Two Quick Reads (Nope, Three) to Start 2019

Amulet: The Stonekeeper (#1) by Kazu Kibuishi is a book I picked up for Greyson on Monika’s recommendation. While G. hasn’t picked it up yet, I dove in on New Year’s Day and ate it right up. It packs a sad, sad punch with two children and their mother losing the kids’ father to a car crash in the opening pages. Cut to two years later, and they move into the mother’s mysterious family home, and the story is off and running with plenty of fantasy, sci-fi, and action. I know Greyson will love this when he finally picks it up, and I can’t wait to read the second installment.

Idiophone by Amy Fusselman is the book I chose from the #24in48 prizes the last time around. It took up residence on my nighstand until New Year’s Day, and I thought another short read would do the trick to get me off to a quick reading start for the year. While this is a quick read, I had mixed feelings about it. It’s categorized as a long essay, but it’s written in short, staccato sentences and the publisher calls it “beautifully digressive.” It is digressive. It is beautiful. It skips around from topic to topic; things like The Nutcracker, motherhood, addiction. I suppose, in some ways, you could call it stream-of-consciousness. On the whole, I found Fusselman’s ideas interesting, clever, and deep, but the formal left me wanting.

Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland was my first book after the New Year’s reading frenzy. I started this book on audio several months ago, but it fell prey to my reading slump. I knew I’d come back to it. The audio is fantastic, but this time I chose to read the ebook which I thought would hold my attention better. Surely, it did. Jane McKeene is born in Kentucky around the time that the dead rise up on the battlefields of Gettysburg and begin to feast on the living. As a mixed-race child, Jane is eventually sent to Ms. Preston’s Combat School in Baltimore, where she learns to slay the “shamblers” and is prepared to become a lady’s attendant once she graduates. Jane is clever, free-spirited, and headstrong, and she wants nothing more than to return to her family home, but there are a whole hell of a lot of challenges in the way. This book is AMAZING. Don’t get hung up thinking it’ll be silly or cheesy because Civil War zombies. This is a delicious novel with excellent character development and an engrossing plot.

What are you reading? Is the year off to a good start?

Professional reader, professor, and blogger at and


  • Amal (AMB)

    Amulet looks really interesting! I’m going to add it to my list. I haven’t had as much time as I would like to read in the new year, but I am making slow progress through my nonfiction pile. I’m reading Educated: A Memoir.

    • Andi

      It’s a really fun, fast read. I think the series overall will be good for me when my reading slows down and I need to read something quick and feel like I accomplished something. Educated is HIGH on my want-to-read list! How are you liking it?

    • Andi

      Yeahhh, I started out really liking Idiophone. Then I took a nap, and when I came back to it I felt a little like it was intellectual self-gratification. Meh.

      Amulet was SO MUCH FUN. And so fast-moving. It definitely grabbed me. I just realized G’s school doesn’t have Amulet in their Accelerated Reader testing system. Another reason to loathe AR!

  • Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    You are off to a great start. That’s exactly how I like to begin a new year. I set my challenge goals low enough each year for me to accomplish them and then I stop finishing books mid-December. That way I can finish off a few books to begin the year. I am left with a happy feeling of accomplishment.

  • Akilah

    Hahaha, my reading year is a slump so far. I finished a book I was trudging through and will be on a long flight tomorrow, so I anticipate things will start to look up soon.

  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    Dread Nation! Can’t wait for the next book. Loved the premise of the book and Jane — so prickly and tough! I’m feeling smug because I’ve finished two books already but am kind of stalling out — not enjoying my book club pick (Frankenstein in Baghdad) and haven’t gotten sucked into my Read Harder choice (Signal to Noise). Going to try my first manga tonight when I pick it up from the library!

  • Katie @ Doing Dewey

    I really enjoyed Dread Nation, but I have to admit that it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It didn’t completely draw me in and something about it felt a little light to me. I wish I could better put my finger on what it was that didn’t quite work for me though!

    • Andi

      Do you think you’ll try the second in the series? I hope the characters are developed a lot further! I’m really in love with Kate and Jane. And Gideon! And, and! lol

  • CurlyGeek

    I loved Dread Nation! Yes, it’s about zombies but it was thoughtful about racial issues and I loved the alternate history. I love a horror novel where it’s the humans that are really terrifying – and in this book they are. Happy new year!

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