Showing posts from January, 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale Katherine Arden, 2017 New Release! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review. Premise: A minor noble in medieval Russia loves his wife for all her strangeness. Their daughter Vasya will inherit her mother's gifts and defend her home as best she can from the darkness of both men and spirit. I was very hopeful about this book, the descriptions and tag lines were all very intriguing. In the end, I liked it, but it wasn't as special or unique as I might have wished. The writing style and use of Russian folklore and culture were well done; I felt that I could see the creatures and the places. However, the plot meanders for a while setting up all the pieces before getting to the meat. All of the setup - Vasya's parents, politics that affect their family, her birth and early childhood - just isn't that compelling to me. Vasya is a wild child with an affinity for spirits and the land. Her main adversary i

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities Rebecca Solnit, 2004, 2015 Premise: A case for hope despite adversity, describing several progressive movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. I thought at times while reading it that this was an odd book to read now, even though it was lauded and spread around in the immediate wake of the 2016 election. Somewhat ironically and somewhat logically, I found the chapters about principles and ideas more solid than the chapters which detailed the events that ostensibly supported those principles. Although additional material was added in 2014 and 2015, the book was originally written during the second Bush administration and is often focused on news that was current at that time. I am either not fully familiar with or not fully convinced by the results of some of the movements and protests that she cites as evidence. This means that her argument -- said movements created more change than is immediat

Love Is Love

Love Is Love Hundreds of creators organized by Marc Andreyko, published by IDW, 2016 Premise: This comic anthology was created in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Proceeds benefit the victims, survivors, and their families. It's not easy to review any anthology, and this is an extreme example. Every piece is only one or two pages, and they range from straight art pieces, to evocative art and poetry, to stylized or indy comic style pieces, to classic modern superhero mini-stories. Common themes include resilience, grief, and, of course, love. There are little stories about children coming out to parents, about the place clubs have in LGBT culture, about the shock and anguish as the reports came out, about how hate is passed on and how it is overcome. Not every piece hit home for me, some were more esoteric or I'm not sure I understood. It is an overall a very emotional book to read, though. Some of the most powerful pieces (no surprise)

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club Genevieve Valentine, 2014 Premise: Jo and her eleven sisters lead a quiet, cloistered life in the upper stories of their father’s townhouse. Except that every chance they get, the girls are sneaking out to dance. This is a fantastic retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, set in the 1920’s. It makes a lot of sense to set it then: The father is of an older generation, embarrassed by having no sons, and tries to keep the girls hidden to keep them “pure.” The girls are drawn to the combined secrecy and freedom of the underground network of speakeasies and dance halls. I really appreciated how much effort went into giving each girl agency and at least a little character. Jo, the eldest, is the main character, as she looks out for the others, and is the main interface with their father. And I’ll admit that the author, faced with eleven other young women to sketch out, does end up with two sets of twins that made me think of the way many of t

The Year of DNF... and a New Challenge

Well, it's 2017. In 2016 I took on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, and I posted 22 reviews out of 24 challenges . The only two I missed were reading a book out loud and a book about religion. There were probably several books I read last year that qualify as being "about" religion, but I didn't finish the one I intended to read for the purpose of the challenge. That leads me to the trend of this year - Did Not Finish I gave out a LOT of four- and five-star reviews this year, at least partially because this was the year that I stopped reading a lot of books halfway through. This used to be fairly unusual for me. I used to care a lot more about finishing any book I started. Especially for the purpose of review, I'll sometimes finish a book I don't like so I'll be able to articulate why I don't like it. But this year, between completing a certificate program in editing, starting a new editing job with a 45-60 minute commute and then BUYING A