2023 is starting off with some good reading, which I’m very much enjoying! My writing slowed down a bit recently, but I’ve read through quite a few books in the past few weeks.
One of the more unusual books I’ve read was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – From a Certain Point of View. A collection of short stories, they’re all set during The Empire Strikes Back, but from the viewpoint of background characters. So, people who are going about their own lives and stories while the main plot unfolds – think unidentified rebel pilots fleeing Hoth, evacuees from Cloud City, and so on. My favorite was by Catherynne M. Valente (of the Fairyland series) who wrote the story of the giant space slug who swallowed the Millennium Falcon. It loved them so much and just wanted to make a special home for them!
I read a duology by Marissa Meyer (of the Lunar Chronicles), Gilded and Cursed. A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, she created a wonderful fantasy mythology. The story focuses on Serilda, a miller’s daughter, who lies to…well, let’s call him the Fairy King, and when she’s taken to his castle to spin straw into gold, she meets a very charming not-quite-ghost who helps her. They were good and exciting books, but they also got very dark and rather bloody in spots; YA books have changed in the past ten years! There was also such a sense of hopelessness to Serilda’s situation (even though I was sure throughout it would somehow turn out well) that it was kind of a heavy read. Recommended, but be in the right mood for it!
In between those two dark books, I read Book Lovers by Emily Henry which was just the right anecdote. The heroine is a literary agent who understands the literary tropes, and knows which one her life is – she’s the uptight city girlfriend who gets dumped when men visit the country and have a life-changing experience. She and her sister are off to spend a month in the country, and she keeps bumping into this editor she knows from the city… It’s delightful, with a light-hearted feel while having some real depth to the characters and the relationship.
I also read the latest in the Wayward Children series, Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire. This was one of her backstory ones, introducing a new character who ventured into a magical world and, of course, eventually ends up at the school for wayward children. It was very well-written, though the first portions were creepy in an entirely real world way, involving Antoinette’s disturbing stepfather. Nothing too terrible happens though, and she escapes into an intriguing magical world. I always want more in these backstory ones, but I think that’s somewhat the point, the sense of so many more adventures we only get to glimpse.
After a long wait on the library’s hold list, I read How to Keep House While Drowning by K.C. Davis. This one seems to be very popular at the moment and I found it interesting. I liked her overall philosophy of being kind to yourself around housekeeping and questioning what methods or work is really necessary. This is definitely written for people with significant barriers to cleaning house so I didn’t entirely relate, but I appreciated what she was doing.
The best book I’ve read recently, though, was The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells (of the Murderbot Diaries). This was the sequel to The Cloud Roads, which I read in December, and I actually liked it better than the first one. By this point we know the characters more, we get more details on the world and the culture of the Raksura, flying shapeshifters, and we go on an entirely new adventure to a very strange place. But this whole world is very strange and engaging, and the worldbuilding is a lot of the appeal. I have book 3 in the series already on reserve from the library.
Coming up, I’m very excited about a new T. Kingfisher book, and I’m working my way through the Finder Chronicles by Suzanne Palmer, so hopefully more good books to share next month! What have you been reading lately?
2 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (February, 2023)”
I love those sort of ‘back stories from back numbers’ — mind you I enjoy writing my own , so maybe I’d need to know more of the other universes before I read those! Or maybe it’s a good introduction to them 🙂
Thanks to a very kind librarian at my local branch, who set aside a “Lucky Day” copy for me because she knew I was on a long hold list to read it, I just finished Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare.” I was intrigued to read about the British Royal Family from the point of view of one of its members rather than a reporter or biographer. It was well written and didn’t leave out any details. I do wonder if in years to come Harry may regret his frankness, but it was quite interesting to read about his version of his life story in his own words.