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As I Descended
Robin Talley
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History
'Christi, 'Kima Jones', 'Benjamin Parzybok', 'Michael Janairo', 'Jamey Hatley', 'Robert William Iveniuk', 'L.S. Johnson', 'Claire Humphrey', 'Meg Jayanth', 'Rion Amilcar Scott', 'Sunny Moraine', 'S Lynn', 'Tananarive Due', 'Thoraiya Dyer', 'Sofia Samatar'
City Folk: English Country Dance and the Politics of the Folk in Modern America
Daniel Walkowitz
Dirty Wings - Sarah McCarry

Beautifully written and compelling, but just stops instead of ending (which might be less frustrating if you read it after All Our Pretty Songs) and I found the sex between Jason and Cass problematic--out of character as well as a bit skin-crawly--and unnecessary. Except that she may need to get pregnant for All Our Pretty Songs to happen? But this felt tacked-on and awkward, in a bad way.

The Impossible Knife of Memory - Laurie Halse Anderson

A little more uneven than I expected. Would have been five stars, except I found the chapters of the dad's traumatic experiences distracting from rather than deepening the reading experience. It's otherwise so much Hayley's book, not her dad's, that they felt out of place.

China Court: The Hours of a Country House - Rumer Godden

Beautifully written and constructed with lovely characterization, but problematic--not just dated--in normalization (edging on romanticization) of domestic violence and spousal rape.

A Creature of Moonlight - Rebecca Hahn

A bit slow-going to start, but develops into a beautiful fairy tale about consent and female agency.

Mostly frustrated footnotes

Grasshopper Jungle - Andrew  Smith

Weird as all get-out, but hilarious. Dramatically marred by three rather unfortunate utterances having to do with rape [1, 2] and bisexuality [3], which are particularly striking in a book about queer, poly people.


[1] {TW: rape} "Andrzej forced himself sexually on Phoebe. Phoebe Hildebrandt did not resist his advances." (P. 220, emphasis added)


[2] {TW: more rape} "But she also allowed Andrzej Szczerba to insert his erect penis into her vagina." (P. 220, emphasis added)


[3] "Robby shrugged. 'They have a name for guys like you, you know, Austin?' / 'Um, Bisexual?' I guessed. I did not think I was bisexual. I was only guessing." (P.340)[a]


[a] Not that there's anything wrong with people not being bi, or not identifying as bi. However, this is (as much or more than it is a book about giant preying mantises killing people in Iowa) a book about a boy wrestling with being in love with a boy and a girl simultaneously, and this is the only indication that this may not be completely unique to this one character. And then there's this incredibly dismissive line. With no follow up. Why doesn't he think he's bisexual? Does he think there's something wrong with being bi? Why is it important that THIS BOOK wave away the accusation of bisexuality?[i]


[i] Is it because he's also clearly poly (also not indicated as being A Thing Anyone Else Is) and they were trying to avoid the bi=promiscuous/incapable-of-monogamy/always-needing-to-be-banging-both-sex conflation that so frequently occurs and causes anger in, er, me and others?

Ivanhoe - Walter Scott

It's like reading a ren faire! Which is fun, but gets reeeeaaaalllly tedious far before the book is done.


Also, lots of really frustrating rape culture and survivor-shaming, which is unsurprising given that it was writen in 1819 and set in the twelfth century, but is still really cringe-inducing and twitch-making.

Great for casual nerds, not-so-great for rabid nerds

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Ian Doescher

Fun and cute, most likely to be appreciated by casual nerds, film buffs, and Shakespeare enjoyers.


Likely to be enjoyable-but-frustrating to people who *really know* Star Wars. The inclusion of scenes from the 1997 "special editions" and the implication that both Han and Greedo shot (and, to add insult to injury, the attempted placation of Han's line "And whether I shot first I'll ne'er confess) cuts into the purity of this retelling, while inaccuracies--proton torpedoes are not lasers, dude--casts a shadow on it. For someone who knows many scenes of the original word-for-word, it takes some time to let go and not have the origional wording mentally superimposed over the more verbiose retelling. Similarly, Shakespeare aficionadoes may find the direct quotes and specific paraphrases jarring ("Friends, Rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears")


The droids really shine, with Artoo's English-language asides juctaposed with his audible whistles and beeps, and the formal language enhancing Threepio's false gravitas.


It's a pleasantly silly way to look at the comparable melodrama of space operas and stage plays, but fans shouldn't expect too much.

"He soon perceived, however, that the battles which Sir Miles and the rest had waged against armed knights to win a kingdom, were not half so arduous as this which he now undertook to win immortality against the English language. Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted his people's parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world."
Orlando - Virginia Woolf

Woolf, Virginia. Orlando. 1928. Cathedral Classics edition, 2010. Aziloth Press: London.

"For once the disease of reading has laid upon the system it weakens it so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the inkpot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing."
Orlando - Virginia Woolf

Woolf, Virginia. Orlando. 1928. Cathedral Classics edition, 2010. Aziloth Press: London. P 29.

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure - Jim Murphy;Alison Blank A good overview of the history of TB, with not enough science for my taste--it mentioned things like dormant state TB and skin tests but didn't explain them. Did a shite job with immunology and why putting dead bits of the bacteria can help make us better, too.We can put as much--or more--actual science in trade books as in textbooks, people!

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2)

Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2) - The writing is nothing to write home about--he's gotten more annoying with his tendency to re-introduce people every time we see them--but it's fun to see where he takes all his characters and families and how he interweaves them.

Black Spring

Black Spring - Alison Croggon ...And I still have no desire to read [b:Wuthering Heights|6185|Wuthering Heights|Emily Brontë|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348940572s/6185.jpg|1565818].

Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray Fun, but heavy-handed, too long, and never really transcended its setup-driven nature. But for all it's preachy, I'm in its choir.

Threads of the Heart, The

The Threads of the Heart - Carole Martinez 3.5 stars? I think? Gorgeous and interesting, but uneven and draggy in places.

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles Series #1)

Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood Book 2. Want. Now.

The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and Evil - Soman Chainani It was trying to do so many good things, but ultimately didn't manage them. The writing is good but the pacing is...repetitive, with way too much back-and-forth--by the end I had whiplash.