the Little Red Reviewer

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Looking for some satisfying fast reads? I gotcha!

At Apex Magazine I recently interviewed A.K. Hudson about her twisty story The Life and Death of Mia Fremont: Interview with a Killer. The interview gets fairly spoilery, so I suggest reading the story first. and then you tell me:

Who killed Mia Fremont?

LOL, and then just TRY not to walk around all day making Twin Peaks references!

Over at Nerds of a Feather, I recently interviewed Suyi Davies Okungbowa about his new novel Son of the Storm, and I also recently interviewed Sue Burke about her forthcoming novel Immunity Index.

Unpacking is going very slowly. I’m back to work full time, every day we remember something we need at the hardware store, we’re moving things into better spots in the kitchen, and who wants to unpack when I can walk around our beautiful backyard, getting to meet all the trees? (except the nightmare tree)

I did end up opening a few random boxes looking for some nice bedtime reading, and found my ancient copy of the novelization of the movie Alien. Maybe not the best bedtime reading because it is scary, but I’ve read this book probably 6 times, and seen the moving probably 30 times, so nothing in this book is going to surprise me!

My husband started unpacking our manga and graphic novels, and I came across a copy of XXXHolic by CLAMP, and I remembered that I really enjoy that series and that I never finished it. the first omnibus I picked up was #2, and that’s ok because I’m pretty familiar with how the story starts, so I feel comfortable starting with #2. I better find the next half dozen omnibuses! omnibusi? omnibusae?

Anyway, this is a great series with beautiful artwork and fun quirky characters. Some nice throwback vibes too, as it has cross over moments to Cardcaptor Sakura!

Thanks to playing everyone’s favorite twitter game “anyone know what this tree is?” I’ve learned that I have a few dogwood trees on the west side of the house, and an overgrown lilac bush-tree-thing out back.  And then there is this tree that will live rent free in my  nightmares for ever.  At the end of each branch are large growths that are the size of large slugs or caterpillars, only 50 times larger.  I don’t know if these things are chrysalises? or a disease?  and leaves are trying to grow out of some of these things?

Last time I tried to upload the picture to wordpress, wordpress crashed and ran away. So i’ll just link you to a photo, and brave tree doctors can click and try to diagnose what’s happening with this poor tree.

gross tree

should I cut this thing down? Or will that just piss off the malevolent spirits that have taken up residence inside it?

 

Anyways, what are y’all up to? 

after so, so many years of saving, financial planning, saving some more, and then getting outbid left and right, we have moved into our dream home!

We ended up with 50-ish boxes of books, including fiction, history, graphic novels, manga, and cookbooks. There is a giant stack of books boxes in the living room, and another slightly less scary stack upstairs. I thought unpacking the kitchen was intimidating. . . . I don’t even know where to start with the books boxes.

I was thinking that my upcoming TBR should be “I’ll read at least one book that is in this random box that I’m opening!” but knowing my luck, I’d land on one of my husband history books boxes, and end up reading about British looms in the 1880s. Which, could be interesting?

Our backyard looks like a freaking fairy wonderland.

but I HAVE been reading this last week! a few pages here and there while we were packing the last boxes, and trying to stay awake after unloading them all:

The Best of World SF by Lavie Tidhar – stay tuned for my review to appear in Apex Magazine!

The Unraveling by Benjamin Rosenbaum – boy do I have feelings on this book! This is one of the most unique and original science fiction books I’ve ever read, and also one of the hardest to get into. In this far future, you really can be in three places at once! I’m happy I kept reading, because I really did end up getting very invested in the main character, even if half the time I wasn’t quite sure who was talking.

And I’ve got an ARC of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Jillian vs Parasite Planet to read. I really need to order a copy of Firebreak, as if Kornher-Stace wrote it, I want to read it!

Moving is exhausting, mentally and physically. and somehow, living out in the country, our internet speed is literally twice as fast as when we lived in an urban city center? So I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix these last few days, when I wasn’t tired enough to sleep but too tired to move. Been binge watching Shadow and Bone, yes, that Shadow and Bone. And I’m enjoying it! I watched three episodes in a row yesterday! Some quick thoughts:

  • I only turned the show on because of the hype, and an early scene screamed Fullmetal Alchemist, so I kept watching. Some grisha (folks with magical abilities) are practicing, and we see someone snap her fingers to create fire. It was so Roy Mustang I couldn’t even, so OF COURSE I had to keep watching!
  • I love LOVE the costumes! those long robes? omg the embroidery! the hairstyles!
  • I was worried that this was going to be Game of Thrones sexed up, and there would be boobs everywhere. Boobs would have their own plot devices, a la Game of Thrones, boobs, boobs, everywhere! Look, I’m not against boobs on tv, but I like a good plot that’s got more going on than LOOK, BOOBS! this show has a smidge of nudity, and it’s done right.
  • Who is the chick who is chained up in the boat? I’m sure I should care about her, but I have no idea who she is.
  • Inej is THE BEST. Please don’t let Inej be some kind of ultra-villain, please!
  • Ahhh Ben Barnes, you are so hot. But please don’t try to act. Just stand there, look hot all dressed in black, and don’t do or say anything. Srsly, Ben Barnes has exactly two looks in this show – staring intently at Alina with his mouth closed, and staring intently at Alina with his mouth slightly open. That is literally all he does.
  • Not sure I’ll be reading the Shadow and Bone books, the whole thing does seem a little too YA for me, but I am enjoying the hell out of the TV show.

Kinda wish I’d marked the box that has my Witcher paperbacks in it, those sound like a good read right now.

I do have a book review I’m working on, for Rosenbaum’s The Unraveling (because omg, so. many. thoughts!), but I fear for the next little while this blog is going to consist of new home adventures, tree and flower identifying, and book chat and mini reviews, rather than long form articles.

I am only 10 minutes from a giant used bookstore and the public library. . . .

Having recently read and freakin’ LOVED  The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. That book was written in 2015 and flew completely under my radar, so I got thinking: what other neat things was I reading the same year The Library at Mount Char came out? 

Luckily, everything on the internet is forever, meaning it’s easy as cake to link to you some books I enjoyed in the halcyon yesteryear of 2015. .  . 

C.S.E. Cooney’s collection The Bone Swans came out in 2015, and this is such a gorgeous collection, I can’t even.  Among other things, the titular story “The Bone Swans of Ammandale” includes a retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin that I still get shivers when I think about it.  Oh, and if you like super weird horror, her “The Big Ba-Ha” is also a brilliant piece of writing.  and wow, this list is gonna keep me busy for a good long time! 

I read a lot of Kage Baker in 2015.  her Company books came out in the early 2000s,  but I didn’t discover them until much later. If you like characters who really do change over time, and the really, really long game, I can’t recommend her The Company series enough.  I’m kinda surprised HBO hasn’t glommed onto this series – immortal cyborgs? time travel? romance? rogue AIs? intense manipulation of humanity’s past and future? seems like HBO gold, if you ask me.  Yeah, I know, the first book in the series In The Garden of Iden is a super cry-fest, but there’s less crying after that book, I swear!

another book I read in 2015 that came out decades earlier was China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh. I really gotta reread this one, I remember it being a rather quiet story, but oh so effective. 

2015 was the year The Traitor Baru Cormorant came out.  I knew that book was going to break me into a million pieces (and it did!) but what I didn’t expect was an epic fantasy novel that would get me so interested in how economics and finance and money (and politics) works, but here we are.  I kinda blame that book for me spending a hot minute being very responsible for tens of millions of dollars flowing through a company. (it wasn’t my money. I was just in charge of accounts receivable for a few quarters).  God damn that was an amazing book. The middle book in the series ending up working a lot better when I was able to read book 2 and then book 3 as one long novel. 

The Gabble by Neal Asher is a short story collection of hard scifi stories that take place on other planets. Basically, humans are going everywhere, and being really stupid about dealing with the species we find when we get to other planets. We apparently expect all creatures everywhere to act like docile zoo animals. HA HA HA.    Yeah, so the thing most creatures have in common is that they are hungry and humans are stupid.  

I got to read a lot of Kaoru Mori’s manga series Bride’s Story in 2015.  If you like sweeping historical family stories, gorgeous and detailed (but not distracting) artwork, embroidery, and beautiful clothes, this is the series for you. It’s a look into a number of families who live in Central Asia in the late 1800s.  Yen Press did gorgeous hardback versions of Bride’s Story, everything about this series is such a pleasure for the senses. 

2015 was also the year I read Babel-17 by Samuel Delany. I’m a sucker for books about language and how language shapes us and we shape language, and how language shapes how we think and see the world.  It’s like, we see the world with our eyes. . . but the sounds that come out of our mouth and go into our ears, our brains use that stuff to determine how we actually view the world.  I’m an absolute fiend for language, but? I like I might like Delany’s Nova more than I liked Babel-17.  It’s been years since I read Nova and I still vividly remember the characters and some of the plot points, and I can’t say the same for Babel-17.

Thank you for coming down this rabbit hole of 2015 reminiscing with me!

 

I realized I’ve been watching Deep Space 9 Season 4, and not blogged any of that.  Need to fix that one of these days. 

I finished Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots,  it’s fantastic.  I wasn’t expecting this book to be a leadership/management/career talk book, but it kinda is? 

Do you like author interviews? of course you do!  Over at Nerds of a Feather I interviewed Elly Bangs about her new book Unity,  and over at Apex Magazine I interviewed Annie Neugebauer about her short story “If Those Ragged Feet Won’t Run”. (earworm? you’re welcome!)

we’re still packing packing packing. 30-ish  boxes of books so far. Found some paperbacks that won’t be coming with us, and also found a good cause to donate them to:

appalachian prison book project

not sure what I’m going to do first at the new house. Should I:

grill everything because we’ll finally be able to have a grill outdoors

unpack

stare at the washing machine because I can now do laundry any time I want

meet the neighbors and offer them something off the grill

figure out what all each light switch is connected to

buy more food to grill

but to start, has “classic editor” entirely disappeared from WordPress, and now I’m fully stuck with block editor? This post is all in one long block of text because I can’t figure out where the “more” button is, that means you have to click the “read more” link. that sucks. But, as you’ll read about in a bit, I have amazing decadent food in the fridge, which makes everything better.

I recently read Across a Billion Years by Robert Silverberg. Every time I read him, I remember what a fantastic writer he is. The pages just fly by, I’m immediately drawn in, he has the perfect balance between how much time to spend on worldbuilding, how much time to spend on characterization, and always always moving the story forward. Across a Billion Years was written in 1969, and other than one scene, it doesn’t feel dated. Open Road Media has been doing wondering printings of a ton of scifi from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, if you’re interested in reading some old stuff that doesn’t smell like it’s been in grandma’s basement for 40 years.

The story follows Tom Rice, who is an archeological grad student. He’s sheltered, priveledged, degreed, and his lack of experience with the real world (and women) make for humorous reading. When we first meet him, he’s on a ship travelling to the planet where the team will be digging up artifacts from an ancient civilization known as the High Ones. Tom spends the entire voyage writing letters to his sister about how dumb, rude, and worthless everyone else on the team is, especially team members from other planets. Yes, Tom does eventually get over his naïve stupidity as he takes the time to get know his fellow archaeologists. The title comes from that the artifacts they are digging up are approximately a billion years old, and that the High Ones are sending them all this cultural information, across a billion years. When he’s not being an idiot, Tom is actually quite the romantic, when it comes to why he got into archeology and his views on studying the ancient past.

The entire novel is Tom’s letters home to his sister Lorie. Due to a lifelong illness, Lorie is paralyzed and lives in a hospital. Lorie is also a telepath, and part of the telepath communication network, which is a very, very cool technology that Silverberg has a lot of fun with. Lots of discussions of alien races, and what if the High Ones are still alive somewhere? I liked how the characters are thinking about how cultures change over time, and what does it mean if your race dies out after a billion years? I really enjoyed this book, and it was am enjoyable fast read. I’d happily read it again, and I recommend it.

Not a scifi book, I also recently read The Hundred Foot Journey, by Richard Morais. I’d seen the movie version (Helen Mirrin! so good!) a few years ago, and I had no idea the movie was based on a book! So of course when I saw the book at the library I grabbed it! Hassan Haji and his family move to London after fleeing violence against Muslims in Mumbai. They first land in London, and then in rural France, where they open a restaurant with Hassan as head chef. Their restaurant just happens to be across the street from the Michelin starred traditional French restaurant Le Saule Pleureur, with the intimidating Madam Mallory at its helm. Mallory is shocked and offended by the loud cheerful music from across the street, and even more offended at the Haji’s casual family restaurant. She gets over herself when she tastes Hassan’s cooking, and agrees to take him under her wing and train him in French cooking. The novel takes place over 25 years of Hassan’s life, of his time with Madam Mallory, of working in restaurants in Paris, of finally opening his own restaurant, of changes in what French diners expect. It is a beautiful story of a love affair with food. There is also a lot in the story about how do you grow as a chef in the culture in which you find yourself (Hassan didn’t choose to go to France!), yet still stay connected to your roots? The Hundred Foot Journey is just a lovely book to read. Although it will make you hungry!

hmmm . . . maybe it was The Hundred Foot Journey that inspired me to go a little overboard for Saturday night’s dinner? It was the first night of Passover, which means traditional foods like matzah ball soup and charoset (and apple and nut mixture), and beyond that I like to get as creative and international as possible. My philosophy is Passover food should be so decadent and delicious, that you look forward to it every year, instead of dreading a week without bread. The stand out dish was the chicken roasted with thyme, sumac, and pomegranate molasses, and our dessert of pavlovas with lemon curd. And my mother was right! make your matzah balls with seltzer instead of water! My fridge is full of delicious leftovers.

and packing! we are so, SO close to buying a house! at ages 51 and 41, my husband and I are about to be come first time home buyers. what sold us on this house was the beautiful kitchen, the back patio, and the spacious backyard that backs up to woods. we have so, SO many books to pack. I’ve already packed 19 boxes of books, and that made a small dent.

how many boxes do you think we’ll end up with?

also, if you are getting ready to pack a metric shit ton of books, go to Walmart and get diaper boxes. They seem to be the perfect size for books!

Y’all are posting SO MUCH wonderful Vintage SciFi posts, I can barely keep up! And I love you for it!

As always, my apologies if I missed your post in this link up.  Feel free to add you link to the comments, and/or tag #VintageSciFi on twitter.

 

 

It wouldn’t be Vintage Month with out a Star Trek book!  Jean at Howling Frog reviews The Entropy Effect by Vonda McIntyre, and she also takes a look at the 1954 Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine and a really, really vintage science fiction story, The Blazing-World, writte in 1666 by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

 

Galactic Journey is quite literally 100% Vintage by volume,  they are making their way to the future, one day at a time, 55 years behind the rest of us.   On Jan 16th, they received the March 1966 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, and talked about the fiction within.

 

AnnaBookBel reviewed something that looks right up my alley – Monday Starts on Saturday by Arkady and Boris Strugatksy

 

J.G. Ballard is popular this year – Bookforager reviewed the cosy catastrophe novel The Crystal World, and Reißwolf reviewed his dystopian story The Voices of Time

 

AQ’s Reviews has a review up of Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein,  and Philip K. Dick’s Now Wait for Last Year.

 

Kristen Brand talks about her favorite vintage comic book heroines, Mysta of the Moon

 

Over at SciFiMind, John is discussing The Shape of Things to Come by H.G. Wells, a story that thinks it’s a past dream, out of the future.

 

Kaedrin enjoyed the “twisty espionage thriller” Worlds of the Imperium by Keith Laumer

 

Lydia Schoch found some gorgeous Vintage SciFi artwork to share

 

Infinite Speculation reviewed Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, one of those books that every time I read it, I enjoy it more!

 

Eclectic Theist found that Robert Silverberg’s The Stochatic Man is more than the sum of it’s parts.

 

Over at Black Gate Magazine, James Davis Nicoll has fantastic suggestions for Vintage Science Fiction about Patrolling Space

 

Distorting the Medium reviewed Nightmare Journey by Dean R. Kootz. Friendly dog? check. Smart-ass kid? check!

 

Lynn’s Book Blog has a cover art gallery of one of my favorite vintage titles, The Moon is A Harsh Mistress by Heinlein

 

Everyday Should be Tuesday enjoyed Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein, but still thinks Have Spacesuit: Will Travel is better.  He also reviewed Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

 

Joachim Boaz has an in depth review of Of All Possible Worlds by William Tenn, along with a ton of cover art

 

Calmgrove offers a beautiful and soothing review of Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven

 

 

As always, I am sure I have missed posts.  you can tease me on twitter about it. . .but in the meantime, please leave you posts in the comments!

All Y’All Vintage SciFi Month-ers have been BUSY!  I am IN AWE!  So many posts have gone up, the @VintageSciFi_  twitter feed has gone wild, and it is only the first week of January!

 

Here’s links to SO MANY wonderful Vintage Scifi Month posts!   I’m doing my best to keep up with people who have commented here, linked back to Little Red Reviewer, tweeted to @VintageSciFiMonth_ on twitter or used the hashtag #VintageSciFiMonth.  if I missed your link, I apologize,  and feel free to leave your links in the comments either in this post or in the “Vintage SciFi Month” tab up at the top of the page.

 

We’ve got a lot of folks already talking about The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. Grace LaPointe brought our attention to her acclaimed essay on the novel (spoilers!) that was presented in 2009.

Howling Frog enjoyed the detective/spy adventure (in spaaaaaace!) book Watchers of the Dark by Lloyd Biggle Jr.

Reißwolf reviewed Sailing to Byzantium by Robert Silverberg and New Rose Hotel by William Gibson (aw yeah cyberpunk!)

Lexlingua enjoyed the far future / mythology / secret technology 1968 Hugo winning novel Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

IzzyReads picked up Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick a book that opens in January 2021.

Jim at Classics of Science Fiction has a seemingly never ending list of suggested Vintage Sci Fi short stories for anyone who isn’t sure where to start their Vintage journey

Joe at Eclectic Theist is now finally able to read Anny McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books in order! He’s up to Dragonflight.

Michael is getting a kick out of his Ace Doubles.  it’s a two-fer, literally!

Classic movie fan? Cinemashrew enjoyed the vintage scifi/horror flick Invisible Ray, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi

Did you know that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of Elon Musk’s favorite books? Me neither! Hullabaloloo decided to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about

Need more classic scifi movies? Warren Watched a Movie has an indepth write up of The Day The Earth Stood Still directed by Robert Wise

 

 

apologies if I missed anyone, please throw your links in the comments so everyone can find your link.

 

This is not a list of 2020’s best books,  because I hardly read any new stuff this year.

This not a list of “the best books I read this year!”, because let’s be honest, I hardly finished any books at all this year.  My attention span went on strike this year, and I’ve already forgiven myself.

With all that in mind, this is a list of the books that brought me joy this year.  to be frank, these were the books that got me to stop doom-scrolling.  Some of these, I didn’t even review.  oops.

I’ve linked to my reviews, and if these look good please consider getting yourself a copy through Indiebound or Bookshop.org.

 

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin – one of my favorite comfort reads. Great story, hella fun characters. Mythology that is alive and well. Really excellent sex scenes.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – I did not expect to laugh my head off so much while reading this!  If you ever want a deep dive in my wacko sense of humor, read this book. I also really dig the formality of the face paint.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing  by Hank Green – what an absolutely ridiculous book! And I couldn’t put it down! I loved the dichotomy between the fast paced social media world that seemed dark and always raining, and the dream world where it was silent and whatever pace you wanted and sunny all the time.  And I might have cried at the end.


Ration by Cody Luff – I don’t even know what genre this is. is post-apocalyptic horror a thing? It might be that.  Typically this kind of book would be too dark and too scary for me, but man, Ration hit me in the sweet spot.

Machine’s Last Testament by Benjanun Sriduangkaew – We created an AI who would help us become better people, and then abandoned the AI. That AI grew up and now runs a planet where humans gotta behave really, really well to earn citizenship. What could possibly go wrong?  Never read Sriduangkaew? this novella is an excellent place to start.


Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee – Jedao and Cheris’s youth? mouthwatering meals? Jedao learning what he likes? Orphans, loyalty, and long simmering anger? OMG YES PLEASE.

The Twice Drowned Saint by C.S.E. Cooney – I loved this novella. it is over the top in the absolute best way, it feels like an old timey candy store. the writing is. . . luscious. Yes, that’s the word, luscious.

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – I was tempted not to put this book on this list, because this is gut-punch of a book with oh, so many triggers wasn’t exactly joyful to read, but? I really needed to know what happened at the end and Dickinson’s world building is just so. damn. good.

Star Trek: Collateral Damage by David Mack – who’s the jerk who really enjoyed this book and didn’t review it? me.  Oh noes, poor me, I’ll have to re-read this highly enjoyable book again next year and review it then! I also need some rec’s for Star Trek books that are as good as this one.

 

I also watch a whole lotta Star Trek Deep Space Nine this year.

 

What books brought you joy this year?

 

 

Omgosh, it’s nearly January!!  that means there is still plenty of time to put up your holiday decorations, plenty of time all winter to make cookies and pies and breads, AND that means it’s almost Vintage Science Fiction Month!

 

What have I got on my TBR for January? I’m happy you asked. 🙂

so far:

R.U.R., a science fiction play by Czech writer Karel Capek (thanks Gutenberg.org!)

Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a 1964 movie

At least one vintage scifi magazine from the Luminist Archive

I’ll probably reread Clifford Simak’s Way Station because I just love it so darn much

I might cram a Vonnegut in there, because he’s so enjoyable to read

And there’s a good chance I’ll flip through the beginning of the Big Book of Science Fiction and the Big Book of Fantasy, edited by the Vandermeers, to see what catches my eye.

 

“scientifically authentic!”

 

 

Wondering where to link your reviews to? There is a big ‘ole chaotically beautiful comments section on my Vintage SciFi Not-A-Challenge tab. Just leave your link in the comments and everyone will be able to find it (and I’ll easily be able to tweet it to the masses!)

 

Looking for my previous Vintage Scifi blog posts and reviews? on the word cloud over to the right, click “Vintage Scifi” and get ready to have your TBR explode.

 

Want to hear me and Red Star Reviews talk about Vintage Science Fiction month? We did a podcast!

Are you interested in hosting guest posts, or writing a guest post for another blogger? uhh. . . couple options here, since I’m not quite that organized. Leave a comment in this post that you’re interested in hosting a guest post and/or writing one, and if you’re on twitter, tweet with #VintageSciFiMonth that you’re interested in hosting a guest post and/or writing one, and we’ll cross our fingers that writers can connect w/hosts and vice versa.  We’re on twitter as @VintageSciFi_ (underscore at the end)

are you here to have fun and talk about science fiction and fantasy that’s older than we are? HELL YES.

(yes, fantasy counts. Yes audio books, plays, radio plays, movies, TV shows, e-books, and any other media count)

 

The only rule of Vintage Month is it’s gotta be older than me (written in 1979 or earlier), or older than you. You choose which.

 

looking for a badge or an image you can use in your Vintage Scifi Month posts?  Scroll back to the top of this post and grab that beautiful red and yellow “Red Alert for the Interstellar Patrol!” badge.

 

See you soon!

 

 

My library has switched to curb-side pick up only, an boy have they got this down to a science!  you put your books on hold, show up,  tell them what parking spot number you’re in and what your library card# is, and a few minutes later a guy comes out and puts a bag of books in your backseat or trunk. I wasn’t sure if i was texting a bot or not, but because I appreciate the service I still texted a thank you and that I appreciate the library.

so, library books. I’ve not been a library patron for YEARS. why you ask? well, for a few years there, I was getting more ARCs each quarter than any normal human could read in a year, I had access to a ton of used bookstores, AND my finances were suddenly such that if I wanted a book, I could generally afford to just go and buy it. ($27 for hardback? fuck that, I’m waiting for this book to be in paperback!)

But?

with ARCs come an obligation.  With purchasing books, comes an obligation.  The publicist won’t be made if i email them a crying emoji, saying work’s just been so busy that I didn’t get a chance to read the book they mailed me.  And I spent $27 on a hardback. . . and got 50 pages into it an DNF’d?  whether or not there is a real, concrete obligation to read (and try to enjoy) an ARC or a purchased book, there is a mental obligation that someone made some kind of investment to get this book to me, so damn it, i should try to enjoy it.

Ah!  not so with library books!  Let’s say I get 50 pages into a library book, and decide it’s not for me. no harm no foul, i just return it. Let’s say I take 3 library books out, and work is really busy and my parents need me, and yadda yadda yadda, an i don’t get a change to read even one of those books, and I return them completely unopened? The library doesn’t care.  The library isn’t judging me.  there’s no obligation. and right now, where I am in my life? zero obligation sounds like the good place.  there is something so very freeing about getting random books from the library.

so anyway,  I got some books.

 

in no particular order:

Goldilocks by Laura Lam – this got such good reviews!!!  and. . .  50 pages in I realized I am not the right reader for this book. It might be the best book that was ever written, but this is not for me.  I thought about hate-reading it, and then realized the world has plenty of hate in it and doesn’t need me to add more. I’m just going to take this book back to the library and be done with it.   If you loved this book, Yay! I am super happy for you!  it’s not for me.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhoarse – I will be getting to this very soon!  because. . . .

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – oh shit, this is book 2, isn’t it?

crap, I put Harrow on hold at the library instead of Gideon.  Damn it.  LUCKILY there are three bookstores in my town and I knew at least one of them would have a paperback copy of Gideon, which I bought today! and while I was at the bookstore, i bought another biology / anatomy book, because that shit is fascinating.

60 pages into Gideon the Ninth and . . . . this is my sense of humor!  Snark and insults, and really funny descriptions of things!  If you are among the five people on earth who haven’t read Gideon the Ninth, apparently the gist is this – there is the Emperor’s house and eight other great(ish) houses.  The Emperor is calling for a noble heir and the heir’s cavalier to come to the capital and compete in a contest of wits (and other stuff) .  The winner will win a whole bunch of awesome stuff, and also not be dead.  For Gideon and Harrow, this is their chance to finally get off their awful backwater planet. also, Gideon and Harrow kinda hate each other.

Wait, is this a sci-fantasy necromancer version of The Hunger Games, but with more snark and way better humor? (and I’m kinda hoping for some sex too)

also, I had thought her full name was Harrowhawk, it is Harrowhark.  Hawk and hark mean totally different things.

 

I freakin LOVE that cover art, by the way.  (ok, so, so far, everything about my experience with Gideon is completely the opposite of my experience with Goldilocks. that’s uhhh… interesting, i guess)

So what happens if it takes me forever to read Gideon the Ninth and I’m not done with it and Harrow the Ninth is due back the library, and someone else has put that title on hold so I can’t renew it?  nothing. absolutely nothing.  I will not be breaking my obligation to anyone, if i don’t get to these library books, or if i don’t finish them, or whatever.

Usually when i hear “no obligation”, it means that if i don’t jump through a bunch of hoops that are on fire, they’ll charge my credit card for six months of subscription, but I can “cancel at anytime”, and to be honest, the hoops are literally on fire so it’s just easier to let them charge my card. . .  but library are actually truly no obligation.  All I have to do I take them back after 3 weeks.

 

reading more Gideon will be my reward for writing these other blog posts I’ve been meaning to get to:

Some more Deep Space Nine season 3 (woah did Nana Visitor get to chew some scenery!  woah was it cringy to watch!)

The Broken Kingdoms and Kingdom of Gods, books 2 and 3 in N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

and as soon as I finish Gideon I’m reading Trail of Lightning!!!


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.