Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Books Read: February 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017 0
Now that another month has come and gone, let's take a look at the books I read last month.

1. My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
2. Lightning in the Blood, by Marie Brennan
3. Sweet Lamb of Heaven, by Lydia Millet
4. The Stars Are Legion, by Kameron Hurley
5. We Love You, Charlie Freeman, by Kaitlyn Greenidge
6. River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey
7. LaRose, by Louise Erdrich
8. Sudden Death, by Alvaro Enrique
9. Buffalo Soldier, by Maurice Broaddus
10. Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
11. The Complete Peanuts: Vol 26, by Charles M. Schulz
12. Mister Monkey, by Francine Prose
13. The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
14. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson

Best Book of the Month: The Stars Are Legion is fucking amazing.

Disappointment of the Month: I would say that My Name is Lucy Barton was a disappointment (because it was), but I also didn't have any sort of positive expectations for a novel from Elizabeth Strout. I'd previously read her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, now this one is in the Tournament of Books. It's a miss for me.

Discovery of the Month: Damn close for me in the running of best book is Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing.

Worth Noting: For years I've referenced a book that I read as one of the crazier titles / concepts for a novel, which would be George Bush, Dark Prince of Love (written about the first President Bush, this is a real book). Well, Lydia Millet wrote it and now I've read a second one of her books

Gender Breakdown: 11 of the 14 books I read in February were written by women. This brings my total for the year to 17/30, or 56.66%.

Previous Reads:

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Books Read: January 2017

Wednesday, March 01, 2017 0
Now that another month has come and gone (and then yet another has come and gone because I'm so late in getting this up) let's take a look at the books I read in January

1. Standard Hollywood Depravity, by Adam Christopher
2. Order to Kill, by Kyle Mills
3. The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon
4. Agents of Dreamland, by Caitlin R. Kiernan
5. The Last Days of New Paris, by China Mieville
6. Scrappy Little Nobody, by Anna Kendrick
7. Grief is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter
8. The Warren, by Brian Evenson
9. Arcanum Unbounded, by Brandon Sanderson
10. Fool Moon, by Jim Butcher
11. Black Wave, by Michelle Tea
12. The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
13. Miniatures, by John Scalzi
14. A Time of Omens, by Katharine Kerr
15. Brother's Ruin, by Emma Newman
16. The Autumn Republic, by Brian McClellan

Best Book of the Month: It's always a delight to read more Deverry.

Disappointment of the Month: I'm reading through the short list of the Tournament of Books and Grief is the Thing With Feathers did not hit with me. It's a weird combination of prose and poetry and it's not for me.

Discovery of the Month: There's a part of me that thinks I could potentially be friends with Anna Kendrick. Independent of that, I really enjoyed her memoir.

Worth Noting: My wife has told me that I need to read The Magicians for several years now and I finally broke down and read the book. It's not that I don't trust her, it's more that I keep having other things out from the library to read or review,

Gender Breakdown: 6 out of the 16 books I read in January were written by women, which is a huge step back from the last two years of finishing over 50%, but it is only one month and the first of the year and since I'm posting this so late, I can tell you that February was much stronger and flipped almost entirely the other way.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2016 Nebula Award Finalists

Monday, February 20, 2017 3
From the press release:

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is pleased to announce the nominees for the 51st Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book.
  • All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ninefox Gambit,Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)
  • Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Liar”, John P. Murphy (F&SF)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
Short Story
  • Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistics
  • Doctor Strange, Directed by Scott Derrickson, Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill, Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
  • Kubo and the Two Strings, Directed by Travis Knight, Screenplay by Mark Haimes & Chris Butler; Laika Entertainment
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Directed by Gareth Edwards, Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy; Lucusfilm/ Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
  • Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’, Directed by Jonathan Nolan, Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan; HBO
  • Zootopia, Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, Screenplay by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios 
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch) 
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Kathy Dawson Books)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Books Read: December 2016

Tuesday, January 03, 2017 0
Now that another month has come and gone, let's take a look at the books I read last month.

1. The Rise of Io, by Wesley Chu
2. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
3. Everything Belongs to the Future, by Laurie Penny
4.The Four Thousand, The Eight Hundred, by Greg Egan
5. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
6. You'll Grow Out of It, by Jessie Klein
7. Barkskins, by Annie Proulx
8. Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone
9. Cold-Forged Flame, by Maria Brennan
10. Talking As Fast as I Can, by Lauren Graham
11. Today Will Be Different, by Maria Semple
12. After the Crown, by K.B. Wagers
13. Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
14. The Mothers, by Brit Bennett

Best Book of the Month: The Mothers is excellent. You probably come here for genre recommendations, but go read The Mothers. So good.

Disappointment of the Month: None, really.

Discovery of the Month: Whhhhhyyyyy have I never read Max Gladstone before. Three Parts Dead is his debut novel and it's fantastic. I love the setting, I love the characaters, I love how smart it is, and I can't wait to see how he grows as a writer.

Worth Noting: If you were concerned about how Wesley Chu would pull off a Tao-verse novel without actually featuring Tao and a Tan, rest assured that The Rise of Io is excellent.

Gender Breakdown: 10 out of the 14 books I read in December were written by women. This brings my final total for 2016 to 95 out of 169, or 56.21%. This is the second consecutive (and possibly second ever) year with at least half of the books I've read written by women.

Previous Reads

Monday, December 12, 2016

Books Read: November 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016 0
Now that another month has come and gone, let's take a look at the books I read last month.

1. City of Wolves, by Willow Palacek
2. Nightshades, by Melissa F. Olson
3. The Association of Small Bombs, by Karan Mahajan
4. Winter Tide, by Ruthanna Emrys
5. Ceteganda, by Lois McMaster Bujold
6. The Ghoul King, by Guy Haley
7. A City Dreaming, by Daniel Polansky
8. Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages
9. Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor
10. The Fortress at the End of Time, by Joe M. McDermott
11. Elysium, by Jennifer Marie Brissett
12. Hammers on Bone, by Cassandra Khaw
13. Cold Counsel, by Chris Sharp
14. Another Brooklyn, by Jaqueline Woodson
15. Ethan of Athos, by Lois McMaster Bujold
16. Babylon's Ashes, by James S.A. Corey
17. Idle Ingredients, by Matt Wallace
18. Heroes of the Frontier, by Dave Eggers

Best Book of the Month: Any month I can read a Matt Wallace novella is a good month. I love his Sin du Jour and Wallace's forthcoming Idle Ingredients is one to wait for.

Disappointment of the Month: As much as I loved Daniel Polansky's novella The Builders, I hated his novel A City Dreaming. It was so disjointed and reminiscent in some ways of A Confederacy of Dunces - which many people would think is a complement, but I HATE A Confederacy of Dunces.

Discovery of the Month: So, I'm not a Lovecraft reader and generally don't care about anything that touches on Lovecraftian mythos - but Ruthanna Emrys' Winter Tide is a beautiful and wonderful and fantastic novel. Check it out this coming March.

Worth Noting: November was a very heavy month on Tor.com novellas. I don't know how many more months I expect to get through 18 books.

Gender Breakdown: 10 of the 18 books I read in November were written by women. This brings my total to 85 out of 155 and sneaks the percentage up to 54.83%. With one month left in the year I expect to end a second year with at least half the books I've read written by women.

Previous Reads

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Books Read: October 2016

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 0
Now that another month has come and gone, let's take a look at the books I read last month.

1. Heartless, by Gail Carriger
2. The Jewel and Her Lapidary, by Fran Wilde
3. Lions, by Bonnie Nadzam
4. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
5. Girls of Fire, by Robin Wasserman
6. The Wolf Road, by Beth Lewis
7. The Vegetarian, by Han Kang
8. The Vor Game, by Lois McMaster Bujold
9. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
10. Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett
11. A Thousand Words for Stranger, by Julie Czerneda
12. Infomocracy, by Malka Older
13. Spiderlight, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
14. Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera

Best Book of the Month: One of my most anticipated novels of the year was Malka Older's Infomocracy and I am happy to report that it did not disappoint. I don't think it was quite was I expected, not that I'm at all sure what I did expect, but I couldn't stop thinking about Infomocracy any time I had to put the book down. It's also interesting reading the book during the closing days of this election cycle in the United States, but Older's look at how information and elections are traded at manipulated at both a global and a micro scale is friggin fascinating and intense. More, please.

Disappointment of the Month: Having heard such good things about Fran Wilde's Updraft, I was looking forward to reading this novella of hers - and somehow, I didn't care. I don't know that there was anything particularly wrong with it, but somehow it didn't grab me. I've noticed that other people who loved Updraft didn't connect with the Jewel and her Lapidary, so I'll still give Updraft a shot one day. It's just farther down my to-read list now.

Discovery of the Month: I've somehow never read Adrian Tchaivosky before despite having a few of his novels (Shadows of the Apt) on my bookshelf for years as review copies. Tor.com Publishing's release of Spiderlight was a more bite sized opportunity to jump into a standalone and - it's compelling with a cast of really distasteful characters, the heroes I mean. It's very Tolkien-esque / standard epic fantasy feeling as the core of the novel, with heroes of the Light questing out to serve a prophecy and defeat the Dark Lord - except the heroes are collectively all assholes and not in the charming asshole sort of way. They're pretty shitty people. Despite that, Thchaivoksy's storytelling is compelling.

Worth Noting: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was a complete charmer. My wife read it, immediately handed it to me and I read the first chapter. I didn't want to put the book down. I'm not sure what, specifically, I loved about it so much that I could put into words, but it was a friggin delightful book.

Gender Breakdown: 11 of the 14 books I read in October were written by women, which is likely my strongest month of the year. This brings my total to 75 out of 137 and increases the percentage to 54.74%. With two months left in the year, I feel good about ending the year with at least half the books I've read being written by women.

Previous Reads

Monday, October 03, 2016

Books Read: September 2016

Monday, October 03, 2016 2
Now that another month has come and gone (and we're halfway through yet another), let's take a look at the books I read last month.

1. Everything's Eventual, by Stephen King
2. The Best Team Money Can Buy, by Molly Knight
3. The Lost Child of Lychford, by Paul Cornell
4. Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, by Seanan McGuire
5. Tripwire, by Lee Child
6. Behind the Throne, by K.B. Wagers
7. The Girls, by Emma Cline
8. Poisoned Blade, by Kate Elliott
9. Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler
10. The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin
11. War Porn, by Roy Scranton
12. Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
13. Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch
14. Pieces of Hate, by Tim Lebbon
15. The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy

Best Book of the Month: The review is pending, but The Obelisk Gate is the best book I've read so far this year, let alone this month.

Disappointment of the Month: Depends how you want to look at this. As a whole, I've thoroughly enjoyed the Tor.com Novella line, so finding even one that doesn't quite hit is a disappointment (most recently Pieces of Hate), but I think the real disappointment has to be Roy Scranton's War Porn - a novel which was very well received on publication and I found it too disjointed to actually tell a coherent story. As three discrete novellas, I think I would have appreciated the novel far more. Perhaps the overlap of the stories was meant to be more to show the shape of the war and how people back home / soldiers / Iraqis interacted and dealt with the war, but Scranton's novel never quite came together for me.

Discovery of the Month: I expect to read much more from K.B. Wagers. I didn't review Behind the Throne because one of our other Nerds of a Feather reviewers already took the novel on. I found that I would have given the same exact score (7/10), but the review would have read much more positively. I thought Behind the Throne was delightful and fast paced and an overall kick ass novel. Loved the setting, loved the voice, loved Hail as a lead character and a source of introduction to that world - I want to see more. Good thing, there's going to be at least one more book.

Worth Noting: It won't be published until January, but keep an eye out for Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day from Seanan McGuire. It's really friggin good.

Gender Breakdown: 9 of the 15 books I read in August were written by women, which brings my total to 64 out of 123. The percentage continues to climb back to 52.03% through nine months.

Previous Reads
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