The book has a good arc too in terms of how it portrays the heroin use as addiction becomes more and more the center of the characters’ lives. The early bits make it seem fun, or at least make it make sense to someone who isn’t a heroin user, and that makes the hellish later bits more compelling and the characters easier to empathize with.

Last night I finished the second book in All The Wrong Questions. I spent most of the first book comparing it to the Series of Unfortunate Events, which I liked a great deal, and being annoyed at the ways that this series is just different. This second book I took on its own terms and really enjoyed it. I like the quirkiness, but it’s the sense of mystery and bleakness that is most apparent, and that’s highly compelling. The main characters are way less cartoonish and much more human. The mystery is interesting too.

Yesterday I also read about half of The Girl who Circumnavigated… I had started it before, and told my daughter about it. She got really into the idea, so we read some of it earlier in the day, and some more at bedtime. It’s a fun book with a strong female lead, and I like how it’s a mix of silly, magical, and eerie. I also have warm feelings because of all the cuddling I got from my kid while we read it.

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