What I’ve Been Reading Lately (November, 2022)

With NaNoWriMo in progress, my main focus this month has of course been more on writing than reading, but I’ve been through a number of books too.  Can’t write all the time!

I’m continuing my reread of Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, with Books 3 and 4, The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. I particularly enjoy Book 4, which shifts the perspective to the point of view of a changeling brought to the strange land of Chicago.  Seeing our world translated through a lens of Valente’s particular brand of fantasy is truly brilliant.

I continued my read of reincarnation books as well – first with The Next Together by Lauren James, which seemed so very promising.  A couple meets and falls in love in four different lifetimes, and the novel interweaves all four timelines.  Unfortunately it never quite wove together as much as I hoped, and the ending felt very rushed.  I then reread The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.  I enjoyed that one very much the first time, a bit less on the second – I’m coming to think that a lot of reincarnation-type stories rest heavily on concept, and that doesn’t lend itself well to multiple reads.  I did enjoy this one still, though, just not quite as I remembered. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (November, 2022)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October, 2022)

November will soon be upon us, so it must be time to give an October update on recent reads.  I’ve been continuing with a lot of sci fi and fantasy, and an unusual number of rereads as well.

I continued the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, reading Network Effect.  The longest in the series so far, I think it was also my favorite.  The trouble with the novellas is that I just get oriented and then they’re done! This one had time to explore something more complex, as Murderbot, our non-human hero, continues to grow and develop.

I’ve begun rereading the Fairyland series by Catherynne Valente – these were great favorites a few years ago, and I was rereading them every fall when each new one came out.  But now I haven’t read them in five years or more!  It’s been very fun to come back to this world and I’m enjoying again the absolutely gorgeous writing style.  I’ve read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland (in a Ship of Her Own Making) and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland (and Led the Revels There), and am mid-way through The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland (and Cut the Moon in Two). Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (October, 2022)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (September, 2022)

Looking back on recent reads, I find I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy – which is not exactly unusual, but is not as much the case anymore as it was, say, five years ago!  In fact, I didn’t read any nonfiction this month, which isn’t the norm anymore.

I read a very odd book, Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey, which…I hesitate to categorize as sci fi or fantasy, because I don’t want to give too much away.  The two main characters keep repeating their lives and meeting each other in different ways – but it’s not exactly reincarnation, because they keep living through the same time period, and it’s not exactly parallel worlds because they’re different relative ages to each other…it’s very strange and intriguing!

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers is a rather lovely, philosophical sci fi book – it’s about a utopian future rather than the so common dystopian ones, and is the first in her Monk and Robot series…and it really is about what it says.  This was the author of A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and I was curious to see what else she had written. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (September, 2022)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (August, 2022)

I’ve been reading more fiction since my last update, and fortunately having better luck with it too – for the most part!

The highlight has been the Clocktaur Wars books by T. Kingfisher – a duology (or one book that got really long so she split it in half, according to the author’s note), I read both The Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine.  They were excellent.  Exciting and engaging, but mostly I just really loved the characters.  The story revolves around a suicide mission to an enemy city to try to stop the Clocktaurs, giant magical machines sent to rampage through the landscape.  There’s a cranky forger with frequent allergy attacks, a formerly-possessed paladin (but the demon’s dead now) who’s generally tortured and apologetic, a deeply cynical assassin, and a very naive scholar.  I’m simplifying this greatly, but trust me when I say they are wonderful.  There’s a very satisfying romance, a lot of humor, and some genuinely creepy bits too.

Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (August, 2022)”

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (July, 2022)

I’ve had a good mix recently of non-fiction and fiction reads – though I’ve had better luck on the whole on the nonfiction side!

I’ve been rereading L. M. Montgomery’s journals for the…third?  fourth?  fifth? time.  I’m on Volume IV of her Complete Journals (as opposed to the previously published Selected Journals).  Volume III covered most of WWI, and Volume IV covers the next several years, including the 1919 flu epidemic.  It was interesting to see what she said about the flu – more than I remembered, but still not very much.  No mention of things like masks or lockdowns!

I also read Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy, which I liked a lot.  It basically advocates for giving kids more freedom and worrying less, with some good arguments on why parental fears are often overblown.  She did become a bit of a fear-mongerer about fear-mongering, though, in a strange way… Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (July, 2022)”