fantasy · General · reading

Reading: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

I have got Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse.

I have barely gotten started but this is a book that grabs hold and doesn’t let go.

The publisher page for this book has this poem:

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

This quote – prophecy? – explains the title. I am getting used to it. The excerpt is on the publisher site, too.

The first line is fantastic. It is one of the best of the first lines I have read in a long, long time. Well, no, it is a few lines down because there is another quote to begin Chapter 1.

Today he would become a god. His mother had told him so.

The first chapter is kind of gruesome. Actually, very gruesome. But it sets a stage and makes you want to read and read and read until you are done. Which I have not been able to do until now!

I am already about a quarter done and am enjoying myself immensely. I believe all major characters/settings have been introduced!

It does seem to be inspired by various pre-Columbian American cultures, which is interesting. I love the world so far, the magic, the different kind of magics and people that are here.

There is singing magic and the boy whose mother told he would become a god – yeah, he has some interesting magic too. There are priests and deadly politics.

There are also odd pronouns – I don’t quite have the hang of them yet. Still getting used to that part and it jars me every time I read it because I don’t really understand what the different pronouns mean. I need more explanation for this part. But it will come in time, I am sure.

General · reading

Out of my Reading Rut

Reading Rut: when you feel like most of the books you are reading are very similar. Not the same, no, just similar.

That is where I was with my reading. I feel like this happened because I started taking more suggestions from Amazon. Amazon will pretty much only suggest similar items to what you’ve already bought/searched; that is both the strength and weakness of its algorithms. Sometimes similar is what you want, but sometimes it gets boring.

My visiting other blogs fell down a hole. I started visiting twitter again, which helped, but book suggestions didn’t happen like it used to. I have considered getting into Bookstagram or booktok, but haven’t done it. I may at some point.

Anyway – on twitter – I discovered a YouTube video KJ Charles had posted of what was on her TBR pile. It was a long video, about 40 minutes. (It seems like a long video to me.) She (I had never before heard her talk or seen her face. Quite nice) made this video with Ashland Public Library MA – thank you libraries!

I have also discovered my own library has an YouTube account, but they, sadly, do not do TBR videos with authors. Ashland Public Library has a whole playlist of TBR videos with authors: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF7TVD3UhPxovOUopStAn4XAcNOMF2HyJ

I had only watched a few minutes before I discovered two new interesting books. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and a whole new series of historical mystery fiction set in India by Abir Mukherjee. They both sounded good. Not that I have either yet – have only found excerpts and previews so far.

But I probably wouldn’t have discovered them if it weren’t for this video. Well, possibly I might have discovered Black Sun. I think I have heard it, but Black Sun is a common title. There is Black Sun’s Daughter and some others, so I think it is possible I heard of it and confused it with some other book. But I dunno if I would have heard of Abir Mukherjee otherwise.

So I am out of my reading slump!

I am anticipating watching the other TBR videos and getting more recommendations. It seems they have done this Gail Carriger, Meg Cabot, Jayne Ann Krentz – all authors I like! There are authors as well that I have never read, but perhaps I should take that as a suggestion, hmm?

But, yes, this TBR video has gotten me out of this reading rut!

reading

Thoughts on an unknown book by a favorite writer

That feeling you get when you discover one of your most favorite writers will have a new series out, probably sometime next year.

There is no info, no cover art, no blurb, no short description! There certainly isn’t any excerpt. There is nothing at all!

And yet you know, know, that it will be absolutely fantastic.

General · reading

Banned Book Week, 2020

It is banned book week once more, a week to celebrate literacy and reading.

I haven’t been keeping track of banned book weeks for the past couple of years and this year I decided to take a look.

This year’s top ten list of banned books from the ALA include:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

The list has changed a lot since the last time I looked at it, and I don’t remember when that was. A few years back anyway.

I have heard of only four books: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Of Mice and Men by John Steinback, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

I have read only two: Of Mice and Men by John Steinback and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Of Mice and Men was required reading in school and I remember nothing of it.

It seems George has been on the list for the past few years and I hadn’t even heard of it.

All American Boys has “too much of a sensitive matter right now” as a reason to ban it and I really don’t know what that means. I wonder if that means there will come a time when it is not banned because the matter is no longer sensitive.

fantasy · reading

Breaking of a mouse’s heart

I’ve started reading The Light Fantastic and this is my second Terry Pratchett book.

There was the faintest of pure sounds, high and sharp, like the breaking of a mouse’s heart.

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

This quote is utterly fantastic. I cannot quite picture what this sound is like – the death cries of a mouse? But it’s sticking in my head.

And I’m only in the beginning of this book. And the beginning of Terry Pratchett novels.

reading

D is for Death Scenes

adult_human_skull_-_asian_male_thumbnail__60388.1530765307.500.659Death scenes should be meaningful, yes? I think so. If not meaningful, they should at least be memorable. They stick with you. Maybe you return to it, over and over again in some fashion.

These are some of the most memorable death scenes I recall.

  1. Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. I read this book over and over again in childhood. The death of Charlotte – the first time I heard it, it was very shocking. Less shocking, obviously, the second and third and fourth time I reread it. But I think her death is one of the reasons why I reread this book so often.
  2. Sergeant Bothari from the Miles Vorkosigan books. He was both a rapist, and if I remember the books right, a victim of rape. He was a torturer and also mentally disabled. He also protected Miles throughout his childhood. Yet I feel his death was just. Perhaps his life is a tragedy, always heading that since birth.
  3. Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had a lot of problems with this book, but for some reason Henry’s death sticks out in my mind. Henry loses his feet and then is shot to death while time traveling by his wife’s brother. His death seems more memorable to me then the whole book.  Which is a bit odd, I suppose.
  4. Rue from the Hunger Games. Really, there were a lot of deaths in this series, but who can forget this scene? And how important it was to the rest of the series?
  5. Dorothea from Black Jewels. Anne Bishop does revenge really, really well. Dorothea is enemy number one in this series and her death was perfect.
reading

C is for Characters

Characters! Sometimes you read a book more for the characters than the plot. Lots of times, in fact. If the characters suck, oftentimes I stop reading.

If some characters come out in a new book, I would read it and I don’t really need to know anything else. Do you have favorite characters like that?

Five of my favorite characters:

  1. Eve Dallas from the In Death series by JD Robb
  2. Daemon from Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop
  3. Miles Vorkosigan from Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
  4. Mercy Thompson from Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
  5. Meg Corbyn from The Others by Anne Bishop

 

reading

B is for Books

06_17_2013_book-smell-e1371501750113
photo: David Flores

B is for Books

So . . . books. Libraries are closed, bookstores are closed. But! Books can still be ordered online and downloaded from your favorite platform. Ebooks from libraries are a thing.

Including the Internet Archive. It seems the Internet Archive has more recent books. I have known of the Internet Archive existence for quite some time, but I thought it had only old books, books that are so old they are in the public domain.

It seems that is not correct. They announced a national emergency library (http://blog.archive.org/2020/03/24/announcing-a-national-emergency-library-to-provide-digitized-books-to-students-and-the-public/) where they are allowing more recent books to be borrowed. The same item can be borrowed by multiple people at the same time.

I had the impression – somehow! – that the National Archive held only old books. I supposed that is because I have only ever gone looking for old books on it. Alice in Wonderland, The adventures of Tom Sawyer, a book on the birds of India someone wrote when they traveled to India during the British Raj, old dusty books like that.

I wasn’t even aware they had any other kind of books even available. I suppose I wasn’t paying attention, but I am shocked. Shocked they had recent books available at all, let alone that they decided to make some kind of national emergency library.

 

fantasy · reading

Pandemic in Priory of the Orange Tree

I’ve been reading The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. It’s a long book, almost a thousand pages, and a bit slow at times.

It has many things I like – dragons, magic, myth, great characters. It has what feels like centuries of history.

But the thing that stands out in my mind right now is that this world remembers a past pandemic. In one city, outsiders or those harboring them can be killed or imprisoned. Because maybe they carry the disease.

Even privateers were not willing to land there; they rowed their charges only close enough that they could wade in, because of the risk of getting the disease.

There is a lot to focus on because there is a lot going on in this story. But the thing that has caught my attention is this ancient pandemic. In the story so far, it feels like it was over a long time ago. I could be wrong, but I am still pretty early in the story.

It is just – centuries later, people still react to some people as though are carrying the disease. It must have been quite terrible while it was happening.

It makes me wonder how this current coronavirus will affect the future. It is quite terrible now and things only promise to get worse in the coming weeks.

Well, we have to survive it first, and I am sure this country will survive it. How much damage will be sustained – that is the question. The very question. A lot of damage – economic, health – and I wish I knew how it would change the world.

It is a bit anxiety-inducing, to not know really how much damage the novel coronavirus will leave behind.

 

reading

What are feminine length nails?

I am rereading A Vampire’s Claim by Joey W. Hill.

There is a line in it that goes:

Her nails were a feminine length with clear polish, the elegant tips drawing attention to the grace of her hands.

It really makes me wonder how long this lady’s nails are.

It is a minor thing, I suppose, and I don’t really remember caring or even briefly wondering the first time I read this book. But for some reason it’s standing out for me today.

Are her nails super long? Medium length, not long, not very short?

I can argue that every woman has feminine length nails, no matter that they are long or short or medium.

Mostly I suppose I picture my own nails, whatever length they are at the time.