Mandi’s Reads: Same Old, Same Old

Varna Dragons

It’s a new year, and I’m supposed to be a new me. I’ve done a pretty good job of starting off as a new me. I’ve left all of my old crushes behind in 2014, and I have had nary a romantic fantasy. I popped all of my zits on New Year’s Eve, so I began 2014 free of 2013’s sebum. I’ve even been eating a vegetable every day so far in 2014, and I haven’t had a single BBQ chip.

Yet, no matter what, I can’t completely start over with a new me. A lot of the old me is coming with me into the new year: all the old insecurities, all the old gastrointestinal issues, all the old insecurities caused by the all the old gastrointestinal issues. But the bonus of all those gastrointestinal issues is that they give me plenty of reading time (and sometimes I just claim gastrointestinal issues when my introvert side takes over, and I want to hide out in the bathroom and read). So here are some books for you to read while on the toilet, or in bed, or on a plane, or on a train, or on a bus, or with a man named Gus, or while eating some kale, or drinking some ale, or while litter box scooping, or while pooping.

Life Among Giants
By: Bill Roorbach

Life Among GiantsI usually have very little patience for the existential whinings of privileged white men from New England, but I made an exception for Life Among Giants. It has a dead rock star, his ballerina widow, murders and sex (quite a bit of masturbation, really). It is the bildungsroman of a 6’8” athlete nicknamed Lizard (the aforementioned privileged white man from New England). Lizard quickly won me over, despite my inclination to dislike his privileged East Coastness. Admittedly, it is hard to resent someone once you learn the story of how his parents died. This darkly comic novel drew me in against my better judgment. Ignore your better judgment and take my advice: journey with Lizard as he unravels the conspiracy surrounding his parents’ deaths… and masturbates. A lot. (Spoiler alert: the masturbation doesn’t have anything to do with his parents’ death.)

Reads well with: The Rolling Stones and a Bloody Mary


A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent
By: Marie Brennan

Natural History of DragonsI’m tempted to write “dragons, adventure, and a pseudo-British protagonist! Oh, my!” and just leave it at that. I mean, if you’re anything like me, that would be enough to lure you in. However, if you must know, this is the tale of the titular Lady Trent’s entry into the field of dragonry. (Dragonology? Dragonistics?) Well-bred ladies of Lady Trent’s time and place (a pseudo-British land on a fantasy planet vaguely resembling our own) simply do not show interest in dragons, let alone live their lives in pursuit of dragon knowledge. However, Lady Trent is an iconoclast and is passionate and tireless in her pursuit of dragon knowledge. Her dragon travels take her to faraway lands and introduce her to strange, life-changing people. Oh, yeah. And she meets dragons. Lots and lots of dragons. Like, so many dragons. Did I mentions there are dragons in this book? Because there are dragons. And a spunky, smart protagonist. And dragons.

Reads well with: Ramin Djawadi and a pot of Earl Grey




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