An update on what I am reading now

I remember Becky once told me she just felt better in every way when she had something to read.  I've been trying to up my game on the reading front lately, because I think the same holds true for me.  Here's a list of books I've finished in the last six weeks.  By way of disclaimer--some I read closely, others I just skimmed.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson.  The newest title in her YA Shades of London series.  I like the voice in these books--Johnson is always a pleasure to read--but this book felt a little like the second movie in the Back to the Future movies, its primary purpose being to set up the next installment.  I kinda resent that as a reader.

(Which, btw, I could go on and on and on right now about how it feels like the stand-alone novel is a dying breed in the world of children's publishing.  Correct me if I'm wrong. I would, in fact, love to be wrong.)

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  I wanted to love this book, as it turned out I only liked it.  Not quite sure why.  For me the book was most interesting when he discussed the books he and his mother read together.  I liked that they had such a broad range of tastes, especially given the fact that both of them were/are so highly literate.

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky.  I always feel obliged to say this--lots of language in this book, so if that's not your thing, be forewarned.  Read this book and you'll see the whole "hospitality industry" in a completely different light.  Brash and breezy.

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander.  Louise and Tom gave me this book for Christmas, and I read it pretty much in a single setting.  Not sure it would make a believer out of a non-believer, but I felt very comfortable with his experience and the way he described.  The fact that he's a brain doctor gives him some cred.

Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.  The thing I love most about this book is that Geoffrey gave it to me for Christmas.  I always enjoy the books Geoff gives me.  I think I mentioned earlier that this is kind of a cross between The DaVinci Code and The Name of the Rose but funnier and more likable than either of those books.  I LOVED,LOVED, LOVED the first half but grew a little impatient with it the second half.  Sometimes I think this kind of book has a hard time bearing the weight of its own suspense.

(Side note and personal:  my own personal favorite of my books is THE LOSER'S GUIDE TO LIFE AND LOVE, a book that plenty of people have dismissed as being lightweight.  I don't see it that way at all--I see the tone and treatment as being light-hearted, which is a different thing.  After reading Penumbra, though, I sort of understood that criticism of my own book a little better.  So I FORGIVE ALL YOU CRITICS OF MY BOOK.  I GET IT NOW.)