A review of a book of reviews about books. Absurd? Perhaps. But who cares. This is a book that deserves a loud, hearty recommendation, and here I am to give it to you.
Read this book. It is awesome.
There you go. *Wipes off hands.* Guess this review is over.
What? You want to hear more? You want to know why? Oh all right, I guess I can oblige. Even though I have just drunk enough coffee to vibrate my laptop off of this table and me out of this chair and would probably be better served by a visit to a cardiologist than by more writing. Writing is known to cause coffee consumption. *Glug glug glug.* Here we go…
This book is awesome for a lot of reasons, the first being that it was incredibly fun to read. Being able to curl up with what was essentially a paper-bound best-of book-blog feed was so, so satisfying. Context: I read a lot of book blogs. Context: I read literary criticism for fun. But even if you aren’t like me, you might like this collection because it does what the best of the book blogs do—it makes criticism and book geekdom accessible. These are (mostly) not essays that you need a degree to understand, but they titilate in the same way that dense academic critical writing can. (I say “mostly” because there was one essay that made me feel like I should dust off the old Lit BA.)
As I read I found myself getting excited about books I had never read and even more excited about books I had. I learned that Stranger in Olondria is a really well-written book, but probably one that I, personally, don’t want to read. I learned that I probably don’t want to read Prince (or King) of Thorns either. I got excited about Ancillary Justice again and again and again (that seems to be happening on a daily basis both on and off the internet). Conversation about books is one of the most exciting parts about reading, and book blogs, and this collection, are focused on that conversation.
The reviews were all interesting, but the more general essays filed under “Commentary on SF/F” that make up the book’s latter half were my favorite. Maybe it is because I’m fairly new to this scene, but I love reading the debates about the Hugo, the essays about snuffing out sexism and racism in both SFF books and communities, and the speculations about world building snark as a reinforcer of the status quo.
I was also happy to find Kameron Hurley’s essay “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative” right in the middle. I’d already read it several times, but it is the kind of essay you want to have around for reference, the kind of essay I end up underlining almost every line of because it is just so good.
Enthralled, I read this 354-page brick in just a couple of days. About every entry deserves to be mentioned and applauded by name, but then this post would turn into a reprint. I am looking forward to going back in time to read the first in this series (Speculative Fiction 2012). Next year Renee Williams and Shaun Duke will be at the helm, and I can’t wait to see what they turn up.
Where I got it: Amazon.de
Where you can get it: Not a single one of our usual affiliates carries it! For shame! Looks like you might have to turn to amazon after all.