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What You've Read 2017

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The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, edited by Hope Nicholson: An anthology about dating, romance, sexuality, and love by a bunch of geek women. The range is spectacular; old and young, straight, bi, lesbian, trans, ace, you name it, it's probably covered. It's also in various forms; prose, comics, illustrated stories. Lots of people you'll know, and some people you might not know just yet, but will want to after you read their pieces. Worth a read.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat, Helen Phillips: One of the blurbs on the back describes this as Borges meets Brooklyn, and it's entirely accurate. Just over 150 pages, read in an evening, and an eerie blend of banal and bizarre. Found this remaindered, definitely worth the cheaper price.

The Interior Landscape: Classical Tamil Love Poems, AK Ramanujan: A short collection of a sequence of classical Tamil love poems. There's a section at the end that explains a lot of the imagery in here that likely would've been way more useful at the beginning of the volume. Regardless, some absolutely gorgeous imagery, and a neatly unfolding arc throughout the poems and the people talking in them. Also, very quick read; finished this in one leg of my commute. 

Books read: 25

Edited by Venneh

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The Disaster Artist: My life inside The Room, by Tom Bissell and Greg Sestero - This was much different than I was expecting, which is wonderful. Greg shares his thoughts, fears and frustrations working with a mysterious of a person as Tommy Wiseau. I love how Greg and Tom are able to show that Tommy had a love for classic cinema, specifically Marlon Brando and James Dean. In the end I felt that Greg admires Tommy and wants him to achieve his dreams. I am hesitant to watch it (the movie of the Disaster Artist) even though the man playing Wiseau is said to look a lot like James Dean.

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Edited by Rjoyadet
the disaster artist, not the room.

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Words uttered early in Tad Williams' The Dragonbone Chair (the Osten Ard trilogy of which it is the first is long touted by GRRM as an influence on GoT): "all men must die."

 

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The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins: Warning up front: if you've ever been gaslighted/abused, take care of yourself while reading this book. A murder mystery about an alcoholic, the woman she sees every day from the train she takes to pretend she's going to work, and her ex husband's new wife, and how they all end up tying together, and gaslighting and lies. I ended up mainlining the back half of the book tonight. Very well written, and unsettling. Found this at the free little library by my train stop, glad I picked it up 

Books read: 26

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That sounds a bit too intense for my tastes. 

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The Evolution of Physics: The Growth of Ideas from Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta  by Leopold Infeld and Albert Einstein. 

A look at Physics from the earliest of understanding to the cutting edge theories of the time of its publication in 1938. At first it appeared to be a book written for the every person but the authors dropped the work of scientists that the every day person may not remember like James Clerk Maxwell or Schrodinger and Heisenberg. I appreciate how they not only state a fact but explore how it was discovered. Certainly inspired thought. 

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Dusk or Dawn or Dawn or Day, Seanan McGuire: Solid, quick, compelling novella about ghosts, witches, the mechanics of each, and a mystery forming around the disappearance of Manhattan's ghosts. 

Books read: 27

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The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, Ken Liu: These tend to be either hit it out of the park good, or so eyerollingly cliche that you want to throw it at a wall. You can also see the structure of his stories kind of become samey as the collection goes on (and he also reuses names a lot, which becomes super noticeable bc the reused names are his wife and kids' names) which is mildly awkward. Also the silkpunk is a 50-50 shot of actually landing in a given story. I like him best as a translator and a short story writer I think. Standouts from this collection: title story, The Regular, and The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary. 

American Gods (Authors Preferred Text), Neil Gaiman: Okay. So. I've read this book front to back several times over (used to reread it once a year). Haven't read it in a few years, the show coming up made me want to do a read of the authors preferred version, and my opinions on Gaiman in the intervening years have changed a bit. Still a solid novel, if a bit weirdly structured. But what I notice now is how much the women in this novel either serve as people for Shadow to fuck, to get dead, to have an emotion at, to help him as a plot point, or sometimes all of the above. This compounded with some really tasteless stuff that Gaiman adds back (notably: trans joke with Bilquis) in this edition leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Still gonna watch the tv series at some point and hope Fuller gets to improve the material. Also fun: Death cameo from Sandman, seeing Karen Berger and Kelly Sue DeConnick in the reader credits. 

Books read: 29

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The Bear, Chrissy Williams: A friend's first poetry collection. It's a very true reflection of her voice, and I liked a lot of the poems. It comes out Stateside in September, would recommend.

books read: 30

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Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly: Nonfiction book about the black female computers at Langeley and how they eventually were an instrumental part of landing men on the moon for the first time. Great read of a part of history that isn't focused on as much.

Chalk, Paul Cornell: A story of bullying in Thatcher era England, and one boy's desire for revenge, and what that awakes in the countryside. Relies heavily on knowledge of 80s in England, has good mounting horror (bit of gore, if you don't like that, maybe watch out), a touch of music magic, and an end that feels like it has to wrap up the magical bit to get to the real ending in the epilogue. The supernatural bit doesn't quite meld with the rest. 

Your Name, Makoto Shinkai: A novelization of the movie of the same name. Not too much different than the end product, but still a fun read

The Honey Month, Amal El-Mohtar: Twenty eight honey tastings paired with poems and stories written immediately after tasting them. I love the idea and the stories that resulted from this.

The Kingdom, Fuminori Nakamura: This is... I'm not sure how I feel about this book. One the one hand, it's pretty tightly, if vaguely, plotted, and keeps up a pretty quick pace through all 200ish pages. On the other, the author kind of seems to get off on some of the sadomasochism experienced by the protagonist and other women in this book, and the number of times that she probably could've stabbed the main monologuer in this book stretches the imagination. Not sure if I'd read more by him, but a good quick noir.

Books read: 35

Edited by Venneh

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I loved the Hidden Figures movie.

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Penance, Kanae Minato: Another quick, 200ish page novel that i finished in the space of a few hours of downtime at the con. Four young girls are accidentally party to their friends death, and the mother threatens them that if they don't either find her murderer or do penance in a way she finds sufficient in 15 years (the statute of limitations on murder at time in Japan), she'll make their lives hell. The chapters are essentially short stories that unfold from each girl's pov, and a final surprise pov that ties little hints left throughout the novel together. Yes, it's fucked up on several levels, but in a way that I don't feel like the author is getting off on it. Would recommend this if you find it cheap. Might try to find her other translated novel.

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates: Mr. Coates' three part letter to his son about the world he will grow up in as a black boy. It's gorgeously written, and a quick read, and worth your time and then some. This book was not written for me, and it's good for me to recognize that - Mr. Coates did a speaking engagement at the university we're adjacent with, and mentioned he's a bit perturbed by how a book that sprung out of one of his best friends being killed by the cops has become coopted by white people using it as a white guilt moment of "oh, I didn't know it was like this"! So I want to be careful about how I engage with this.

Books read: 37

Edited by Venneh

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