I recently read that whole trilogy and I really enjoyed it - also some of the main characters are slaves, particularly as the story goes on, which does give a different angle. The whole thing twists in some interesting directions as the story progresses and I certainly didn’t expect it to end up where it did. The second book is probably darker than the first, though, as it exposes more of what is happening in the Hundred, which is not good.
I’m kinda juggling 2-3 things now. I’m mostly re-reading the Infinity War run on Marvel Unlimited since I am super excited about the movie. It’s probably one of my favorite Marvel events. Other than that, I end up reading Neuromancer like, once a year just because I love that book. I read like a chapter every other day or so haha. Lastly a book on brewing beer, because I want to give that a go this summer!
I just finished this essay collection, Meaty, by Samantha Irby. I read the book she put out last year and it was great, and this one delves a lot more into her personal life and some of the less savory details of her story. She’s so funny and honest about every bit of her life, I love it. Also a good resource for recipes if you have Chron’s Disease
I read Significant Zero by Walt Williams, which is an autobiograpy written by the head writer of Spec Ops: The Line. It’s a really interesting look at how the game industry functions and how we tend to lose ourselves in our creative work. The most interesting thing, though was probably learning that the game didn’t go through development hell because of publisher sabotage, but because the head publisher kept asking they add in new features and was completely on board with Walt’s main vision. In fact, the game’s big twist was born from said publisher asking for a darker story to compete with the game’s contemporaries.
i’m reading Into That Darkness: From Mercy Killing To Mass Murder by Gitta Sereny. it’s about a series of interviews with the commander of the Treblinka extermination camp. it’s fucking tough going but i’m trying to learn more about the ways in which people are turned to fascist violence, both actively and passively.
here’s a photo of my bird helping me read it:
i strongly recommend keeping a cute animal and a supply of snacks nearby when reading something so aggressively bleak.
Started reading these to my eight-year-old for bedtime. We’ll watch the movies once we’re finished.
I’ve been thinking about going back and reading those again - I usually read them around Christmastime, but this last year was so dang busy I didn’t get around to it.
Finally reading all of Jerusalem, by Selma Lagerlöf, after only having read half in the past. It’s a masterpiece. Everything I’ve read from her has been great, but this is likely my favourite.
Still finishing off Undergound by Murakami. It’s a good book and not that long I just got kinda bored mid way through because so many of the interviews are basically the same. Which in itself is an interesting thing but not the most fun to read.
I’m in a real vampire-fictiony mood atm, been binge watching Carmilla and rewatched Only Lovers Left Alive so if anyone has some good recommendations for some solid vampire fiction (the more moody the better!) outside of the big 'uns (Dracula, Carmilla, Lestat) please throw them my way.
I just finished Space Opera by Catherynne Valente, and it was so, so fantastic.Time-traveling red pandas and Looney Tunes and Eurovision and space travel and social justice and aliens and a poly triad gone awry. Basically, the heroes have to save the world in a singing competition. It’s like someone dipped Hitchhiker’s Guide in glitter and defiant optimism.
I’m currently re-reading Michel Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge for the first time since college and having a blast! Always love me some Foucault. Except that time he signed a heinous document with Sartre and de Beauvoir (supposedly for being “against the bourgeois state’s intervention in our daily lives” but c’mon bruh your own theory literally includes explorations of the discursive formation of power that show why that wasn’t the hill to die on/sign onto).
Just finished reading Uncivilized: The Best of Green Anarchy for the first time (a very hit and miss collection depending on the entry in question) and was just re-reading Issue #197 of The Malahat Review, indigenous nihilist anarchist Aragorn!'s BOOM and attentat (which isn’t just Aragorn! but he’s part of that collective, I return often to these two even if I think attentat’s “Howl Against Marx” piece is wrong-headed about Marx), as well as re-reading Monsieur Dupont’s Nihilist Communism and before all that re-reading was the last couple new (to me) books that I’ve read besides Uncivilized which are Lorraine Perlman’s Having Little, Being Much: A Chronicle of Fredy Perlman’s Fifty Years (that I really enjoyed a lot) and a pamphlet (so not technically a book) called Our Differences: A Discussion of Worker-Communism by Iranian Marxist Mansoor Hekmat that I found in my local collectively run bookstore for cheap, which was eye opening to me and very informative.
I think before that it’s a bunch more re-reads of things (probably mostly all extant issues of Bædan over and over again lmao) that I return to a lot for joy or inspiration or to feel less alienated or to sharpen myself against or whatever for the most part…but I think the last new books before that were Saanich Ethnobotany: Culturally Important Plants of the WSÁNEĆ People (which I’ll probably wind up returning to a lot as well, to re-orient myself to the original names for much of the ecosystem that surrounds me in my everyday life rather than our settler-colonial impositions, I really got a lot out of my read of that especially on nature walks) and Gene Wolfe’s newest novel (I think? the dude churns out books like he doesn’t know how old he is so by now maybe he’s come out with a new one who knows) called A Borrowed Man that’s about a future where you can rent clones of dead authors from the library and books are basically obsolete because everything’s digital. If you’re gonna start with Wolfe honestly this one’s not a bad one to start with weirdly enough, but if you’re down for a slog if the quality is good like me…I’d recommend reading The Fifth Head of Cerberus which is three novellas that are (sort of) related to each other…ish, and then diving into his 12 book epic that’s tied to one of the three novellas in that book. Fans call all the connected series together “The Solar Cycle”, I won’t link 'em all but just reference each quadrology/trilogy by name as I’m sure you can search for 'em and check your local library for most or all of 'em (especially seeing as the last of 'em came out in 2001).
Those series are: Book of the New Sun, BotNS’s coda novel Urth of the New Sun, Book of the Long Sun and Book of the Short Sun. I’m lucky enough to have picked up omnibus hardcover editions of all 4 Book of the New Sun books (aside from the coda) in one, all 3 Book of the Short Sun books in one, and then all 4 Book of the Long Sun books in 2 volumes instead of 4, so I don’t have quite as many individual books as you would if you went out and got 'em all. Wolfe writes like a labyrinth filled with funhouse mirrors, often uses very unreliable narrators whose psychology you have to unpack based on what they lie about, the ways in which they misremember things, what they simply don’t notice (and what they do) before you can begin to use that understanding to switch the lens over your mind’s eye to view everything you just read in a new light…and then he’ll throw you another curveball revelation that completely shifts the layout of the labyrinth again and it’s always as jaw-dropping as the last time he did it to you. For briefer introductions to his writing for the person-on-the-go, I’d recommend his novel Peace, which is a good one to read over immediately after you finish it with the knowledge of one read-through in mind and is a slim enough book that’s not a big chore to do and the collection of short fiction/essays of his called Castle of Days (which might be my secret favourite Wolfe book but it’s hard to say). After Ursula K. Le Guin died I’ve kept thinking “oh god Gene is going to be next I need to write him a letter to tell him how much his writing has meant to me like I didn’t get a chance to do with her!!” but putting it off. I should do that.
I know I’m forgetting a new book but it must’ve been a forgettable one since it just isn’t coming to mind. That or it’s my memory problems. It’s on the tip of my brain…gosh if it was political theory I’d remember already so it must’ve been a novel I didn’t like.
The Broken Earth Trilogy and The Fifth Season in particular blew my mind. The characters, the subtle and intricate world building and the way it weaved oppression into the very fabric of this fictional society made the world/story incredibly believable. This trilogy came into my life pretty much after I started to understand how systemic oppression works, which helped me think about these new hard truths I saw before me easier to digest.
I’m currently reading The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
This Young Adult Fantasy Novel is best described as Journey to the West drawing on West-African mythology. Here’s a short summary from vulture:
“The book takes place in a country called Orïsha 11 years after magic has vanished from the land. The King has slaughtered all the Magi — magicians who could draw on the power of gods and goddesses to summon fire, darkness, spirits of the dead. Zélie sets out on quest to restore magic, and to defeat the king, who has murdered her own mother.”
I’m getting the best Avatar The Last Airbender vibes from this book and it’s characters. The chapters are short and the story moves along at a brisk pace. The book tackles different aspects of race and colorism with the weight those topics deserve, whilst also filling the world and journey of it’s characters with wonder and awe.
I’m currently reading The Moth Diaries but this is next in my pile! My partner and I just started a book club podcast (would it be poor form to link it here? feels a bit too much like advertising…) and Space Opera is our first book choice. Looking forward to getting started on it
Yeah, Jemisin is pretty outstanding when it comes to her world building. Tackling something as massive as systemic oppression in a way that not only avoids coming off as massively preachy but also still is relatable and makes you actually think about that stuff is such a tough task but she completely nails it. I’m looking forward to getting into the sequels!
There’s a thread where community members can post their podcasts here:
Could yo PM me the link? I’d love to check it out.
OH, please send me the link to the podcast, also!! N. K. Jemisin was the best author I read last year, and if you like her stuff and are interested in Space Opera, then I definitely want to check out your book club podcast for more recs.
And @RollingEddie, I finished Children of Blood and Bone last month. It was so, so good. Have you checked out the book’s website? It has one of those sorting quizzes to see which tribe of magi you would belong to, and I also wanted to haunt it to see if I could find out when the next book comes out. (No announcement yet, sad day.)
I sent both of you a message with a link to the podcast, i’ll chuck it in that podcast thread for anyone else to avoid anymore derailing!
Edit: Derp, apparently I even responded in that podcast thread with my gaming podcast a while back. Woops!
Been meaning to read some Banana Yoshimoto for a while, may have to look into this.
Currently towards the end of To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf; it is so strange and great how she manages to effectively convey with words the kind of feelings people can’t really articulate with words
Oh word? I live for that stuff, let me get right over there! What tribe did you get?
I got the Connector Clan! How about you? What did you get?
Inching my way through The Spirit Ring, marking the end of my year-and-a-half long journey through Lois McMaster Bujold’s catalogue. Although she’s doing some of her best work yet with the still ongoing Penric & Desdemona novella series, it’s sad to consider that she might be entering the final years of her career. I’m really grateful I found her, though. If I ever go back and reread any of these books, I think they’re going to inextricably linked to this period of my life.
I’ve been trying to find other writers to fill the void, but I do feel like Bujold’s tightly plotted action adventure stories – that work just as well as romance-y character pieces – delivered in a very clean and (deceptively) simple prose, might be more unique than they seem. I can’t think of many other works of genre fiction that are both so relentlessly entertaining and emotionally rewarding at the same time. The Chalion books, in particular, are very special to me, in the way she takes a world where gods are real, and manages to use that conceit as a hugely affecting window into spirituality (for a non-believer like me).
Tips on writers doing similar things to Bujold would be really appreciated, if any of you’ve managed to find other books that scratch that same itch.