November 2015 Reading Review

Remake1TheSatanicVersesEuropeatMidnight

November 2015…

The month during which it took me over a week to read a 150-page book. The month during which I read half of The Satanic Verses in one day. The month during which I really just wanted to get to Europe at Midnight and never did. (Mainly because I dragged my feet on said 150-page book and it put me behind.) The month during which I envisioned myself swimming in astounding new releases during a glorious Thanksgiving week off, but I was behind on my committed TBR and my diligent self forced me to stay the course with Asimov and Brunner.

Diligent self can be such a drag. But it was worth it.


Books Blogged


Oh my. I only blogged three books this month? I am slacking. Shit. I ‘splained my way through Bob Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mansplainer, meh’d my way through David Brin’s Brightness Reef, and crept my way through Sheri S. Tepper’s insidious world of Grass.

But wait, wait, wait… KaBlam! After writing that paragraph, I added two more reviews, all about sci-fi romance: Remake (1995) by Connie Willis and The End of Eternity (1955) by Isaac Asimov.

So now, perhaps I OD’d on book reviews this month, due in part to my Blewgo Award conglomeration post, in which I gave needed attention to some 2014 novels people have already stopped talking about. When I first planned this, I was afraid I wouldn’t be excited about any of the books I had chosen, but those were mislaid fears. I discovered some fabulous authors (mainly from the Tiptree honor list) and, if I’m being really honest, I’m pretty sure Monica Byrne’s The Girl in the Road and Adam Roberts’ Bête are the real reasons I’ve been dragging on my committed vintage reading during the past couple of months. They pretty much ruined me for other books. I’m not even exaggerating.

But the best thing about that post, the thing that most amazes me, really: I did not lose a single follower after I posted that hand drawn picture of a floppy cock-rocket. It was a risk I was willing to take. (And, if you didn’t get it, go look at the Hugo Award logo right now… now you see.)

So, technically, I blogged about 10 books: 5 regular reviews, and 5 Blewgo nominees. Nice.


Books Read, to be Blogged


No book list fails for me this month. I completed my required reading for the month, and even finished my extracurricular read that I started last month.

Finished:

Viriconium by M. John Harrison – A waking dream in a book. I said I would just read The Pastel City, but I ended up reading the entire omnibus. (Buddy read with Nikki at Bookpunks.)

Remake (1995) by Connie Willis – Totally blahsome. (Another buddy read with Nikki at Bookpunks.)

Not This August (1955) by C.M. Kornbluth– So subtle, I fear Amazon reviewers don’t quite get it (except for admiral.ironbombs (not a real admiral). Of course he gets it). (left over from last month.)

Accelerando (2005) by Charles Stross– I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with a Stross book, but this was far more interesting than his other books I’ve read. But until he quits using the term “catfight,” I will always be annoyed.

The End of Eternity (1955) by Isaac Asimov– More blahsome. Wait, wait! What did he just do there? (Posted yesterday.)

The Squares of the City (1965) by John Brunner– not nearly as awesome as Stand on Zanzibar, but much better than the earlier The Whole Man. Like a more serious version of Vonnegut’s 1963 Cat’s Cradle.

Plus, extracurricular read, not to-be-blogged: The Satanic Verses (1988) by Salman Rushdie– an incredibly clever satire that uses religious icons to symbolize the modern immigrant struggle.

My goal—MY GOAL—(I feel like I need to shout it so my distractible brain hears it)—is to post reviews for all of my 2015 reads before the end of this year. So you’ll be seeing more frequent, but possibly shorter posts from me during the month of December.


Other Things to be Blogged


‘Tis the season for end of the year listicles and such, and I will be in full obnoxious end-of-year form. Last year, I posted my best and worst audiobook listens, and I will do the same this year. Tomorrow, expect a collection of short reviews of all of the short fiction collections I read this year. What else? Maybe a bookporn look at some of the SF nonfiction I’ve picked up throughout the year, which is my favorite thing to collect right now.

Plus, the requisite end-of-the-year tally post, along with a best reads list, and my 2016 readsolutions. And most importantly, a special sci-fi flavored New Years’ Resolution post, in case you’re having trouble thinking of ways to torment yourself during the darkest months of winter, and which you will eventually feel guilty for not maintaining. Tradition is fun!

So, basically, more activity on this blog in the coming month is what I’m saying, to the elation and/or annoyance of those who read this blog. And I promise no more floppy cock-rockets for a while.


Books to be Read in December


 

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The last time I will draw from the stack, because I’m starting something new next year! Just you wait and see!

A few things going on here:

One, I know you’re thinking, jesus, Megan must really hate this time of year. She’s making herself read another Larry and Jerry.

I do dislike this time of year, but, as you can see, I’m going to sandwich the NivPourn between two books I am sure to like: Christopher Priest’s The Prestige and (my first!) J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World. My original draw had another book, but I swapped in the Priest because it’s time for more Priest. What other reason do I need?

Neal Stephenson is an author I have very almost nearly read lots of times, but the mixed reviews have deterred me every time.

I’ll admit the overwhelming maleness is getting old. It happens a lot as I focus on vintage (and not-so-vintage) awards lists. But this month feels overwhelmingly male. Hell, one of the books is so man-ified, it requires two very dude-ish names for one guy! The name “Brett Sterling” just makes me laugh.

However, if this holiday season pans out like last holiday season, then I might do another binge read of potential 2016 shortlist books. That’s where my gender parity numbers look a little healthier, especially after I scope out the many end-of-year recommended reading lists that will surface soon.


November Book Tallies


Total books read: 7

Total books blogged: 5, plus 5 Blewgo reviews

Total books about…

Aliens: 1 ?!?!?!

Artificial Intelligence: 1 ?!?!?!?

Dystopia: 3

Time Travel: 1, maybe 2

Blahsome Love Story: 2

Cold war satire that might be too subtle in this militaristic age: 1

So you thought you could do it better than Vonnegut?: 1

Fantasy world that’s really just a deconstruction of Arthurian myth, but with giant locusts: 1 omnibus of stuff

 

Best book of the month: THE Viriconium (2000) by M. John Harrison (Nikki at Bookpunks says it should be THE Viriconium, and so it is.)

 

So, see you more frequently during this month of socially-pressured generosity and kindness that would normally be construed as consumerism topped with potentially unhealthy interactions with difficult family members and proselytizing coworkers, but at least it’s an excuse to wear sequined leggings!

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13 thoughts on “November 2015 Reading Review

  1. Wow, too much to comment on!

    Only three, er five books read? I blogged four, and two of them were read in October. So yeah, yay meeting reading goals?

    That’s not only a dude-heavy draw, it’s pretty dense stuff. NivPourn? During the holidays? That’s sadistic. Stephenson (though at least that one’s not 800 pages)? Curious about your Priest and Ballard reviews, though I have the feeling Hamilton’s Danger Planet will be entertaining fluff at best. Seems more like mporcius’ boat.

    Shortlists! That’s like we’re halfway to the Hugo ‘6s or something.

    I… am… finishing… Pastel City tonight! Just in time, so I don’t see as many spoilers. Now I just need to get the other three volumes…

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Yeah, it is a dense grouping. I started the Stephenson already and it is exactly what I thought it would be, but also not. I’m not sure what to think. As for the NivPourn, I have yet another one to get through this year, so I’m trying to space them out. Danger Planet will fit in with tradition bc I’ve rung in the new year reading old, fluffy pulp for the past two NYEs.

      Halfway to the Hugo 6’s, for sure… I think I’ll have ’96 done after the Stephenson, thank goodness. The nineties were bad for SF.

      Yay about Pastel City! The THE Viriconium Book Club, with its relevant, out-of-sync ways, is still going strong!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thebookgator says:

    ha, no no followers lost due to your art. but it is appropriate to the maleness of the list, no?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nooooooo! Noooooo! NO! No more Niv-Porno (sic). Well, if you must. I retreat behind the phrase “Better you than me.”

    I am almost finished my review of (altar to) THE Viriconium. Even though I thought I was never going to be able to write about it ever. I was going to read the books slowly and seperately and shit too and then was forced to finish them all in a glorious flury. Wow and wow. Thanks for buddy read-pushing me into it. (Actually didn’t you start reading it and I just elbowed my way onto the train? Either way, fucking yey.) And The Admiral not an admiral is reading them now too! Viriconium for president!

    I am excited to hear your thoughts on The Drowned World as I read it before I was keeping my thoughts filed publically on the internet, and remember little about it except the setting.

    I can’t wait for obnoxious end-of-the-year listicle post time. I love that shit. Reading em, writing em, all of it.

    Like

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      You are always welcome on my train 🙂 There’s plenty of room, what with all the NivPourn avoidance.

      I love end-of-year listicle time, too. Except my eyes get larger than my, umm, reading availability, and I decide I can read all the things. (Hence, I got nowhere near the VanderMeer I told you I was going to read over Thanksgiving.)

      Like

  4. PS That cover of Remake up there is fucking hideous. I really want to read The Satanic Verses. Especially as that was cited as the book that made Iran boycott the Frankfurt Book Fair. Because it was horrible and offensive, they said, and Rushdie shouldn’t be allowed to speak at the fair.

    Like

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Yeah, that cover is awful, and not unlike Gibson’s Virtual Light cover from two years earlier. I’m thinking perky girl in sunglasses was a trendy thing back then.

      The Satanic Verses could be more blasphemous to people who are familiar with the literary side of Islam. He twists a lot of tales and characters into more worldly and banal contrivances, while connecting worldly characters to iconic roles from the Quran. Even a layman like me was able to pick up on that. Of course, I love blasphemous stuff, so none of it shocked me, but there were a few times that I laughed at his audacity.

      Like

  5. “Floppy cock-rocket.” So many things can be done with this phrase. I can’t even decide.

    Like

  6. […] it on my TBR pile, I found everyone else was reading it and that I was playing catch-up with From Couch to Moon (not a real couch) and Bookpunks (actual […]

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