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Recently, I've started reading through the Dark Tower books. Right now I'm on The Waste Lands, and I really wish people knew King more for stuff like this than his horror stuff. 

Also, I recently read one of the Miriam Black books by Chuck Wendig, Thunderbirds. Really solid work right there. 

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Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win The Fight Against Online Hate: by Zoe Quinn

My familiarity with Gamergate was primarily through the harassment against Anita Sarkeesian, and while names like Brianna Wu and Zoe Quinn came into my atmoshpere,  I wasn't terribly familiar with them. This book is a perfect lens into the heinous, bottomlessly cruel appetite that men online (gamers or just dudes on the internet) have for gate-keeping and marking what they perceive to be their shit. During my reading I looked up Quinn, only to be deluged by dozens and dozens of hate videos, bios on various sites like "Quinnspiracy" and was really awakened to the Scarlet letter carved onto her person. Much of this reminded me of reading about the FBI going after James Baldwin after he chided Robert Kennedy for being woefully ignorant on the needs of Black America and labeling MLK as the "Most Dangerous Negro in the Country". Not to equate Quinn with that caliber of Civil Rights leaders exactly, but it's all the same, isn't it? The opposition will try to murder anyone for any perceived slight if the slight brings attention to the twisted normalcy of their communities. It's all the damn same. Quinn's voice as a writer is pretty young, and the book could honestly have withstood some editing. But this is clearly a woman with PTSD and who's life will never be the same because of one dude. I think this is required reading for everyone who goes online, which is everyone, as the second half is a solid instruction guide on how to guard oneself from the sinister actions of anyone who could dox or SWAT you for whatever reason.

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22 hours ago, teenalphabro said:

Recently, I've started reading through the Dark Tower books. Right now I'm on The Waste Lands, and I really wish people knew King more for stuff like this than his horror stuff. 

Long days and pleasant nights, I am currently on Wizard and Glass.

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House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill: I got 10 chapters in before putting it away. In those quick-to-read pages, there's a lot of setup. Dare I say too much, as the character spends several chapters getting from her car to the house in question. And once she's inside, it's no better; the dilly-dallying continues. It's an okay read, but I need things to move along.

Hard Road by JB Turner: Prime Reading had this for free, so I gave it a chance. It's exactly what you'd expect from a book about a contract killer: job goes wrong, everyone is after him, his loved ones are in danger, and he has nowhere to turn. I've stopped for now, but I'll come back.

Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock by  Christopher L. Bennett: Despite having read dozens of Star Wars books and stories, I've never read a Star Trek novel from start-to-finish. This being about the DTI (as seen in "Trials and Tribble-ations"), which is the Federation's official time-travel investigative division, it has my attention. So far I'm ~60 pages in and this is a lot of fun. Not quite sure where it's going just yet, but that's okay. These are fresh characters that need a lot of pages to introduce them. It's also clear Bennett is a Doctor Who fan. Not only does he use a Doctor Who quote to open the book, a Vulcan gives the "wibbly wobbly, timey wimey" speech but only as a Vulcan can.

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67. In the Distance, Hernan Diaz: I understand why this was nominated and was a finalist for the Pulitzer this year. It’s a Spanish author using the story of a Swedish immigrant and the weird ass situations he gets himself into as a naive kid and later as an adult to critique the standard American western/frontier myths. It’s beautifully written. That said, the cycle of loneliness -> oh now connection with another human whether by choice or not! -> a bad thing happens to this other human! -> and now loneliness again gets real old after about the third or fourth repeat. It especially gets old when I can predict that a character is going to die within two pages of getting close to our main character. I like that we don’t really get a proper resolution to this either; he just kind of fades into the distance, if you will, at the end.

68. Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik: I read the short story this was based on (Russian Jewish moneylender version of Rumpelstiltskin) when it was in The Starlit Wood, and I was interested to see how Novik would expand it out. The way she added the multiple POVs into the spinning of the story was a clever way of doing things, but there got to be a few too many POVs that actually cut off the development of some of the POVs, which was mildly frustrating. Also, after about the sixth POV, just fucking switch to third person limited rather than first person POV. The weaving of Russian Jewish history, vaguely Russian mythos, and Fae lore, and the three main female POVs were incredibly well done. But though the convenient het ending is probably a fairy tale reference thing, it feels like lazy development especially when we know more about the demon than we do the man he possesses. Still a great read. (Supposedly she gave her editor a fake outline for this, which, bless your editor for putting up with you.)

69 (niiiiiiice): Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, Patti Yumi Cottrell: A girl’s adopted brother commits suicide in her childhood home, and she goes back to Milwaukee to try and piece together the why of his last days, and also deal with family/childhood trauma. This has been in my purse a few weeks, but I finally started it today, and I finished it today. Seeing how things come together, and learning more about our main character and her and her brother’s shared childhood, is exquisite. I know the grief haze that is depicted here very well, and Cottrell does an amazing job depicting the aftermath of grief. Definitely read this if you find it while you’re out and about.

70. Preparing the Ghost, Matthew Gavin Frank: A slightly indulgent pocket-size essay about the guy who took the first known photograph of the giant squid, death, mythology, and one dude’s obsession with the first guy. It gets slightly self indulgent in places, but has some genuinely good passages. I found it remaindered, and for that price, totally worth it.

71: Night and Silences, Seanan McGuire: The twelfth book in the Toby Daye series, and shit still manages to get even more serious/game changing, which I continue to be impressed at. The reminders of shit that happened in past books are the least awkward they can be given the nature of the beast. I’m interested in seeing how the new status quo effects the upcoming books, and continue to be surprised at how Seanan works Tam Lin into this. Additionally, the fact that she now gets to add a novella onto the end of the book expanding on things that happen either just outside of the novel's focus, or off screen, is a real value add. Comes out in September, if you’ve been following the series, definitely pick it up.

72. Finding Baba Yaga, Jane Yolen: ARC, comes out at the end of October. A young girl runs away, is found by Baba Yaga, and has some low key queer themes in a novelette that’s entirely in verse. It’s a quick, breezy read, under 100 pages, could easily fit in your bag

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73. No Flight Without the Shatter, Brooke Bolander: A short novelette about the last human, and the lessons she learns from the ghosts of the animals that humans drove to extinction. Short, but haunting as Bolander always does, and reels between anger and grief equally. Hoping to see this on the awards list next year.

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The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. Audiobook read by Jesse L. Martin.

Baldwin's words I find easier to take in when listened to. His writing is terrific, but is so soulful that they near incomprehension through simple prose. To have the truly dulcet tones of Martin express the heart, anger and love in every sentence really translates (I feel) the proper emotion and meaning.

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Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. 

If Edgar Cantero turns out to be Alex Hirsch, in disguise, I would not be surprised. getimage.aspx?regionKey=8M8agBAkQEaGinsNet8kk2mjxeg1f6jau0of.jpg 

Meddling Kids is not a book, it is a nostalgia gateway drug. However unlike Ernest Cline, I didn't feel like I had the nostalgia waved in front of me. You can enjoy it without knowing the references and homages. Researching the book has made me realize that I missed most of the references in the story. I was just happy that I realized the Arkham Asylum jailbreak "Werewolf" was a reference to Lovecraft rather than Batman. I was going to call this "what the Scooby Doo movie should have been" because watching those films always made me feel like the creative team behind the movie hated the series. Meddling Kids celebrates the books and shows it is based off of. Having a group of four misfit kids using elements from their childhood to battle an eldritch abomination. 

       At the same time the characters are not the starry eyed dreamers they once were. One is a crestfallen drunk, one is a fugitive, one is committed, and the other committed suicide. The only "normal" character is the dog, who is the great grandson of the original detective team. There are unanswered questions and parts open to interpretation. Like is the crazy one really seeing the ghost of his dead friend or is he hallucinating? That only makes it fun. I really enjoyed it. 

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74. The Poppy War, R.F. Kuang: The super simple way to sum this up is Chinese history meets the X-Men (and also the Phoenix). I read through this book in about three days tops, and got through half of it in one few hour session in the bath alone. It’s incredibly well written, weaves together both history (this is based on both the Opium Wars, the Rape of Nanjing, and Unit 731 in particular) with fantasy (shamans, accessing the gods, etc), and straight up historical rage. The shamans are pretty reminiscent of the X-Men, in terms of how their powers are explained and used. Oh, and drugs. It very clearly seems to be leaning towards a sequel, and apparently the deal included sequels, so I hope her sales do well enough that she gets it.

75. An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon: I’ve been meaning to pick this one up for a while, and now that they got a deal to make Clipping’s “The Deep” into a book, I figured I should check this out. This is brutal like the Poppy War, but in different ways, because it transplants the plantation way of life onto a generation ship. The opening chapter is our ambiguously gendered, neuroatypical main character amputating a child’s frostbitten foot. It doesn’t let up from there. You can tell that this is Solomon’s first novel, and there’s random bits of first person POV that I’m not entirely sure need to be there, and flashbacks added in at deeply awkward times. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the attempt at a romance triangle added in. The verb of noun naming structure is mildly frustrating, but does effectively refer to the effects on the living of those who’ve died, both before and during the novel. With regards to the ending... it feels very mid season four of Battlestar Galactica, without spoilers? I’m not sure if there’s a sequel to this coming, but it just kind of feels like it skids to a stop. Definitely worth a read through though.

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See All The Stars by Kit Frick, her debut novel.

I read a review copy of this sent to my store, primarily because I'm online friends with the author's husband. As such, I'm not really comfortable talking about my thoughts on this book publicly, aside from here.

This is a YA novel about a high school kid in her final year before graduation, on severe outs with her friends and broken up from her boyfriend. Each chapter switches between the events of her junior year and her senior year. Throughout the book we're shown her thoughts on her friends, her boyfriend, how she sees herself in her friend group and ambitions for the future.

I found this to be a very basic, average story. It's not badly written, but it's melodramatic to the point of being pretentious. The main character has a poetic voice that flows between metaphors and similes, but it feels too overwritten to sound like a natural voice of a seventeen year old who's into welding. Most of the characters speak in dramatic, almost meta-speak, almost as though they're trying to act out a teen drama, which they're written to be in. It's a strong lack of awareness that really holds this story back and made it surprisingly annoying to get through at times.

There are two big twists that you're reading to get to in order to justify the story at the end. One of them is visible from a mile away, at least halfway through. The other is a genuine surprise, but the book ends so soon after it's revealed that you wonder if there was a bit of fast-writing or cheating in the lead-up to it.

I feel the YA genre has better representatives that this, as all this story came down to was a breakup between friends and teenage love drama. There's really nothing going on any deeper than that. And in itself, that's fine. But it presumes the weight of world-ending importance and wants the reader to fear and fret as much as it does. I just wasn't feeling it the whole time I was reading it.

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"Why the Hell are we spending billions of dollars on a missile defense system in South Korea?" President Trump.

Holy shit. This is just the first chapter of Bob Woodward's FEAR. Ugh...

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Hey @Dread did you write a review about Ryan Holidays Conspiracy? I remember you getting upset by it, and for that I wanted to thank you. I was curious about reading it but your warning helped me realize that I had to put my mind on guard because it will throw jabs at me.

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1 hour ago, Rjoyadet said:

Hey @Dread did you write a review about Ryan Holidays Conspiracy? I remember you getting upset by it, and for that I wanted to thank you. I was curious about reading it but your warning helped me realize that I had to put my mind on guard because it will throw jabs at me.

Nope. Wasn't me. This is the first time I've heard of that book or author.

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76. The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard: Sherlock, except set in de Bodard’s Vietnamese sci-fi. mindship universe, where Sherlock is a female scholar, Watson is a female mindship with a good dose of PTSD, and a faint sapphic undertone running through the novella. It’s a great quick read, and a nice twist on the formula.

77. Not Here, Hieu Minh Nguyen: A friend posted a poem from this book on Twitter, and on the strength of just that poem, I picked this up at our local bookstore. And good Christ that was a good decision. This is up there for the best poetry I’ve read so far this year. Nguyen writes about being gay and Vietnamese and loss and strained parental relationships and grief and sexual assault and depression and hits fucking home with just about every poem he writes. A collection that can drive me to almost sobbing on the bus ride to work should tell you how good of a poet you’re reading here. Pick this up. You won’t regret it.

78. Valerie Solanas: The Defiant Life of the Woman Who Wrote SCUM (And Shot Andy Warhol), Breanne Fahs: Another remaindered nonfiction book about a subject I hadn't heard a lot about (mainly, the woman who shot Andy Warhol, and her own radical feminist leanings). I read this over a period of a few nights in the bath, usually as a prelude to either a nap or bed. That's not a knock against the quality of Fahs' writing, it just seemed a bit odd to me that her recounting of what was by all accounts an incredibly tumultuous life would usually put me in a state to fall asleep easier. Would say it's a bit dry. However, it's a very thorough accounting using fairly limited sources (as her mother destroyed her documents), and an interesting, if depressing story (yay for the mental health system and associated abuses of the 60s and 70s)! Also focuses on her as a person rather than as the crazy lady who shot Warhol, as well as the SCUM Manifesto.

I also just found out that Lena Dunham played her in an episode of AHS. Ugh.

79. The Black God’s Drums, P. Djeli Clark: Ehhhh? This has a bunch of genuinely interesting ideas, but the story never really fleshes them out or handwaves on fairly important details, relies a bit too heavily on cliche (the plucky orphan!), and accidentally has its protagonists low key commit a war crime in what is either the author reaching for an easy solution or just genuinely not thinking too much about the situation. Alt history steampunk is also just genuinely not my thing except in very few cases, and as interesting as the idea here is, Clark doesn’t make the case for it. I also feel like this got extracted from a longer story, cause it feels like there’s explanations for things just beyond the hundred or so pages we get with this. Maybe it’s a hook for future material? Idk. That and the emphasis on You Need To Do A School feels like the author is covering his butt for the message he’s sending to a possible teenage audience. There’s some genuinely interesting ideas here, it’s just not executed well.

80. Night Moves, Jessica Hopper: Hopper collects her personal journal entries from her early years in Chicago, with crazy anecdotes and her falling in love with the city. A nice, relatively light, and quick read.

81. In the Vanisher’s Palace, Aliette de Bodard: It’s a lesbian reimagining of Beauty and the Beast, only the Beast is a female dragon, it’s set in a post alien invasion world (also an a+ postcolonial landscape commentary), and has a touch of biopunk mixed in with traditional Vietnamese lore. She manages to build out a hell of a world in the space of a novella, and still resolve all her plot threads well. This comes out October 16th - pick it up when it does!

82. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay: You’re going to know in the first paragraph of this anthology’s introduction whether or not you’re in the space to be able to read it. The essays range from academic to personal experiences, and all of them are amazingly written and heart breakingly hard to read. But once you start reading it, you’re likely going to go through it in several large chunks, because the collected essays are by and large deeply compelling. There’s only a few that fall a little flat. It’s by no means an easy read, but it is a necessary one.

83. Rock Manning Goes for Broke, Charlie Jane Anders: A short novella where a boy who loves slapstick comedy uses it to navigate his world, which is slowly falling to fascism, and what happens when the government wants to fund his work. Accurately captures of what it feels like to be in a nation that’s slowly but surely and irrevocably changing. There’s a few things that feel a bit hand wavy towards the end, but in a way that I’m willing to let go. I finished this over about an hour or so on the bus ride home here. The version I had had some formatting wonkiness, but I’m pretty sure that will be fixed on the released eBook edition.

84. My Own Devices: True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love, Dessa: A collection of essays from the rapper Dessa, some previously published, but the vast majority new. She always has had an amazing way with her lyrics, so it’s interesting to see how those writing skills get applied to creative nonfiction - some science writing, some general thought experiments, some descriptions of her life growing up, switching between all these varied modes with ease. There are some common themes between essays, but for the most part, each is its own experience. I’ve read this both in the bath and before bed the last few nights, at the same time devouring it and trying to savor it. I saved the last two essays for tonight, and it was an A+ life choice. Definitely a thing you want to read through if you find a copy.

85. The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter: A collection of short stories that are primarily feminist fairytale retelling, that is apparently 75 years old, and that I had never heard of until reading it. I got this as a part of a contest that MCD and Electric Literature, who collected a bunch of Maria Dahvana Headley’s favorite books by female authors, and ran a giveaway. I somehow won, and now I have a bunch of books by female authors who I’ve never read before. Carter writes beautifully, savagely, and inverts the fairy tales we know so well - the beauty becomes a beast too, Bluebeard’s wife is rescued by her rifle wielding tiger slaying mother, and so many other twists that I’m genuinely surprised I haven’t heard of her before this. Definitely pick this up if you get the chance.

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