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Thumbs up for The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity. Young adult graphic novel.

A wonderful teen graphic novel about a modern girl obsessed with Gothic novels, who rescues a gentleman from drowning only to find herself swept to an island universe that obeys the rules of a Gothic novels. Worrisomely, the universe seems to be having issues….… >> 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

Thumbs up for Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto. Crime.

Meddelin Chan accidentally kills a guy on a blind date; her aunties leap into action with a plan to dispose of the body, while simultaneously managing a two-thousand-guest resort wedding for their family business. Insanity ensues. I was a little mislead by the fact that after “humor” this book was categorized as “romantic comedy”; it is in fact a crime farce, and while the heroine’s attempt to get back with her ex is important to her, it’s a fairly minor point in a wildly complicated plot.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for An Introduction to Shinto by David Chart. Philosophy.

This was recommended to me as the best introduction to Shinto for the completely ignorant; I agree and will second the recommendation. The author is a Brit by birth, now a Japanese citizen, who has been a devout practitioner of Shinto for many years, and works as a consultant for Jinja Honcho (the largest Shinto organization).… >> Read more

Two thumbs up for A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders. Writing.

With the exception of two or three SFF authors, I don’t enjoy reading short stories, which means I don’t write them with any confidence, either. I am always suspicious that they are merely vignettes rather than stories.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast. Travel.

I know nothing about Roz Chast other than that she is a cartoonist, but I share her love of New York, and specifically, wandering around on foot just looking at things. I got to do that for about five days once and they were some of the best days of my life.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Green Angel by Alice Hoffman. Science fiction.

After a girl’s family is killed in some sort of semi-apocalyptic event, she finds a new emotional identity and learns how to survive. If you embrace this novella as a work of poetry, it is lovely. If you insist on having things logically explained, you will hate it. I can keep myself in the former camp, with a bit of effort.… >> Read more