What Are We Reading, Page 16

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What Are We Reading, Page 16

Ago 23, 7:58 am

I really liked I Have Some Questions for You which, as the brilliant title implies, raised more questions than answers. I noticed that the structure of the book was unusual and also very effective with her frequent use of the second person to direct the readers' attention and the listing of similar cases employed in shorthand references to conjure the readers' emotional memory. One thing that was left unresolved for the reader was the narrator's references to her her own sexual assault, and how hearing about others triggered her anxiety and insomnia. There was an incident that she related that took place in high school about being grabbed by the breast along with another girl, but that didn't seem to be the assault that caused her trauma. I have some questions for the narrator about that.

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.

Editado: Ago 23, 8:07 am

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Ago 23, 10:16 am

I'm currently reading Our share of night by Mariana Enriquez. I've read her short stories before, which generally cross the border from Magical realism to horror, and this novel is in the same territory. It follows a father who serves as medium for a mysterious cult, and his son whom he is trying to keep from the cult's clutches. It also touches on the real-life horrors of life in Argentina, where people are disappeared and no questions can be asked.

Editado: Ago 24, 4:51 pm

I finished Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories. As soon as I could follow the plot and understand what was happening magic took over and I was lost again. Not a book I'd recommend.
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.

Ago 24, 8:40 am

I decided on Crying in H Mart which I knew was popular, but that's about all. Turns out it's another book about grief, but the eponymous first chapter was so engaging, that it may rise to the top of my recent reads on the same topic.

Ago 24, 4:54 pm

>5 vwinsloe: I can't remember why I read Crying in H Mart, it was probably the same as you, I found it mentioned in many places so I thought I'd give it a try. I had the same reaction as you and I loved all the food.

Ago 27, 8:00 am

Well, I finished Crying in H Mart and, while I enjoyed it, there was way too much kimchi for my taste.

Now I'm reading The Margarets since I have had good luck with some of the older science fiction by women authors that I have read in the last couple of years. So far, it seems... complicated.

Ago 27, 3:35 pm

I love Sherri Tepper but haven't read this one. Let us know how it is.

Ago 29, 8:32 am

Finished Our share of night which was very good, though very dark. Definitely horror, although also a family and coming-of-age story. There's a lot of violence and abuse of children involved.

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.

Ago 30, 8:27 am

>9 Sakerfalcon: Good to know that about The Margarets. I shall soldier on.

Ago 31, 8:10 am

I forgot to say that I read The chosen and the beautiful, after the conversation we had about it here. I really enjoyed it. The prose was beautiful, with some gorgeous set-piece scenes. I liked Jordan's POV of events, and the addition of demons and magic into the mix.

Ago 31, 8:57 am

>11 Sakerfalcon: I'm glad. I loved her artistic choices; she painted such a vivid picture in a very short book.

Ago 31, 11:42 am

I've returned once again to my favourite historical period, reading Medieval women : a social history of women in England, 450-1500 by Henrietta Leyser. As expected, the early part of the era mainly documents royalty, noblewomen and Abesses by name, though there is much information about the general education level and abilities of nuns, who were from every stratum of society. The post-Conquest period is more interesting, with data from court rolls, parish records, and general government accounts highlighting the lives and work of many ordinary women. I find it fascinating to discover how my ancestors lived, and imaginge what my life would have been like then.

Ago 31, 12:58 pm

>13 SChant: It's good that it gets into the lives of ordinary women too. Sounds interesting.

Set 6, 7:08 am

I enjoyed The Margarets. It was complicated, but the author's deft hand at plotting never let me get lost, even though I sometimes nod out when reading at bedtime. The downside of this was that I saw where the plot was going right away, but I remained interested in seeing how it got there. At the end, there were some twists that I didn't see coming and that made it a satisfying read.

I've started The Other Black Girl because it was mentioned here, and good enough, I guess, to merit a film version.

Set 6, 6:26 pm

>15 vwinsloe: I loved The Other Black Girl, I hope you like it.

Set 7, 7:57 am

>15 vwinsloe: Glad you enjoyed The Margarets. Tepper has long been one of my favourite SF authors.

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.

Set 7, 9:09 am

>17 Sakerfalcon:. I have The Gate to Women's Country and Grass on my wishlist. Is there anything else that I should be looking for?

Editado: Set 7, 10:31 am

>18 vwinsloe: Those two are great. The rest of the Grass trilogy is good too. The three books are very loosely linked. Of her later books I loved The family tree and The fresco. The only book of hers that I really didn't like was Beauty because it was super dark.

ETA if you can get hold of her early Marianne trilogy, I highly recommend that too.

Editado: Set 7, 11:00 am

>19 Sakerfalcon: Thank you. I didn't know that Grass was a trilogy. I'll put all of these on my wish list, and you never know when I will I will find them! Thanks again.

Set 7, 12:06 pm

I'm about to start Unclean Jobs for Girls and Women by Alissa Nutting - been after this one for a while, I think it was on the Tiptree (now known as Otherwise) shortlist in around 2010 - mixture of science fiction and surreal short stories.
Also continuing my interest in women in science with a biography of physicist Lise Meitner.

Set 8, 6:40 am

>21 SChant: I think that I've heard of Unclean Jobs for Girls and Women, but I haven't read it. Please tell us what you think when you are done - short story collections are usually so uneven that I hesitate to start one.

Set 8, 7:09 am

Finished Desert of the heart and really enjoyed it. Nice to read a book about a lesbian relationship where no-one dies and the ending is positive. I loved the Reno setting and how the author uses the desert and the casino as important factors in the story.

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.

Set 8, 7:56 am

>23 Sakerfalcon: Desert of the Heart sounds good, thanks.

I loved Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I hope that you enjoy it, too.

Set 8, 4:35 pm

>23 Sakerfalcon: Did you know there's a movie, Desert Hearts, based on the book? I accidentally saw it one night and liked it. I haven't read the book so I don't know how close its relationship to the movie is.

Set 9, 4:33 am

>22 vwinsloe: Well I'm almost 1/3rd through and not enjoying it. It's not stories, more vignettes with not particularly interesting themes, characterisation, or beautiful writing to liven it up. I think the author imagines some of the situations are humorous but they just seem like writing done by an earnest teenager keen to show how avant-garde she is. It has the benefit of being short, so I will finish it, but no more by this author for me.

Editado: Set 9, 7:55 am

>26 SChant:. Oh, that's not good. I'm not a big short story reader anyway, so it has to be really enjoyable to tempt me. Thanks.

Set 9, 4:17 pm

>26 SChant: I know what you mean about short stories, they can be so hit-and-miss. I read a compilation this month that was mostly hit - Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova (Editor). I can't remember if I wrote about it already, maybe somewhere else. These are definitely not your usual vampires, and there are many varieties - female, people of color, LGBT (of course, as is everything these days), young but not sparkly. I'm always hesitant to read short stories and always glad when they work out.

Set 9, 4:46 pm

>28 Citizenjoyce: Agreed, they can be very variable, but I do like short story collections/anthologies. They're often great ways to dip into themes or areas that I'm not already familiar with, and fingers-crossed to find new authors. And if they turn out to be rubbish, well, Sturgeon's Law applies!

Set 9, 5:00 pm

>29 SChant: Ouch. Too harsh. At least I don't find 90% are bad but maybe that's because I usually read short stories that follow a theme or author I like.

Set 10, 6:53 am

After my previous disappointment :) I've now started another short story collection, Women As Demons by Tanith Lee, which was unaccountably missing from my Womens Press collection from the '80s & '90's.

Editado: Set 10, 10:16 am

I finished The Other Black Girl, and, I am so glad that, for a change, I had read the Washington Post review first. I generally don't like magical realism, or any type of fiction that helicopters supernatural elements into an otherwise realistic narrative. But the Washington Post said that the book was a mash up between The Devil Wears Prada and Get Out, so I was prepared and not annoyed. I loved Get Out which was more fully out there. I also agreed with the Washington Post review in that some of the plot lines in The Other Black Girl were not fully fleshed out or finished off.

But I enjoyed it enough to look at the Hulu tv series trailer, and it looks perfect.

Set 10, 8:58 pm

>31 SChant: Women as Demons isn't in my library, but I found Off With Her Head on Hoopla. Maybe I'll give it a try.

>32 vwinsloe: I'm glad you kind of liked The Other Black Girl. Only 3 more days until we see what Hulu does with it.

Editado: Set 11, 7:15 am

>33 Citizenjoyce: You must have the wrong touchstone in your reply to SChant.

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.

Editado: Set 11, 6:47 pm

>34 vwinsloe: Nope, that's the one. It's another book demonizing women, not as demons (I don't think) but as inferior.
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.

Set 12, 7:13 am

>35 Citizenjoyce: I misunderstood you about Off with her Head; I thought that you were referring to another book by the same author, not one on the same subject.

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.

Set 12, 2:23 pm

>36 vwinsloe: I love it when one book just naturally leads to another.

Set 17, 6:31 am

I've started The Book of M which contains many of the same tropes shared by post-apocalyptic stories, but is intriguing nonetheless. In this story, people all over the world start to lose their shadows, and then their memories in a way that is more like a hasty Alzheimer's loss of autonomic function.

It's not a short book; I hope I like it.

Editado: Set 18, 9:40 am

>25 Citizenjoyce: Some of the reviews for Desert of the heart mentioned the movie. It sounds like there are some differences. If it comes my way I'll definitely check it out.

>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.

Set 18, 4:08 pm

I just finished the first two books of the Songs of Penelope trilogy by Claire North. I love myths retold. These are about the women left behind as their brave men went off to fight the Trojan War. In those days everyone had a personal relationship with their god or goddess, so we get to see the lives of both people and immortals. The first book, Ithaca, is narrated by Hera, goddess of queens, marriage, and women. All the goddesses have their favorites, and hers is Clytemnestra. The wise Penelope doesn't seem to be anyone's favorite, but she is respected by all. Deeply respected, by the women. None of the men show any respect for women, even their sons. They're there to do their jobs, birth sons, and be abused when the spirit strikes. We see the greedy suitors and petulant sons, but we get a taste of the strength and wisdom of women whether they be queens or maidservants. This first book is a setup, and it sets the tone well. Apparently those 20 years Penelope was protecting Ithaca she was doing more than unpicking stitches from a shroud. Then we move on to House of Odysseus. What a wonderful, completely absorbing novel about strong women, plots, loyalty, espionage, terrorism, and comeuppance. I'm spoiled for any other book for a long time. Athena, goddess of love and sex, narrates this one. The vapid Helen is her favorite. We're reminded again that being the favorite of the gods is not always a good thing. Most of the men come off very badly. We've seen Agamemnon described in other books by women as a sadistic bully. He's still there. Menelaus, husband of Helen, isn't any better, nor are his sons, nor is Penelope's son, Telemachus, though she loves him dearly. Loving men dearly, as Electra loves Orestes and Agamemnon, also doesn't work out well. But the women are glorious. Unfortunately, the third book, which she hasn't yet written, will no doubt be told from the perspective of Athena who favors Odysseus. We know what happens when he finally comes home. I don't know if I want to read it.
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.

Set 19, 8:29 am

>39 Sakerfalcon: I had Olga Dies Dreaming in my hand at a spring library sale and my arms were full and I didn't know enough about it at the time. From your description, it looks like something that I would like. I'm sure that I will see it again.

>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.

Editado: Set 21, 8:33 am

>39 Sakerfalcon: I liked The Book of M a lot. Sure, the worn out post-apocalyptic tribal warfare and chase scenes were a bit tiresome, but overall Peng Shepherd had a really intriguing concept that she brought to a satisfying conclusion. The book raised a couple of interesting questions that will keep me thinking for a while. I have already put her latest book, The Cartographers, on my wish list. So I would recommend The Book of M with the reservations that I mentioned.

I just found her short book The Future Library for free at Tor and I will be reading that, too.


Set 22, 4:58 pm

>42 vwinsloe: I'm about to start The Book of M. I've just read 2 books by a male author, Sebastian Barry, that were so depressing they made me want to slit my throat. I hope I won't have to pull out the bandages.

Set 23, 7:59 am

>43 Citizenjoyce: I hope you like it!

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.

Set 23, 4:03 pm

>44 vwinsloe: I'm 60% through The Book of M and not in love with it so far. It is interesting but I have a hard time relating to books that show people automatically degenerating into murderers. I know, even with politics the way they are today, I have a hard time buying that. Trump and the GOP are helping me with it, though.

Set 24, 7:56 am

>45 Citizenjoyce:. I don't have too much philosophical trouble with the violence having lived through many seasons of The Walking Dead on TV, but for the same reason, I find myself bored by it now. I wasn't really enjoying the book at the point where you are either, and I easily guessed the first plot twist. Those were the reservations that I mentioned (although for a different reason), and I think that good writers don't need violence to create dramatic tension. This was Peng Shepherd's first novel, and I hope that she is beyond those tropes now.

Editado: Set 24, 10:21 pm

>46 vwinsloe: I finished The Book of M. I can see she can be a good writer when she eases off the violence. I love the way she describes deepening dementia. At first, I think my sister fought her dementia, but now she has leaned all the way into it and is more comfortable, no longer angry, very loving. There's a book I read a few years ago that sticks with me, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande who's a man but M reminds me of it. Just how much should you limit a person's life in order to protect them? I like the way Shepherd illustrated this question that most of us will have to ask or have asked about us eventually. There's a quote that comes up on atheist forums often, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Meaning don't use intelligence or reason, rely on emotion to make your decisions. I love how Shepherd illustrates this with the Transcendents. So, overall I think it's a pretty good book with potential for much better in the future.

Editado: Set 25, 7:35 am

>47 Citizenjoyce: I am glad that you thought it redeemed itself somewhat in the end. The most interesting things for me to think about after reading it were: 1.when Ory rejected Ursula at the end, was it because it was the wrong body? Or was it because she only had a limited set of Max's memories that were on the recording? If it was because it was the wrong (and older) body, would a woman in Ory's shoes have felt the same? 2. What would those people whose shadows were remade out of books be like? Whose memory would I like to have? .

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!

Set 25, 4:44 pm

>48 vwinsloe: Yes, I liked that it left us with some questions to ask ourselves. A while ago I read a post that someone wrote about how tired he was that religious leaders are always portrayed as evil and power hungry. It's just such a good job if power is what you want, as, unfortunately, is so well on display now.

Editado: Set 25, 5:16 pm

From my current read, Sign Here by Claudia Lux __ "knew ... charm was a defense which rose to the surface less like cream and more like dorsal fins." Is that perfect or what?

Set 26, 6:55 am

>50 Citizenjoyce: That's a great line. Sounds like a funny book.

Set 26, 2:39 pm

>51 vwinsloe: It's a book about hell so funny in places, moralistic in others. I liked it.

Editado: Set 27, 7:18 am

>52 Citizenjoyce: Thanks, I'm putting it on my list.

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.

Editado: Set 28, 6:00 pm

I read Unclean Jobs For Women and Girls, and I have to admit, I liked it. It reminded me of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender which I loved because it was so weird and unexpected. The stories in Unclean Jobs are also bizarre, and the characters verge on repellant, but the weirdness sucked me in. I'm going to check out other things by her. I'm going to try Made For Love which is also supposed to be weird. I've heard positive things about Tampa but I think that would be too overwhelmingly repellent to try.

Set 29, 5:37 am

>53 vwinsloe: I loved The Moonday letters! Glad you're enjoying it too. I need to reread Memory of water as it's been a while.

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.

Set 29, 9:54 am

>55 Sakerfalcon:. I will get to Memory of Water sooner rather than later now on the strength of The Moonday Letters. I really like her lyrical writing style.

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.

Set 30, 8:27 am

I've started Heather Cox Richardson's new book Democracy Awakening. I'm quite familiar with her ideas, having been a subscriber to her Letters from an American almost since their inception, but it's helpful to see these ideas laid out in a longer, more cohesive format.

Editado: Set 30, 2:46 pm

>57 vwinsloe: What a mind she has. She makes things so understandable. I'm #8 on hold for 1 copy on Libby. Also, I'm #51 on hold for 22 copies of Cassidy Hutchinson's book. I'll be happy to read both, but what a discrepancy in what Libby finds important. A little Heather Cox Richardson story. My cozy real-life book club was kind of invaded early in the year by a new man who was conservative, anti-feminist, and tried to put us down with his "great intellect." At one point he was showing us how all FDR's accomplishments were anti-American because the Supreme Court kept finding them unconstitutional. Richardson to the rescue because this is one of the bases of her understanding of conservatives, so I threw her at him. I said those conservative justices kept trying to dismantle everything FDR was doing, but finally he shut them down by threatening to pack the court, so they backed down and finally let his programs stand. Their objections had nothing to do with the constitution and everything to do with protecting the rich. He was so flustered that anyone, especially an old woman, had read anything about this particular subject that he never came back. I don't think he's missed by anyone.

Out 1, 7:56 am

>58 Citizenjoyce: That's a great story! I am enjoying Professor Richardson's book even more than I expected. There's a lot of information that I am sure that she researched for her history of the Republican Party To Make Men Free which I have not read. It's amazing to still be learning so much from her.

Out 1, 1:28 pm

>58 Citizenjoyce: I love that story; nicely done!

Out 3, 8:55 am

Out 3, 3:28 pm

>59 vwinsloe:, >60 ScoLgo:, >61 Sakerfalcon: Thanks. It always feels good when you can access your reading when you need it.

Out 5, 8:22 am

I have started Haven which was mentioned here a while ago. I'm interested in seeing what Emma Donoghue does with 3 monks on an island.

Editado: Out 8, 3:20 pm

I finished Haunted Nights a collection of Halloween-related short stories edited by Ellen Datlow and liked almost all of them. Maybe I'm going to start a run of good short story collections. Now I get to start Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America
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.

Out 9, 9:12 am

>64 Citizenjoyce:. I hope that Democracy Awakening lives up to your expectations. I found the first section to be the strongest.

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.

Out 9, 3:42 pm

I liked Book of Night but I loved The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, that was the first of hers that I read.
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.

Editado: Out 10, 7:18 am

>66 Citizenjoyce: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown will be the one for Halloween then. Thanks for your input.

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.

Out 11, 5:22 pm

>67 vwinsloe: I had no idea she taught at the same place as Mary Daly. That must be one exciting school.

Out 12, 7:03 am

>68 Citizenjoyce: The legend is that Boston College was started as an alternative for local Roman Catholics who Harvard would not let in. I don't know how true it is. I went there when Mary Daly was teaching, and the College was just starting to broaden its emphasis to include sports. I'm sure that Heather Cox Richardson is attracting more than football players.

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.

Out 12, 8:06 am

It's Black History Month in the UK so I'm reading a couple of books by Black women authors. They are actually very similar in terms of the theme and characters, both focusing on Black families at the time of school integration. Betsey Brown by Ntozake Shange is set in St Louis, and told from the POV of the title character, in a voice that reflects the spoken dialect. Rattlebone takes place in a Black neighbourhood of Kansas City, Kansas, and is a collection of linked short stories focuses on teenage Irene. Some of the stories are from other POVs so we get a wider picture. Both are very good reads.

Out 12, 8:20 am

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Out 12, 8:04 pm

>69 vwinsloe: I'm glad you like it. I think it's a great introduction to her.
>70 Sakerfalcon: I checked out Rattlebone from Hoopla. We'll see how I like it.

Out 16, 7:07 am

Well, The Coldest Girl in ColdTown was a good read. It seemed to be older YA, with two plotlines and a backstory that was a bit complicated. That suits me, because I am frequently bored by YA.

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.

Editado: Out 16, 8:56 am

>73 vwinsloe: That was a good find! I think Demon Copperhead will be one of my books of the year.

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.

Out 16, 9:55 am

>74 Sakerfalcon: A Haunting on the Hill sounds like the perfect read for the end of October. Putting it on my wish list. Thanks.

Out 16, 11:08 am

>74 Sakerfalcon: I just put a hold on A Haunting On the Hill I'm #17 on 5 copies so I guess it won't be a Halloween read for me.

Out 22, 8:47 pm

I just finished 2 opposite types of books. the Haunting Danielle series by Bobbi Holmes is not my kind of reading. I was looking for Halloween reading and found this series about a haunted house. I've done the first 5 cozy mysteries just because after each one I had to know what happened next. They're simplistic, very gender typical, and every bit as much cozy as mystery.
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.

Out 22, 9:05 pm

Has anyone read Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll? I see it's been picked by at least one book club, and I don't know if I can do a book about a serial killer who targets young women.

Out 23, 7:25 am

>78 Citizenjoyce:, no I have not read that. But it looks maybe more like The Shining Girls which centered the victims and didn't glorify the killer?

Editado: Out 25, 8:31 am

I finished Demon Copperhead, and as usual, being that sort of person, I really, really tried to find fault with it. I couldn't really, except perhaps that it was a bit predictable, and that predictability reduced the emotional impact for me. But that's a minor quibble. It was really one of my best books of the year.

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.

Out 31, 9:19 am

I enjoyed The Night Tiger which was a puzzle mystery made more intriguing by its historical period, exotic location and culture. This is the sort of magical realism that I don't mind.

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.

Nov 1, 1:24 am

>81 vwinsloe: Hmm, that sounds like a realization many of us have had.

Nov 2, 6:13 am

Reading science fiction at the moment, to get me through the long, wet days (sigh).
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.

Nov 2, 7:53 am

>83 SChant: Firefly- Coup de Grace sounds like a total comfort read!

Nov 2, 9:07 am

>84 vwinsloe: Absolutely!

Nov 2, 9:13 am

I've just finished Day of fallen night, the prequel to Priory of the Orange Tree which was one of the best fantasy novels I've read in recent years. The prequel was just as good. These are big books, full of excellent female characters and plausible worldbuilding.

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.

Editado: Nov 2, 11:06 pm

I finished Cassidy Hutchinson's Enough. She's the perfect GOP woman and would probably still be working for trump if he had won. She's in the St. Ronald Reagan camp. Her first time voting was in 2016. She voted for trump because he was the moderate candidate. She's very young but worked her way up the political ladder quickly because she's pretty and firmly entrenched in the political hierarchy, plus she is supremely organized and a very hard worker. trump probably could have done almost anything and kept her support; she firmly supported him during the first impeachment hearing because impeachment should be used only for very significant actions. She worked hard to make sure no republicans voted yes. If trump hadn't fomented insurrection and said he believed Pence should be hung, she'd be in Florida now helping him in his second run for the President. I guess it takes a lot to convince people who are still in love with their psychopath father, but at least she did come around in the end. That's more than can be said for the majority of the party.
Now I'm rereading Dawn. Lord, I think Octavia Butler would have ripped her to shreds.

Nov 3, 8:21 am

>86 Sakerfalcon: The Priory of the Orange Tree has been on my wishlist for a while. I've seen it a couple of times and was daunted by its size. Good to know that it's worth it.

>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.

Nov 4, 6:53 am

I finished Waking Up White which is the memoir of an anti-racist thinker and educator. I’ve read several anti-racist books, and this one seemed to resonate with me more than some of the others. Because it is not “preachy” nor written to shame the reader, you can follow the author’s journey and get more out of it that way. She talks about what the “dominant white culture” is, and how it differs from both “white ethnic culture” and the cultures of people of color. She also describes getting “zapped” like touching an electric fence, when she has said something well intentioned that would be ordinary in the dominant white culture, but is offensive to people of color. Recommended.

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.

Nov 4, 4:02 pm

>89 vwinsloe: Thanks, I checked out Waking Up White and will read it sometime this month.
Doggone it, I see I read The City We Became and gave it 4 stars but don't remember anything about it. Now I guess I'll have to reread it before I can get to the second in the series.

Nov 5, 7:23 am

>90 Citizenjoyce: I hope you'll like Waking Up White.

I was fortunate enough to find The City We Became and The World We Make sitting next to each other on the fantasy shelf of my local used bookshop, so I'll be reading them close in time to each other.

Nov 5, 1:30 pm

>91 vwinsloe: How's that for luck?

Editado: Nov 6, 9:36 am

Reading Blue Machine by physicist/oceanographer Helen Czerski. I heard her speak at a Sheffield book event last month, and she was so passionate about the oceans that I had to buy the book. So far it's absolutely fascinating.

Nov 6, 9:21 am

>92 Citizenjoyce: I sometimes get the impression that when I have good luck finding recently published books that they may not be well liked. But we'll see.

>93 SChant:. I see that there are some videos on Youtube of Helen Czerski. I will check her out. Thanks.

Editado: Nov 6, 2:43 pm

I finished Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II by Svetlana Alexievich. It's only 256 pages but seems much longer - story after story by adults who were children in the Soviet Union during WWII where they lived through war, death, famine, inhumanity, depravity, and war crimes. One of the subjects says that the children of the war have lived shorter lives than their parents. I don't know if that's true, but I can sure see how it might be. I don't always agree with Nobel Prize winners, but Alexievich is a treasure showing the world what life has been like in her country. I thought I knew pretty much everything that was done to people, but she brings up the fact that Germans thought that blood from children could help heal their damaged soldiers, so they did just that, picking the most beautiful and brightest children to give their soldiers the best blood.
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.

Nov 7, 3:56 am

>95 Citizenjoyce: Blue Machine is written for the lay-person (no lines of formuli, to my relief!). She explains the science in a very understandable way, using anecdotes and vivid description to illustrate her point. I'm about 70 pages in and really enjoying it.
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.

Nov 7, 4:08 am

>96 SChant: I can see some people would love Kelly Link, but her imagination is too wild for me. Thanks for the info about Blue Machine.

Nov 7, 8:52 am

>95 Citizenjoyce: I could have sworn that I read something by Kelly Link, her name is so familiar to me. But I see that she mostly writes short stories, and I don't read many short stories.

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.

Nov 7, 4:24 pm

>98 vwinsloe: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is 464 pages, I don't know if that classifies as large, and it's by a man, so a twofer.

Nov 8, 7:22 am

>99 Citizenjoyce: That's still on my wish list. But if it wasn't, it would be languishing on my TBR shelf!

Editado: Nov 10, 5:08 pm

Finally I read a book that kept me up all night because I couldn't put it down. Starling House by Alix E. Harrow is kind of horror, but not too horrible. I have Stephen King's Holly in my queue also and had to look back a couple of times to make sure I was reading the right book. The heroine lives life with rules of her own. She's raising her younger brother on a diet guaranteed to kill off brain cells - ramen, hot chocolate, gas station doughnuts. She steals whatever she wants from whoever she wants, friend or not. And she is, as all heroines seem to be, a very hard worker. There's a maybe haunted house that she's maybe been dreaming about, maybe monsters, rich exploiters of the land and the population, and the usual closed-minded small-town population. I couldn't get enough of it. I guess the fact that it's a Reese Witherspoon book club read shows just how much of a low brow I am.

Nov 11, 7:01 am

>101 Citizenjoyce: Starling House sounds really good! Alix E. Harrow's Ten Thousand Doors of January has been on my wish list for a long time, but I've never read anything by her. I'll have to make a more concerted effort.

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.

Nov 11, 2:17 pm

>102 vwinsloe: I really enjoyed Jemisin's Lovecraftian duology. I did think the racial aspects were a bit heavy-handed at times but also found the premise, characters, and story very entertaining. Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy is an all-time favorite series for me. I loved how the initial fantasy setting slowly morphed into science-fiction by the time we reach the conclusion in The Stone Sky.

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.

Editado: Nov 12, 8:38 am

>103 ScoLgo: I agree with you on The Broken Earth trilogy, it's the only time I can remember finishing the first book in a series and going right out and buying the other two at retail. It was an astonishing read for me.

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!

Nov 14, 7:21 am

I've been reorganizing the TBR shelf in my own idiosyncratic way, and took a hard look at The Peabody Sisters, and said, "Today is the day." I think that it was Sakerfalcon who said that it wasn't as hard to get through as it looks, despite it's enormous size.

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.

Nov 14, 8:35 am

Having loved SF&F collection On The Origin of Species and Other Stories by Korean author Bo-Young Kim I'm now reading a second book of her stories/novellas I'm Waiting For You and enjoying it immensely. Shout-out to the translators, who convey complex concepts, lyrical writing, and humour (the most difficult) beautifully.

Nov 14, 11:22 am

>105 vwinsloe: I have enjoyed all Megan Marshall's biographies - 3 so far, I believe. The Peabody sisters was very good. I wish she'd write faster though!

>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.

Nov 14, 3:35 pm

>106 SChant: I thought I had read something of Bo-young Kim but find I haven't so have requested I'm Waiting For You and Other Stories.
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.

Nov 15, 5:12 am

>108 Citizenjoyce: The Reisen bio of Alcott is great. I seem to remember there was a lot about her mother too, who was an interesting and strong woman in her own right. Her father was quite another matter ...

Nov 15, 10:12 am

>106 SChant: Bo-Young Kim looks like an author whose work I should explore. Thanks!

>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.

Nov 15, 8:33 pm

>110 vwinsloe: Krik? Krak! is my favorite of Danticat's works. I hope you like it.

Nov 16, 7:04 am

>111 Citizenjoyce: She is a wonderful writer, but I am not sure that it is the right book to read at bed time. Really brutal so far!

Nov 16, 3:59 pm

>112 vwinsloe: Brutal is the right word.

Nov 19, 7:07 am

Just finished Helen Czerski's Blue Machine, an absolutely thrilling work about the structures and processes of the ocean, and the intricacy of human connectivity to this massive part of our environment.

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.

Nov 19, 2:21 pm

I finished Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving and found it both a powerful yet gentle assessment of race, racism, and activism. It's also a good guide to interpersonal relations in general. I'm always overly impressed by Type A people being somewhere between a Type B to Z myself. All that energy and optimism is quite something.
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.

Nov 20, 7:37 am

>114 SChant: I noticed that Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries is written by Kate Mosse. I've read some fiction by her - historical fantasy, maybe? I didn't realize that she wrote nonfiction as well. Looks interesting.

>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.

Editado: Nov 20, 7:53 am

>116 vwinsloe: I've never bothered with anything by Kate Mosse, historical fantasy not being my thing, but I heard her on a podcast talking very eruditely about this one and thought it was worth a look.

Nov 20, 9:26 am

>117 SChant: I remember not being too impressed with what I read (Labyrinth, I think?) but I see that she is credited with being one of the founders of the Women's Prize for Fiction, and the nonfiction book that you mentioned could be a different experience from her fiction. Thanks!

Nov 20, 10:53 pm

I just started Dolls of our Lives. I am super excited. I just love the American Girls.

Nov 20, 11:47 pm

>119 ElizabethPotter: I see why I was never interested in American Dolls, they came out in 1986 - too late for my or my daughter's childhood. I was never interested in the Nancy Drew books either. I don't know why. My mother was a reader and loved mysteries. I was a reader but concentrated on science fiction which was mainly male authors at the time. I didn't even hear about Nancy Drew until I was an adult.

Editado: Nov 21, 7:13 am

>119 ElizabethPotter: & >120 Citizenjoyce: According to this recent review in the New Yorker, the fascination with American Girl dolls seems to be a millennial phenomenon.


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.

Nov 21, 8:55 pm

>121 vwinsloe: Maybe I didn't read Nancy Drew or Cherry Ames because the books weren't in my home. I don't think my parents bought children's books. There were lots of Readers Digest condensed books and some historical books and novels, but anything else I wanted to read had to come from the library. I guess I didn't get those books from the library because I didn't know of their existence.

Editado: Nov 22, 12:54 pm

>122 Citizenjoyce: I believe that the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames books belonged to my mother and my aunt as girls. My aunt was an RN, so I assume that the Cherry Ames books were hers. They were published in the 1930s and 1940s, so that makes sense. My favorite girl detective at the time was really Trixie Belden though, also of the same vintage, although perhaps a little later.

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.

Nov 22, 9:11 pm

I finished The Woman In Me by Britney Spears. It's kind of a combination of Killers of the Flower Moon in which rich "others" are put in conservatorship by their "betters" in order to siphon off their riches and The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore. Her father, of course, didn't want to make her talent disappear, he wanted that on full display earning millions. He just wanted herself to disappear. It's amazing such things could happen in the US in the 21st century. Poor Britney is a romantic, always wanting a man to love her, as was Gloria Vanderbilt. Some women are like that. Many women are encouraged to be like that. I guess the idea is that we don't need to put them all under conservatorships. We just need to make sure they find the right men to run their lives.

Editado: Nov 23, 10:08 am

>124 Citizenjoyce: I did not know that Kate Moore had another book after The Radium Girls. I've put it on my wishlist. Thanks.

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.

Nov 23, 11:58 am

>125 vwinsloe: Out of the Ruins sounds like my sort of thing. Added to my Wishlist.

Nov 27, 6:21 pm

I finished the latest Martha Wells Murderbot novel, System Collapse. What a disappointment, it's about as interesting as a user's manual. The fascination of the fish-out-of-water story of her earlier books is gone. This is just strategy and battles.

Nov 28, 8:10 am

>127 Citizenjoyce: Thanks for the heads up. I read the first 4 Murderbot books, which were all novellas, and didn't really see a pressing need to continue with them. Have you read them all? If you did, what did you think of them? I wonder about the two that I haven't read that came before System Collapse.

Nov 28, 4:56 pm

>128 vwinsloe: I liked them but, as with so many series, the first one is a grabber because of its novelty. With each succeeding book, the novelty gets thinner and thinner. I don't know that I'll continue.

Editado: Hoje, 7:48 am

>129 Citizenjoyce: Thanks. I won't go out of my way to read more, but the first one or two were definitely fun reads.

I finished The Peabody Sisters, which was a much better read than I thought that it would be. And last night I started The Candy House. I love Jennifer Egan's writing anyway, but this book seems to have a speculative element that really appeals to me.

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