What Are We Reading, Page 16
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In the end, this book demonstrated clearly the unreliability of memory, as well as how difficult it is to know our minds let alone the minds of others.
Next up in my rotation is nonfiction, so I'm off to survey my TBR shelf.
Now I'm reading Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood by Maureen Ryan which is another book about toxic white men and how their abuse is forgiven because they are so wonderfully creative. Now that Weinstein got his just desserts Hollywood acts like all the problems are solved and they can go on with the same old S&M routine. Sheesh, Hollywood, I'm not quitting my day job.
I've just started I have some questions for you, inspired by Joyce's review. I like books with school/college settings.
>7 vwinsloe: "Complicated" is a good way of describing The Margarets. I enjoyed some of the story threads more than others, but overall it was a very thought-provoking book.
I've started The Other Black Girl because it was mentioned here, and good enough, I guess, to merit a film version.
I've just read Woman running in the mountains, a Japanese novel about a young single mother in a society that is hostile to parenthood outside marriage. Takiko struggles to find work that will pay enough for her and her son to move out of the parental home, but over the course of a year she finds some physical and emotional freedom. I really enjoyed this.
I've just a few pages from the end of Desert of the heart, a novel from 1960 about a woman who moves to Reno for the 6 weeks required before divorcing her husband. She meets a younger woman, Ann, and the two find themselves drawn to each other. The casino/desert setting is so compelling and I am finding this a really engaging read.
ETA if you can get hold of her early Marianne trilogy, I highly recommend that too.
Also continuing my interest in women in science with a biography of physicist Lise Meitner.
Now I've started Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. Bumped it up the queue because I've been seeing it everywhere lately.
But I enjoyed it enough to look at the Hulu tv series trailer, and it looks perfect.
I'm well into The Sixth Extinction. It's been on my TBR for a while, and since a theme of The Margarets was how humanity fouls its own nest, I was moved to finally read it. The Sixth Extinction is almost 10 years old now, and I wonder how many species have gone extinct since it was published.
The Sixth Extinction makes you wonder how our planet will survive in any way hospitable to humans or animals. I go about my pleasant little life feeding my backyard birds, front yard feral cats, and crazy dogs while the earth seems to be disappearing.
I think that I am on one of those "pairing" reads that was previously talked about by SChant. The Sixth Extinction is bringing back some emotions that I had when reading the dystopian novel Migrations this year. The Sixth Extinction, so far, is written with a tone of wry humor. Whereas Migrations is emotionally wrenching. Now that I think of it, maybe instead of a pairing, I am having more of a read thread, since The Margarets is what led me to The Sixth Extinction in the first place.
It's not a short book; I hope I like it.
>38 vwinsloe: Curious to see what you make of The book of M.
I'm currently reading Olga dies dreaming, and loving it. It follows two siblings of Puerto Rican descent through their lives in New York society, and through them we see the story of Puerto Rico and its troubled relationship with the US.
Now I'm on to Tom Lake by one of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett. I'm doing it quite a disservice by reading it while I'm still enthralled with Penelope.
>40 Citizenjoyce: Greek and Roman mythology retold seems to be popular these days. I've been afraid to try any because I was sure that they would suffer by comparison with Madeline Miller's books. But it sounds like I should put Songs of Penelope on my wishlist. Thanks.
I just found her short book The Future Library for free at Tor and I will be reading that, too.
I'm currently reading something completely different. I saw West with Giraffes high on LT's Top Five Books list a few years back, and put it on my wishlist. It's eye-rollingly corny, but charming in its own way, and I suspect it will be a comfort read for me. Anyway, animals.
I also thought that the description of memory loss was well done. And the religious aspect? I asked myself, why do all post-apocalyptic books seem to have a group of religious fanatics? And then I realized what a stupid question that was!
I'm reading The Moonday Letters which I believe was recommended by Sakerfalcon. I usually don't get on well with books that incorporate a strong cultural mythology, but I'm not having any trouble with this SFF novel that brings Finnish shamanism and ecological ethics into the solar system. I didn't realize it, but I have had another book by this same author entitled Memory of Water on my wishlist for a very long time.
I've just reread Ancillary justice, which is just as good the second time around, and started a fantasy, Emily Wilde's encyclopaedia of faeries. Scholarly heroine undertaking field research in wintery Iceland-analogue. It's good so far.
I seem to have enjoyed all of the books that I have read that were labeled "historical fantasy," so I am putting Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries on my wishlist. Thanks for mentioning it.
by Heather Cox Richardson. I can't believe it came in so fast, though it is a short book. I am really looking forward to this.
I finished Haven and I was really impressed by the plotting and character development. This one ranked higher for me than The Pull of the Stars, but it was just the predictable romance element that I found off putting in that one.
I've got to figure out what this year's Halloween read will be. I am thinking that I will read my first Holly Black. I have two sitting on my TBR pile, Book of Night which is her adult fiction, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown which, I believe, was her breakout YA novel. Book of Night was apparently not as well received, but Holly Black is local for me, and that book is supposed to have some local flavor, which I would enjoy.
Democracy Awakening - I don't know what to say. She knows far more than I and seems to be able to stay optimistic. Maybe by now, she's sharing the same sense of dread as the rest of us or she wouldn't have written the book. I guess she's showing how we have overcome the tendency toward oligarchy before, and we can do it again, but ... I'm sure the GOP will do all they can to ruin her life, starting with trying to get her fired.
Professor Richardson has been named on the right-wing "Professor Watchlist' website since at least 2016. I think at this point she must be tenured at Boston College, and she has brought some notoriety to a Jesuit university that can't quite seem to decide whether it is a school for academics or athletics. Boston College went through a challenging period in the early 1970s with the controversial professor and author Mary Daly, who wrote Beyond God the Father and Gyn-ecology, and although the university sort of sidelined her, I hope that they learned that controversial professors only increase the university's visibility in a good way. I suppose it will depend on how things turn out in the end though.
I've started The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and it's fun so far. I couldn't ask for a more perfect Halloween read. Thank you.
Last week, I had the luck of finding Demon Copperhead on my local library's sale cart. So I started it last night, and it's good so far. I've read quite a lot of Barbara Kingsolver and have liked just about everything that she has written.
I've just read the new Hill House quasi-sequel by Elizabeth Hand. She and Jackson are two of my favourite authors, so this was a match made in heaven for me. I though Hand did justice to Jackson's creation, summoning up the right sort of horrors and including some additional folk horror ingredients. The four protagonists were suitably flawed in ways that that the house was able to exploit to great effect. It is very rare that I buy a book and read it at once. This was one of those times, and I'm glad I did. ETA the book is titled A haunting on the hill.
Then, looking into banned books and my ongoing confusion about sexual confusion, I read the graphic memoir Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. E describes eirself as AFAB (assigned female at birth) but has always hated the female parts of eirself. E would love to get top surgery and thinks of eirself as having a penis. E thinks of eirself as nonbinary and asexual. This seems to be a complete obsession. I have a hard time with a person being so completely obsessed with sex, but I can't see why the book would be banned except that it depicts sex and gender as concepts to be pondered. This leads once again to the idea that the only reason to ban books is to make sure people don't think beyond the surface of their lives.
Next up will be the latest addition to the Cormoran Strike series The Running Grave. I'm so glad there's a new one.
So much so that I have something of a book hangover, and needed to find something completely different to avoid comparisons. So I started The Night Tiger which takes place in Malaysia back in the 1930s. That should be different enough.
Next up is Waking Up White which I've come across often enough to think that it might be a bit of different approach to anti-racism thought. It's a memoir, but the author's premise is that she grew up believing that she didn't have a race, and that race was something that only minorities had. I've only started it, and her epiphany has yet to occur.
Just finished Firefly - Coup de Grace by Una McCormack. The beginning was a blatant rip-off of Charles Portis's True Grit, but then it settled down into an entertaining yarn of off-world meddling, local baddies, and our big Damn' Heroes wading in on the side of the little guys.
Started The Origin of Species and other stories by Bo-Young Kim - a new author to me, discovered in one of Lavie Tidhar's "Best of World SF" volumes. So far interesting and slightly off-beat stories, though I've only read a couple.
Now for a complete change I'm reading the newish sequels to the Malory Towers series of girls' school stories! They are like popcorn and I'm devouring them fast.
Now I'm rereading Dawn. Lord, I think Octavia Butler would have ripped her to shreds.
>87 Citizenjoyce: You are a glutton for punishment. Thanks for reading Enough so that I don't have to. I had a much better time with the Xenogenesis trilogy, but all Butler's books with the miscegenation theme make me uneasy.
Now I'm reading The City We Became. The only other N.K. Jeminsin I have read is her Broken Earth Trilogy, and if I like this one even half as much, it will be a winner.
To get the pictures out of my head I've started Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link. I won't recommend it to you >94 vwinsloe: particularly since you're not fond of magical realism. This is magical realism on steroids, it's like her imagination exploded, though I think the stories were much more fun for her to write than for me to read.
>93 SChant: Is Blue Machine pretty understandable? It sounds like something I should read.
Also, love Kelly Link's work, and I'm not fond of fantasy/magic realism either. There's just something about it that tickles my imagination.
I got a new bookcase though, and I am trying to reorganize my TBR pile. It has become obvious to me that books by men, large non-fiction books, and short story anthologies are languishing. I am thinking about maybe reading a large non-fiction book and a book of short stories at the same time, but at different times of day. These are all things that I want to read in theory, but the large non-fiction books are daunting to me since it takes me longer to read non-fiction in general, and other things are always calling to me from the TBR shelf. Hmmm.
I finished The City We Became and started right away with The World We Make. The City We Became was an entertaining read, and, if nothing else, I finally understand the geography of New York City.
Another pair of books I recently read that turns Lovecraft's racism on it's ear more deftly are Winter Tide and Deep Roots. In these books, Ruthanna Emrys imagines the aftermath of The Shadow Over Innsmouth from the perspective of inhabitants of that, "...ill rumoured and evilly shadowed seaport of death and blasphemous abnormality," who were, in the beginning of Lovecraft's story, described as being arrested en masse and sent off to camps, never to be heard from again. That seed begat Emrys' short story/novelette that led to the later novels. The Litany of Earth can be read for free online at Tor.com.
Of course, to get the full effect, one should probably have read, or at least be familiar with, The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
I'm also enjoying The Great Cities but in a different way. As a Bostonian, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that "I heart NYC," and Jemisin has really captured it. I don't find it too heavy handed in its celebration of multiculturalism. A long time ago, when I returned home after living in Colombia for 3 years, I had to get from one NYC airport to the other to get another flight, and there was terrible traffic and everyone was honking, and there was a Black police officer in a heated argument with a Middle Eastern cab driver, and they were both dropping F bombs left and right at each other. There I was, in February, with a sweater on and a suitcase full of summer clothes, and the tears just rolled down my cheeks, and I was warm enough. I was so glad to be HOME. The Great Cities so reminds me of that experience.
In any event, I'm not a big horror reader (I fail to be horrified), and I have never read Lovecraft. I will check out the Ruthanna Emrys books though. Thanks!
I've got a book of short stories ready to read when I just don't feel like non-fiction, but, strangely, in the course of the TBR reorg project, I found a couple of books that I thought were short stories, but were not. They've been neglected on false pretenses then.
>101 Citizenjoyce: I'm really looking forward to Starling House!
>103 ScoLgo: I agree with you about Ruthanna Emrys's Innsmouth duology. It was superb. I liked it much better than The city we became (haven't read the sequel) and Emrys's more recent book, A half-built garden.
I'm currently reading Miss Bunting, one of Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels. These are amusing but rather snobbish by today's standards. They do depict life in WWII rural England very well though, especially as she was writing during the war without knowledge of its outcome.
I've been reading the biography Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen and am so impressed by Alcott, another hard-working heroine. I liked Hospital Sketches very much but hate Little Women thinking such praise for women's self-sacrifice is dangerous. Now I realize that she couldn't help such praise since her brain had been washed into it since birth. I also didn't realize how much of her own life was in the book though her dire poverty was translated into the genteel poverty of the Marches. It almost makes me want to re-read the book. Almost. I love it when a person is able to overcome their upbringing and live the life they want.
>107 Sakerfalcon: I was unaware of Megan Marshall's other books. Her biography of Margaret Fuller looks interesting, so if reading The Peabody Sisters goes well, I will look into that one.
I've started Krik? Krak! to read in the evenings when I am too tired for nonfiction.
I have a couple of new books to get into now:
The Future by Naomi Alderman. I've seen some mixed reviews - generally along the lines of "interesting ideas but muddled execution" - but I enjoyed The Power so will give it a go;
Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries, which looks like an undemanding stroll through some of the lesser-known women of history (though of course there are also some big names there). Probably a decent introduction to the subject and good to see plenty women from outside the white, Western canon included.
Then on a completely different note, I read To Catch a Raven: Women Who Dare by Beverly Jenkins. It's historical fiction about African Americans as reconstruction after the Civil War is breaking down. There are the usual post-slavery Blacks working in menial positions (one white "employer" when asked what she plans to pay the people who work for her says, "Well, before you were happy to work for just room and board, so I'll have to think about it.") and very wealthy Blacks who could buy and sell that employer. All well and good, but it's also historical romance and the very hot sex scenes made it difficult for me to listen while driving or exercising. My, my.
Now I'm listening to a book by a man, Testimony: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Failed a Generation by Jon Ward. We know the home-schooling evangelical movement works to brainwash kids, we know they have a screwy view of sex, but it's worse than we thought, and you'd better not complain if you're the recipient of all that misogynist propaganda.
>115 Citizenjoyce: I'm glad that you found Waking Up White to be worth reading. And you're right; in order to have productive relationships with people, it is important to try to tune in to the various subcultures at play. I remember Rita Mae Brown saying somewhere that in the USA, Northerners don't get along with Southerners because when Southerners are effusively nice, Northerners think that the Southerners actually like them, when the Southerners are just being polite. So when the Southerner subsequently snubs or offends the Northerner in some way, the Northerner feels like they've been stabbed in the back. I totally got that when she said it, and I've never forgotten it.
I think maybe that American Girls, like Barbie dolls of my generation, were not simply modeling motherhood as an inevitability. In the case of Barbie, she was also a career woman. In the case of American Girl, she modeled historical figures as well as career women. Great stuff!
>120 Citizenjoyce: Somehow I read a lot of Nancy Drew books growing up as well as a sleuth named Cherry Ames who was a nurse. I don't remember ever choosing those books, but they were in my home for some reason, and I devoured them along with anything else that I could get my hands on.
I remember all kinds of Reader's Digest Condensed books that belonged to my grandparents. I read those, and they were very popular as I recall. I also read a lot of my father's adult books. He loved J.D. Salinger and had all of his books. As an adult, my mother read mostly magazines. So after the early mysteries, I was unfortunately not exposed to much women's fiction, except things like To Kill a Mockingbird and other popular books that were anthologized in the Reader's Digest Condensed books.
I'm a bit more than halfway through The Peabody Sisters, and I've started my second book of short stories. This time an anthology of post-apocalyptic stories called Out of the Ruins. It features my favorite Carmen Maria Machado story, Inventory (short story), and has some other well-known women authors as well as international authors who are unknown to me.
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