Friday, September 05, 2014

Books Read: August 2014

Friday, September 05, 2014
Below is a listing of all of the books I read in August. All links go to my reviews.

1. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, by Genevieve Valentine
2. Annihilation, by Drew Karpyshyn
3. The Devil's Snake Curve, by Josh Ostergaard
4. Authority, by Jeff VanderMeer
5. Earth Awakens, by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
6. Cyador's Heirs, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr
7. The High Druid's Blade, by Terry Brooks
8. Memory of Water, by Emmi Itaranta
9. Divided Allegiance, by Elizabeth Moon
10. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, by David Shafer (unfinished)

Best Book of the Month: Whether this is Best or Favorite, I was completely hooked by Genevieve Valentine's The Girls at the Kingfisher Club. I think I said everything I wanted in my review, but even though I didn't quite expect this after Mechanique, this is the novel I am not at all surprised Valentine wrote. It's fantastic, people. Read it.

Disappointment of the Month: It is difficult to decide if my disappointment was the new Terry Brooks, from which I expected a little bit more since he seemed back on track after The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy and instead got something that seemed like he farmed out the novel to a writer who isn't on his game or if it was The Devil's Snake Curve which is a book of essays on baseball combined with offbeat meditations of America. As a Books and Bars pick, it should have been perfect, but I found it mostly tedious and the essays were more quick thoughts than actual essays of any length.  I think I'll pick both. 

Discovery of the Month: None.

Unfinished of the Month: The New York Times suggested that Whiskey Tango Foxtrot may be "the novel of the summer" for 2014.  I didn't care. It did read a bit like a less esoteric DeLillo novel, but through one hundred pages or so I realized that I was forcing myself to keep reading out of some misguided need to finish everything that isn't completely awful. I stopped. I expect that I stopped just short of the point where things would begin to ramp up and get truly absurd and interesting, but if I have to force myself to continue, I shouldn't.

Worth Noting: I never quite managed to write the review of Authority that I had planned and almost started several times, but Authority spins a different side of the story of the Southern Reach. It deals with the fallout from Annihilation (my review) and while it focuses on a different character outside of Area X, it is very much informed by it and still has that claustrophobic feel of Annihilation.  More so, perhaps, because now we've got governmental bureaucracy clustered around the weirdness of Area X. 

Gender Breakdown: Three out of the ten books I read last month were written by women, which isn't a very good representation. The thing is, I saw this coming, but since these were mostly library books that all came at the same time, I read myself into a corner. I'm looking to have a stronger rest of the year. Right now all of my own books are boxed up for the forthcoming move, but I'm pushing to get a number of things from the library and then when I'm all moved in a couple of weeks, it's on like Donkey Kong.  I am currently at 39/92, which rounds up to 42.4% of the books I've read this year are written or edited by women.  On one hand, I believe that is possibly the strongest percentage I've had.  On the other, I can do better.

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