What I've been reading

"What I've been reading" is an ongoing series of posts the content of which should be very much self-explanatory based on the title.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple

Source: Library. This is my public library's "Read One Book" fiction selection for this year, which means we'll have various book discussions and other programming centered around it.

Format: Audio, which was great.

Verdict: Go out and read it. Then get mad at the ending like I did. I can't tell you about it without spoilers. But this is a witty, charming, laugh-out-loud sort of read with truly great and bizarre characters and then at the end it just... pffffizzles.

The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood

Source: Library (interlibrary loan, to be more specific - hallelujah for interlibrary loan)

Format: Audio

Verdict: I loved this book so much I ran out and bought my own copy. The audio is great - the chorus of the maids is actually chanted in multiple voices like a true chorus, and the narrator gets Penelope's wry tone down perfectly - but this book is so good that I imagine it works equally well in print. The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus's travels, but his faithful wife Penelope is never mentioned beyond, well, her great faithfulness. In this book, Penelope tells her story of what she thought/felt/did while Odysseus was gone, and it ends up being a great commentary on feminism and humanity and what it means to be a woman. I read Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale years ago and remember very little of it, but I should probably re-read it because there are many smart people I know who think she is an amazing writer, and judging from The Penelopiad, I'm guessing they're right.

How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity, edited by Michael Cart

Source: Library, checked out on the recommendation of a coworker.

Format: Print

Verdict: If you love stories about LGBTQ people living their lives, finding themselves, and dealing with the world, run out and read this book. They were all so good I can't even pick a favorite. Here you have stories from famous YA and adult authors, including John Green, Emma Donoghue, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Francesca Lia Block, Jacqueline Woodson, and Gregory Maguire. There are some illustrated comic book style stories and some stories written in verse in addition to the more traditional format. I was so glad I picked this one up. "My Life as a Dog" by Ron Koertge is in particular a standout piece.

Happy reading!