Sunday Status Update: March 2, 2014

AlixAlix: This week has been reading-light again, and has involved much whining to boyfriend about how I don’t want to write a unit on colonial America or fix the kitchen faucet which recently exploded. In between complaining, I’ve been working on Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon and Helene Wecker’s Nebula-nominated The Golem and the Jinni, and taking a few guilty sips of Valente’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. Oh, and I watched 12 Years a Slave and curled into a fetal position out of sheer historical admiration and visceral horror. So that was fun.

Bill: Unfortunately, my run of disappointment continued in the early part of this week with the YA novel Lockstep, by Karl Schroeder, and the oft-praised On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae-Lee (I had such high hopes for this one too). Luckily, my son just started Star Guard for his English independent reading, which meant I of course had to pick it back up and give it yet another read. I can always count on Andre Norton to deliver. Finally, I’ve just finished Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, which surprisingly was odd and had fungi in it. Go figure.  Not sure if I “get it,” but I am sure I liked it and am looking forward to the  next two installments.

Kat: Well, the past week flew by fast! I read two YA science fiction novels. The first was Seth Fishman’s The Well’s End which is about a group of teenagers trying to survive a deadly plague. It’s got some typical YA issues, but I have to admit that it was hard to put down. Next was Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Space Suit — Will Travel which is about a teenage boy who wants to get into a good college so he can eventually get to space. My favorite book last week was Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation which is about the expedition of four female scientists who visit a mysterious place called Area X. Terry and Bill read it, too, and we’ll be writing a review together this week.

Marion: I finished The Last Banquet, an historical novel by Jonathan Grimwood, aka Jon Courtenay Grimwood. This was a fascinating book about an intriguing character caught up in the flow of history, told in a lyrical but unsentimental fashion. I enjoyed it. I’m almost done with Cherie Priest’s CLOCKWORK CENTURY book, Fiddlehead. I didn’t expect U.S. Grant to be such a  major character! It’s an interesting choice. I have not gotten much reading done this past week. I had a bad experience in my local independent bookstore chain when I went to buy a few of the Nebula best-novel nominees (mostly women) and could not find their books. I could find seven copies of books from GRRM’s ASOIAF series; three or four copies each of various Robert Jordan pastiches, The Lives of Tao, and a bunch of Heinlein reprints, but not Jemisin, Leckie or Kowal. Fowler and Wecker were filed in Fiction. Of course they had the Gaiman, because it’s Gaiman. I went to three stores and called a fourth; no luck. I think an e-mail to the bookseller is in order.

Ryan: I’m still reading Terry Pratchett‘s The Fifth Elephant. To be honest, it has spent most of the week on my shelf. I am enjoying the Vimes story, but Carrot and Angua — are they or aren’t they, already? It seems like the B stories are crowding out the A story here. Outside the world of SFF, I finished I Wear The Black Hat by Chuck Klosterman and enjoyed it. I’ve borrowed Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs from the library, and — believe it or not — I prefer his newer work.

Terry: This past week was the week after a vacation as well as the last week of the month, which means I was snowed under by legal work and had relatively little time to read. I did manage to get caught up on back issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies; as it comes out every other week, it’s easy to fall behind, and I was chagrined to find I hadn’t read a single issue in 2014. Otherwise, I read a chunk of a fine novel by Sarah Pinborough, A Matter of Blood, the first in the FORGOTTEN GODS trilogy. I have the second book on hold at the library, and am annoyed to learn that the library doesn’t stock the third book. Why would a library buy the first two and not the third? Is it a secret plot to get me to buy one book for every two I borrow? If so, it’s a pretty darned good plan.


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RYAN SKARDAL is an English teacher who reads widely but always makes time for SFF. Ryan and his wife make their home in New Jersey, where they read alongside several cats and two highly disobedient huskies.

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4 comments

  1. Ahhh, Have Space Suit Will Travel. The two-tiered shelves below the windows, right about the middle of the room, on the second shelf. Yellow cover. 7th grade library.

    • Yep, yep. I remember where all the books are in my elementary school library. I hope they’re still there….

  2. Brad /

    This week I read too many comic books to list individually and then, quite appropriately, read a book on hoarding after I finished bagging my comics. I was also paralyzed by an epiphany when I realized I was listening to this book on a Bluetooth headset so that I could move around the house in order to obsessively reorganize my books — for the fourth time this week — in three of my overflowing rooms with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The book is called STUFF. I highly recommend the book. However, I do not recommend sudden, painful awareness of one’s shortcomings (made all the more painful when I had a second realization: as of four years ago, about 99% of my non-comic book purchases shifted to digital and 50% of my comic book purchases became digital as well. Thank goodness for digital or you would be seeing me on a reality TV show in a segment right after the “Cat Person.” I kid you not).

    I wonder how many of you out there know what I’m talking about all too well . . .

  3. Annihilation! It’s everywhere! Everyone is reading it! Just kidding, I love Vandermeer, glad this is getting a lot of attention. I’m reading it too. :)

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