This book begins with the end of the world. Jemisin pulls no punches with what this truly means. The book begins with a tragedy and the whole series has more tragedies in store… There is still a strong sense of hope throughout. Our protagonist is powerful and amazing and deeply human; all of them are… this world is so like ours, but of course with differences, palpable ones. The earth magic wielded by some of our characters is hated and feared by many others. It’s also a fascinating and grounded magic system… Probably one of the most unusual and wonderful things is the unforced diversity. Jemisin is masterful!
This book was incredibly intense, absolutely heartbreaking. If one were to read this book and not find themselves deeply saddened, it would be astonishing. Also astonishing: the purely poignant horror and cruelty of slavery. As someone who does not have ancestors who experienced this horror, I feel that this book was absolutely necessary for me to even begin to grasp the truth. This should be in schools.
Nice mandalas. Clear explanations and tutorials.
Semiosis by Sue Burke is probably my favorite sci-fi of 2018. I had been reading about Desert ecosystems, found myself thinking about potential plant sentience, and looked up “sentient plant stories” on Google. This led me to Semiosis, and I’m so glad it did! Beyond the interesting plants, Burke illustrates human nature, through several generations of colony, very well.
Before reading this book, I had no idea who Richard Holbrooke was. Since reading the book, I now firmly believe he was one of the most important figures in modern history. There is also a documentary about him (The Diplomat) on HBO. Beyond Holbrooke, this is a really excellent book about US foreign policy. Farrow is very articulate, of course, and also very insightful. A must read for any policy wonks.
This book is just so beautiful, I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It feels like it comes to you through the mists of memory… There’s a sense of nostalgia, and deep misunderstanding, and mystery. There is murder and also espionage, but it is really a story about family. I found out about it from President Obama’s “Best of 2018” book list.
Book Two of the Kingkiller Chronicle. Our protagonist remains entirely endearing and fascinating. It’s hard to write much more without spoilers, but there is much Adventure and Magic and Music, and as before, the world-building is second to none.
The first in a prequel trilogy for ‘His Dark Materials’, The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage is deeply nostalgic for fans of the original trilogy. In this book, our beloved Lyra is an infant, and a boy named Malcolm (who is the age Lyra was in The Golden Compass) finds himself caught up in her fate. There is espionage, mystery, magic, and adventure.
Cat’s Cradle is like other books by Kurt Vonnegut in that it is deeply strange. In it unlike his other books in its focus… Vonnegut writes scientist characters with a good deal more insight and accuracy than most authors. The religion that is Bokononism is such that those who have no religion might be comfortable adopting it… “Live by the foma* that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.” *harmless untruths
An ode to the ways in which humanity has used the earth to craft our world. Deeply nostalgic, but not without hope. This book instills a longing to create, and see more handcrafted things.
Sir Terry’s last book; this is such a beautiful ending. The story is as clever as any of his others, and I am personally so grateful that is a Tiffany Aching novel with a focus on Granny Weatherwax. As someone who has read most, if not all, of the Discworld Novels, I felt like I could feel the love and struggle that Sir Terry must have poured into this book as he battled his Alzheimer’s. It is a very fitting, poignant conclusion to his body of work.
A zany romp, of course. As with all Vonnegut, there are some deeply thoughtful undercurrents. I think this book is perhaps less kind to some of the female characters than is necessary, but Vonnegut isn’t feminist literature, really. Still, there is a lot in here that is worth the read. I might start with another novel if this is your first foray into Vonnegut.
Billy Pilgrim and the bombing of Dresden… What is there to say about this classic? It has been burned and banned, and it is also deeply beloved. It is much stranger than one might anticipate, given that it has been taught in English classes (in the districts that didn’t deem it obscene). I love this book.
“You are what you pretend to be.” One of the only (maybe the only) Vonnegut novels with a clear-cut moral, Mother Night is a book that forces the reader to really think. It’s slightly ironic that this book about moral ambiguities has the only official “moral” of his body of work. The story of Howard W. Campbell, Jr. is particularly profound in conjunction with that character’s appearances in some of the other novels, including of course Slaughterhouse-Five.
Alan Alda shows thoroughly in every chapter of this book that every huiman being can benefit from practicing communication, and that traditional improve games make for very effective practice.