#MustReadin2017 Fall Check-In

September 7, 2017

Since my last check-in, I attempted five of the books on my list and finished two. So that means I have completed four of the twenty-four books on my list but can cross off seven since, you know, I gave the others a fair shot.

As a reminder, these are the books on my list:

My 2017 Must List

Since my last check-in, I finished:

The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3)The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was all set to write my review, and now I’m distracted because I see that they whitewashed the cover. UGH.

Anywheedle, tonight I discovered that I dig this series because I am a huge fan of the long con, and all three of the books in the series I have read have delivered on this point. “Why am I digging this book so much?” I kept asking myself. And now I know. I love seeing how it all comes together.

Also, Gen is A+++. As is Attolia. So there is also that.

View all my reviews


Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty WuNot a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu by Yi Shun Lai

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I have a thing for self-help books, which means I totally appreciate the premise of this book, which is that Marty is trying to get her life right so starts writing things down as recommended in one of the many (many!) self-help books she’s read.

What I liked about this is that as Marty writes about what’s happening in her life, the reader gets to see just how abusive her mother–who at first pass seems to just be kind of mean and rude–really is.

I also LOVED the reason for her mom giving up her older brother.

What I didn’t like about this is that the ending is thoroughly realistic and therefore completely unsatisfying.

Also–MILD SPOILER HERE–I am just horrified that the book mentions therapy but Marty never once seeks it out, especially after what happens in Taiwan. Again, realistic, just unsatisfying. In fact, it never once occurs to her to try it. I just…sigh.

Great characters and I liked the exploration of family here.

View all my reviews

I tried but couldn’t finish:

19841984 by George Orwell

Aug. 19, 2017: 38% in and I am either too stressed to read this or too bored to continue. It might even be a combination platter.

View all my reviews


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Sept. 3, 2017: I’m at 18%, and I am really trying to give this book a chance because I’ve heard so many good things, but at this point, it is too much science and not enough fiction.

View all my reviews


I also gave Sorcerer to the Crown a go, but it didn’t work for me. (I can’t remember how far I got into it, though, and didn’t do a Goodreads review. It wasn’t very far.) However, a lot of the reviews I’ve read say it picks up once Prunella appears, so I may give it another shot…someday.

I am more likely to read the fiction than the non-fiction (aside from the Robert Rodriguez memoir and Hamilton book). However, I have access to two new library systems and need to see if any of the biographies are available via audio. If they are, I will probably give the Ida B. Wells or Defiant Brides a shot before the year is out.


1. Black No More by George S. Schuyler

2. 1984 by George Orwell

3. The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway and the Slaves’ Civil War by David S. Cecelski

4. The Mother by Yvvette Edwards

5. Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu by Yi Shun Lai

6. The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

7. Defiant Brides: The Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married by Nancy Rubin Stuart

8. Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paula J. Giddings

9. Josephine Baker: The Hungry Heart by Jean-Claude Baker

10. The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refused to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan by Dahr Jamie

11. Rebel Without a Crew, or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player by Robert Rodriguez

12. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

13. March: Book One by John Robert Lewis

14. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

15. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

16. Trade Me by Courtney Milan

17. Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

18. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

19. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

20. Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge

21. Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

22. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

23. True Love: A Story of English Domestic Life by Sarah E. Farro

24. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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  1. carriegelson

    I read 1984 long ago and remember loving it. But who knows how I would feel now. I hope some of your next titles are more appealing.

  2. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    I read 1984 in school, a long time ago. I can barely remember it though. I have a hard time when I’ve tried to reread some of the classics. That makes me think about how kids feel when they have no choice but to read them in school. I see that Homegoing is on your list. I thought that it was a fantastic book.

  3. Mamademic

    In lieu of 1984, have you read (or will you consider) The Parable Series? At the very least, “Parable of the Sower.” Love your reviews.

    • Akilah

      I have read that!

  4. Katy K.

    I also tried and failed to finish 1984 this year… though I earlier read and enjoyed both Sorcerer to the Crown and Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. They are both kind of wandery on plot, though, and that doesn’t work for everyone. I’d agree that Sorcerer to the Crown does pick up quite a bit when Prunella shows up. Long Way… stays pretty episodic, but I think does get away from quite so much just explaining the world.
    Also – because you clearly need more to read, I saw this giveaway at the Book Smugglers and thought of you, as it includes a sci-fi novella about a hair care product marketed to Black women gone very, very wrong. http://thebooksmugglers.com/2017/09/novella-initiative-giveaway.html

    • Akilah

      Black hair politics! OMG. I might have to try to win that book. *adds another book to the TBR* Thank you!

  5. crbrunelle

    I have Homegoing on my TBR. I really enjoyed the Hamilton book. It was super fun.

  6. Ally Bean

    I went through a stressful phase in my life where I devoured self-help books. I needed them, even though the messages were often repetitive and sometimes completely unrealistic. That being said, I haven’t read one in years but think that Yi Shun Lai’s book might be a good read for me. The premise sounds perfect to me.

    • Akilah

      Ha, I did the same! I have a soft place in my heart for them. A fun take on them is Permission Slips by Sherri Shepherd. She presents her memoir in the form of a self-help book. I really enjoyed it.

      • Ally Bean

        I’ll look for it. Sounds interesting. Thanks.


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