Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Perdido Street Station by China Miéville. Dark fantasy.
I love a big book with lots of worldbuilding, and, well, that’s good, because Miéville never describes anything in one paragraph when he’s got ten pages to spare. Sometimes it’s brilliant; sometimes it comes off as sheer wankery. (He also goes out of his way to be gross, which I found comical after a while: this book contains the word “filth” 49 times and then there’s his hilarious passion for “glutinous”) The story itself–monsters!–doesn’t… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young. Romantic contemporary fantasy.
A woman who owns an herb shop on a magical island outside Seattle has to unravel the true story of what happened when she was a teen–did the man she was in love with (who’s now returned to the island) really kill her friend? Although it’s not quite my usual thing, I did enjoy this book.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Sam Saves the Day, Island Rescue, and For Rent by Charles E. Martin. Children’s.
I remembered these from my childhood and it took me ages to track them down, because I didn’t remember the author’s name. It was nice to see them again, so there must have been something little-me connected with in the art, but when viewed with adult eyes I don’t think I would choose to give these to a child over other books with cleverer stories.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization by Edward Slingerland. Anthropology.
Some while ago I read a very interesting article in the Atlantic about, basically, why human beings – as a species – go to so much trouble to get drunk (or high), considering how very bad for us it is.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo. Fantasy.
A novella that was pleasing to read but left me disappointed because it could have been so much more. (Even while remaining a novella, yes: I’ve read some incredibly evocative novellas and short stories.) The prose is aesthetic, but lacking in any unexpected detail and self-contradiction which would make the setting and the characters feel real.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Identity Thief by Alex Bryant. All ages fantasy.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I read it pretty much in one sitting, so certainly I found it engaging. And I laughed quite a few times. But did I really find it enjoyable? I’m not sure. What I was thinking, as I read, was: This is a book I would give to a kid as a bang-up fictional example of how discrimination spreads throughout a populace, and what role the media plays in shifting public opinion.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Science fiction.
I think I’ve passed the point where I can read classic science fiction without noticing how much it creaks. I didn’t hate reading this, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it, either.
The person most immediately affected had been George Greggson. He could never forget his feeling of terror as Jean pitched into his arms.
… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Bellwether by Connie Willis. Science fiction.
A comedy about a statistician trying to figure out the genesis of fads (specifically, 1920’s hair-bobbing). Plus a little bit of romance. This book seemed like it was made for me! And it was enjoyable, but…I wanted to be charmed more than I was. Academic/office politics satire is…well, it’s been done quite a bit, hasn’t it?… >> Read more