Many visitors. Many castles. Few books. In truth, my Book Punks vacation wasn’t in August. Oh, I went camping for a few days, did a thing, did another thing. But I remained in BOOK PUNKS RAAWR mode, and I did a lot of book writing anyway.
At the beginning of September, however, once we were ostensibly back from vacation, the vacation came to me. With a visitor to parade around, I traveled more than during my actual vacation, flitting from castle to wine region to castle. And sewing shit, because that is what happens when Nikki’s Mom comes to town.
The downside was being too brain dead to read. Too much input, too much wine, too many other activities filling my habitually quiet evenings in bed with books. This is the post wherein I reanimate; this is how I get my groove back, find my reading whateverthefuck. BOOKS! Books books books! Lookatmeread.
That is a very long-winded way of saying, hi, I’m here to talk about what I’ve read so far this month because it has been pretty fucking exciting. Look at where I have been so far:
Welcome, Chaos by Kate Wilhelm
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (audio, re-read)
Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn
I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block
Welcome, Chaos was almost the Kate Wilhelm book about immortals and the apocalypse I wanted to read, but she set it a bit too early on the timeline. Though often cartoonish, the last half of this book really picked up. This is the last of the Wilhelm books that I already own, and I think that next I would like to try out one of her mysteries. Anyone here with suggestions?
The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor was just, wow. This is the second of Okorafor’s books that I have read, and I think it may be safe to say she is becoming one of my favorite authors. Genetic experiments, dystopian corporations, a screen-dumb public, and a badass heroine combine to create a truly modern superhero epic. Delicious. I will have many more words about why I loved The Book of Phoenix for you next week. Next year I would like to tackle her entire back catalogue.
Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum was some very dark urban fantasy, the cursed spawn of Charles de Lint’s way of magicking atmosphere and Lauren Beukes way of making everything scare the shit out of you. Urban fantasy often hooks me in for the first half, and lets me down for the second half, and there were a few seconds of that with Dreams, BUT Downum done good. She channeled the Labyrinth, put an asexual woman at the helm, and wrote really, really well. It wasn’t a perfect book, but it was a nice book, and the perfect thing to read while riding trains on the first of Fall’s rainy days.
Then I finished listening to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I’ve loved the Harry Potter audio books since my freshman-year roommate first burned me a copy for the car ride upstate. I’ve tried to read them again since and found I can no longer bear the words without his voice. These stories in combination with that voice are the ultimate comfort audio.
I’ve since started listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and I won’t be surprised if I start listening to them again from the beginning the minute it’s over. Then again, I might take a break for a relisten of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. While I dislike the reader of my version, a fevered day listening to the end of the story was transcendental. The reader annoys me, the modern story annoys me, but I can’t get enough of Kivrin among plague victims since the afternoon I spent tossing and turning, delirious, in my own bed with them. Blame the fever; I’ve heard from rational beings that Doomsday Book isn’t that great.
Then Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn came into my life via a thread about experimental fiction Jeff VanderMeer posted on his blog (all hail). Turns out Sub Rosa isn’t particularly experimental, but it is a very readable, very interesting allegory that I would boil down to the blurb: magical prostitutes in Never Never Land. MAGICAL PROSTITUTES, with feminism. Why doesn’t everybody who loves SFF know about this book? Well, I guess now a few more do. You’re welcome.
And, ah yes, that brings me to Ms Block and I Was a Teenage Fairy (pod I hate that title). I stumbled upon this thin little number at a used book store and decided to take it home. At its core it is about childrenwho have been raped. At the core of that core it is about coping with life’s shit thanks to magic. It’s classic Block, highly readable, but probably not her shining star.
What are you reading right now?