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Books read, late April

Elizabeth Bear, New Amsterdam. Reread. This wampyr and sorceress are among my favorite iterations of “together, they fight crime,” and it was time to revisit their cases together, which hold up extremely well.

Rita Chang-Eppig, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea. Discussed elsewhere.

Oliver Darkshire, Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller. Breezy anecdotes about a job that is exactly what it says on the tin.

Heid E. Erdrich, National Monuments. I don’t think anybody had to tell Heid Erdrich that the personal is political, I think she already knew, and these poems definitely do know.

Winifred Holtby, The Crowded Street. Kindle. Not as funny as The Blue Castle but a similar take on the superfluous woman problem of the 1920s, more consciously so, and with an interesting ending as well. I like Holtby, I like spending time with her sentences.

Guy Gavriel Kay, The Lions of Al-Rassan. Reread. This is another reread that is approximately where I left it; it is appropriately bloody and sad for a book about an alternate world version of the Reconquista, so go in forewarned. A friend mentioned seeing Dorothy Dunnett’s influence on Kay just as I was starting to read this, and once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it, but not in a bad way, at least not for me.

Fonda Lee, Untethered Sky. Vivid fun novella of rocs and their hunting handlers. Monsters monsters rawr yay.

Wendy Lesser, Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books. Does what it says on the tin, extremely cozy.

Ulla-Lena Lundberg, Ice. This is the sort of Nordic novel where all sorts of nice people have nice things happen in order that the parts that are about grief will be sharper and worse when they arrive. The cultural types of grief it goes into made me feel very seen, and the writing about high summer in the Baltic made me so happy, and then there was the rest and aaaaaagh. If you want to read this book, which is quite well done, be extremely careful about what frame of mind you’re in when you do.

David Mura, The Stories Whiteness Tells Itself: Racial Myths and Our American Narratives. I wish that people were allowed to publish books like this that were just the unique narrative analyses and not all the hand-holding for people who have not thought about race in America at all before, but I know that an unfortunate number of people really haven’t thought about race in America at all before, and Mura needed to get them up to speed before he could put in his essays about narrative structures in various types of fiction and what they reinforce racially. The middle of this book was really interesting, and the rest was done well for what it needed to be doing.

Megan E. O’Keefe, The Blighted Stars. Discussed elsewhere.

Alma Steingart, Axiomatics: Mathematical Thought and High Modernism. Oh mathematicians and your shenanigans in interacting with the rest of the culture in the early 20th century! oof. Yeah. “Let’s have a math dictator, that’s how we’ll defeat Hitler!” My pals. I love finding stuff like this out, though.

Sarah Suk, The Space Between Here and Now. Discussed elsewhere.

Angie Thomas, Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy. I was so glad to see this. It was so much fun, just an absolute delight of a MG fantasy–completely different from The Hate You Give in genre, category, and style, but absolutely reminiscent of it in writing skill. Thomas is such a major talent, and it’s lovely to see her branching out.

Wenfei Tong, Bird Love: The Family Life of Birds. This is another of the “fun facts and pretty pictures about the natural world” books that I find not outstanding but quite soothing.

Zacharias Topelius, The King’s Ring. Kindle. An historical novel about the Thirty Years War, written in the nineteenth century. I’m still not clear why there’s a framing device where the whole thing is told by a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, but whatever, I’m amiable.

Elizabeth von Arnim, The Benefactress. Kindle. Minor von Arnim, don’t start here. There are several entertaining bits, but the arc of it is pretty status quo-ward in ways that it is not charming enough to make wonderful.

Ibi Zoboi, Nigeria Jones. Discussed elsewhere.

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