Print Story Books 'n' stuff
By ana (Sat Feb 05, 2022 at 11:36:45 AM EST) books, fun-loving cowwqas. (all tags)
 Somehow it's February already and this is kind of a new year thing...

So in the past year I got relatively serious about amusing myself with reading, and using goodreads to keep track of books I have seen recommended that sounded interesting. They have this feature where stuff you've read ends up on a virtual shelf. Let's have a look, shall we?

Ed. note: plz to excuse any  spurious double spacing you see... my  keyboard's old and various keys like to emit two strokes when they're poked once. Lately the  space  bar has gotten in on the  action.

It seems I opened the year in the midst of reading NK  Jemison's Broken Earth trilogy, consisting of  first, The Fifth Season, secondly The Obelisk Gate, and wrapping up with The Stone Sky. Oh my, what rich world-building and vivid characters! I've recently finished her novel The City We Became, which is a totally different, but richly imagined, world. She's definitely an author to return to. She  has a way of revealing the weirdness of her worlds as the characters themselves figure out how it works and how to use it.

Another author of fantasy or science fiction (or both in one book!) who's a delight to meet is Charlie Jane Anders. I  started on City in the Middle of the Night, set on a tide-locked planet as the human colonists in the twilight zone are forgetting how their earth-based tech works, and getting acquainted with  the natives. On the  strength of enjoying that, I read All the Birds in the Sky, which is a delightful mix of fantasy (one of the two main characters is a nature witch, who can talk to the birds) and science fiction (the other is a tech nerd who creates an artificial computerized intelligence). Both of the threads ring true to their genres. Later in the year  I  returned to her, reading a young adult novel called Victories Greater than Death. Really convincing teenage nerd characters.

A one-off, new-author-to-me delight called Among Others, by Jo Walton. Read this, you'll like it, says my official BFF. He's not wrong about this one. The flavor can be imagined from the disclaimer in the intro, to the effect that this is a work of fiction. Girls are never sixteen, Wales is an imaginary country, children are never sent away to boarding schools... but the fairies are real. Must read more of her stuff.

A couple YA  things by  Lauren Myracle, called ttyl and ttfn. Epistolary novels told in text messages.

Huh. Goodreads claims I read Cat's Cradle this past year. I remember it not at all.  Perhaps I fat-fingered  putting it on my want-to-read list and it ended up on the already-read one instead.

I read the entire Expanse saga, allegedly by one S. A. Corey. Good stuff, strong characters, most of the threads gathered in the end. I think there's one more prequel short story coming out in March 2022 called Drive.

Micaiah Johnson, The Space Between Worlds. A really gripping world-jumping tale.

Everywhere She's Not, by N. John Shore. I helped kickstart this one. The  characters are real enough that I had to put the book down for months in the middle because the protag is just too much like me and clueless. He does grow some, though. And I found myself wondering what became of him so I finished the book to  find out. When we were kids we had a story book of The Ugly Duckling, which my  sister was  unable to sit through, feeling sorry for the title character and never getting to the happy ending. This one's like that.

The  above-mentioned official BFF J. (who has appeared elsewhere in this diary as BFF J. Brewpub, which is not far wrong) organized a small book club. There  are 4 of us. He and another guy  came up with an elaborate voting system for choosing new books to read,  and among other series we've sampled are the first 5 of the Laurie R. King detective novels featuring a young (as old as the 20th century) woman named Mary Russell who meets a retired detective named Sherlock Holmes. Titles so far are The Beekeeper's Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women,  A Letter of Mary, The Moor, and O Jerusalem. Good  stuff. Groping for the titles I see there are also interstitial short stories. I should read them.

Gene Wolfe, The Borrowed Man. As in, checked out of a library.  The narrator comes right out and tells you he's not telling you everything. And I think some of what he does tell us is wrong, though  perhaps he believes it.

Another  book club thing, Robertson Davies. We've read two of his trilogies, Salterton and Deptford. I once surprised myself by  saying that if he could write as fast as I read, I'd never read anything else. He's that good. And then he went and croaked 2/3 of the way through his fourth trilogy. Bummer.

One real treasure from this past year (I created a "favorites" list on goodreads, just for this book) is Honey Girl by  Morgan Rogers. Young woman of color trying to  please her insatiable father (called Colonel, even by his family) gets a PhD in Astronomy (!) goes to Las Vegas to celebrate and while drunk marries a woman she's just met and can't remember when she sobers up. And then she has to figure out what drunk!Grace saw in her and how to be a responsible wife. Much fun.

A couple re-visits each to my own books, whilst composing a sequel... Necessary Lies and Ravynscroft by some guy named Richard Edgar. You  might want to skip these (though of course I hope you don't).

Tess Sharpe's book The Girls I've Been. Kid grows up with a mom who's a grifter and con woman, and has been at least five  characters invented for long cons. Now she's a hostage in a bank robbery gone bad.

Sam Cohen's Sarahland, a collection of short stories threaded together around characters named Sarah. Interesting stuff.

Book club again, and I slid into the middle of Dorothy Sayers, with  Five Red Herrings and then Strong Poison.

Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem. I'm not sure what to say  about  this. The prose is kind of stiff and stilted, though  it's in translation so  hard to say if it's the author or the translator (Ken Liu, apparently no relation)  who's written award-winning sci-fi of his own. I'm putting it down to the customs of Chinese sci-fi with a main character who was a dissident during various phases of the People's Republic.

Califia's Daughters by Leigh Richards, a pseudonym of Laurie R. King. Near-future post-apocalyptic tale in which the plague killed (and continues to kill) most of the male population. Well worth the read.

A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel. Mother-daughter team nudges humanity  toward the stars while avoiding a band of brothers bent on doing them in. First of a series.

Upright Women Wanted, by Sarah Gailey. Could be in the Wild West of Califia's Daughters. Coming of age and gritty survival with casualties. Our heroine runs away to join the librarians.

I re-read Lord of the Rings for the first time in decades. It holds up remarkably well.

In preparation for the long-awaited second volume of my  cousin's Viking saga, I re-read volume one: Anno  Draconis by Steve Bivans. It's  a rip-roaring tale of the Viking invasion of Frankia and siege of Parisia in 885  AD, written by a military historian of the early middle ages. Highly recommended (but I'm a bit partial). Check him out at

And that's pretty much it.

< Not the lazy Sunday I wanted | To The Emperor! >
Books 'n' stuff | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)
Oh. A couple I forgot. by ana (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Feb 06, 2022 at 08:50:53 AM EST
Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir... richly built world full of necromancers.

The Magicians series by Lev Grossman. It's Narnia and Hogwarts and hedge witches all rolled into one.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

MAGICIANS! by misslake (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Feb 22, 2022 at 09:37:31 PM EST
I love those books.

There is a television adaptation on Prime, but I recommend against it. Instead of dialogue, everyone just says fuck. I didn't remember it being a particularly cuss filled series, and I do so love a well placed expletive... but why does the wise dean of the ancient magical school never have anything worse to say than "you fucked this up."

[ Parent ]
Liu and King by miserere (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Feb 07, 2022 at 10:05:17 AM EST
First, I just got Califia's Daughters with my audible credit this month - I remember being intrigued when you mentioned it, since I enjoyed her Holmes-world books. Will let you know what I think!

I haven't read The Three Body Problem - it seemed to dense for what I've been looking for - but LeVar Burton has featured a couple (I think) of Ken Liu short stories on LeVar Burton Reads (an excellent, excellent podcast), and one of those stories, The Paper Menagerie, has made me cry both times I listened to it. Beautifully written, in an understated sort of way, and just amazing. So who knows whether K. Liu was translating in that stilted kind of way because of his own translation style or because of the source material, but I highly recommend checking out his short stories.

lots of overlap by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Feb 07, 2022 at 10:33:35 AM EST
in our readings.. I think I'll add a few of yours to my library queue.. I wish I had more time.

I started the first of the expanse (a good hard-boiled detective story in sci-fi), but when I realized there were 9 more books or such in the series, didn't keep going.

Definitely like NK Jemison and Charlie Jane Anders.

The 3-body problem series, at least in book 3, really went in some strange directions..

Jo Walton is fantastic! by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 2) #4 Mon Feb 07, 2022 at 04:02:27 PM EST
I really like her "Thessaly" philosophical trilogy, where the gods try to set up a real life version of Plato's Republic.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
On my list! by ana (4.00 / 1) #5 Mon Feb 07, 2022 at 05:51:23 PM EST
It's on my  "read me next" list.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

[ Parent ]
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Feb 10, 2022 at 06:37:26 AM EST
I really felt like she loved SF while I was reading this.

Iambic Web Certified

Robertson Davies by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Feb 10, 2022 at 09:59:58 AM EST
He has that effect on people. And then I tried to re-read Deptford 25 years after the first read, and couldn't do it. Still not sure why.

I did 3 body as an audio book, and it read surprisingly well for you noting the stilted prose on a visual read.

Gene Wolfe is the king of writing unreliable narrators.

We've loved watching The Expanse. Currently we're reading the second of Arkady Martine's Teixcalaaan books (highly recommended; she's a cultural anthropologist and her culture building is fascinating) aloud on drives and I think we'll do the expanse next.

The last series we read aloud was Murderbot, and if you haven't read those, I recommend them.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat

Pretty much... by ana (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Feb 10, 2022 at 01:38:21 PM EST
...all that stuff is already on my to-read list.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

[ Parent ]
dang it by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #10 Sat Feb 12, 2022 at 07:58:42 PM EST
we're all reading the same stuff.. nuts..

[ Parent ]
Because... by ana (4.00 / 2) #11 Sun Feb 13, 2022 at 03:03:17 PM EST
...I get most of my book recs from you lot.

Time is too strange now for a real plot. --clock

[ Parent ]
additional recs by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #12 Sun Feb 20, 2022 at 11:28:50 AM EST
I'm reading the Themis trilogy, almost done with the last one and recommended.

I'm listening to The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern, about a quarter in, and loving it.
"I honestly pity the stupid motherfucker who tries to talk down to iGrrrl" - mrgoat

[ Parent ]
I did read something new to me that isn't an by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Feb 10, 2022 at 02:50:19 PM EST
part of an established series. Becky Chambers The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was an enjoyable read, though I haven't moved on to the next book in the series. Even though I've only watched a handful of Whedon's Firefly episodes, it had that feel.

Books 'n' stuff | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)