Status Update

Every Sunday Tim compiles a report about what we read the week before. For most of the books we mention, you can expect a review soon.

Sunday Status Update: November 11, 2018

We read a few more fun books this week!


Bill: This week I finally finished Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant, a novel I admired more than enjoyed.  I also read How to Love the Universe: A Scientist’s Odes to the Hidden Beauty Behind the Visible World by Stefan Klein, a nicely written overview of a dozen or so major concepts of modern physics. On audio, I continue to be captivated by Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Our Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, a truly excellent (so far) work of non-fiction that examines why we do what we do, from the milliseconds prior to our behavior to hereditary factors that may predispose us to certain behaviors.

Kat: I read Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 4, 2018

We've read plenty of fun books this week!

Bill: I’ve been busy with grading and writing, so haven’t read much the past two weeks (which as my family will attest, puts me in a bad mood). I am, however, slowly making my way through The Monster Baru Cormorantby Seth Dickinson(stimulating but not yet grabbing me). I’m also listening to the utterly fascinating Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Our Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. Because I can grade with the TV on, I’ve done more viewing than reading, including binging in a night all of Daredevilseason 3 which I thought absolutely fantastic even with a few misstep episodes. My son and I tried Supernatural but stopped with a solid “meh” after the first six.  We’re now working our way through season one of The X-Fil... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 28, 2018

As Halloween approaches, we've been reading plenty of seasonal (and a few less-than-seasonal) new books!

Marion: I read An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I hope to add my thoughts to the excellent reviews by Bill and Kat. The book is a literary science fiction novel; one of a handful that you can offer to your literary reading friends who can’t find their way into science fiction.

Bill introduced me to  Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 21, 2018

Kat: In an effort to get better quality sleep, I've been forcing myself to get off the computer by 8:00 every night and then spending a few hours listening to audiobooks while working jigsaw puzzles. I'm sleeping better and I'm getting a lot read this way (plus, I listen during my commute to and from work). Since you heard from me last, I've read All Systems Red by Martha WellsDimension of Miracles and Untouched by Human Hands by Robert Sheckley, The Man Who Fell to Earth by  Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 14, 2018

This week, due to an erro ron my end, we have fewer write-ins than usual. I've filled the gaps with an old method pulled out of retirement.

Ayesha: Week 148,345. Still waiting for inevitable Fate to once more sweep my lost love Kallikrates back to me across the winds of time. So, you know, same old. As it rolls back around to harvest time, I remember a night many years ago when a man came to my mountain seeking wisdom. It was a night much like this one, when the reapers were at work with their sickles in the fields, and the days ended early and bloody. He prostrated himself before me and begged to know some secret he might carry back to his village. It was his manhood quest or something. I don't know, I can't remember. I was drunk, you see. I'm often drunk. I've been sitting on this throne for a thousand years. Of course I drink.

So I said, "Uh... what's tomorrow?" He to... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 7, 2018

And so ends the first week of October. Here's what we're reading!

Bill: This week’s genre reading was a bit disappointing as I was the outlier on a pair of books that have received mostly good reviews (including here at Fanlit). The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera honestly just bored me, while The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson had lots to admire idea-wise but never really engaged me with its characters or story. In non-fiction, Putting the Science in Fiction, edited by Dan Koboldt, was a mostly successful collection of blog articles advising writers on improving their use of science in their writing; while Nine Pints, by Rose George, was an often-fascinating look at human blood.  Media-wise, thanks to the family being out of town, I binged all of The Man ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 30, 2018

Another week, more reading!

Jana: This week I made good progress with Julie Kagawa's upcoming Shadow of the Fox, which begins a new YA fantasy series (trilogy?) heavily influenced by Japanese feudal-era culture and mythology. It's scratching my shoujo manga itch in a serious way, and I'm really enjoying it. I also read Waubgeshig Rice's upcoming post-apocalyptic novel Moon of the Crusted Snow, which blends First Nations storytelling and history in a way that I don't see nearly often enough. Reviews coming soon. On deck:  Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 23, 2018

Here we are at the beginning of Autumn, with plenty of new books to read.

Bill: First essays came in so not as much reading this week.  I did complete V.E. Schwab’s Vengeance and finished listening to Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Media-wise, my son and I both enjoyed the film The Endless, even if it overplays its metaphors a bit toward the end.  And we’ve really been enjoying The Travelers, even if we have to overlook some things now and then.

Jana: This week was, sadly, light on reading for me. I read  Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 16, 2018

This week, some great reads for the changing season!

Jana: This week I started reading Legion, which compiles Brandon Sanderson's two previously-published LEGION novellas and a third, previously-unpublished novella which rounds out the trilogy. I'm not a frequent reader of Sanderson's work, but there's a lot to enjoy in these novellas. I'm still making progress with  Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 9, 2018

We're reading some interesting books this week! Take a peek!

Bill: This was an excellent reading week.  Jonathan Auxier’s Sweep: A Story of a Girl and Her Monster was a 5-star MG book, lovely and bittersweet. Meanwhile, Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls was a powerful retelling of The Iliadfrom the perspective of Briseis (the “prize” Agamemnon and Achilles fought over). I’m also continuing to enjoy listening to Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Kat: Since you heard from me two weeks ago I’ve read (and will review soon if I haven’t already): Eight novels in  Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 2, 2018

September rolls in, and it's time for more reading.

Bill: This week I read the last of J.R.R. Tolkien’sthree “Great Tales”: The Fall of Gondolin, an absolutely gorgeous (thanks to a number of illustrations by Alan Lee) edition edited by his son Christopher, who also traces the story’ evolution and adds critical commentary. I also read The Storm Runnerby J.C. Cervantes, the disappointing second book in the “Rick Riordan Presents” MG series.  In genre media, my son and I both watched and enjoyed the first two episodes of Travelerson Netflix, which intrigued us enough to push forward with more (for now at least).

Jana: This week was another hectic one--lik... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 26, 2018

We're reading a lot of fun books this week!

Bill: This week  Glen Cook’sreturn to the Black Company, Port of Shadows, was quite disappointing, though I highly recommend the series. Meanwhile, The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French, had an engaging storyline but was marred for me by problematic language/tone aimed at women.  Outside the genre, David Frye’s book Wallswas an interesting look at, well, walls. Specifically walls meant to keep bad folks out (think Great Wall).

Kat: Since you heard from me two weeks ago I've read (and will review soon if I haven't already): Down and Out ... Read More

Status Update: August 12, 2018

This week, we read a lot of great books!

Bill: This week I read in order of preference (mostly)

Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver: almost surely going on my best of the year list
Anna-Lisa Cox’s The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality: a vividly compelling history that should be required reading — at least excerpts — in all schools (I’m pushing for just that via teachers I know or have worked with).
Ben Hatke’s Mighty Jack: a sensitive, imaginative, bizarre Jack and the Beanstalk story updated to modern day
Oren Harman’s Evolutions: an odd little work that tells a brief history of the universe and life in the style of myth. I liked most of them most of the time.
Zachary Mason’s Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 5, 2018

Brad: This week I've read crime fiction, comics, and some crime fiction comics. I've reread The Criminal: Coward by Ed Brubaker and Batman: Year One by Frank Miller. In crime fiction, I've reread See Them Die by Ed McBain. In terms of comics, I've been all over the place: I've been rereading Love & Rockets comics by Jaime Hernandez and a Kingpin story by Matthew Rosenberg. As usual these days, most of my reading has been rereading. Life is too short to read bad books, so I seem drawn to revisit the books I know already are great.

Bill: This week unfortunately fell into the pattern of Disappointing Second Books, including: Mystic Dragon by Jason Denzel, Moons of Barsk by Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 29, 2018

We read a lot of fun books in this last full week of July!

Bill: I’ve been away on a long family road trip and then a family reunion, so I’ve missed some weeks. Mostly I was hiking, but I did get some fit some reading in between, including all six (so far) of Max Gladstone’s CRAFT series, which I liked quite a bit obviously; Every Hidden Thing, a rare disappointment from Kenneth Oppel, and Equations of Life, an excellent look at how life is constrained by the laws of physics by Charles S. Cockell. I’m currently about half-way through two other non-fiction books:  Jo Walton’s An Informal Histo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 15, 2018

Jana: This week I was ridiculously busy, but I did manage to read Emily Skrutskie's Hullmetal Girls, a YA milSF novel chock-full of strong female characters, and I started reading RJ Barker's Blood of Assassins, the first sequel to Age of Assassins (and since the t... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 8, 2018

And some more great reads this week!

Kat: Because they were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Series, in the past few weeks I've been reading all of Seanan McGuire's INCRYPTID novels. I also read the latest of Elliott JamesPAX ARCANA novel, Legend Has It... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day!

Sandy: Moi? I have just finished reading my first Doc Savage novel since I was in high school, 1933’s Quest of the Spider, and hope to get a review out for you very soon. Next up for me will be a book of stories featuring another pulp character who is not nearly as well remembered as Doc Savage; namely, the Surgeon of Souls, who appeared in seven stories throughout the 1930s in the pulp magazine Spicy Mysteries. The collection is appropriately titled The Surgeon of Souls and Other Tales of Terror, by Robert Leslie Bellem, and I look forward to getting into this one very much indeed…

Tadiana: In the last two weeks I've read  Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 24, 2018

Another week, more books!

Jana: Last week I mentioned that I was starting Claire Legrand's Furyborn and Ausma Zehanat Khan's The Bloodprint, and this week I made the tough decision to DNF both of them. Furyborn because it was a pale imitation of far too many other YA fantasy novels out there, and The Bloodprint because I couldn't connect with the characters. It's possible that I might like The Bloodprint more if I tried it again sometime in the future, though. But sitting on my desk is  Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 17, 2018

As ever, we're reading plenty of new books, and preparing our reviews!

This week was mostly reading a lot of hiking books. But I did manage the flawed but often brilliant An Unkindness of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon and the flawed but often gorgeously written Time Was by Ian McDonald. Media-wise, I continue to be pleasantly surprised and impressed with the narrative risks Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger is taking, this week with a non-linear structure filled with visions and symbol, and the continued slow-walking of the two main characters’ relationship. The Expanse was a bit more choppy this week, but any scenes with Miller are sheer joy, and the same with Amo... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 10, 2018

Another productive week!

Bill: This week I read a solid but flawed YA fantasy, The Language of Spells, by Garret Weyr, as well as Hannu Rajaniemi’s more enjoyable but not riveting Summerland.  Keeping up with my “one old TBR book for every two new ones,” I’ve started Fred Cahppell’s A Shadow of All Light.  I also finished a disappointing collection of essays by Clinton Crockett Peters, Pandora’s Garden: Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology. In media, my son and I watched and enjoyed the first two episodes of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, which I thought had a nice bit of layered richness and subtlety to it, and I appreciated the slow movement toward bringing the two young protagonists together. The Expanse is still... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 3, 2018

As we roll on toward summer, we're reading a whole new crop of books.

Bill: This week I decided I was going to try and read one old book off my long-ago TBR shelf for every one or two relatively new or unpublished ones I finish. So I read two excellent new non-fiction works: Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David and Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon (their sub-titles pretty much tell you what they are about), and then followed them up with the unfortunately disappointing The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber. Currently I’m about a quarter of the way through a collection of essays by Clinton Crockett Peters, Pandora’s Garden: Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology. So far mixed feelings... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 27, 2018

Some great reads this week!

Bill: In fantasy/sci fi this week, along with some short fiction you’ll see reviewed Monday, I also read Raymond E. Feist’s King of Ashes, a solid if somewhat familiar start to a new series called THE FIREMANE SAGA. Outside the genre, I finished Catherine Nixey’s interesting if too-long condemnation of the Christian “triumph” over the pagans,The Darkening Age; David Sedaris’ newest collection of essays Calypso (a mixed bag but overall I’d recommend it); and a whole bunch of readings about maps as I finished up an essay on the topic. In media, I watched the finale for Marvel: Agents of Shield, which worked as both a season and a series’ close, but I was glad to see it picked up for a new (shorter) season since I think the show’s last two years have been pa... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 20, 2018

Another week has passed, which means...


Bill: This week I read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, a debut YA novel that in many ways was overly-familiar in plotting and character, but that I’m still recommending due to its excellent presentation of theme and its relatively unique setting and background mythos, which are both African-based. I also finished Menno Schithuizen’s Darwin Comes to Town, an excellent examination of urban eco-systems and how cities are driving a fast-paced evolution of creatures and plants. And I’m just about three-quarters of the way through Catherine Nixey’s The Darkening Age, which looks at early Christians’ physical destruction of the classical world — its statues, writings, temples, etc. It’s vividly told, though a bit repetitive.  Finally, I also read... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 13, 2018

More great books this week!


Bill: Much of this past week was spent finishing (finishing—yay!) final papers, now let the summer reading season commence!  I read and absolutely loved Circe, Madeline Miller’s retelling/reshaping of Greek myth while One Pagan’s Strange Survivors was a solid popular science book. Currently I’m reading Darwin Comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen, a so far fascinating look at evolution centered on urban ecology.

Jana: This week I hosted a Very Important Guest (hi, Mom!) and didn't have a lot of spare time for reading. I did finish  Read More