This year reading has come easy, after letting go of reading challenges last year, and just letting myself go with the flow, and with my whims, I didn’t reach the end of the year racing to meet some arbitrary goal, and I feel better for it.
I started the year off reading Theodore Sturgeon’s More than Human, mostly because he was one of Octavia Butlers Mentors and one of the Read Harder Challenge’s for this year was “read your favourite authours favourite book” but I realized later that her favourite book was likely Pilgrimage by Zenna Henderson since it was a book Octavia Butler often gifted to friends.
Incidentally, it was somewhat challenging to find a copy of it – but I did make it to the Merrill Collection of Science Fiction in the Lillian H. Smith Library in Toronto so I got to take a look at the book. It’s a non-circulating copy, which turned into a great excuse to visit the collection and take a peek at the current exhibit they have called “Speculating Women – Pioneers of the Fantastic” which is on until April.
I sat in the library and got the gist of the book, but I managed to find a digital copy so I can give it my full attention at some point.
The thing I love about reading challenges is that when I feel like reading something, but am not really into whatever is on my TBR (to be read) I can take a look at the challenge lists and see if anything in particular resonates at the moment, but also that sometimes I can see if a book I read without a challenge influence fits within the parameters. It
Other Read Harder challenge books I’ve read were:
- Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin – (Read a novel about a trans character written by a trans author)
- Crumbs by Danie Stirling (Read a completed webcomic).
- Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands Kate Beaton (Read a graphic novel / comic / manga if you haven’t before; or read one that is a different genre than you normally read)
- Widowland by C.J. Carey (Read a book you know nothing about based solely on the cover. – which was a pity, because I learned after the fact this novel was written by a TERF, so I wont be reading any further.) I also read it because it was on the Philip K Dick Awards longlist.
Other books I’ve finished this month:
- Upgrade by Blake Crouch
- The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
- The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi (part of a trilogy)
- Made Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky
- The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson with Eugene Yelchin
- The Stand-Up Groomsman by Jackie Lau (Book 2)
- Ship Wrecked (book 3 of the Spoiler Alert series) by Olivia Dade
- An absolute obsession with all of the published Vampire Knitting Club books by Nancy Warren (which I’ve unfortunately finished – though a new one came out)
- When We Had Power by Susan Kaye Quinn
- The Seventh Wife by T.Kingfisher
- Africa Risen a short story collection by multiple authours.
- Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire
- Greenwood by Michael Christie
- Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
- Autonomous by Analee Newiz
For me the top three standouts for the month were nice in different ways:
Greenwood by Michael Christie is a multigenerational saga that follows several people connected by a private island off the coast of British Columbia. I was pulled into the story from the beginning when introduced to a botanist working as a glorified tree park tour guide after global climate collapse made trees, and especially old growth trees, a rarity. The story was woven in a really lovely way, where the perspective would shift in time or character, but in every case there was this feeling of sadness imbued in the work – which I’m not normally inclined towards picking up, but in this case it was very well done. It’s one of the short listed Canada Reads books this year.
The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi took a bit to get into, but I’m glad I came back to it after putting it down last year. It’s a story of identity, secrets, revolution, and privilege in a society separated into classes by blood types. It ended up going to places I did not expect, and it was a pleasant surprise. I’m glad this is part of a trilogy, because I’m curious where the authour and story will take me next.
Legends and Lattes was a slow and steady cozy fantasy novel with orcs, elfs, succubi, baker rats, and the steps towards opening a coffee shop, and I liked it – some people aren’t looking for chill vibes with minimal strife, and so for them, I figure they should pass on this one, but I was really feeling something cozy and soft after some heavier books, and this stood out as a new and potentially interesting direction for fantasy novels. It wasn’t full of grande battles (just a little bit of tension)
I am looking forward to a mix of book types in February – I’ve already found this month’s Cozy Witchy Mystery books, Nine-Lives Mystery’s by Danielle Garrett featuring a sassy cat called Seline, and I have an e-ARC that received high praise I’m looking forward to taking a look at.