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« October, 2021 »
The Fallen

I waited a long time to read this (it felt) after reading the original. A sequel, mainly about nine neurodivergent genderfluid people navigating past and present trauma set against a backdrop of a ruined world and avenging angels. There was really just a lot of trauma, people getting more trauma, people healing from past trauma, people trying to be mindful of others' trauma. It was definitely too much for me, more fantastical chaos magic than scifi and nothing got wrapped up.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2020

A really interesting and eclectic set of essays, possibly none of which were on the pandemic? I read this series from time to time and often there is a lot of gloom and doom writing about climate or about diseases or some such. No big deal, I get it, but this collection is more varied than most. Not too samey, not too grim. I learned some things and enjoyed reading it.

Marked Man

This October’s book by Mayor is pretty good in that none of the usual suspects is imperiled, there’s a side-jaunt to Rhode Island (coffee milk!) and I saw a cameo from one of my favorite librarians. It’s all about some super-wealthy people in Vermont who live in an improbable arrangement. And there’s a mafia side-story, kind of. Otherwise, it’s about what you’d expect. Good, but maybe not great.

The Thursday Murder Club

Taskmaster is clearly taking over my entire life. This is a really great debut novel from TV producer Richard Osman. It’s interesting with a good mystery at the core. The plot centers around mostly elderly people, a group of friends, who live in a retirement home without being saccharine or treacley. They like to look at cold case mysteries for fun and then suddenly find one that is not so cold. It’s funny without playing people’s lives for laughs.

Dressed for Death

I’ve enjoyed this series but absolutely can’t recommend this book with its super problematic treatment of sex work and male transvestite sex workers in particular. The mystery hinges around a man found dead, dressed as a sex worker. While it’s supposedly using people’s dismissive treatment of them to highlight that treating sex workers this way is wrong, there’s enough causal crappy speech about sex work that I found it overall pretty offensive. Finished it but suggest you don’t start it.

Activation Degradation

I liked but did not love Noumenon. Lostetter is clearly a great writer, just wasn’t my story. This was a sort of Murderbot readalike in some ways and very much not in others. A cyborg is part of it. There are a lot of non-binary totally normal characters. It was enjoyable, kind of a slow burn of plot development (I was worried at the beginning that it might be a little too hard sciencey for me and this was not the case) and otherwise too easy to spoil so I won’t get into it. A good read.

The Frequency of Aliens

This book was a sequel to The Spaceship Next Door about a small town Massachusetts after the spaceship (from the last book) departed. Similar story arc to the last one where there is a lot of character and plot development and then a lot of action and drama and uncertainty in the last third of the book. Also, like the last book, it wraps up decently with a door open to more sequels.

James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes

Got this as a gift because I’m a fan of Taskmaster and Acaster’s standup series that was on Netflix. If you liked him in either of those, you’ll enjoy these stories (all true!) about various Acaster mishaps, as originally told on Josh Widdicombe’s podcast. With drawings that he did himself.