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.

Jana: This week I’ve been knocked back by a fun strain of flu and a literal blizzard that slammed into town on Wednesday, so I’ve been doing a lot of comfort reading (hello, NANCY DREW MYSTERIES re-read) and made some progress in Zen Cho‘s The True Queen and Sarah Beth Durst‘s latest QUEENS OF RENTHIA novel, The Deepest Blue. I’m enjoying them both, and look forward to reviewing them soon. I also look forward to ingesting something other than hot tea and chicken soup.

Marion: My “car book” this week is Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Originally published in 1899, The Awakening regained some popularity in the 1970s, rediscovered by first-wave feminists. I’m about two-thirds of the way through it. I do love Chopin’s lush prose. I just finished Sebastien de Castell’s Charmcaster, the third book in the SPELLSLINGER series and once again was thoroughly entertained. I picked up a copy of Tim Birkhead’s book Bird Sense, in which he addresses each of the avian senses, chapter by chapter. I’ve only dipped in, but it’s intriguing.

Tadiana:  It’s been an absolutely crazy few weeks for me since the last time I posted, but I still (always!) make room for some reading. My main literary project lately has been to read the recent Nebula nominees. I’ve read three of the nominated novellas and one of the novels, not to mention several short stories and a novelette. I just finished Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning last night and enjoyed its post-apocalyptic take on the life and troubles of a magically gifted woman on the Navajo reservation, which is now magically surrounded by 50-foot walls to protect it against the outside world. Too bad about the monsters within … The three novellas I’ve read are Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield; a time travel tale featuring a pair of sharp Victorian-era women and a woman from the future trying to fix problems by changing the past; Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson, another time travel tale; and The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, set in her Xuya universe, which is a tribute to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson … if they were both Asian women, and The Shadow’s Child (the Watson character) were a genetically modified human that is the brains of a spaceship. I thoroughly enjoyed all three, though the last was probably my favorite by a slight margin. In between these I also squeezed in Charlie N. Holmberg‘s latest YA fantasy, Smoke & Summons, the first in a trilogy; Laurie Forest‘s The Iron Flower, the sequel to her controversial 2017 YA fantasy novel The Black Witch (this new one has no controversy to speak of, other than its failure to break any new ground in YA fantasy), and Sylvain Neuvel‘s new novella The Test, a hard-hitting novella that gutted me. Lots of reviews pending!

Terry: I continued with the THRONE OF GLASS series by Sarah J. Maas by reading Assassin’s Blade, four novellas written about Celaena Sardothien’s years as an assassin. I found them fairly weak overall, but they contain information necessary to understanding the latter half of the series. I also read Perfunctory Affection by Kim Harrison, a novella with an interesting premise that doesn’t live up to its promise. I’m also dabbling in some back issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. But the real star of my reading week is Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia, a mainstream novel (at least so far) about a special weekend for the best musical students and all the many ways it can go wrong. It’s beautifully written and plotted, leading me to get my hands on all of Racculia’s other work (a grand total of one novel, with another to be published later this year).


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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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One comment

  1. Marion, if you don’t already know how The Awakening ends, I’d love to know your reaction to it! (I love Chopin’s prose, and strongly recommend her short fiction if you like her novel.)

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