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!

October 2019 Reading Pile

Books & Mags

My TBR pile this October looks quite fabulous!

Reading Pile October 2019

Top to bottom:

Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee, To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Furthermore there is Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Fated Sky and Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

Chambers’s is the only one haven’t yet read; I’m currently in the middle of Harrow. In addition, I’ve read a few books that didn’t make it to the photo before their due date came round. Ohwell. 🙂

How’s your reading lately?

 

September 2019 Reading Pile & Other New Books

Books & Mags

This month has been so epic on my book front! I got quite a haul from the library – I even had to put two books back on the shelf because of all of the ILLs that had arrived!

Library Pile September 2019

Top to bottom they are: Millenneagram: The Enneagram Guide for Discovering Your Truest, Baddest Self by Hannah Paasch, Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse, and Ursula Le Guin’s The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition (illustrated by Charles Vess). I also grabbed Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward by Gemma Hartley, and Flossie Teacake’s Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp.

I also bought some books. Here are a few:

New Book Order Is in

From left to right: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse, and Kathleen Herbert’s Peace-Weavers & Shield-Maidens: Women in Early English Society.

Yes indeed, I had already nabbed Storm of Locusts from the library because my order was delayed, only to have the order arrive to my door within two days. Well, such is life. 🙂

I’m looking forward to diving into these, especially To Be Taught, If Fortunate. As soon as I heard Chambers had another Wayfarers universe book coming out I knew I had to get it. I adore her writing for its humanity. Before the publication date I saw Lee Mandelo’s review at Tor.com, which didn’t exactly help – among others Mandelo says the novella is a “reminder of our responsibilities to one another as a social group, not as lone individuals on solitary islands. None of us exist without each other, or survive without each other.” Right up my alley!

Can’t wait! 🙂

August 2019 Reading Pile

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Since I didn’t post this last month, here’s my August reading pile:

Reading Pile August 2019

From top to bottom: Norma by Sofi Oksanen, Hath No Fury edited by Melanie R. Meadors, and Susan Cooper’s young adult series The Dark Is Rising in a one-cover edition (Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark Is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; Silver on the Tree). Lastly, there is Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s excellent Gods of Jade and Shadow.

What’s on your TBR stack at the moment?

April 2019 Reading Pile

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My March reading piles stretched well into April, so my current pile isn’t that large:

Library Pile Apr 2019

The quality will make up for the quantity, though, or so I suspect: I have Kameron Hurley’s military time-traveling scifi novel The Light Brigade, Arkady Martine’s debut novel A Memory Called Empire, and The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore.

Can’t wait! 🙂

Anything intriguing in your pile? Do share!

March 2019 Reading Piles

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I got quite an awesome haul from the library:

Library Pile March 2019

In fiction I found The Afterwards by EK Johnston, The Song of All by Tina LeCount Myers, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo and Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower. On the non-fiction side, there’s Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister by Sheila Johnson Kindred.

I’m apparently really hungry for reading, for that’s not my only pile this month:

Reading Pile March 2019

From top to bottom: Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, Mem by Bethany C. Morrow, Home Fires by Julie Summers and the non-fiction title Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives by Jane Brox. Finally, there’s the not-quite-brand-new-anymore Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines.

In addition, I’m slogging my way through all of Agatha Christie’s Hercules Poirot books, slowly but surely. The latest I’ve gotten to is Mrs. McGinty’s Dead – a fascinating case hinging (in part) by the first name Evelyn, which can apparently be both male or female. I love the fact that despite a Master’s degree and 20+ years of daily use I still learn new things about English!

Anything special you’d recommend?

Some February 2019 Reads

Books & Mags

My February reading has been all over the place. Just look at this representative selection:

Reading Pile February 2019

From left to right: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell, Rogue Protocol plus Exit Strategy – the latest two in the Murderbot Diaries series – by Martha Wells and, finally, Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett.

In my youth, I read a lot of what was then called girl lit (or tyttökirja in my native Finnish). I’ve never read some of the classics in their original English, though, so I gave Little Women a shot. I have to say the young me missed so many of the nuances!

A Study in Honor, however, was the most refreshing take on the Sherlock Holmes & Doctor Watson duo I’ve come across. It was at times hard (and at times boring) to read about Watson’s PTSD, but once I started thinking of that part as formation of personality (like coming-of-age stories) it made more sense to me. Also, I LOVED how many women were present both in the fore- and background! It took me a while to get to book 1, but I liked it so much that the sequel, The Hound of Justice, will go directly to the top of my to-be-read pile.

And I just adore Murderbot! (Don’t let the name fool you!)

Anything you’ve especially liked recently? Do share!

Reading N.K. Jemisin in honor of Martin Luther King Day

Books & Mags, This Is Important, Thumbs Up

Today the U.S. celebrates the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of the day, in support of people of color and in protest of the appalling inequality POC continue to experience in the U.S., I’m reading my favorite (living) author, Nora Jemisin.

Current Reading How Long Til Black Future Month

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? is a collection of short fiction from 2004 onwards and her latest book-length publication. I’m not sure whether she’d describe herself as an #ownvoices author. Whatever the case, her fiction continues to entertain, fascinate, and awe on so many levels.

I’m normally not a great friend of short stories (I prefer novels), but this collection is incredible. Not just her writing is beautiful and technically superb; she continues to open my eyes about the world, give me new ideas and hold me in thrall in equal measure.

Jemisin is also the first writer ever to have won the Hugo Award three years in a row, for all the individual installments of her recent Broken Earth trilogy. (The mere thought of it still gives me chills!) No wonder S.E. Fleenor in an article at SyfyWire listed Jemisin as one the most influential women in genre for 2018.

How are you spending your MLK Day?

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

On the Visual Design of Birnin Zana, Wakanda’s Capitol

Design & Designers, Geek out!, Movies & TV

All the “best of 2018” movie lists I’ve seen remind of how much I loved Black Panther. So, I’m stealing an early start to the Martin Luther King Day weekend and reading about the design of Wakanda’s capitol city.

It’s called Birnin Zana and nicknamed the Golden City, although neither name appears in the movie. The Birnin Zana we see on the screen is the creation of the movie’s production designer, Hannah Beachler.

In a CityLab interview with Nicole Flatow, Beachler recounts her starting point:

“You know what’s keeping us together: the connectivity of people, not the connectivity of users. We’re not users; we’re people, but we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re users,” she said. “So I took all of that, and I just chucked it out of Wakanda, because the people were the most important thing about it, and we’re forgetting it. And I think that’s why people responded to Wakanda on this massive level: people.”

CityLab Marvel Studios Wakandan Street View

Marvel Studios; via CityLab.

The first impression of Birnin Zana is of course the skyscrapers, but if you look closely, there is water and ample greenery, too. The skyscrapers don’t seem to block the light too badly either.

Wired Marvel Studios City from Above

Marvel Studios; via Wired.

And if you really look, you can see greenery both in and on the buildings.

fxguide Marvel Studios Royal Landing Pad

Marvel Studios; via fxguide.

Vanity Fair Marvel Studios City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Vanity Fair.

Ahh! Nice.

Many of the building shapes hark back to traditional African aesthetics; also the surface detailing is rich and striking. In an interview with Collider, Beachler talks about the influences for her work:

“I started poking around and looking at really modern architects who have designed in Africa, all over Africa, east and west Africa. And someone who I really fell in love with was Zaha Hadid, who has passed away, but she is one of the foremost architects. So I started looking at her. Her architecture is very voluptuous and very flowing, very organic. So I thought this would be good. And the more I started digging into Senegal and Nigeria and finding things, while not necessarily futuristic-looking, very modern in their sensibilities as far as the way they’re putting together their elements and the colors that they use. I was struck by that. So I took a lot of that in. And a lot of it does come from Nigeria. I think in Kenya, Uganda, Johannesburg was another one, where no matter where you go, you really do see that they’re always keeping in mind the tradition.”

Los Angeles Times Marvel Studios City Concept Low-Built Area

Film Frame / Marvel Studios; via Los Angeles Times.

Collider Marvel Studios Wakanda City Concept

Marvel Studios; via Collider.

Beachler also created a 500-page “Wakanda Bible” for the actors to study, including the history of Golden City and names for all the buildings. The records hall held special meaning for her:

“Because [Wakanda residents] know everything about their past”—a privilege that real-world African Americans don’t have—“and [that] will never go away again in this city.

“I felt that way because I never knew my history. I didn’t know my ancestry, I didn’t know how far back it went …That was truly the most important thing to me. I don’t have that, but I could give it here in this fantastical world.”

I wish we got to see it, but I don’t think we do. (If you’ve spotted the records hall, let me know!)

Anyway; gorgeous through and through, isn’t it?

Now, I’m a city girl and have been almost my entire life. However, my concept of a city is different: all urban areas back home are typically so roomily built I’ve heard that if we were to follow some particular EU directive the whole country of Finland wouldn’t have a single city. (No idea whether that’s true, though.) Add my introversion to the difference in our respective urban population densities, and I suspect I would need a lot of alonetime were it possible for me to visit the Golden City.

Other than that, I LOVE everything we see: Color! Fantastic public transit (maglev trains, streetcars), but with people and their needs (and not cars) clearly at the focus. Traditional crafts and art that live very comfortably next to high-tech. Street vendors of almost every stripe – especially the food vendors make my mouth water every time I see them.

I do wish we could have a real-world Wakanda, for many reasons, the fabulous design being just one.

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

Some November 2018 Reads

Books & Mags

My latest book order came in at the end of October, but I haven’t cracked any of them open yet.

New Books Oct 2018

From left to right: Thoraiya Dyer’s Echoes of Understorey, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, Emma Newman’s Before Mars, Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers and, finally, what sounds like a very interesting take on Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell.

November is already looking like a great reading month. Anything else you’d recommend?