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• What are you reading?

The Summer Birds, by Penelope Farmer, because of [personal profile] rachelmanija's recommendation.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard. I think this is the right length de Bodard for me. The other one I've tried was The House of Shattered Wings, which had a similar flavor: melancholy, lots that is unspoken and maybe unspeakable, communication that is clearly conveying much more to the characters than I will ever understand. Maybe it is just too grown-up a flavor for me.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I want to read all the good books for eleven-year-olds. Here's my list so far:
Suggestions and comments are welcome. No need to read through my list to make sure your suggestion is not on it; more mentions of a book make me more likely to read it.

• What are you watching?

Russian Doll, whenever I get some wifi.

Bad Times at the El Royale. Violent but worth it.

Tully. Really good.

A Wrinkle in Time.
1. This movie is so beautiful.
2. I am okay with it being its own thing, even though it has more love and less math than I would have chosen.
3. I have a surprising sore spot that this movie hit when the Happy Medium, urging Meg to find her balance, yelled, "You can do this, you’re choosing not to."

I don't have a sense of balance, not like most people do. I don't have a thing in my head that is constantly telling me what direction 'down' is. I have a substitute that I have manufactured for myself, from seeing horizontals and feeling pressure against the soles of my feet.

Most likely I was born this way. The nerve endings in my left ear never got finished. My parents noticed that I was deaf in one ear when I was five, but I didn't figure out the balance problem until I was an adult. Fortunately I don't have vertigo because my baby brain was still plastic enough to realize that the signal from my inner ear is not worth listening to.

The balance mechanism in my right ear still works, but the brain interprets any signal from right ear + no signal from left ear = 'down' is whatever direction the right ear is pointing. When I was a kid I used to sit in a swing, raise my feet and close my eyes, to get the illusion that I was spinning, very slowly, clockwise. I was always surprised to open my eyes and see that the swing's chains were not twisted together.

So the yoga exercise that has you stand on one foot, find your balance, and then close your eyes fells me like a tree. It was an immense relief to learn that no, I'm not choosing not to, I just can't.
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• What are you reading?

The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard.

• What did you recently finish reading?

So Lucky, by Nicola Griffith. I agree with [personal profile] omnia_mutantur that the pacing is weird, with an action plot suddenly erupting in the home stretch of a very short book.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I have Forget the Sleepless Shores, by Sonya Taaffe. I'm very slow at reading short stories though.

• What are you watching?

First Wives Club: This is not a good time to watch a feel-good movie about crazy rich New Yorkers, with cameos from Ed Koch and Ivana Trump, and a side of "oops, I didn't realize I was fucking a sixteen-year-old."

Searching: Meh.

The Escape Artist, a BBC miniseries starring David Tennant and Sophie Okonedo. Terrible. This might be a useful resource if you are studying Women in Refrigerators.
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• What are you reading?

So Lucky, by Nicola Griffith. This is so hard to read, because Mara loses so much, both physically and socially, so fast. I know that this is one of the possibilities but it isn't one I want to think about right now. I hope I get to see Mara figuring out how to pursue happiness in the body she has.

• What did you recently finish reading?

An Excess Male, by Maggie Shen King. Really good. I'm looking forward to talking about it with SF book group.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot, for Classics book group.

• What are you watching?

Eighth Grade, which expressed the feeling of eighth grade so well that I was dying of embarrassment all through. Kayla is so brave, and she works so hard!
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• What are you reading?

An Excess Male, by Maggie Shen King. So good at depicting people trapped in a totalitarian culture, who want to be good to each other but end up torturing each other, like their society is torturing them, because they can't seem to understand that they could be wrong about what is good for someone else.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Hardy Succulents: Tough Plants for Every Climate, by Gwen Moore Kelaidis. Lots of information about cold-hardy succulents, in general and by species. Lots of good photos. Written by someone who knows her subject and lives in my area.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

So Lucky, by Nicola Griffith. I think this is my pick for Tawanda book group this year.

• What are you watching?

Mortal Engines, in the theater with Mungo. Very pretty, very silly, very violent.

At home, Bloodlight and Bami, Leave No Trace, Wag the Dog, and season 1 of Counterpart.
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• What are you reading?

Have cold. Not reading. Head full of snot.

• What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, last month, for Classics book group, which is tomorrow. I would like to go. I always enjoy this group, even when I dislike the book. I think it's true that after you've had a cold for a week, you're not shedding the virus anymore even if you're still symptomatic.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

An Excess Male, by Maggie Shen King, for SF book group.

• What are you watching?

Killing Eve, with Neal and Rosemary, so I can't just binge it.
Have also watched On the Basis of Sex, in theater with Tawanda book group. And Being John Malkovich, Adam's Rib, Finding Your Feet, Swallows and Amazons, Love's Labours Lost, and Thoroughbreds at home.
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• What are you reading?

Still Word by Word, by Kory Stamper, and We Are Legion, by Dennis Taylor. I really would have enjoyed this when I was twelve.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Left to Take the Lead, by Marissa Lingen, a short story available here. It is near-future, mundane SF. I love this kind of fish-out-of-water communication so much, whether it is Murderbot, who is just not equipped for some of the baggage that comes with being treated as a person, or here, where the narrator is a normal functional human who comes from a normal functional human society that has profoundly different foundations than the one she is in.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I've got Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal, to read for review.

• What are you watching?

Season 3 of Fargo.

Widows, in theater with family. If I had known how violent one scene (Daniel Kaluuya's character in the bowling alley) was, I would have watched it at home, where I can fast forward or take a break. Fortunately, my son let me grab his hand until that scene was over. (There are other violent scenes, but they are not up-close, prolonged torture.)
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• What are you reading?

Word by Word, by Kory Stamper. I gave this, That Inevitable Victorian Thing, and Record of a Spaceborn Few to Nixie for Jolabokaflod, but she was traveling with only a backpack and did not take them back to Portland with her.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh. The best book about being eleven.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

We Are Legion, by Dennis Taylor, for SF bookgroup.

I watched Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, a documentary about Native American and First Nations musicians in rock. Even though the DVD does not have subtitles, so I did not catch every word, it was well worth watching.
There is a lot of beauty, both visual and aural, in this movie, but I have to warn for a few photographs of state-sponsored mass murder, with the perpetrators standing proudly in their uniforms over the bodies of their victims, and some photos and brief videos of police brutally assaulting people of color.
Also there are people who talk about things that are not genetic being "in your blood", but they mean well.

Mount TBR

Jan. 1st, 2019 01:43 pm
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From [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll's 100 Books to Consider Reading in 2019, I have read:

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (2014)
The Stolen Lake by Joan Aiken (1981)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold (1989)
Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler (1980)
The Fortunate Fall by Raphael Carter (1996)
Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh (1976)
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (2015)
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)
The Secret Country by Pamela Dean (1985)
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany (1975)
Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl (1970)
Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle (1983)
Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand (1990)
Ingathering by Zenna Henderson (1995)
The Interior Life by Dorothy Heydt (writing as Katherine Blake, 1990)
God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell (1982)
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (1998)
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (2011)
Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta (2014)
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (2015)
Cart and Cwidder by Diane Wynne Jones (1975)
Hellspark by Janet Kagan (1988)
Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner (1987)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier (2005)
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (1974)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (2013)
Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee (Also titled Drinking Sapphire Wine, 1979)
Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (2016)
Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy (1983)
China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh (1992)
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)
The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip (1976)
Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926)
The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monáe (2010)
Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore (1969)
The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy (1989)
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (2006)
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (2014)
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (1976)
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti (1859)
The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975)
Everfair by Nisi Shawl (2016)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970)
Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree, Jr. (1978)
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (1996)
The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge (1980)
All Systems Red by Martha Wells (2017)
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (2012)

I'm going to consider reading:

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa (2001-2010)
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō by Hitoshi Ashinano (1994-2006)
Stinz: Charger: The War Stories by Donna Barr (1987)
The Sword and the Satchel by Elizabeth Boyer (1980)
Galactic Sibyl Sue Blue by Rosel George Brown (1968)
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987)
Naamah’s Curse by Jacqueline Carey (2010)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2015)
Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant (1970)
The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas (1980)
Diadem from the Stars by Jo Clayton (1977)
Genpei by Kara Dalkey (2000)
Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard (2010)
The Door into Fire by Diane Duane (1979)
On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (2016)
Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott (2006)
The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss (1997)
A Mask for the General by Lisa Goldstein (1987)
Slow River by Nicola Griffith (1995)
Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly (1988)
Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang (2014)
Blood Price by Tanya Huff (1991)
The Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes (1980)
Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones (2014)
A Voice Out of Ramah by Lee Killough (1979)
St Ailbe’s Hall by Naomi Kritzer (2004)
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz (1970)
Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm (1986)
Adaptation by Malinda Lo (2012)
Watchtower by Elizabeth A. Lynn (1979)
The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (2007)
Pennterra by Judith Moffett (1987)
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2016)
Vast by Linda Nagata (1998)
Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton (1959)
Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara (1993)
Outlaw School by Rebecca Ore (2000)
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (1983)
Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack (1996)
My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland (2011)
Stay Crazy by Erika L. Satifka (2016)
The Healer’s War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (1988)
Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott (1985)
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (1986)
The Well-Favored Man by Elizabeth Willey (1993)
Banner of Souls by Liz Williams (2004)
Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (1980)
Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga (2005-present)
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Still not sure whether this was fun!

I drifted away from participating in the Goodreads community discussions back in April. Last week I went back to my list to see what I could fill in from the books I've read this year. I did keep up pretty well on noting all the books I read in Goodreads. I read a few last-minute books to fill gaps. I resisted the temptation to stick Sea of Rust in for the prompt "A Western" or The Marrow Thieves for the prompt "A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title". I think I've got 46 fills out of 67 prompts. √ means I read the book; a book title without a √ means that I picked something out for the prompts but didn't read it. I'm going to put those on Mount TBR for next year.

2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge

1. A book made into a movie you've already seen – A Monster Calls
√ 2. True Crime - Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
3. The next book in a series you started - The Obelisk Gate
4. A book involving a heist
5. Nordic noir
√ 6. A novel based on a real person – Be Prepared
√ 7. A book set in a country that fascinates you – Chronicle of a Death Foretold
√ 8. A book with a time of day in the title – I Shall Wear Midnight
[DNF] 9. A book about a villain or antihero – The Traitor Baru Cormorant
√ 10. A book about death or grief - Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
√ 11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym – Houston Houston Do You Read
√ 12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist – Tell Me What You Like
√ 13. A book that is also a stage play or musical – The Real Inspector Hound
√ 14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you – Sing, Unburied, Sing
√ 15. A book about feminism - We Should All Be Feminists
√ 16. A book about mental health - Eliza and Her Monsters
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift - A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives
√ 18. A book by two authors - Gena/Finn
√ 19. A book about or involving a sport - You and a Bike and a Road
√ 20. A book by a local author – I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land
√ 21. A book with your favorite color in the title – Devil in a Blue Dress
√ 22. A book with alliteration in the title – The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion
√ 23. A book about time travel – Paper Girls
√ 24. A book with a weather element in the title – The Other Wind
√ 25. A book set at sea – Ocean Meets Sky
√ 26. A book with an animal in the title - H is for Hawk
√ 27. A book set on a different planet - The Best of All Possible Worlds
28. A book with song lyrics in the title – number9dream
29. A book about or set on Halloween - A Night in the Lonesome October
√ 30. A book with characters who are twins – Castle Hangnail
31. A book mentioned in another book
√ 32. A book from a celebrity book club - The Gate to Women's Country
√ 33. A childhood classic you've never read - The Girl with the Silver Eyes
√ 34. A book that's published in 2018 - The Hazel Wood
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner - Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
√ 36. A book set in the decade you were born - Harriet the Spy
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to
√ 38. A book with an ugly cover - The XY
√ 39. A book that involves a bookstore or library - The Little Paris Bookshop
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges

2018 Popsugar Advanced Reading Challenge

1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school - Lanark
√ 2. A cyberpunk book - Artificial Condition
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place
√ 4. A book tied to your ancestry - The Sparrow
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title
6. An allegory
√ 7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you - Rapture
8. A microhistory – Word by Word
√ 9. A book about a problem facing society today - When They Call You A Terrorist
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Book Riot's Read Harder

√ 1. A book published posthumously – The Master and Margarita
2. A book of true crime –
√ 3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance) - Tehanu
√ 4. A comic written and drawn by the same person - The Tea Dragon Society
√ 5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa) - The Hope Factory
√ 6. A book about nature – Rambunctious Garden
7. A western
√ 8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color – The Prince and the Dressmaker
√ 9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature - The God of Small Things
√ 10. A romance novel by or about a person of color – The Kiss Quotient
√ 11. A children’s classic published before 1980 – Pippi Longstocking
√ 12. A celebrity memoir - I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
√ 13. An Oprah Book Club selection – The Handmaid's Tale
√ 14. A book of social science – Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict
√ 15. A one-sitting book - Petra
16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series
√ 17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author - Trail of Lightning


I think I read 85 works of fiction, 22 nonfiction. 32 male authors, 69 female authors. 23 people of color, 78 white people.

I'd like to read more nonfiction next year. I tend to start nonfiction, get interrupted by a book group or library due date, and then leave it hanging on my "currently reading" stack forever.
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• What are you reading?

The Steerswoman, by Rosemary Kirstein.

Reread. This is such a hard book to talk about! Recommending it to my son, I said, "I remember the first time I read this, I wouldn't have kept going if my friends hadn't told me it was great. It's like yet another novelization of somebody's RPG. But that's not what it is at all. But I don't want to tell you anything else! Just read it!"

• What did you recently finish reading?

Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren.

I remember being really worried, when I was the the age this book is meant for, by Pippi's embrace of Chaos. I was a believer in Order, and I liked stories that resolved rule-breaking by showing that a rule can be a bad rule, and the people in charge can fail to recognize that, because nobody is perfect; the way to resolve that is to convince the people in charge that the rule is a bad rule, and get it replaced with a better rule, moving us all toward a More Perfect Order.

Not Pippi, though. Pippi breaks rules and just don't care.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, and a dozen other things to fill more slots in my 2018 Reading Challenge.

I'm thinking I might use this to keep track of what I watch, to? I don't know how useful that will be if I don't make comments, but I guess a list is better than nothing. So this week I watched

Sorry to Bother You. With Mungo. Mungo hated Detroit's art show. Couldn't see the point of it.
Unforgotten. That ending was nightmare fuel. I like police procedurals that depict striving for justice, while acknowledging that getting the right person convicted for the right crime won't make the victim whole, and a lot of the time you can't even do that. I don't like "You can't be charged with the terrible things you did, but karma has given this other person the power to torture you!"
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Small Beer Press is having a sale until Monday:

Authors get full royalties. I bought

The River Bank Kij Johnson
The Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz John Crowley
The Winged Histories Sofia Samatar
Emma Tupper’s Diary Peter Dickinson
Horse of a Different Color Howard Waldrop
Spider in a Tree Susan Stinson

I also sent books to the nieces. Nixie went to their house for Thanksgiving, and told me Younger Niece is very interested in physics, so I sent her Randall Munroe's What If?, with a note that I hoped she would enjoy this book of applied science. I picked Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead for Elder Niece. I hate having to wait until after Christmas to find out what they thought of them.

For Mungo's birthday I gave him

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, by Christian and Griffiths
Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz
The Complete Roderick, by John Sladek
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everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun

These cartoons are simple, sweet, and a little aliebn. Sometimes simple is perfect. Sometimes, when the perspective is a little aliebn, it works like binocular vision.

I enjoyed this book, but mostly it made me want to read my Pogo books, which one of my kids read to pieces. But Fantagraphics is having a back-to-school sale, so I just ordered volumes 1 & 2 of their complete Pogo.
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Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

"Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else." This definition, articulated by author Isaac Asimov, will be an excellent fit for you between now and September 20. I suspect you'll be unusually likely to feel at peace with yourself and at home in the world. I don't mean to imply that every event will make you cheerful and calm. What I'm saying is that you will have an extraordinary capacity to make clear decisions based on accurate appraisals of what's best for you. (P.S.: Here's another tip from author Albert Camus: "If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.")


I'm still prepping my house for the remodel, pulling everything out of the back half of the house and finding a place to put it in the front half. So, basically, I have to handle every thing I own and decide, Do I want to keep this? and If so, where am I going to keep it?

I am sure it is a salutary exercise, but I find that each of these things pulls me out of the now into regrets about the past, hopes/fears about the future, or just wishes for the present to differ from what it is. The longer it has been since I used the thing, the harder it pulls.

I did the books first; that was good. I don't feel sad about the fact that I won't have time to read or reread all of these books. I do regret each book I meant to review, and didn't. But having lots of books -- each one a potential box of delights -- does make me feel at peace with myself and at home in the world.
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N.K. Jemisin, who has just won three Best Novel Hugos in a row! (And declined the Best Series nomination for the same books because she is Just That Awesome.)
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I just signed up for Audible. Is there anything from there that you would recommend? I read everything, but don't have a lot of experience listening to books. I do listen to podcasts. I care a lot about the enjoyability of the voice.
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It's time for my SF book group to pick books again. Our fearless leader has chosen:

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin,
The Power by Naomi Alderman,
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon,
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse,
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, and
Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones.

She sorts her other picks into categories, and we get to vote for one from each category.

1. All of these books imagine an alteration in how our world works and people working within or without to change the system.

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow,
An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King,
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz,
Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older

I liked Walkaway, but more for the ideas than the story. I want to read Autonomous and Infomocracy. I think An Excess Male is on the Tiptree honors list.

2. These books take place on alien worlds that work very differently than ours does.

Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill,
Amatka by Karin Tidbeck,
Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells

Am leaning towards Hunger Makes the Wolf.

3. YA Asian American or Pacific Islander authors

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig,
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina,
Warcross by Marie Lu,
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

I don't think Australians are Pacific Islanders.

4. Urban Fairy Tales

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert,
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black,
Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng,
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

The Hazel Wood is really good. Strange the Dreamer is still on my to-read list.

5. The New Penny Dreadfuls

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr,
The Dark Days Club by Allison Goodman,
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss,
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Want to read all of these.

6. Here are some of our group’s favorite reads from last year.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman,
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller,
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders,
We Are Legion by Dennis E. Taylor

I don't want to read Lincoln in the Bardo. I have the impression that it is the kind of literary fiction that uses SF as a metaphor.

I love my SF book group! Have you read any of these? Thumbs up or down?
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Tawanda book group has been going for 25 years. We don't actually discuss the book as much as we used to, but we have a book almost every month, and we get together to eat and talk. The host each month picks the book.

I feel like this book group doesn't really like my choices, but it also could be that I always want to discuss the book more than anyone else does. I try to pick short interesting books; I never pick SF any more; I do look at various "book group pick" lists. When I ask the other members to help me choose, they say, "You get to pick whatever you want! You are in control!"

I've got two ideas for my turn this year. I'd definitely pick The Mother Of All Questions except that I chose Solnit's Hope in the Dark last year. We do like talking about politics. We sometimes like to talk about death and grieving. One of our members just lost both her mother and her brother to the flu.

Poll #19520 April book group choice
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 7

What book should I choose for my book group?

View Answers

H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald
5 (71.4%)

The Mother of All Questions, by Rebecca Solnit
1 (14.3%)

Something else which I will describe in a comment
1 (14.3%)

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• What are you reading?

Come As You Are, by Emily Nagoski. It was due back at the library yesterday; I have to decide whether hang on to it for a few days in hopes of finishing or return it and put my name back on the end of the holds list. I do want to read it, but I'm finding it heavy going. First, because it is written in a self-help-book style that I just don't like. Second, because it keeps taking me to places like
We'll start with three core cultural messages about women's sexuality that my students grapple with as their established ideas about sex are challenged by the science: the moral message (you are evil), the medical message (you are diseased), and the media message (you are inadequate)
that make me go 1. yup and 2. yes I do want to read this, but... not right now.

Also have not made much progress on Robinson Crusoe, for Classics book group tonight, but will probably go anyway because I usually enjoy the discussion.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Hope Factory, by Lavanya Sankaran. I would never have expected that a novel could make me care this much about the success or failure of a factory for car parts! Really good.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Tea Dragon Society, by Katie O’Neill, is waiting for me at the library!
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All book group all the time. I'm doing the Popsugar Reading Challenge and trying to fit my book groups' picks to their prompts. I expect that will get trickier later on in the year.

• What are you reading?

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown, for Tawanda book group, and Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, for Classics book group.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord, for science fiction book group. We've read fanfic with the serial numbers filed off before, and had similar problems appreciating it. Different reading protocols. Reading this as SF, I want to know what kind of time travel/parallel universes/communication at a distance/mindmelding with living spaceships we're dealing with, and how these things interact with each other to produce the effects we see. Reading it as fanfiction, I would be content to say "a solution exists", and pay attention to the problem this work deems most important, which is how Spock finds true love and happily ever after after his world is destroyed.

This book belongs on the Eugenics in SF reading list, Breeding for Psi Powers subheading.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I've got Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, to read for library book group.
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Books I gave this Jólabókaflóð:

To younger niece:
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Fang Girl by Helen Keeble
To older niece:
Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
To Nixie:
The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks
La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
(I think there must have been one more here???)
To Mungo:
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz
Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
To Neal:
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

In other weather news Mungo's flight back to Montreal got cancelled. His new flight is at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, with a three-hour layover in Newark. I hope he doesn't get stuck in Newark.

cut for politics )


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