A book that happens over someone’s lifespan

The only requirement of this category was that the book had to cover a person’s entire life span. You could have a very short book about an infant. Fiction or nonfiction, didn’t matter. Living or dead, although living was more likely to have a shorter span of time to cover. Plus, memoirs are all the rage right now, so it would be easy enough to find one.

Also, WordPress has started doing this incredibly annoying thing where when I hit “enter” after doing the little “add hyperlink” dialog, it sends me back to the top of the post. This is terribly unhelpful and I wish they would fix it.

When We Rise
by Cleve Jones
It’s the memoir of a living person, so one gets to avoid some 800-page tome. Fair warning, the first half is intentionally capturing pre-AIDS gay male life, as the author feels that milieu has been lost due to the overriding narrative of the AIDS era. If you’re really just here for the activism, skip a few chapters ahead.

Possible Other Categories
A book with a subtitle
A book with an lgbt+/quiltbag/queer protagonist
A book based on a real person
A book with an adaptation you enjoyed (or not) first (The docu-series “When We Rise” is partly based on this book)
A book about death or grief
A book about true crime (civil disobedience, murder, and violations of unjust laws all get a moment or ten)
A book about a difficult topic (injustice, discrimination, AIDS)
A book set in the city
A book with a subtitle

The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds
by Selina Siak Chin Yoke
Some readers felt the Malayan English and use of foreign terms (not all in the book’s glossary) was too heavy handed, and the failure to choose pinyin strange. Given the book starts in the 1800s, I think this makes sense – pinyin didn’t exist in the period depicted, and also carries some political ramifications (it was invented by the current Chinese government, which can be super awkward because it is a really good romanization system). Honestly, I’m just glad any actual system was used. I don’t know how many times I see Western news transcribing Chinese names with total disregard for tone. And this is why every non-Chinese speaker in the West swears when they say the name of a certain basketball player.

Possible Other Categories
A book by an Asian author
A book set in the city
A book based on a real person (loosely on the author’s great-grandmother)

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
by Claire North (aka Catherine Webb)
If you liked Groundhog Day but wished it had had higher stakes than a bullshit Hollywood romance, this is the book for you. It even has an equally uninteresting protagonist!

Possible Other Categories
A book about or involving time travel
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book from a book club (not a famous club, but apparently some reviewers did read it as part of one, so there you go)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Considering that Ben’s life span is the entire point of this odd little nugget, it fits perfectly here. The least plausible part of this story might be that it took the Button family 20 years to realize Ben is aging backwards.

Possible Other Categories
A book with an adaptation you enjoyed (or not) first
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book you can read in a day
An allegorical book (probably)

Sula
by Toni Morrison
It’s a Toni Morrison novel, what more do you want?!

Possible Other Categories
A book you can read in a day
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book about a villain or anti-hero (Sula is arguably not a good person)
A book involving a fire
A book from a book club

Sugar Falls
by David Alexander Robertson
This is not an amazing piece. It’s got a weird premise (have white kids ask residential school survivors tell them about their experiences). Honestly I’m not a fan of the art, although it’s at least not confusing or painful to look at. It’s certainly better than my own pathetic attempts at drawing.

Possible Other Categories
A book you can read in a day
A book with pictures
A book about a difficult topic (content warnings apply)
A book with a two word title
A book based on a real person (generalized)
A book with a subtitle

Sickened
by Julie Gregory
Awareness of the existence of “Munchhausen’s” (and the same by Proxy) seems to have one of two effects on the average person: 1) assume that everyone with more than one ailment or with a chronic but undiagnosed ailment must be lying/Munchhausen or 2) make people think that doctors actually believe women on average (they really don’t). Cue the men saying “doctors don’t listen to men either!”. Guys, guys, I have statistics. Doctors listen to women even less, okay? Great!

Possible Other Categories
A book based on a real person
A book about true crime (child abuse)
A book about mental health (incidentally, both disorders are extraordinarily rare)
A book you can read in a day (possible)
A book about a difficult topic (see above)

Saga
by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
This series is fairly weird, and chock full of sex and violence. It isn’t, at least, taking itself too seriously, though.

Possible Other Categories
A book with pictures
A book you can read in a day
A book with two authors
An allegorical book (transparently)
A book set on a different planet

Rebel Rising
by Beth Revis
A prequel novel to a sequel side-story prequel movie. I think I got that characterization right? The Star Wars franchise is getting increasingly complicated as the novels become more mainstream. Don’t expect too much – this is an author trying to make Disney’s spin of an unevenly written and sometimes terribly executed space opera work. She has to work backwards and then forwards again from a character that was almost certainly never fully conceived. With rare exceptions, no film gets the Tolkien treatment of thoroughness, and Star Wars is not one of those exceptions.

Possible Other Categories
The next book in a series (franchise, really)
A book that takes place on a different planet
A book with a two word title
A book with a subtitle (eh…)

Piaskowa Gora
by Joanna Bator
In English, the title apparently means “Sand Mountain”. It hasn’t been translated to English, as far as I can tell. I tried reading the French jacket explanation, but I got bored. It’s either contemporary or literary fiction, a distinction I generally suspect has more to do with marketing and author gender than actual qualities of the writing.

Possible Other Categories
It’s in Polish, what do I know?

On the Wings of a Butterfly
by Marilyn J Maple and Sandy Haight
Here we go, a children’s picture book more or less covering someone’s life span. Perfect for getting this task out of the way if you didn’t actually like the task (there’s almost always a kids’ book that will cover a task). Technically two life spans – the kid dying of cancer (not a spoiler) and the caterpillar (also not a spoiler). Between the two of them, it makes one lifespan. For the parent who really, really doesn’t know how to explain dying to their kid, they can just fob the problem off on this book.

Possible Other Categories
A book with pictures
A book with a subtitle
A book you can read in a day
A book about death or grief
A book with an animal in the title

The Napoleon of Notting Hill
by G.K. Chesterton
Here’s Chesterton’s first surreal novel. The interesting thing about how bizarre his novels could be was that he was frenenmies with George Bernard Shaw, and was a hugely influential traditionalist in an era of growing Modernism. His politics were complex, and he influenced folks as wide-ranging as Neil Gaiman and Ghandi.

Possible Other Categories
A book you can read in a day
An allegorical book
A book published before you were born (I don’t think I have any followers that old…)
A book set in the city (London)

Marley and Me
by John Grogan
Not, in fact, a book about Bob Marley. That’s a different book. This one is about a dog, who is probably named after the aforementioned reggae star. In any case, there’s an interesting dichotomy: dog trainers, animal welfare workers (i.e. shelter works, vets, etc), and Europeans seem united in hating this book for the appalling example of dog ownership (the Grogans are terrible dog owners and should not ever have another dog, seriously). Doe-eyed American dog lovers love this book.

Possible Other Categories
A book with an adaptation you enjoyed (or not) first (Hollywood, recognizing the ill-informed American market’s adoration, naturally also cast The One Guy in All the Kids and Soppy Inspirational Movies)
A book with a character’s name in the title
A book based on a real person

Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren
There’s one thing in this book that needs some clarification with a map and schedule for me: the van incident. My dad’s record for driving from Miami to LA is 3 days flat. We did Tampa to Vancouver, BC in 6, not counting the days we tooled around national parks, and that’s taking blue highways. So I’m quite baffled that they could not safely traverse Georgia to California with 4 drivers in 5 days, and I’m not sure how they ended up in Wyoming. I am not saying the tale is not true, I’m saying amateur road warriors baffle me.

Possible Other Categories
A book about feminism (or at least, sexism in the workplace)
A book based on a real person (it is a memoir, after all)
A book with a two word title
A book featuring a profession you are unfamiliar with (botanist)

La vie entière
by Pierre Morency
Holy relatively obscure books Batman. In this case, the title is arguably exactly the task name. It can be translated as “Whole Life” or “Complete Life” or, yes, “Life Span” or “Life Long”. Anyways, this is the final book in a trilogy of memoirs by a highly lauded Quebecois poet. So it took me awhile to even find that much about it. The anglophones do not read much of the French, and the French do not read much of the Quebecois.

Possible Other Categories
A book with pictures
The next book in a series
A book based on a real person (I’m assuming based on its French genre classification)
A book of or about poetry or poets

Jacob’s Room
by Virginia Woolf
Probably Woolf’s most experimental book. It’s not really about a specific room, and Jacob is perhaps the protagonist but not the perspective, as it were. You just have to talk around it, somehow.

Possible Other Categories
A book about death or grief (not a spoiler: Jacob’s dead)
A book set in the city (largely in London)
A book with a two word title
A book with a character’s name in the title

A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Realistic fiction set in Afghanistan, spanning several recent decades. This is for people who do not wish to escape our current hellscape reality. It is focused on women, so naturally it appears to be in development hell for a film adaptation.

Possible Other Categories
A book about death or grief (for some of it)
A book about a difficult topic
A book set in the city (Kabul)

A God In Ruins
by Kate Atkinson
A historical novel about WW2 Britain, as if there weren’t enough of those in the world. All upper lips in this tale are basically rebar. Much carrying on is done, etc.

Possible Other Categories
The next book in a series

The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan
What the hell, white people? You don’t get to steal a title just because of WWII, especially not of one of the greatest works of Japanese literature, and one that is entirely unrelated in any way to your own book’s contents. Seriously, Basho’s travel diary is infinitely superior.

Possible Other Categories
A book based on a real person (it was inspired by the author’s father, though it otherwise has nothing to do with him)

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