Another god damn month gone by! And another! Where are all the books!? Oh, here they are:
What I read in June
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (audio, re-read)
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith
What I read in July
Saga Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
The Last Witness by K.J. Parker
Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (audio)
The Fictional Man by Al Ewing (re-read)
Some of that shit was pretty fucking good. Some of it less so.
Erika has already discussed a lot of my own thoughts in her review of The Raven King, and I regret to have to tell you that it was the weakest book in the series. Stiefvater sacrificed much on the altar of “I’m finishing this series right now so help me and I don’t care if you want anymore Grey Man.” There was a lot of really fucking cool new stuff, but not enough time spent with it, and too little time with the old favorites. Boo. BOO.
I loved The Raven King, and I hated it, and I hated that the series is over. How ’bout that kiss though? Winkety winkety wink. (In the name of spoilers I will not tell you who or where or how or if it kills anyone, no sirree.)
David Sedaris is an old favorite, especially the audio books he reads himself. Might now be time to reread Naked, which is the most darkly funny of the Sedaris collections. (Though my favorite Sedaris story is You Can’t Kill the Rooster, which is in Me Talk Pretty One Day. Another great book.)
Andrew Smith is a new favorite—Grasshopper Jungle is one of the best books I’ve read this year—and in exploring his other work I’m seeing a lot of stylistic patterns, though nothing that comes close to GJ. 100 Sideways Miles was interesting, but no knock-out punch.
Did Smith peak in GJ? Find out next month when I purchase and read The Alex Crow.
Al Ewing is still more meta than you.
I still stand by my utterly over-the-top review of his novel The Fictional Man. I am now the unofficial leader of the The Fictional Man cult. JOIN US.
Audio books, better than paper books?
I enjoyed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, but suspect more so on audio than I would have on paper. It is a very positive, hopeful book—a book that, by comparison, makes the rest of the sci fi landscape look starkly, terrifyingly bleak—and it has earned the comparisons to Firefly (well, partially). As an almost entirely dialogue-driven story, the life the narrator brought to each character was key. I found myself wondering if, on paper, I would have zoomed further in on the excess of courtesy. What can I say, I’m kind of a cynical bastard. Still, really fun audio book, even if it didn’t surpass the Illuminae as Best Audio Sci Fi of the Last Decade.
And now, a few flash reviews.
Saga 6 was disappointing, though I seem to be the only person on the internet who thought so.
The Last Witness was my favorite Tor.com novella to date. (If you only read one Tor.com novella, this is the one, folks. And I say that as a rabid Nnedi Okorafor fan.)
Stasiland is nonfiction anyone writing sci fi about a dystopian government should read. (Communist Berlin, man, christ on a bike.)
This time next month…
I’m currently in the middle of my first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas by oh of course you fucking know who its by and Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear. I’m listening to Douglas Adams read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which, it turns out, is even funnier than reading it on paper.
Now get thee to the comments and tell me all about all the books. I don’t get to stop by often enough to chat. Let’s do that.