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« April, 2020 »

Now, Then, and Everywhen   book icon  
by Rysa Walker (2020)

read: 27 April 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I’ll read most time travel novels that aren’t history retcon. This one is mostly not that and is a prequel to a series I hadn’t heard of (might explain why it was confusing)? I enjoyed it but it ended in a really weird place. I also found it hard to keep track of the characters in a way I might not have if I had read the other books in the series. Not sure if I will pick them up or not. I like this book, it was smart and creative with time travel considerations, but it bounced around a LOT and clearly wasn’t intended to be a standalone novel.

Book Lust To Go   book icon  
by Nancy Pearl (2010)

read: 24 April 2020
rating: [+]
categories: non-fiction, reference

I enjoy Nancy Pearl’s Reader’s Advisory books, considering them very readable on their own. However I LOVE travel books and needed some inspiration. This book, loosely organized by country and region, is a wide-ranging look at what you might want to read, both contemporary and older books, fiction and non. There is, of course, a bit of a Western slant to these suggestions, but Pearl does a pretty good job at trying to round out a certain kind of “White people go places” books, with books written by people who live in the regions she’s covering. I made my own sub-list of travel books to read from this book.

An Instance of the Fingerpost   book icon  
by Iain Pears (2000)

read: 20 April 2020
rating: [+]
category: uncategorized

This is the longest book I think I’ve disliked nearly all of. And yet, I finished it. I like historical fiction. I like UK fiction. I like weird unreliable narrators (sometimes) but this was just not for me and at the same time I knew many other people had LOVED it so I slogged along figuring there might be some great payoff. And there wasn’t.

All the women worth a damn die, and there are precious few of them in the first place. I didn’t know enough history to know which of the characters were real (I mean other than Cromwell and John Locke and the King(s)) which is my own failing. Everyone was an asshole most of the time. Stuff was wrapped up in religion in a way I knew was important for the time but I didn’t care about. And the length of the book meant that some of the unreliable narrator stuff (which might have been okay if it was a Rashomon-length movie) got confusing by the end and felt like a memory exercise. I could figure out a few of the “Oh this is going to come up in the future” points, but many I just couldn’t remember after 500 pages.

Add to this that most of the characters are kind of actively noxious, either personally or just in how they treat people because of the class/status hierarchies of the time, and I just felt like I spent a long time with people whose company I didn’t enjoy. If this period of history is your jam, and you don’t necessarily expect any female characters, you might actually like this. For me I was just kind of curious about why I finished it.

Best American Comics 2017   book icon  
by Ben Katchor (2017)

read: 17 April 2020
rating: [+]
categories: collection, graphic novel

Finally done with this series in terms of what I have at home. This one was interesting in that it included a bunch of “outsider” comics. Some of their work didn’t translate well at small sizes, but as always, a good assortment.

Best American Comics 2011   book icon  
by Alison Bechdel (2011)

read: 12 April 2020
rating: [+]
categories: collection, graphic novel

This one was both the best and the worst of the bunch. I love Bechdel’s stuff when it’s telling stories (Fun Home, Dykes to Watch Out For) and less when it’s sort of more navel-gazey (Are You My Mother). SO this collection has some great long form stories which I really liked, but some of them are incredibly upsetting (totally OK, just not my speed) including some massacres and a child rape. So! On balance another good one and a great addition to the series, but also had some mixed feelings.

Breach   book icon  
by Eliot Peper (2019)

read: 11 April 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

This was the book that had to tie the trilogy together and it did that. However it brought us back and into the mind of one of the characters who may be the least stable. In the last book we had a strong female lead,but one who had some nagging doubts about her path etc. In this one we meet another strong female lead with some really bad self-doubt and it feels like more of a trope.Like, I get it, but I’d love to see some other model for a protagonist other than one wracked with doubt.Some good comeuppances in this volume and a good overall wrap up.

The Best American Comics 2012   book icon  
by Francoise Mouly (2012)

read: 9 April 2020
rating: [+]
categories: collection, graphic novel

These are all different, I enjoyed this one more than the last. Mouly was a great editor. Comics for kids included are in the back which is something I haven’t seen in this series before. Panter cover, what’s not to love? ARC was choppy but I bet the final is grand.

Borderless   book icon  
by Eliot Peper (2018)

read: 6 April 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Another book series I started over the summer and picked back up again. Peper writes borderline tech bro fiction but this one had a female lead who I basically appreciated. The central conceit is really interesting: what happens when there are tech companies that make tools that are used worldwide which gives them power that eclipses traditional nation states? I liked Peper’s attempts at funding an answer. And didn’t miss out on much because I couldn’t remember the earlier book that this is a sequel to.

Best American Comics 2018   book icon  
by Phoebe Gloeckner (2018)

read: 5 April 2020
rating: [+]
categories: collection, graphic novel

I did a sprint through a lot of these over the summer and I have some left. This was an ARC so it wasn’t in final form which matters more for graphic novel types of things than novels. So,slightly uneven but basically okay. Some great stuff, some creepy stuff, and some weird stuff (or all three!) which is exactly what I’ve grown to expect and enjoy out of this series

The Hidden Girl   book icon  
by Ken Liu (2020)

read: 2 April 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Great short fiction some of which clicked with me, but a lot didn’t. Liu’s themes are steady and constant (memory, humanity, machinery, family); many of these stories seemed like chapters in longer works. Unresolved non-endings. Beautifully written. I appreciate that Liu can’t be pegged into just one genre but it did mean moving back and forth between fantasy, scifi and sometimes just historical fiction

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