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Three more books

Reading a lot these days…

  • Borderline by Mishell Baker: this was a re-read (it’s on the Sirens Reading Challenge). I liked it the first time; I enjoyed it this time around too. There are now two more books in this series. I read Phantom Pains (the second in the series) a while back, but Borderline is still my favorite.
  • Damsel by Elana K. Arnold: I found this book super-original and I admired it…and at the same time it wasn’t really my kind of thing. But my feeling about it isn’t dissimilar from previous books that, upon re-reading, HAVE become my sort of thing. I’ll have to wait and see with this one.
  • Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen: this was a Sirens Reading Challenge book. This one was *really* not my kind of thing, even while I admire what the author managed to do (vampire/other creature-infested Wild West with a heroine of color). Some of my issues are straightforward – vampires and Westerns both are hard sells for me, as are books with a world with a mashup of magical creatures (sirens and chupacabras, among others, also make an appearance in this one). Some are not so easy for me to pinpoint – while I can say that the native representation in the book seemed more related to tropes in Westerns than to any real understanding, that’s just my initial reaction and I can’t pull out exactly what bugged me. It just made me uncomfortable. I did look for a review of this book on Debbie Reese’s blog, but she apparently hasn’t received a copy.

Slow reading

I am a fast reader. When I’m on a reading binge it is not uncommon for me to go through two books (of a reasonable length, say 400 pages each or so) a day, even while doing other regular-life things.

But the past two weeks have been different. I’ve been reading a lot, but not maniacally. Instead I’ve been reading slowly, taking my time, making a conscious effort not to rush. Reading is a new experience when I do it this way, more of a meditation than entertainment. Right now, I need the slowness.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  • The Bear and the Nightingale – I really enjoyed this Russian-style fairy tale. Reading it while the local temperatures soared past 100 F was a special treat.
  • Phantom Pains – this is the sequel to Borderline, which I read as part of the 2017 Sirens Reading Challenge. I found it pretty darn entertaining, though for me it suffered a bit from being a sequel (i.e., I liked the first one enough that the second will inevitably be a letdown).
  • Kingfisher – this fantasy was a little high for me but I liked it nonetheless; the worldbuilding in particular I found fantastic.
  • Molly on the Range – light and fun, by the author of the blog My Name is Yeh (a new find for me).
  • The Baking Bible – this was the only one of the books I read over these past weeks that I really didn’t jive with. Beranbaum’s cookbooks have a lot of fans, but somehow they don’t work for me…I keep trying them, but the recipes, for whatever reason, don’t really inspire me. To each his own I guess.

Next up: The Glass Sentence as well as more stories in The Unreal and the Real. I also picked up a collection of LeGuin’s novellas, The Found and the Lost, and am really looking forward to them.

How is your summer reading going?

2017 Sirens Reading Challenge complete!

As of today: I have completed the 2017 Sirens Reading Challenge!

As part of this challenge, I’ve read many books I would not have read otherwise. I loved some of them (N.K. Jesimin’s The Fifth Season, for example). I flat-out hated others (I alluded to one such here). Most were somewhere in between.

The experience of reading so many new-to-me authors and books was definitely positive. I do have some more specific thoughts about my experience of the challenge overall, but I’m letting them coalesce for the time being. Once I can write about them with some coherence I’ll post more. In the meantime, here’s what I read (books I especially liked marked in bold).

Guests of Honor: Required
Required Theme
Additional Theme Books
Middle Grade/Young Adult: Select Five