I avoided this book for some time because I thought it would be fanfic that the protagonist of another of her books wrote, and that had so much possibility for going horribly wrong. However! It was not, it was just her OWN story set in that YA fantasy world, and it was fabulous. I was deeply engrossed. Managed to critique / parody the genre without being as harsh as the Magician Trilogy, kept its balance very well throughout, and I am very fond of the characters. Plus Rainbow Rowell novels are incredibly dialogue-heavy and I love love love all the voices she uses. So basically I was in heaven almost the entire time.
100 Great Children's Picturebooks, by Martin Salisbury
So I THOUGHT I was done with gulping down picture books, once I got past the "best of 2015" and associateds, and then I read this book! A historical / visual feast for anyone who enjoys picture books and/or book history, fairly academic in tone, but personal enough to keep it interesting. I liked it even more than I expected to because it's quite British / European in its orientation, whereas most of what I see along these lines is quite American. So this book presented lots of books that either I'd never heard of, or that I had loved as a child and then forgotten all about. So much fun to read! And resulted in me library-borrowing about 60 more picture books.
Ultimate French: Advanced, by Living Language, and Perfect Your French, by Jean-Claude Arragon et al
Practicing for when I go to Paris in March! I have no idea what good they'd be as a proper study of the language, but as a way of getting the rust out of a language one used to be fluent in, they were pretty decent. Lots of things to read and listen to, and while I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the grammar, the explanations seemed solid enough. I think the Living Language one was better, but they both had their upsides.
Princeless, vol. 4: Be Yourself, by Jeremy Whitley et al
Purest gleeful fun in a comic book. If The Wicked and the Divine wasn't my favoritest newish series, this would be. (And my inner 11 year old thinks the Wicked and the Divine is confusing, and has no idea why this isn't my favorite! BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME. My inner 13 year old, who really loves the sweet, matter-of-fact hints of romance between some of the female characters, agrees.)
A Newbery Christmas, edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh
Most of these stories are quite old, and only a few of them were remarkably good, despite all of them having been written by Newbery Medalists. The remarkable ones were delicious, and the rest were unremarkably good and created, as an assemblage, a very cosy, Christmasy feeling that was quite welcome.
Ex Machina, vol. 7: Ex Cathedra, vol. 8: Dirty Tricks, vol. 9: Ring Out the Old, and vol. 10: Term Limits, by Brian K. Vaughan et al
OK, first of all I really really liked this series, even the last few irritating volumes, and I understood the ending even if it was very frustrating. Second of all, I need to start remembering that Brian K. Vaughan writes endings that I find supremely obnoxious, and adjust my expectations accordingly - the middle of his series will always be best for me, it seems. Third of all, I really don't like it when I get the feeling that comic book people are trying to parody the whole woman-as-object thing, but ACTUALLY enacting it (book 8, I'm mostly looking at you, you better look embarrassed!). Volume by volume, 7 was great, 8 was vexingly full of jarringly-not-fitting-with-the-series-so-f
(68, 69, 71, 72)
Tales from Aesop, retold and illustrated by Harold Jones
Cute illos, very plainspoken retelling. I loved it because it was exactly like the one I read and loved as a child - finally found out who the author/illustrator was!
Eloise in Paris, by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight
I still love how daffy Eloise is. Fun to read about her in Paris when I am getting ready to go to Paris. Interesting (not offensive, not appealing, just interesting) how her rich-girl-ness shows up in all the minute details of the story, not just the big picture stuff.
The Guest Cat, by Takashi Hiraide
A gentle, melancholy story that is told in a very very Japanese way. It also has a very very Japanese way of feeling like a happy story even though much of what it contains is sad. Some lovely imagery. Good understanding of cats. Sympathetic characters (especially the titular cat).
Elephant Don, by Caitlin O'Connell
The content of this book was super interesting, about male elephants in Namibia and their ever-shifting social connections. The writing was quite good - particularly good at making one feel like one was actually there observing with the author - but badly needed more copy-editing. I copy-edit as a hobby (or more of a compulsion that finally has an outlet, really), so I *often* think books need more copy-editing, but I almost never mention it because I know how complicated such things are. This book? REALLY needed more copy-editing. Wish U of Chicago had been able to accomplish that; I would've enjoyed the book more for not being pulled out of it by a glaring mistake every few pages (sometimes more than once per page!).