Spent a good chunk of Victoria Day reading Red Sister by by Mark Lawrence, and I am pleased to report that this was a good life choice!

It’s like Harry Potter.  Except instead of taking place in Britain, it takes place in a sci-fi Ice Age wasteland.  And instead of taking place in Hogwarts, it takes place in a convent for magical battle nuns.  And instead of starring a dude as the Chosen One, it stars a neglected young peasant girl with a heart made for war.  And instead of having Neville Longbottom, it has a spoiled noble girl who is also a Chosen One candidate and who clearly needs to make with our protagonist, like, yesterday.

So basically Harry Potter + sci fi + murder + lesbians - whimsy.

I am so mad that the sequel doesn’t have a release date yet.

I survived triumphed over another 24-hour readathon, because that’s what you do when you got nothing else going for you but a stack of books! This year was a little less fun than the previous year (more people=higher stress, fewer places to sit/less ability to rearrange, someone’s girlfriend predictably getting bored and a little whiny about a lot of things. On the other hand I can say for a fact that I was awake and reading books for 23 hours and 45 minutes out of the 24 hours total. (Took a 15-minute nap at about 3:30 this morning.) 

Here’s the total stack of books I read:

  • Terry Pratchett: The Wee Free Men
  • Terry Pratchett: A Hat Full of Sky
  • Jaye Robin Brown: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
    Domenica Ruta: With Or Without You
  • Claire North: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
  • Alastair Reynolds: Turquoise Days
  • Hannah Pittard: Listen To Me
  • Nina LaCoer: We Are Okay
  • Jacqueline Koyanagi: Ascension
  • Jen Mann: People I Want To Punch In The Throat
  • Miscellaneous George MacDonald fairy tales (The Golden Key, The Gray Wolf, The Day Boy and the Night Girl, The Lost Princess)

All in all, 2,738 pages.

I am so tired.

Book Requests

Yeah we’re not gonna talk about that.

Instead, I need book recs! I have a 24-Hour Readathon next week and I need to have a good stack of options on hand.

I currently have a good assortment of heavy sci-fi and a few fantasy classics I’ve been meaning to read on hold. What I want to add are some lighter things to balance it out. Such as:

- Contemporary YA with a good, solid, strange story, preferably not romance (ex: Tell The Wolves I’m Home, The Space Between Trees, The Goats)

- Something short with really lovely language (ex: We Have Always Lived In The Castle, The Sparrows, The Martian Chronicles, Bel Canto)

- Self-contained graphic novels (ex: Blankets, Rice Boy)

- Really good memoirs

- Which actual Discworld book to start

Hit me up!

I don’t buy books I haven’t read, but I made an exception and pre-ordered “City of Miracles” by Robert Jackson Bennett. I already open the first two and I might as well complete the trilogy. Plus, the spines are very pretty on my bookshelf, and that’s important.

I have high hopes. I really love the world introduced in “City of Stairs.” I loved the issues of colonialism and cultural erasure, and the Russian and Indian inspiration, and I especially loved that Bennett got at the heart of Russia (it’s not fur hats, it’s absence and grief, LOOKING AT YOU GRISHA SERIES.) I loved the juxtaposition of “where did our gods go?” with “why didn’t we ever have a god of our own?” I loved the sneaky ruthless awful women in politics and the military and all their scars and muscles. I got goosebumps at the thing with all the knuckles.

The second wasn’t AS good as the first, but it wasn’t a letdown. “You are no true soldiers.”

If I haven’t recommended this series before now, let me go ahead and give it my stamp of approval.

I had time on my hands and went through all my read books on goodreads and divided them by gender, because my ‘most read authors’ always made me ashamed of how most of them were white men. I was actually pleasantly surprised; about 109 men and 87 women that isn’t as big a gap as I feared. The ‘most read authors’ is just skewed because I read long fantasy series and that’s still a bit of a boys’ club. I’m hoping to close the gap this year.

The biggest percentage, regardless of gender, is still white though so I’ll have to work on that.

So I mainlined the first two Invisible library books in three days, which I think is pretty good, considering that I have a day job.

Things I am enjoying:

  • Our hero Irene the Librarian, who is a spy and also basically a witch, but who somehow still avoids being a flirtatious sexbomb Bioware Bisexual.
  • Cyborg alligators.
  • Fangirl Irene code-naming herself after Irene Adler, then being constantly aggrieved by a Sherlock Holmes equivalent treating her like his actual Irene Adler.
  • Irene’s hilariously frustrated thirst for her grad student who, in fairness to Irene, is a literal handsome prince who looks like he stepped off the set of a wuxia movie.  I don’t usually go for that kind of thing but it works here because: (i) he’d be super into it; (ii) she is way too much of a professional to take advantage of the mentor/student relationship; and (iii) the usual gender dynamic for these things is flipped.
  • Enjoying my steampunk Discourse-free in a alternate universe where Vaguely Victorian Britain does not seem to have ever had an overseas empire.
  • The big multiversal Order (dragons) vs Chaos (fairies) conflict, which is both as insane as it sounds and less overdone that it sounds.  Because the conflict is not so much good vs evil as lawful neutral vs chaotic neutral, with Irene and the Library being neutral neutral.   People seem to do pretty okay wherever, it’s just a matter of preference – life in Lawful Neutral Land is peaceful but totalitarian, and life in Chaotic Neutral Land is exciting and personally fulfilling but hazardous and full of sociopaths.

Things I am not so much enjoying:

  • We never get to spend any time in the damn Library!  You can’t tell me there’s a library full of witches stealing books from across the multiverse  and then NOT let me see it, oh my god.
  • There is no fandom, and a quick look at goodreads reviews seems to suggest that if there were a fandom, everyone would be shipping Irene with the white dude who constantly questions her ethics and who she has never expressed attraction to.  Whyyyyyy
  • I only have one book left until, like, December.  :(