3 May 2017

frayadjacent: Aeryn Sun with her tongue out to taste the rain. Text says "let it rain" (Farscape: Aeryn rain)
I haven't posted a reading meme in a couple of months, but my reading has slowed down too.

What I've read since my last post (in chronological order)

After Atlas, by Emma Newman. A murder mystery set in the same universe at Planetfall. I loooovvvvved this book, and wrote a very spoilery, book-ruining post about it. The non-spoilery summary is: this book has just as strong point-of-view characterisation as Planetfall and probably has a stronger plot. (I'm personally even more drawn to Ren, the POV character of Planetfall, than to Carlos, the POV character in After Atlas, but he is excellent.) It also, in my opinion, makes the weird, frustrating ending of Planetfall more palatable. Highly recommended, and I can't wait for more in the series. (Content notes: suicide and disordered eating feature heavily in the story (I do not recall any fat-shaming -- the disordered eating is not connected to anything related to the character's physical appearance). There are also mentions of male-on-male sexual abuse. Feel free to ask me for more details on any of these.)

A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers. Oh, you guys. I almost didn't read this book, and I loved it so much. Pepper and Owl's relationship gutted me. Even a passing reference to it at the end of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet brought tears to my eyes. And Sidra's arc was incredible. Such good character interactions, such lovely relationships, such a kind book but with such emotional depth. I nominated this for a Hugo, and am so glad it made the shortlist.

Signal to Noise
, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Magical realism, set in Mexico, with the main character an immigrant who is coming home for the first time in decades after her father's death. There were lots of reasons to love this book, and I did like it, but...the primary POV character is so cruel I found it hard to enjoy. Lots of people enjoy an "unlikeable" main character -- and given that this character is a woman of colour, I am in principle all for it. But, eh, it's just not for me.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers. Such a sweet, wonderful book, with lovely characters I just want to spend more time with. I read this after its (loose) sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, so I had one major spoiler, but everything else was new. I loved that this book took violence really seriously -- events that would hardly be considered violent in a lot of science fiction were scary, and the trauma the characters endured was treated as real. I loved how thoughtful the story was. My only complaint is that it wasn't longer. The titular long voyage through unfamiliar space ended up occupying very little of the book, and I think it would have been interesting to spend more time on the boredom and cabin fever that ensued. But I'd have only wanted that if it added to the length of the book -- I wouldn't want anything taken away!

What I'm reading now

Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor. I'm not too far in, but so far I'm really liking that it's dealing with the emotional aftermath of what goes down in Binti. The horrors at the beginning of Binti sorta got swept aside later in the book, so I'm glad to see it getting the attention it deserves. I wish I had read this immediately after Binti (I bought them both at the same time, so I have no idea why I didn't), because I'm actually struggling to remember why she is friends with Okwu, instead of at least low-key hating it.

What I'll read next

Probably The Book of Phoenix, by Nnedi Okorafor.

Free book-shaped space

I don't think I ever posted about it, but my main reading goal for 2017 was to read 24 books, and I'm well on track to meet it! But I also keep going back and forth between wanting to read whatever sounds interesting, and reading what will be eligible for Hugos next year. I didn't join Worldcon this year, so I can't vote (to my relief!) but I kinda want to join next year. It's a bit silly -- I've just gotten back in the habit of reading fiction consistently, and I'm already getting Hugo FOMO.

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