Books I read in July

Have you seen the new Goodreads homepage yet? What do you think? I'm not sure I like it. It seems narrower somehow? Half of my screen shows what I'm reading and stuff about my book lists and advertising, while the newsfeed is squashed into the other half of the screen. I find it annoying. I go there to read the newsfeed, get book recommendations, see what others are reading, and this new squashed up format is irritating on the eyes. It's like the designers forgot the reason people use Goodreads in the first place. Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 8.47.25 AM

Despite the problems of the new homepage, Goodreads tells me I finished 11 books in July. Well, that's not entirely true. I didn't finish all of them. I've decided life is way too short to finish books I don't like. Here's a quick look at what I liked:

 Fans of Cassandra Clare won't be disappointed. This story takes us into newish territory, as Clare gives us more about the group of Downworlders we haven't spent much time with: the faeries. In addition to Shadowhunter lore, Clare has done her research into faerie lore. I really liked how Clare worked in Poe's "Annabel Lee." And she's worked in another "impossible" romance. I'm really looking forward to seeing how she works this one out.

 I got in line at midnight to get this book. (I've never done that before. It was fun!) I spent the next morning reading it. It's a nice, quick read about grown-up Harry and one of his sons. As a parent of teenagers, I appreciated this story. There are some unanswered questions, and not a lot of time spent on some characters, but it's also not a Rowling book. Some of the dialogue is very on the nose, and that surprised me because otherwise the emotions are very complex. I wouldn't mind seeing the play, so I hope there will be a video recording.

 I wish I'd known about this book when I was twelve. I would have loved it. A fantasy with a strong heroine? I'm all about that. This is exactly the book I was looking for at twelve. Discovering it would have changed my life. There are problems with it-- I wanted Sophie to do more than clean house, although I understood she did so to earn her place in the castle and she did end up doing more, sort of. I guess I wanted her to have a stronger role and more development. I also wonder about Howl? How old is he? Is it appropriate for him to have feelings for a girl Sophie's age? And I felt that his feelings were all over the map, with a sudden change at the end. I think that could have been developed more. The end was a bit abrupt.

 A while ago I took an online course on drawing for beginners. In this course I watched videos, then completed assignments and sent them in for evaluation. This book is that course, but in a graphic novel format. There's a wonderful story here to enjoy if you don't want to learn to draw.

Writing Books

 This writing book was pretty good. I learned a few things, but mostly it was stuff I already know. (But I have been reading writing books for twenty years.)

I do love being able to track what I've read in Goodreads. In the days before Goodreads I tried to keep a running list in small notebooks, but just as with journalling and morning pages, I wasn't very good at keeping up with it.

Since Goodreads was purchased by Amazon, changes have been happening. I'm not entirely sure where these changes are going to lead-- certainly to more advertising-- so I'm keeping my eyes open to other services, like Reco by the people at Indigo. I've tried Shelfari and didn't like it.

How do you track your reading?