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My 2015 Reading Adventure continues with 18 more: books 80 through 97

80: Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase by Betty Thesky (and others): I had high hopes for this book – I am a devoted fan of the Betty in the Sky podcast – and I thought that surely it would translate into an amusing book. Ultimately this book completely lacked the voice of Betty, and instead was a collection of short vignettes about flying – many of which I have read elsewhere. Love the podcast, but I wouldn’t bother with the book.

81: Cruising Attitude by Heather Pool – this was actually an amusing memoir of being a flight attendant, including experience at some very run-down airlines, before moving on to a major carrier. The stories told here are things I have heard echoes of before, but based on her actual life. An enjoyable read, if you’re into that kind of thing.

82: Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson: A very sweet story about a guy traveling with his friend to re-take photographs that had been taken by his father. Love does break out, but the story here actually works fairly well. It’s not perfect, but what story is?

84: A Line in the Sand by Robin Reardon: The first of two Robin Reardon books in this list: this one is a story about an out 15 year old meeting the boy of his dreams while on a beach vacation. Unfortunately the boy has parents who are not really all that understanding.

85: Silver and Black by Tyler May: This is a gay romance about a couple with a tremendous power imbalance – one is a rich man who owns a chain of coffee shops, the other is one of his minions. It kept me entertained on a long flight, but it isn’t great literature by any stretch of the imagination.

86: Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary: This book I re-read based on childhood memories. Beverly Cleary wrote a lot of books that I liked and this one contains scenes that would never happen today: Kindergartner Ramona walks to school alone. Yes, that’s right: Mom couldn’t supervise the walk, so Ramona walks alone. The reason I re-read the book is that I remembered this scene where Ramona’s Mom told her to leave the house at a quarter past in order to get to school on time. Ramona realized that a quarter was 25 cents, and therefore she must wait until 25 minutes past the hour. She gets concerned when she realizes that she is the only kid walking to school.

87: Roundup at the Palace by Kathleen Cook Waldron: This is a children’s picture book set at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, where I picked up my copy. It covers what happens when a bull escapes its ride and charges into the hotel lobby. Denver natives will appreciate this more than anybody else.

88: Falling (Fall or Break Book 1) by Barbara Elsborg: above average gay romance novel in which a fresh out of prison man meets a new boyfriend. Maybe it is just average. I read it, and by the time I got around to writing this, I had to look up what it was about.

89: Toil & Trouble: A Know Not Why Halloween Misadventure by Hannah Johnson: I picked this up because the first book in the series was actually fun to read, but this one –eh.. not really worth the effort

90: Thinking Straight by Robin Reardon: Robin Reardon is a pretty amazing author, especially of novels aimed at the GLBTQ teen audience. This one centers on a teen boy who is sent to a Christian de-programming camp in order to become not gay – perhaps not her best effort, but I imagine there is a target audience for this book that is depressingly large.

91: My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki: I picked up this book because I saw it somewhere while on my trip around the world and the premise seemed amusing. It was – although the book was disturbing on a number of different levels. Through the narrative, the author manages to explore the US beef industry, Japanese domestic abuse, and whatever else she thought was important.

92: Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez: A trio of recent high school graduates takes a road trip across the country; hilarity and growth ensues. Alex Sanchez is actually an excellent author, especially when writing for the teen audience

93: The Children Act by Ian McEwan: This is a very nice, very powerful, relatively short story about a high court judge in London who intervenes into the life of a 17 and three-quarters year old Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s an incredibly powerful and moving book.

94: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque: I read this for book club – it is certainly one of those books that everybody has heard of, but not many people seem to have actually read. Set from the perspective of a German soldier on the frontlines, it’s actually rather depressing to read about what it is to fight, the exhaustion, the pointlessness of it all.

95: What Daniel Did With His Life by Keith Hale: This book puzzles me – not sure why I decided to buy it. It’s a rather complicated book with several nuanced stories told throughout it – perhaps too complicated. There is a nice moral for overly religious parents who treat their children badly.

96: Misfits by Garrett Leigh: This is a charming gay romance that explores how a couple with an open relationship become a closed throple. It’s actually a rather sweet story that is surprisingly well written given its genre.

97: Understanding a Photograph by John Berger: A physical book that I am not quite yet done with, but will talk about now, since I’ll finish it in a couple hours. This is a nice collection of essays (and other short narrative pieces) regarding photography and how one views photographs. I’m learning a lot from this book.

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