[I've been 
reading]

« March, 2020 »

Going up the Country   book icon  
by Yvonne Daley (2018)

read: 31 March 2020
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

As someone who has lived in Vermont since the 90s and was early-on drawn to the combination of counterculture and what we tend to call “Traditional Vermonters” I really liked this well-researched book by Daley which talks to a lot of the people who were early hippies moving to Vermont. She talks a lot about why they came, why they stayed (or didn’t) and how they got along with the people who were already here.Their influx changed the face of the state, in many cases for the better. This isn’t totally just nostalgia, there are a lot of ups and downs, but it does try to get at a lot of different stories, women’s stories in particular,without spending too much time on any one commune or town. Amusingly, I went to college with at LEAST two of the children who are mentioned in this book.

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories   book icon  
by Ken Liu (2016)

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

This is a book full of many different kinds of stories but they all have some themes threaded through it: memory and history, humanity vs machinery, families and responsibility, justice. A few stories were a little tough to take (one theme is wartime atrocities also) but the writing here is so good and specifically the title story is one I’d like to read over and over again.

Moriarty   book icon  
by John Gardner (2008)

read: 23 March 2020
rating: [0]
category: fiction

This was a gift from someone who had gotten it from a library book sale. A book written on the interesting topic of Sherlock Holmes' arch nemesis. And yet, sort of a mess. The parts that were good include a lot of pitch-perfect period piece information about London in the 1900s. And of course it’s nice to know more about this weird creepy character from the Holmes novels. However, it’s weirdly “up itself” and makes reference to a lot of facts so that you know the author did his research. Footnotes in a sort of pulp fiction book kind of don’t help. Plus, there are almost no female characters, no adult women that aren’t sex workers. And ultimately, as another reviewer described it, it’s just a story of evil vs. evil, there is no one to root for here.

St. Clair’s Blues   book icon  
by Ili Mais (2019)

read: 19 March 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Did I thing I never do and read a book a random stranger sent me. And it was pretty good. Could have used a little more editing. A whodunit in a run down town with a motley cast of characters. Wraps up nice. Glad I read it.

Agency   book icon  
by William Gibson (2020)

read: 15 March 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Waited as long as I could to read this and am now predictably sad that it’s over. I had forgotten basically all of The Peripheral and it did not matter! Though I did read up on it again after I had finished Agency just to get a little more depth into the story I had read. I can always read them again in tandem. “If you like Gibson, this is one of his books” is all I need to say.

Barbary Station   book icon  
by R. E. Stearns (2017)

read: 10 March 2020
rating: [0]
category: fiction

I wasn’t the right audience for this book, a social justice-aware spacer w/ a neuroatypical female couple working to defeat a murderous AI. A captain of uncertain gender. A lot of discussion of calming/soothing techniques.Had a hard time getting oriented, too much struggle/fighting, not enough plot. Likely a good book for someone else.

Dear Girls   book icon  
by Ali Wong (2019)

read: 8 March 2020
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

This is a book nominally written by Wong as advice to her young daughters. But mostly it’s a pretty good memoir of what Wong’s life was like til now. Funny but not TOO funny, and has a lot of backgrounder information about her marriage, her pre-marriage life, her family and making her way as a stand-up. If you’ve liked her other stuff you’ll both know what to expect and also probably like this.

Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America   book icon  
by Box Brown (2019)

read: 2 March 2020
rating: [+]
categories: graphic novel, non-fiction

For whatever reason Box Brown writes books I almost love and then don’t. I’m not sure if it’s his drawing style which is good but sort of stilted, or his “ripped from headlines” approach where you get the feeling he’s maybe just illustrating news articles he read. In any case, this is a good story to be told and it outweighs the downsides basically talking about the exact specific ways weed was made illegal in the US and in the world. I learned some things. I got annoyed. I was hoping for a broader approach but was happy with the one I got. A great book to have in your library.

This Is How You Lose the Time War   book icon  
by Amal El-Mohtar (2019)

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

I put off reading this for a while because I think I was concerned it might have been too experimental for me. It was not! It’s an epistolary novel, told by two nameless (I think?) warriors in some future time where time travel, both backwards and forwards, is just how things work. Two opponents find they have a lot in common. Huh! My favorite thing about this is how you see the characters subtly change, not just the obvious ways but some of the smaller simpler ways. Clearly a masterpiece of work doing this, I was sad when it was over.

« top »