A book featuring something that doesn’t normally talk

Actually, the category was “something that doesn’t usually talk, but does so in the book you read”. Some folks stretched this a bit – books narrated by things and creatures that never spoke aloud, for example, or only spoke to one human. Others only speak telepathically, which is still more than usual.

Wish You Were Here
by Rita Mae Brown
What’s talking: Cats and dogs (although not to humans)
Before cozy mysteries became a major enough genre that white men began giving themselves female pen names to capitalize on it, a bisexual woman was writing cozies with a cat for a narrator. Like all first books, it’s a bit rough.

Possible Other Categories
A book based on a real person (well, cat)
A book featuring a profession you are unfamiliar with (postmistress)

Unlovable
by Dan Yaccarino
What’s talking: dogs
Again, the animals involved only talk to each other, no humans are involved. It’s about a dog. Have I mentioned that I’m phobic of dogs? As in, sometimes I can’t even look at pictures of dogs. So, let’s move on, shall we?

Possible Other Categories
A book with pictures
A book you can read in a day

Thunderbird
by Chuck Wendig
What’s talking: birds??
This book has some seriously unhelpful reviews, despite not being awash in teenage squeals or gifs. I had to turn to TV Tropes because this series is hella dark and nuh-uh, don’t want to right now. And thus instead of learning anything witty to say, I lost untold hours to trivia. Oops.

Possible Other Categories
The next book in a series
A book about a villain or anti-hero
A book about death or grief
A book with a queer/quiltbag/lgbt+ protagonist (Miriam is bi)
A book with a weather element in the title
A book with an animal in the title

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
What’s talking: scarecrow, lion, whatever the tinman is…
I would like to salute Rick Polito for his excellent summary of the film. Obviously, there are differences between the book and classic movie, but the summary is still dead on.

Possible Other Categories
A book with an adaptation you enjoyed (or not) first
A childhood classic you’ve never read
A book published before you were born (see: previous comments about vampires)
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book mentioned in a movie or tv show (they’re probably all referencing the movie, but unless it’s a song or Judy Garland reference, you can take it as equally applicable)
A book you can read in a day
A book with pictures (often)
A book involving a mythical creature

The Well of Ascension
by Brandon Sanderson
What’s talking: no clue
I have yet to bother with Sanderson. See, the first I had ever heard of him, it was as the official successor to Robert Jordan. I hated The Wheel of Time series. So it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for the man, is it? Anyway, buried in the gifs and major plot points in reviews, I couldn’t figure out what was talking that doesn’t usually.

Possible Other Categories
The next book in a series
A book involving a mythical creature
A book set in the city

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol 1
by Ryan North (Text) and Erica Henderson (Illustrations)
What’s talking: squirrels
Squirrel Girl is for people who want the fourth-wall-breaking (and overpowered-ness…) of Deadpool without, yknow, Deadpool. Actually, like all other Marvel characters, he does show up in one form or another, but that’s alright. And yes, my favorite part of that terrible movie about Wolverine getting his adamantium was Wade’s mouth being unable to speak.

Possible Other Categories
A book by two authors
A book with an animal in the title
A book with pictures
A book you can read in a day

The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan
What’s talking: stuff and things, I guess
Riordan’s transparently formulaic writing really had to be obvious by this point. Look, that’s not really a knock on him. Seriously. I own every Rune Factory and Professor Layton game, I absolutely cannot diss a creator for coming up with a formula they execute well and doing that, presumably improving with each iteration. Sometimes you just want a KitKat, only the cool green tea flavored one instead of the Percy plain one. It’s still a KitKat. And that is okay.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a character’s name in the title (technically)
A book involving a mythical creature

The Red Pyramid
by Rick Riordan
What’s talking: ???
One of the basic premises of this book really bothers me. Why in the hell is one sibling brought along to live with the dad, while the other sibling is dumped aside? It makes no sense. It should be both or neither. Also, Set gets a bad rap again. He was one of the most complex of the Egyptian gods, and any time you see the tale of Osiris spun with Set as the “evil brother,” walk away. The ancient Egyptians didn’t see him as evil except in certain specific dynastic periods, usually for reasons of political associations. In fact, Set wasn’t just a god of “scary inexplicable shit,” he was also an underworld god who assisted the dead in their journey to the afterlife, and a desert god who protected oases.

Possible Other Categories
A book with your favorite color in the title
A book involving a mythical creature

The Motion of Puppets
by Keith Donohue
What’s talking: living puppets (!!)
Do not read this book if you want any sense of Quebec City or its denizens. The cast are bizarrely mostly all foreigners. Look, I’m from Quebec. Three uncles, two aunts, and my only living grandparent all live in Quebec City. I’ve been there a lot. The various performance troupes don’t really need to import artists. And living in the Lower City is expensive. And no closed businesses (that bit of real estate must be magical in itself). Everyone speaks English in this book with a weird sprinkling of slightly off French, including some swears the author got off Wikipedia and so the usage is all wrong. Also, the Lower City in the summer is busy as hell, well into the night (and the sun doesn’t even set till like, 10 pm). If you’re where the shops are, you wouldn’t worry about someone following you because you could just lose them in the crowd. The failure to evoke Quebec City at all can be captured in the reviewer who described it as a “sleepy old town”. Uh, no. The city in the summer and winter is electric with energy.

Possible Other Categories
A book set in the city
A book featuring a profession you are unfamiliar with (circus performer)

The Hike
by Drew Margary
What’s talking: crustacean
This is a damn weird book. Some folks hate it for that, some adore it. I suspect if it were about 100 pages shorter, absolutely everyone would be happy and those already happy would not feel deprived.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a two word title

Strange Relations
by Philip José Farmer
What’s talking: plants, aliens, etc
For better or worse, the cover is way more erotic than the stories themselves. This leads to the hilarity of disappointed reviewers trying to hide that they are sad because they were looking for hot, weird action, and instead they got somewhat conservative patriarchy-meets-weird-alien-sex.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a two word title
A book that takes place on a different planet

Small Gods
by Terry Pratchett
What’s talking: tortoise
The interesting thing about this one is that a lot of militant atheists seem to take away from this book what they brought to it in the first place. Sorry, folks, I think Sir Terry was always more gentle and more broad-minded than that. And he never let a message get in the way of a good story, in any case.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a two-word title
A book involving a mythical creature (poor Om)
The next book in a series
A book featuring a profession you are unfamiliar with (novice monk)

Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Stripmall! Book 1
by Tom Angleberger
What’s talking: raccoon
Thank you middle grade readers whose teachers have apparently assigned a GoodReads review. One day you will learn the concept of spoilers and literary analysis, but that day is not today. If you thought the Guardians of the Galaxy were, I dunno, a bit childish, it can and does get worse! But at least this is charming, unlike Star Lord. Sorry Chris Pratt, you seem like a nice dude, but man, those writers…

Possible Other Categories
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book you can read in a day
A book with pictures
A book set on a different planet

Pretty Deadly 2
by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Writer), Emma Ríos (Illustrator), & Jordie Bellaire (Illustrator)
What’s talking: butterfly, rabbit skeleton (?!), etc
I still don’t know what is going on in this comic. Help?! (It would probably help if I could get it on my library’s Overdrive, but my local librarians are depressingly conservative in their e-book choices, in extremely bizarre ways).

Possible Other Categories
A book with pictures
A book you can read in a day
A book involving a fire
A book with a two word title (not counting the volume number)
A book involving a mythical creature

Nevernight
by Jay Kristoff
What’s talking: shadows
First of all, Robin Hobb gave this a solidly positive review, complete with the admission of a probably terrible blurb of “Hogwarts, but with a violence and sex. “ On the other hand, some people can not deal with the shades of lavender prose. So, as they say, your mileage may vary. Which brings up a random thought. Does anyone say “your kilometers may vary?” Is “kilometerage” a word? My spell check says no, but it also disagrees with British and Canadian spellings and my own legal name, so it is clearly untrustworthy. And yes, I know I can teach it my name, but this gets tedious with every. Single. Program. Ever.

Possible Other Categories
A book about a villain or antihero
A book featuring a profession you are unfamiliar with (assassin)
A book set in the city

Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs
What’s talking: dog
More peculiar children, this time in London. This one at least gets a little further than the “take weird vintage photos and make a story” exercise, which oddly made some people hate it for being slow. Go figure.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a two-word title
A book with pictures
A book set in the city
A book involving a mythical creature
The next book in a series

Hereville: How Mirka Met A Meteorite
by Barry Deutsch
What’s talking: meteorite, moon
A few reviewers remarked on a few arguably minor inaccuracies in the Jewish content of this book. I’m not Jewish and have made no particular study of Judaism. Nor could I determine Deutsch’s own ethno-cultural heritage, at least not without more of a deep dive than I feel like doing right now. But I feel like I should point out that even within the Orthodox subset of Judaism, there are probably variations. There’s like 20 varieties of Mennonites, and they all get called Mennonite, so why not? P.S. Hutterites and Amish are not Mennonites, and vice-versa.

Possible Other Categories
A book with pictures
A book you can finish in a day
A book with a subtitle
A book with a character’s name in the title
The next book in a series
A book involving a mythical creature

Die Seiten der Welt
by Kai Meyer
What’s talking: I want to say books
This book does not appear to be available in English. Most of the reviews are in languages I don’t read either, so that’s not terribly helpful.

Possible Other Categories
No idea!

Coraline
by Neil Gaiman
What’s talking: cat
Kids find it magical, adults find it creepy as hell. I suspect this is also true of life, and possibly a profound insight into Gaiman’s mind. I actually think his blender was not at 11 for this book, but somewhere lower down.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book with pictures
A book you can read in a day
A book involving a mythical creature
A book with an adaptation you enjoyed (or not) first

By the Sword
by Mercedes Lackey
What’s talking: horses, a sword (sort of)
Perhaps one of the only Lackey books that doesn’t contain any overt queer relationships, although there’s very much a subtext for Kethrys and Tarma, and I think some of the cameo characters are fleshed out in later books to be queer. It’s also an oddball because most of the Valdemar books could do with some cutting, and are definitely a bit over-indulgent, while this one is mostly at breakneck speed and almost lean enough to please the Hemingway fans, despite it’s length. Consider that Elizabeth Moon spent a pitch-perfect entire trilogy to cover the ground this book does for a somewhat similar character.

Possible Other Categories
The next book in a series
A book involving a mythical creature
A book about feminism (at the time this book came out, the “warrior princess” was not a standard trope, and for that matter, Kero is fairly butch, she doesn’t wear a miniskirt and corset)

The Fifth Elephant
by Terry Pratchett
What’s talking: dog
I am very partial to Watch books, I must say. And, more to the point, this was the first Discworld book I ever read. Weird entry, probably. Actually, not really. The Discworld books are meant to be readable on their own, and there’s something very nice about reading a set of characters who are very comfortable in themselves, as it were. It’s not that they don’t develop, it’s that the author has a very good grasp on who these people are, and, for that matter, so do they. Mostly.

Possible Other Categories
The next book in a series
A book set in the city
A book involving a mythical creature
A book with an animal in the title

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
by JK Rowling
What’s talking: don’t know, don’t care
Oh look, Harry Potter again. Here is me, still not interested. Ya’ll know whether you care about this book or not.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book with an adaptation you enjoyed (or not) first
The next book in a series
A book by a female author with a masculine-passing pseudonym
A book with characters who are twins (there are still twins in this, right? I remember people saying there are twins in this series)
A book mentioned in a movie or tv show
A book involving a mythical creature

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