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« March, 2021 »

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl   book icon  
by Jonathan Slaght (2020)

read: 26 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

A terrific account of a naturalist working on wildlife conservation with these giant owls in a rugged part of far eastern Russia. Slaght tells a fascinating travel story, full of the complex balancing act with human and wildlife needs and wants. There’s a lot of chilly cabins, near misses, bizarre owl trivia and a few good photos.

Barely Functional Adult   book icon  
by Meichi Ng (2020)

read: 25 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

A great set of illustrated essays talking about some life lessons Ng has learned over the course of her life so far. Not laugh-out-loud funny the way Hyperbole and a Half is but it also feels more grounded and coming from a place of stability. Amusing and reassuring, starting out metaphorical and getting more specific. I read it in one (and a little bit) sitting.

Infinite Detail   book icon  
by Tim Maughan (2019)

read: 20 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

An oddly hopeful apocalyptic novel that has a lot more nuance than you think it’s going to. I always love to read books that start from the premise “What if the internet suddenly died?” & this is a real best in show look at that from a UK/US perspective. There is a little neighborhood that seems to be doing okay, and you’re not sure why, and through a series of before and after vignettes you kind of figure out what’s been happening and what’s going to happen. A lot of people who you think you understand, only to find out there’s a lot more to them.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within   book icon  
by Becky Chambers (2021)

read: 16 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I really like Chambers' work but I find a lot of it confusing. She’s talking about alien life forms who all interrelate to each other and she clearly has an idea in her head about what they look like and how they interact but kind of dribbles that information out slowly and I find that there’s a long while in the beginning of her books where I have trouble really getting a visual image of what is going on in the book.

This book is a nice wrap-up with some people you know from this universe, unlikely folks tossed together b/c of a crisis and then have to manage a crisis. Good to see these folks again. Book was good, though since it’s been so long since I’ve read her earlier books, I got the feeling that there were characters here that I maybe should recognize but I did not.

Hench   book icon  
by Natalie Zina Walschots (2020)

read: 12 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

One of the better books from this year so far, and I found out I internet-know this author’s partner which made it extra interesting to get some backstory on the writing. This was recommended to me after finishing We Could be Heroes and it was just so so good. An interesting tale of all the people that help support the ecosystem of the superheroes and supervillains, and all the inequalities in there and what some people decide to do about them. A long time in the making & it shows, quality book.

Mississippi Solo: A River Quest   book icon  
by Eddy Harris (1988)

read: 9 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

Harris talks about his trip canoeing from the head of the Mississippi all the way to New Orleans. It’s a great memoir, many river stories and a lot of contemplation about what it means to be a black man doing outdoorsy stuff while heading southwards. And Harris isn’t coming at this from an aggressive anti-racist viewpoint, just his own viewpoint. He’s had a decent amount of privilege, but has also experienced racism, in his life and on this trip, and mulls over some of that but also just spends a lot of time learning about the world he’s inhabiting.

A Taste for Vengeance   book icon  
by Martin Walker (2018)

read: 6 March 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I am nearing the end of these, or at least the point at which I am catching up with the publication calendar. These books are starting to feel super formulaic (why is he using the French word for this word over and over when the rest of the book is in English!?) but then again so is my life a bit lately. This one’s got even more great food, it’s not particularly gory, and has a somewhat interesting backstory about the IRA.

The Space Between Worlds   book icon  
by Micaiah Johnson (2020)

read: 1 March 2021
rating: [+]
categories: best in show, fiction

Such a fascinating multiverse book! Often multiverse books get too bogged down in paradox-resolving situations or explaining the sciencey science; but this is a really human story about power and class and a woman trying to figure out how to balance what she is with what she wants. There’s a lot going on but it doesn’t get overly confusing. The characters have depth and more is revealed over time, it’s such a well-written story.

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