Another month gone, another ten books down the hatch. In my mid-month reading review, I’ve already gone into detail about six of them. So today I’ll tell you about the second half of the list and about how Dune has taken over my life.
September, September, I wish you rhymed with more words so I could write a clever poem about how you are over. Oh well.
What I read:
116. Welcome, Chaos by Kate Wilhelm
117. The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
118. Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum
119. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (audio, re-read)
120. Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn
121. I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block
122. Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale by AshleyRose Sullivan
123. The Town Below the Ground: Edinburgh’s Legendary Underground City by Jan-Andrew Henderson
124. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
125. Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure by Jamie Koufman
Top three! (sorta)
In September three became two. Welcome, Chaos and Sub Rosa and I Was a Teenage Fairy were really nice and all (etc etc etc), but only two books really felt worthy of the golden crown: The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor and The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman. Both were so far above the rest in execution and sheer awesome that I couldn’t bear to place a third book beside them. The Harry Potter, perhaps, if it wasn’t too obvious to include on these lists. Does Harry Potter need any more hype? No. Has Harry Potter transcended best-of lists and become an ever-present pop-cultural god? Yes. So nevermind Harry, you won’t be riding the crest of a Book Punks post today.
Having reviewed The Book of Phoenix yesterday, you already know why I loved it so much. As for the Pullman, I loved Pullman’s re-imagining of Jesus’ story. Pullman is my favorite heretic, and I enjoyed the story of Jesus and his brother Christ as much as I enjoyed his explanation of his choices afterwards. I have deeply enjoyed every book of his I have ever read. Now there’s an author I need to add to my “read his life’s work” project list, though he’ll have to get in line behind Dick, Ings, Okorafor, Beukes, and Mieville.
Books, books, and other books
The month ended with very disparate titles. Having promised a review, I read Awesome Jones by AshelyRose Sullivan, a book with a very cool premise (super hero fairy tale) that could have used a more rigorous editor to level up, and a book that, very very unfortunately, was deeply disadvantaged by its hideous page-layout, something which I will be ranting about in detail later with much sighing and gnashing of teeth.
The Town Below the Ground was a gift from my book-mad uncle, and a fantastic addition to my collection of non-fiction books about underground places. It turns out that Edinburgh’s underground city is more legend than fact, but the book makes up for this disappointment by spending half of its page count telling the ghost stories that have grown out of the legends.
Dropping Acid was an informative and depressing read (it is non-fiction meets cookbook for people with acid reflux). Acid reflux: man, it sucks, and apparently it can cause cancer too. Awesome. Though informative, I wouldn’t recommend this cookbook for the recipes (just the information) as they are all incredibly unimaginative and banal and, shit, I can think of like 20 more interesting things to cook with foods that are good for reflux off the top of my head, so why couldn’t a professional chef? More sighs. More gnashing of teeth. Someday I’m going to have to quit coffee and that is going to be a sad day indeed.
I am Duned.
Dune, Dune, why have I waited so long to read you? Why did I let my hype allergy keep me from your quickly turned pages?
Having failed to watch the movie twice, I went into Dune with only a handful of keywords: sandworms, complicated politics, and this-is-a-book-everybody-loves. If someone had just told me it was a fucking captivating page-turner, that the politics aren’t actually that complex (come on, I’ve read Game of Thrones), and that it feels nothing at all like the movie, I WOULD HAVE READ THIS BOOK DECADES AGO AND REJOICED. Nothing lost though, cause I’m rejoicing now.
My favorite conversation about Dune to date happened a few days ago on Instagram, when I announced that the time had come to tackle this SF giant.
Artist friend: *considers joining me in reading it* It’s about peeing in your own spacesuit, right?
Erika: That’s the only thing it’s about, it’s true. Peeing in your own spacesuit and then DRINKING IT.
Hahahahaha. Dune in a nutshell. Good ole Erika. Always on point when it comes to the literature.
Meanwhile in the land of reviews
I babbled about Seb Doubinsky’s trippy The Song of Synth, the strange and experimental The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich, and I raved quite a bit about the genius of Jeanette Winterson. Waaay back at the beginning of the month I also reviewed The Clewiston Test by Kate Wilhelm, Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, and Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It all seems so long ago I can’t believe it was just last month.
Onward to glory!
What to read next? You decide. You can vote on what I read after Dune. Right now Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake is winning in a landslide, but I’d like to see some healthy competition from The Knife of Never Letting Go. I don’t have much of Dune left, so move fast… UPDATE: I finished Dune and voting has closed. I will be reading Oryx and Crake starting this evening.
Once that gets read, it’ll be Connie Willis hour at the Stewart house with her 1995 novel Remake and 1994’s Uncharted Territory, both incredibly short. Because it is RIP X month, I also plan to slip in Tananarive Due’s My Soul to Keep and maybe even Let the Right One In before descending into the madness of the to-be-reviewed pile and tackling a few German authors, a few digital collections, Timebomb by Scott K. Andrews, and Way Down Dark by JP Smythe.
What did you read this month?