May 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

I’ve wanted to order more books for a good long while, so two weeks ago I finally did. And while waiting for the shipments delayed by the coronavirus situation, I’ve been re-reading some books from my own shelves.

Reading Pile May 2020

My new books are on the top of the pile: Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun, and Network Effect by Martha Wells. The re-reads are both by Genevieve Valentine: Persona and Icon.

I’ve also already re-read Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. It’s my favorite among her work, and a great comfort read!

Anything you’d recommend? Please let me know – I’d be especially interested in hearing what you like to read multiple times and why.

April 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

My reading pile this month has some beloved, comforting re-reads, including Martha Wells’s novellas ahead of the launch of the first Murderbot novel, plus some nonfiction. Here’s a glimpse:

Reading Pile April 2020

From top to bottom: first, the Murderbot novellas by Martha Wells: All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy. Then two nonfiction works, first Saving the Sacred Sea: The Power of Civil Society in an Age of Authoritarianism and Globalization by Kate Pride Brown and, second, Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of Intelligence by James R. Gould & Carol Grant Gould.

Fun and interesting times ahead!

March 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Here are some of my reads for the month:

Reading Pile March 2020

From top to bottom: Megan O’Keefe’s Steal the Sky, then The Impossible Contract by K.A. Doore, and the non-fiction work Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Aleksievich (which is amazing!). Back to fiction with The New Voices of Science Fiction edited by Hannu Rajaniemi and Jacob Weisman and, finally, Mazes of Power by Juliette Wade.

Have you read something especially fun or rewarding lately?

The New Emma Launches Tomorrow!

Books & Mags, Movies & TV

Almost time: the new Emma movie adaptation written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde opens tomorrow here in the U.S.!

IMDB Emma Johnny Flynn Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn in Emma. Focus Features via IMDB

Yay – more Jane Austen on screen! 😀

If, like for me, the wait is almost too long for you, here’s an introduction to the costuming in Emma by Alden O’Brien to tide you over. O’Brien is a curator of costume at the DAR Museum in Washington, DC, and a life-long lover of historic clothing. Enjoy!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

February 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

I’ve been indubitably sick again – *sigh!* – but at least I got some watching and reading done. Here’s a selection:

Reading Pile February 2020

From top to bottom: The True Queen by Zen Cho, Kitchen Hacks: How Clever Cooks Get Things Done, Saving the Sacred Sea by Kate Pride Brown and, finally, Kruunupäinen käärme ja muita suomen kansan tarinoita by Kirsti Mäkinen. In addition, I’ve already returned Genevieve Cogman’s The Secret Chapter to the library. (No, not the Library!)

Any interesting reads in your life at the moment?

Most Memorable Stories of the Past Decade

Books & Mags, Geek out!

So far this year, I’ve seen a number of posts listing the best books of the past decade. For example, the Boston Public Library has a top ten fantasy novels and a top ten sci-fi novels list, and Adri and Joe list their best books at Nerds of the Feather. And of course, the definition of best varies enormously from site to site and writer to writer. The point, though, is to talk about books. 🙂

Here’s my take on the “best of” list – the most memorable stories of the past ten years. And I’ll tell you upfront that I’m going to cheat: instead of listing a dozen or so monographs, I’m including groups of books when appropriate.

 

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor. The way an abused minor relative dismissed to the edges of the realm claims the throne and becomes an emperor who believes in himself is beautifully described.

Current Reading 2x Becky Chambers

Becky Chambers: ALL of it! The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet; A Closed and Common Orbit; Record of a Spaceborn Few; To Be Taught, If Fortunate. I just LOVE her humanity-affirming style.

Thoraiya Dyer: Titan’s Forest series (so far I own Crossroads of Canopy and Echoes of Understorey). I don’t really care about the people, but the forest is so astounding it might as well be a major character in the story! (Note to self: Get Tides of the Titans.)

Jim C. Hines: Libriomancer. I wasn’t quite as grabbed by the sequels, but this one contains a scene so out of this world (literally!) that it got me to sit bolt upright in my armchair (when Isaac took the automaton to the moon).

N.K. Jemisin: The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun. I had heard good things about TKM long before picking it up; I kept resisting it because of the title – at the time I was so, so, SO tired of dystopias and violence in my fiction. I wish I could remember why I decided to pick it up, though; whatever it was, I’m thankful, for Jemisin immediately became by favorite living author.

Mary Robinette Kowal: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky. These surprised me, since I really am not interested in 1950s and 60s. At all!

Yoon Ha Lee‘s Machineries of the Empire series (Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun) is so different from anything I’ve read before. I’m lagging behind in my reading, though, and haven’t yet gotten to the third book. Bad me! (Note to self: Check whether I already bought it or not!)

Likitalo Waning Moon Duology

Leena Likitalo‘s historical fantasy duology The Five Daughters of the Moon and The Sisters of the Crescent Empress were loosely inspired by a setting that I find completely uninteresting (end of the Romanov family and revolution in Russia), but the books proved I should keep an open mind.

Karin Lowachee: Warchild. Shifting alliances and survival story extraordinaire. Without gore.

Emma Newman‘s Planetfall series: Planetfall, After Atlas, Before Mars and Atlas Alone. Which author has the gumption to destroy a planet and stay around to see what it does to people?

Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death. It was part of my 21 Authors reading project, and even though I like the Binti trilogy more, there’s no denying that WFD has serious staying power.

Mike Pohjola: Ihmisen poika. Autobiographical fiction that also includes some of the history of introducing larping to Finland. Note: Mike is a friend, and there’s also a reference to me, well-veiled but there. 🙂

Current Reading All Systems Red Artifical Condition

Martha Wells‘s Murderbot diaries (so far published are All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, with full-length novel Network Effect forthcoming this year). The series is all-round excellent, but Murderbot really is the best grumpy, conscientious, self-preservation-centered protagonist there is. (Note to self: Must. Read. Again. Soon!)

 

Also, I unfortunately had to skip a couple of books like A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewicz or Kelley Eskridge’s Solitaire, either because they aren’t novels or I came to them too late.

What would you pick and why?

January 2020 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Due to being sick, I have read a bit more than usual in early January. I also got an AMAZING selection of books and screen entertainment this Christmas; thank you, fam! Just some of the works I’ve already enjoyed or am looking forward to are below.

Reading Pile January 2020

From top to bottom: Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh and, finally, Gamechanger by L.X. Beckett.

Did you get anything especially great over the holidays? Do share!

December 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

Everything else going on in December threatens to damp down my reading, but I won’t allow it! 🙂 Here are some of the books in this month’s reading pile:

Reading Pile December 2019

From top to bottom: Loitsukirja by Paula Havaste, then two Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels, Third Girl and Hallowe’en Party, and finally Women in the Classical World by Elaine Fantham, Helene Peet Foley, Natalie Boymel Kampen, Sarah B. Pomeroy and H. Alan Shapiro.

Not bad company to wait for the turn of the year with. 🙂

The Trailer for the New Emma Production Is Out

Books & Mags, Movies & TV

It’s almost time for the release of the new Emma production written by Eleanor Catton and directed by Autumn de Wilde that I blogged about earlier this year. Here’s the trailer:

Emma – Official Teaser Trailer (Universal Pictures) HD by Universal Pictures UK on YouTube

Judging by the trailer only (which I know to be a precarious business), I’m not sure what to think, except that Bill Nighy’s Mr. Woodhouse might completely steal the show. And this looks to be a tonally very different reading of Emma than the previous screen adaptations.

It’s hard to say anything about Emma and Mr. Knightley from these super-short glimpses; furthermore, I haven’t seen either actor before (Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn). On the other hand, I know Miranda Hart as Miss Bates is going to shine! The music-making looks lovely, and what we can see of the propping and costuming seems great.

Emma will be released on February 14, 2020, in the UK and February 21, 2020, in the U.S.

I am excite! 🙂 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

November 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

This month I have so many good things to curl under a blanket with! 🙂 Among them are the following:

Reading Pile November 2019

From top to bottom: Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes, The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz and Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse. In addition, I took two non-fiction books out of the library: Grow in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Houseplants by Lisa Eldred Stenkopf and Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski & Amelia Nagoski.

I’ve already read Newitz’s excellent novel – which pairs really well with the movie Harriet, by the way – and am in the middle of Chilling Effect.

Anything else you’d recommend? Please share!