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Gertrude Perkins
May 1, 2010

Gun Snake

dont talk to gun snake

Drops: human teeth


quote:

1 - The Mark Of Zorro, by Johnston McCulley
2 - The Animal Man Omnibus, by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog, Doug Hazlewood, Tom Grummett, Paris Cullins, Steve Montanto, Mark McKenna, Mark Farmer
3 - Deep Secret, by Diana Wynne Jones
4 - Empires of EVE: A History Of The Great Wars Of EVE Online, by Andrew Groen
5 - The Adventure Zone: Petal To The Metal, by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Justin McElroy & Carey Pietsch
6 - Do You Dream Of Terra-Two?, by Temi Oh
7 - Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel
8 - Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir, by Hari Ziyad
9 - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K Dick
10 - A Certain Hunger, by Chelsea G. Summers
11 - The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Huston & Jonathan Snipes
12 - Binti: The Complete Trilogy, by Nnedi Okorafor
13 - Wake Up Young Lovers, by Paris Green
14 - Gay Bar: Why We Went Out, by Jeremy Atherton Lin
15 - Better Than IRL: True Stories About Finding Your People On The Untamed Internet, edited by Katie West & Jasmine Elliot

16 - William Gibson's Alien 3, by William Gibson, Johnnie Christmas, Tamra Bonvillain. (oops I actually read this in February but completely forgot!) Graphic novel adaption of Gibson's unmade spec script for a third Alien film, plus lots of nice concept art and notes by Gibson himself. There's a serviceable Cold War narrative, some Carpenteresque body horror, but sticking so closely to a script format means the actual comic-ness of it feels very static. It could definitely have been lengthened, some more characters fleshed out, but I understand that would have deviated from the script. Not great, but certainly not bad.


Lots of downtime at work means I read seven books in April:


17 - The End Of The World, by Don Hertzfeldt. A beautiful, funny, sad, surreal apocalypse told on big pages with Hertzfeldt's signature cartoon style. Mostly told through little vignettes, there's a vague narrative arc to keep things moving, though I can see someone dipping into it for a couple of pages at a time to savour the impact. Some elements of this are repurposed in his short film projects, but the different context makes them hit differently. It's good, though my main takeaway was how much I want to rewatch World Of Tomorrow.

18 - The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media, by Ryan M. Milner. An introductory text of sorts to the critical study of memes and their place in online discourse. Being from 2015, Milner's book is interesting in what it isn't able to cover, but there's a lot in here that's useful if not groundbreaking. Latter chapters concerning in/outgroup construction and a good, robust methodology review kept me reading to the end, but this is very much an academic text to be dipped into for choice quotations.

19 - This Is How You Lose The Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone. A queer, posthuman epistolary love story set in and around a bitter multiversal conflict. There are some lovely uses of language here, and the setting very much adheres to the idea that less is more, offering just enough insight into the protagonists' world. There's a healthy level of time travel bullshit, it flows nicely, and ends satisfyingly. I can see what all the fuss is about, and why it got so many glowing accolades.

20 - Current Futures: A Sci-Fi Ocean Anthology, edited by Ann VanderMeer. A collection of short SF stories about the near future, all centred around humanity's relationship with marine life and climate. There are a lot of emotions in this: hope, despair, grim stoicism, all spun off from different potential fates for humankind and the planet. My favourites were 'Repatriation' by Nalo Hopkinson, 'Sturdy Lanterns And Ladders' by Malka Older, 'The Body Remembers' by Kameron Hurley. But all of them left impressions on me, and I definitely recommend this anthology.

21 - Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, by Ntozake Shange. Coming-of-age novel about three black sisters growing up in the mid 20th century. They each have a strong voice and identity that comes through in the text. Focusing on each of the girls in turns, Shange uses their lives to explore the worlds of art, music, and political activism. There's a lot about each character's struggle to self-actualise, to find love and passion and meaningful work; as well as the weight of shared black history and trauma they each carry. The novel includes snippets of letters, recipes, songs and coreography that help flesh out the narrative, too. It's good, and I've already recommended it to a couple of people!

22 - The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin. My first time reading through this seminal text about race, religion and power from the powderkeg of the early 60s. Baldwin's prose is beautiful and impassioned, and the interactions he recounts - with his father, with the Nation of Islam, with the police - are as vividly drawn as his fiction. His philosophy is laid out in empathetic and needful tones, and it is saddening to think about what parts of his vision of a united and universally-liberated America have borne out, sixty years on.

23 - The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel. Almost-complete 20 year run of the cult lesbian slice-of-life comic, from 1987-2008. It's basically a soap opera, so lots of storylines about love, relationships, infidelity, loss, all wrapped up in US politics from late Reagan to late W. The cast are all really well-realised, from the strip's "main character" Mo to even smaller supporting roles, and by the end I felt like I knew all of them intimately, even the few I genuinely disliked. (Lois ended up being my favourite overall). Not that DTWOF doesn't have humour - Bechdel's writing is smart and snarky, but she's not above newspaper-strip comic relief. I really recommend this to anyone, especially younger LGBT people interested in getting in touch with "our" shared history.

1. Set a goal for number of books or another personal challenge. - 23/52
2. Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 1/3 of them are not written by men. - 13 - 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 20, 21, 23
3. Of the books you read this year, make sure a least 1/3 of them are written by writers of colour. - 8 - 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 20, 21, 22
4. Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 1/4 of them are written by LGBT writers. - 10 - 2, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 20, 22, 23
5. Read books whose titles include all the colours of the rainbow. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) - 21
6. Read something recommended to you by a friend or loved one. - 3, 11, 12
7. Ask someone in this thread for a Wildcard, and read it.
8. Read something that's out of print.
9. Read something in translation.
10. Read some poetry.
11. Read some short stories. - 13, 21
12. Read something about a monster.
13. Read an essay collection. - 15
14. Read something historical about a place you've never visited.
15. Read something set in the recent past. - 7, 10, 21
16. Read something from a non-human perspective. - 20
17. Read something about the ocean. - 11, 20
18. Read a collaboration between two or more authors. - 5, 11, 19
19. Read something about games. - 4
20. Read a bestseller from the week/month you were born.
21. Read something by a writer who spent time incarcerated.

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Ben Nevis
Jan 20, 2011


8 books in April. That makes for a pretty good month. Not overall the strongest selection, and somehow I'd managed to check out 3 different short story collections. No colors this month, but I got a historical one, got some short stories and some translated books that aren't double dipping on categories. Also did a BOTM.

I've got Green, Blue, and Indigo books selected, and have an OOP book on ILL request. Kinda stuck thinking about books about the ocean. Still, headed into May I feel good about where I am.

18. Bring me the Head of Quentin Tarantino by Julian Herbert - A short story collection. These all dwell in some sort of weird seedy underbelly of Mexico. There's vibe to some that reminds me of Hunter S Thompson. I remember liking this, but see I only gave it a 3, so maybe I liked the highs but there was some filler that wasn't as good.

19. In Search of a Name by Marjolijn van Heemstra - Apparently van Heemstra came into an heirloom ring given to her if she promised to name a future kid after an uncle who family legend says blew up a Nazi. As she gets pregnant, she looks into the family legend and it's not entirely clear whether the man blown up was a Nazi. And what about collateral damage unmentioned by family legend. Was her uncle a hero? A weird fanatic? And then, she wrote this novel about that experience. I'm counting this as a historical book about a place I've never been, as it's very much about postwar Netherlands. Also generally about history and how hard it can be to uncover seemingly simple facts, even if we're not far removed from them. I enjoyed it.

20. The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien - April BOTM. Bicycle, philosophy, Atomic Theory. It's got everything. Also pretty funny, some laugh out loud moments. Would recommend.

21. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo - The 2nd book after Empress of Salt and Fortune. This sees cleric Chih cornered by tigers and they try to buy time by telling the tigers the famous story of a scholar and tiger who fell in love, and comparing differences in the human and tiger versions of the legend. Without offending the tigers, of course. I liked this a lot.

22. The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure - My wife told me I ought to read this. It's a juvenile history book about the Cottingley fairy pictures that duped, among others, Arthur Conan Doyle. A good intro to the subject, though lacking some depth, being intended for kids. Probably middle grade, if I had to guess.

23. The Sudden Traveler by Sarah Hall - More short stories. Generally solid, but not quite my cup of tea. Hall can definitely turn a phrase though. The titular story was my favorite, I think.

24. That Old Country Music by Kevin Barry - I didn't realize this was short stories. I grabbed it because I enjoyed Night Boat to Tangier, and then it was stories. That said, these were my favorite stories of the month. Barry writes about love and heartbreak and sort of about the feelings a place has. I've always enjoyed books with a real sense of place (cf Lot by Bryan Washington) and this certainly has that. There's a real lyricism to it all as well that I enjoyed. In case of confusion, the title should be read as That "Old Country" Music rather than That Old "Country Music".

25. Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine - Set in Appalachian Ohio for the second year in a row, there's no spring. It's snowing in still and it never warms up enough for plants to grow. Wil, the sole caretaker of her family weed farm, strikes out with some other strays she finds to try and head for warmer climate. Society starts to break down, and she comes across different groups trying to deal, from out of control frat guys to hippies to crazy cults. This is another this month for the solid but not exceptional bucket. I enjoyed it, generally, but it was sort of lacking depth, and I suspect I won't remember it.


Ben Nevis posted:

1. The Factory Witches of Lowell by CS Malerich
2. Talking Animals by Joni Murphy
3. A Grave is Given Supper by Mike Soto
4. Red Ants by Pergentino Jose
5. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Garcia-Moreno
6. Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
7. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
8. American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
9. The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
10. The Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosely
11. Farewell, My Orange by Kei Iwake
12. The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia McKillip
13. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley
14. The Book of Malachi by TC Farren
15. Tindalos Asset by Caitlin Kiernan
16. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
17. Outlawed by Anna North

THE CHALLENGE:

1. Set a goal for number of books or another personal challenge. 17/70
2. Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 20% of them are not written by men. 17/25
3. Of the books you read this year, make sure a least 20% of them are written by writers of colour. 12/25
4. Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 5% of them are written by LGBT writers. 1/17
5. Read books whose titles include all the colours of the rainbow. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) - Red Ants, Farewell My Orange, Crome Yellow,
6. Read something recommended to you by a friend or loved one.
7. Ask someone in this thread for a Wildcard, and read it.
8. Read something that's out of print.
9. Read something in translation. - Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino
10. Read some poetry. - A Grave is Given Supper
11. Read some short stories. - That Old Country Music
12. Read something about a monster. Tindalos Asset
13. Read an essay collection.
14. Read something historical about a place you've never visited. - In Search of a Name
15. Read something set in the recent past. - American Spy
16. Read something from a non-human perspective. - Talking Animals
17. Read something about the ocean.
18. Read a collaboration between two or more authors.
19. Read something about games.
20. Read a bestseller from the week/month you were born.
21. Read something by a writer who spent time incarcerated.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


I completed reading 8 books in April for a running total of 39. I also just realized I've been neglecting keeping the total of my personal goal of reading 10 nonfiction books but that's currently at 2 completed (In the Heart of the Sea and Cesare Borgia) and two that I'm currently working on (Library: An Unquiet History and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat).

32. The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
This is the first in an anti-imperialist/anti-colonialist queer-normative fantasy series, told from the point of view of someone who was basically kidnapped from her home in not-North Africa and indoctrinated by the not-French empire to be an expendable soldier. (The other POV character is the not-French heir apparent princess.) Some people have drawn parallels between this and the Baru Cormorant books because of some of the over-arching themes (the anti-colonialist colonized protagonist, the lesbians) and while you certainly can draw those parallels, the overall tone and style of this was very different. I'd say Baru is a lot grimmer for one thing. Not a bad choice if you're in the market for that kind of book though, and I can see the author growing a lot in the future (this is her debut novel I believe).

33. First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara
This book opens with a giant content warning, and it's definitely there for a reason (though, if you look at some of the negative Goodreads reviews, I would definitely say that some of those people blow things out of proportion and mischaracterize them). It starts with a cult getting busted up by the FBI and the fallout of what happens when some of people who've been raised by the cult since birth (and taught to do magic) have to contend with the real world. There's a lot of playing around with things like whether the 'magic' the cult members do is real or not. It's all extremely gay. Overall I think it was fine, definitely a bit cheesy at the end, but definitely not for everyone.

34. In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
The fourth in the Wayward Children series. I needed something lighter to read after First, Become Ashes, so this was an easy next pick. This one is, so far, set chronologically before any of the rest and tells the story of when one of the teachers from the school was a child and was sucked into the Goblin Market. If you've read the first book, you already sort of know what happens to her that got her permanently banned from the Goblin Market, but this fills in the why very nicely. McGuire manages to fit a lot of action and character development into all of these, and imo they barely feel like they're as short as they are once you've finished reading one (though they are very quick reads).

35. Empire of Light by Alex Harrow
I forget exactly how I came across this but I picked it up with just the knowledge of it being some sort of gay, sci-fi, noir-ish thing. And that's definitely what it is. The characters are messy and there's a lot of ambiguous motivations and double-crossing. Main characters will get killed off. (Some of them won't stay dead, though.) The basic plot is that some people get dangerous magic powers and the totalitarian government explicitly takes them out when they're discovered. So of course the main character's boyfriend is one of the people with powers and that kicks off a lot of the plot. It was enjoyable enough, but one thing that bothered me was how many chapter transitions were basically just smash-cuts to completely new places without any plot lead-in (I'll admit I got lost a few times not knowing where the characters were or why until a few pages into the chapter when some context was finally given).

36. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
Sci fi story set on a generation ship that functions essentially like the antebellum South. The main character is one of the Low-Deckers who, while being essentially a slave, has a talent for science (medicine especially) and ends up trying to overthrow the oppressive power structures of the ship while investigating the truth behind her mother's apparent suicide. It's pretty intense and doesn't shy away from the casual cruelties of the white people who run the ship. The ending is pretty optimistic though, and I know this book is going to stick with me (I'm definitely looking forward to checking out more of Solomon's work soon).

37. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
Fifth Wayward Children book, since I needed another break after Unkindness of Ghosts. This one was one of the grimmer books, but in a fun way? It returns to Jack and Jill's plotline that started in the first book so there's a return to the Classic-Universal-Monster-Movie-esque world of The Moors. But this time with more Frankenstein girlfriends and eldritch sea gods. It was good fun and wrapped up the Jack and Jill storyline nicely.

38. Cesare Borgia: His Life and Times by Sarah Bradford
I'm realizing now that it just takes me longer to read nonfiction books even though I enjoy them (this took me over a month). They're just too dense for me to blaze through like I do with fiction. This was a fascinating biography about one of the infamous Borgia family members who, in his short life, managed to cause enough of a ruckus in Italy that he featured in one of the chapters of Machiavelli's The Prince. There's also some fun tidbits about Cesare's dad, Pope Alexander VI who I was vaguely aware of because of the story about the party he held at the Vatican involving a bunch of naked women crawling on the floor to scoop up chestnuts and win a prize (Cesare was, allegedly, there too). Definitely a very memorable biography and I've already got Bradford's 'sequel' biography about Lucrezia Borgia in the hopper.

39. The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
The final book in the Wayfarer's series. A bunch of aliens get stuck at a space motel for a few days while waiting their turns in the local hyperspace tunnel queue. This is a nice ending to the series. It's got the same balance of coziness, interpersonal tension, and people just trying to do their best while still making mistakes that define Chambers' other work. There are almost no humans in this book (unlike the other three) and I appreciate the effort that Chambers puts in to make the aliens actually feel like aliens with distinct cultures, mores, and biologies (also, the Akarak being tiny parrot-sloth things is adorable).

1. Set a goal for number of books or another personal challenge. 39/100
2. Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 20% of them are not written by men. >32/39
3. Of the books you read this year, make sure a least 20% of them are written by writers of colour. >11/39
4. Of the books you read this year, make sure at least 5% of them are written by LGBT writers. >25/39
5. Read books whose titles include all the colours of the rainbow. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) (Red, White and Royal Blue) (Yellow Jessamine)
6. Read something recommended to you by a friend or loved one. (The Seventh Perfection)
7. Ask someone in this thread for a Wildcard, and read it.
8. Read something that's out of print.
9. Read something in translation.
10. Read some poetry.
11. Read some short stories.
12. Read something about a monster. (Frankenstein)
13. Read an essay collection.
14. Read something historical about a place you've never visited. (Cesare Borgia)
15. Read something set in the recent past. (Red, White and Royal Blue)
16. Read something from a non-human perspective. (The Galaxy, and the Ground Within)
17. Read something about the ocean. (Heart of the Sea)
18. Read a collaboration between two or more authors. (This Is How You Lose the Time War)
19. Read something about games.
20. Read a bestseller from the week/month you were born.
21. Read something by a writer who spent time incarcerated.

Gertrude Perkins
May 1, 2010

Gun Snake

dont talk to gun snake

Drops: human teeth


DurianGray posted:

36. An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
Sci fi story set on a generation ship that functions essentially like the antebellum South. The main character is one of the Low-Deckers who, while being essentially a slave, has a talent for science (medicine especially) and ends up trying to overthrow the oppressive power structures of the ship while investigating the truth behind her mother's apparent suicide. It's pretty intense and doesn't shy away from the casual cruelties of the white people who run the ship. The ending is pretty optimistic though, and I know this book is going to stick with me (I'm definitely looking forward to checking out more of Solomon's work soon).


Sounds like Rivers Solomon is even more inspired by clipping. than I thought - that premise sounds similar to their 2016 album Splendor & Misery. And then of course Solomon would go on to adapt their track "The Deep", which I read earlier this year...


Also hey, someone wildcard me please!

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