With the exception of the books pictured above, it was a month of a Whole Lotta Meh. (That other Zeppelin song. You probably don’t know it. It’s pretty underground.) I blew up blog readers and inboxes as I edged toward the end of my Hugo ‘5s challenge this month, and, as usual, I left some of the least exciting novels for last. Oops, and sorry about that.
But that means it’s time for a new reading list! I’ve complained before that January is just not the right time to mark the new year, and technically my life is ruled by the academic calendar, so August always feels like the best time to set new goals and… so exciting… SET UP A NEW READING SPREADSHEET!
(which I already wrote up months ago and I am super duper excited about it!)
But now, I need a new, fun way to randomize this shit, so we don’t end up with another July of meh…
Whaddyathink? It contains a mix of Hugo ‘6s, some Masterworks, some Nebulas, and even a random Tiptree or two…
Now, time to draw a few for the month. I always prefer to sample from different decades…
Wonder what that will get us…
Er, that was a practice run. Let’s try it again…
That’s much better! I’m excited now!
Did I just hear a few cheers for the Vance? I do believe I did.
So, we’ve got a Tiptree winner (Goto), a commissioned sequel for The Time Machine (wtf???) (Baxter), and Cherryh, whom I have read before and liked okay, but it was a long a time ago and we need to get reacquainted. I tossed in Vance and Peake because I’ve been bit unfair to the fantasy world, but that’s because I spent my pre-blog years reading crap fantasy by authors whose names I can’t even remember, but maybe I’ll reawaken my love for the subgenre if I dig into some seminal works, now that I know where to look.
As of today, I am on my 48th book for 2015, which is the Dangerous Visions (1967) anthology that I’ve been sipping all month. I read 89 total books last year, but I’m really, really, really going to try to slow down and read/review no more than one fiction book per week because my reviews are getting sloppy (“aren’t they always?” shut up.) and I tend to jog a lot more this time of year. Plus, I’ve got a stack of non-fiction books, mags, and journals that I suddenly care about… it’s like I suddenly care about the real world again what’s that about? I blame The Years of Rice and Salt. That did it to me.
Total books read: 9
Total books about space: 6
Total books about robots/AI: 4.5 (anthologies mess up the tallies)
Total collection/anthologies: 2 (A PKD collection and Despatches from the Frontiers of the Female Mind)
Total books about bobbles: 1
Total books about incest: 2
Total books en espanol: uno, con algo de ayuda del audio en ingles porque el dialecto colombiano es un poco dificil. Fue marvillosa, betedobleu!
Total meh: 4, if that sounds low, that’s because some of those meh reviews were about meh reads from last month.
Best books of the month: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. You have to read Aurora. You must read Aurora. Also, Cien Anos de Soledad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, because it is wonderful and gorgeous and funny and dark.
Both of these novels seem different, but they make great companion reads. Both directly comment on the consequences of isolation, the importance of community, the meaning of “home,” and the realities and unrealities of revolution. Whether you’re making little gold fishes or investigating alien pathogens, the lesson is that your ancestors’ selfish decisions will haunt you forever. Your ancestors son pendejos.
Total books failed to read: countless. I had this great big plan to read some postponed-for-whatever-reason 2014s and some buzzed about 2015 releases on my summer break. Plus a Tiptree collection. Then jury duty, gardening, and random summer vacay events happened. Five weeks ago me is so dumb.
Now, on to The Dying Earth!