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: May 26, 2019

Plenty of books this week!

Bill: This week I read several of the Locus short fiction nominees as well as a pair of nominated YA novels: The Gone Away Place by Christopher Barzak and Half-Witch by John Schoffstall. I’m also half-way through The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear, book two of her LOTUS KINGDOMS series.  Not much genre viewing save for an episode of The Magicians, as I’m binging Deadwood (just as great the second time around) in preparation for the upcoming movie.

Jana: This week I didn't really have time to read or write, which was a bummer. I planted some teeny-teeny-tiny saplings in my backyard, helped my neighbors clean up fallen branches after an early-week sn... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 19, 2019

We read some fun books this week!

Bill: This week I read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Moon, which had some good ideas but overall was disappointing; read a good if not great collection of essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by  Rebecca Solnit; and my son and I listened to Isaac Asimov’s classic Foundation and Empire on our way to a college visit.  We’ll finish with Second Foundation on another visit in two weeks. In other media, we’re working our way through The Magicians Season Four  and continuing to love it. On the other side of the spectrum, we keep ranting about the penultimate episode of GoT and how we, um, didn't love it. Finally, we're also slowly but happily continuing with The X-Files and are no... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Bill: No genre books this week. Instead, I read The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair — a quick tour of the histories of individual colors that I wish had slowed down a bit more.  I also read Atlas of a Lost World by Craig Childs, which explores how the first people may have arrived in the New World during the Paleolithic. It’s also an engaging travelogue as Childs himself hikes across a portion of the Harding Icefield, canoes up the Yukon, or flees a pair of wolves in Siberia near the Bering Land Bridge. And I continue to listen to The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years by Robert M. Hazen.

Jana: This week was another good, productive week. (I could get used to this! I won't, but I could.) I rea... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 5, 2019

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Bill: This week I read The Seventh Decimate and The War Within by Stephen R. Donaldson, with book one sorely disappointing and book two a bit better; the informative if a bit flat The American Museum of Natural History and How it Got That Way by Colin Davey; and an entertaining history/memoir of the family road trip by Richard Ratay entitled appropriately enough Don’t Make Me Pull Over.  In audio The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years by Robert M. Hazen has picked up stylistically, with a great chapter on the formation of the moon and the Hadean Age of Earth. In video we’re all still lingering over the joy of Avengers: Endgame (trip two this week), and my son and I finally started Ma... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 28, 2019

Lots of great books this week!

Bill: This week I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s fantastic A Brightness Long Ago, which was just as compelling and moving as when I read it the first time two weeks ago.  I also read Tad Williams’ Empire of Grass, an excellent if overlong continuation of his OSTEN ARD series.  In media, what a weekend.  The family and I saw Avengers: Endgame and despite some quibbles, I would have happily stayed straight through the following showing. And GoT’s night battle we all thought wonderfully tense, though the issues were more substantial in this one. I also watched The Magicians season 3 finale, which had a great ending, and I’m looking forward to watching Season 4 after postponing doing so to watch with my son. In audio, I finished Mark Miodownik... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 21, 2019

Happy Easter from FanLit!

Bill: Into the grading silly season this week and next, but I did read Guy Gavriel Kay’s newest, A Brightness Long Ago. Review to come shortly but c’mon, it’s Kay—could it be anything but full of grace, craft, and beauty?  I also finished Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents, a quick (even slight at times) look at all the ways the human body could have been designed better. In audio,  I’ve neared the end, sadly,  of Mark Miodownik’s  excellent Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives. On video, my son and I reached the wonderful “Under Pressure” rendition of The Magicians, Season Three and wrapped up season two of The X-Files. I also finished Sabrina’s second ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 14, 2019

Plenty more fun books on the docket this week!

Bill: This week I read the quietly engaging A Boy and His Dog at the end of the World by C.A. Fletcher; Scott Westerfeld’s Imposters (actually read last week), a solid but more YA and less satisfying return to the world of Uglies; and I’m currently in the midst of Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents, a light but interesting look at all the design flaws in our bodies (though he has yet to get to the one that prevents me from eating all the ice cream I want.). On audio, I continue to listen to the ever-entertaining and informative Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives, by Mark Miodownik. In media my son and I added one more episode each to our watch/rewatch of The Ma... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 7, 2019

We're reading some great books this week!

Bill: This week I took advantage of a momentary lull between papers to read the eighth EXPANSE book, Tiamat’s Wrath, by James S.A. Corey (keeps this great series humming along) as well as Philip Reeve’s Station Zero, the strong conclusion to his excellent YA trilogy that began with Railhead. Outside the genre  I read (or reread since many were familiar) Seamus Heaney’s 100 Poems. On audio I’m currently listening to the engagingly informative Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives (the book itself is delightful). In media my son and I are into the third season of The Magicians, a show that impresses even more on a rewatch. And I confess to s... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 31, 2019

As March draws to a close, we have plenty more books on the docket!

Kat: The worst part of my semester is behind me and now I am making myself get off the computer and relax by 8:00pm every night, so I'm getting more reading done. I've joined a jigsaw puzzle swap club, so each night, if there's nothing else going on, I work on a puzzle and listen to an audiobook. This week I read these books: The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs (an amusing fantasy classic), In the Vanisher's Palace by  Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 24, 2019

We have some more books in the pipeline this week. Check them out!

Bill: This week I read the quite good A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine and continue to listen the fantastic Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar. In media, I rewatched the last  Avengers movie because I can only watch the trailers for Endgameso many times, and I’ve been watching a few episodes a night of Netflix’s new anthology series, Love, Death, & Robots, which is (typical of anthologies) a mixed bag so far, with I’d say only one or two stellar ones that combine story and art at a high level, though most aren’t “bad,” just sort of “meh.”

Marion: I finished Arabella of Mars b... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Bill: This week I read Seth Fried’s The Municipalists (a disappointing debut) and the brief but always interesting non-fiction book Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori and illustrated (in truly lovely fashion) by Lucille Clerc. In media, I wholly enjoyed Captain Marvel, even if one of its iconic moments was right out of Buffy (maybe it was an homage . . .). Great rapport between Larson and Jackson, good action and humor, some nicely intimate scenes — Marvel keeps rolling. And yes, I got choked up at the opening roll. Currently, I’m reading A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (so far so good) and rereading some Merwin in gratitude and sadness.

... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 10, 2019

We're reading some brand new books this week. Take a peek!

Bill: Not a lot of reading lately thanks to piles ‘o papers and sundry deadlines. But I did finish Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, with mixed feelings as the end result. I also read a genial novella, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark.  And I’m currently listening to Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar, a fascinating mix of memoir and scientific/medical history. In media, I’ve been rewatching The Magicianand confirming just why I love it (look for some upcoming commentary from Marion and me on the show).  Meanwhile, The Gifted, which has been mostly disappointing this second season, redeemed itself a b... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 3, 2019

We're reading lots of fun books this week!

Kat: I'm reading Tad WilliamsOVERLAND quartet which has been on my TBR list for years. I've read the first two books, City of Golden Shadow and River of Blue Fire, and am about halfway through the third book, Mountain of Black Glass. I love the premise and the characters. The plot is super cool. However, it moves sooooo slowly. The story doesn't need to be this long. Reviews are coming soon.

Marion: I'm two-thirds o... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 24, 2019

Plenty more books on the docket this week!

Jana: This week I'm reading Ann Leckie's upcoming fantasy novel, The Raven Tower, which pairs an intriguing story (a young highborn man returns home to find his father has mysteriously vanished and his uncle has taken the seat of power for himself, but there's so much more to it than what I just described) with the insightful ruminations on society, language, and culture/ritual that I've come to expect from Leckie. There are some unexpected stylistic choices framing the story itself, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all comes... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 17, 2019

Looking for something to read? Here's what we're looking at...

Marion: I read Robin Sloan’s delightful Sourdough this week. Kat reviewed it here, but I may add a few comments. The book was even more fun for me because I’ve been to some of the locations used, like the Ferry Terminal’s farmers market or the island of Alameda. I loved the “Lois Club,” and it’s pretty clear that one particular character was inspired by Alice Waters of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse fame. I also finished another dark, atmospheric and weird  Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 10, 2019

Plenty of fun new books on the docket this week!

Bill: This week I read two solid middle-of-the-road fantasies: Gates of Stone by Angus Macallan and Early Riser by Jasper Fforde.  On audio I finally finished Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Our Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, which I’m putting on my best of 2018 list retroactively — so good I bought the Kindle version in addition to the Audible version so I can reread it and take/save notes.

Brad: This week I read The Last Day in Vietnam by Will Eisner and an excellent crime comic collection called Murder Book by Ed Brisson. I also reread E... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 3, 2019

Plenty more fun books this week. Take a peek!

Bill: This week I read Jenn Lyons’ solid The Ruin of Kings, Ian Cameron Esslemont’s satisfactorily concluding Malazan prequel book Kellanved’s Reach, and Gareth Hinds’ excellent graphic story version of The Iliad.

Jana: This week I got to the halfway mark in S.A. Cha Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 27, 2019

More good books this week!

Bill: This week I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s newest, A Brightness Long Ago, which was a typical Kay novel — graceful writing, moving moments, thoughtful elegies on memory and history. Man’s a master craftsperson. That arrival put on hold for a night my reading of the Binti omnibus by Nnedi Okorafor, which I’m just about done with. Which was fine with me as I’m mostly befuddled by the acclaim; clearly I’m the outlier on this one.  In media, my family and I had a great night out at the Rochester Philharmonic playing the live score during a filming of The Empire Strikes Back. This week’s The Gifted had me ra... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 20, 2019

We have a few recommendations for reads to carry you through the winter. Take a look!

Bill: This week I read Kellanved’s Reach by Ian Cameron Esslemont, Turned On: Science, Sex, and Robots by Kate Devlin, and In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. The first a solid but somewhat flat entry in an otherwise enjoyable series, the last so much better than my first WAYWARD CHILDREN attempt it has convinced me to try the others, and the middle one more informative and less titillating than some may hope for. In genre, my son and I are sticking with The Gifted, but it really starting to feel like its spinning its wheels and recycling stories. ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 13, 2019

We're reading lots of cool new books this week! Take a look!

Bill: This week I read Winter of the Witch, the excellent concluding volume of Katherine Arden’s quite good WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY and Robert Jackson Bennett’s sharply satirical Vigilance, which I had some issues with, as apparently did Marion. Stay tuned as we’ll hash those out in an upcoming dual review. I don’t’ usually highlight my children’s book reading here, but I’m making an exception for When the Whales Walked and other incredible evolutionary journeys, by Dougal Dixon and illustrated by Hannah Bailey, which is a fantastic piece of non-fiction wonderfully illustrated and highly recommended for children of just about any age as a read-aloud or read-on-their-own. In... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 6, 2019

Welcome to 2019! These are the books we're reading to start off the year.

This week I finished just one (very long) book, Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Labyrinth of the Spirits, review to come. In genre, my son and I watched Ready, Player One which seemed over-long, overly enamored of pop references, and overly predictable.

Brad: This week I've mainly been reading comics, though I've read some bestsellers: Harari's Sapiens and Macy's Dopesick. In comics I've continued my reading within the Hellboy universe, particularly the Witchfinder and Lobster Johnson stories. I've also read some superhero books: I read Marini's Batman: The Dark Prince Charming, which was quite good, and I was very impressed with S... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 30, 2018

Happy New Year's from FanLit!

Bill: This week, amongst enjoying a horde of family and a warehouse of food, I read and fully enjoyed S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass and its sequel The Kingdom of Copper.  I also read J.Y. Yang’s The Black Tides of Heavenwhich I thought fine enough even if it left me a bit confused on the effusive praise, though I’ll continue on with The Red Threads of Fortune. I’m currently reading my Christmas present of The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón though that may take some time as its 800+ pages and I’m also frantically trying to finish a portal story, a short play, and a full play by some too-near deadlines.  I’ll take one out of three of those happily. 

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Sunday Status Update: December 23, 2018

Christmas is just about here, but that’s no reason to stop reading!

Marion: Reading published works hasn’t made it much to the top of my list this week, but I did finally get to start re-reading Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed. I was worried that maybe it hadn’t aged well since the 1980s but the power dynamic is still believable… and Butler dragged me into the story from the first paragraph.

Sandy: Moi? I am just about finished with The Sapphire Goddess: The Fantasie... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 16, 2018

We're halfway through December, with plenty of books on the docket!

Bill: The past two weeks I’ve read
Breach by W. L. Goodwater, an OK Cold War fantasy (think Le Carre with magic)
The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse, a disappointing YA that didn’t live up to its opening
Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction by Alec  Nevala-Lee: an engaging pop culture history of early sci-fi
Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn, an absolutely fascinating look at the life we share our homes with
Dispatches from Planet 3 by Marcia Bartusiak, a nicely concise look at big topics in astrophysics
In media, my son and I are well into season two of The X-Files... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 2, 2018

As we start December, it's time for more reading!

Jana: This week I read Sarah Beth Durst's upcoming YA novel Fire & Heist, which is chock-a-block with wyverns, nerdy references, and more than one well-written heist; then I read J. Barton Mitchell's The Razor, which has some neat ideas and a prison planet that I hope will be further explored in subsequent books. Reviews in progress. I also read Sarah Andersen's Herding Cats, a collection of her funny and insightful comic strips, along with the graphic novel My Boyfri... Read More