For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin--barely of age herself--finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.
I picked this up at the library on Friday and finished it on Sunday. That may tell you everything you need to know. [more inside]
A young working-class woman named Majella navigates a constrained life in Northern Ireland sometime after "peace broke out" in Ireland in the nineties. Some things distinguish her from her fellows: she's not social at all, she's unusually sensitive to sensory input, and her grandmother was just murdered. [more inside]
Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata's first novel to be translated from Japanese to English, received glowing reviews for its portrayal of a woman who rejects the values of her family-oriented social class and finds her niche working in a convenience store. Now comes Earthlings. As one reviewer puts it:" The two books might be seen as siblings, though Earthlings would definitely be the evil twin." [more inside]
“Wintering is a season in the cold. It is a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider. Perhaps it results from an illness or a life event such as a bereavement or the birth of a child; perhaps it comes from a humiliation or failure....However it arrives, wintering is usually involuntary, lonely, and deeply painful.” Katherine May's memoir, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, reflects on what she has learned about this life season: not avoidance, but acceptance of its inevitability, and the ways she has found to soften its impact. [more inside]
At Slough House, Brexit has taken a toll. The slow horses have been pushed further into the cold, Slough House has been erased from official records, and its members are dying in unusual circumstances, at an unusual clip. No wonder Jackson Lamb’s crew is feeling paranoid. But are they actually targets? With a new populist movement taking hold of London’s streets and the old order ensuring that everything’s for sale to the highest bidder, the world’s a dangerous place for those deemed surplus. Jackson Lamb and the slow horses are in a fight for their lives as they navigate dizzying layers of lies, power, and death.
Darkness threatens to overtake Earthsea. As the world and its wizards are losing their magic, Ged—powerful Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord—embarks on a sailing journey with the highborn young prince, Arren. They travel far beyond the realm of death to discover the cause of these evil disturbances and to restore magic to a land desperately thirsty for it. (Book 3 of the Earthsea cycle) [more inside]
A grieving widow discovers a most unexpected form of healing—hunting for mushrooms. [more inside]
When journalist Emily Guendelsberger gets let go from a local alt weekly she embarks on a 1-year journey to explore low wage work, and write a book about it. She logs a couple of months at an Amazon warehouse near Louisville, KY, a call center in Hickory NC, and a McDonald's in SF. All the jobs suck, and the suckiness can be summed up by this line. A good rule of thumb: the more interest management takes in workers’ use of the bathroom, the more that job is going to suck. [more inside]
High School senior and bookworm Clara got to school early on the first day of her senior year because she volunteers in the library. She discovers that over the summer the tony private school she attends has banned 50 books, including her very favorite book by her favorite author, which she has just stayed up all night reading before getting zero sleep and coming to school. So Clara does the only logical thing, she starts an underground library loaning those books from her locker. [more inside]
"Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living. Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media." Real But Also Not Real: An Excerpt From Becoming Duchess Goldblatt [more inside]
Long ago, Earth's terraforming program sent ships out to build new homes for humanity among the stars and made an unexpected discovery: a planet with life. But the scientists were unaware that the alien ecosystem was more developed than the primitive life forms originally discovered. When the Old Empire fell, the scientists were on their own. [more inside]
On the morning of March 25, 1975, sisters Sheila and Kate Lyon left their home in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. to visit the local mall. Their mother Mary gave them firm instructions to be home by 4:00pm. When they weren't home by 7:00, the sisters' parents called the police. A massive search was launched. But after weeks and months of effort, there was no trace of them: the girls had disappeared into thin air. [more inside]
The subtitle of the book is How a Rescue Donkey Inspired a Rag-Tag Gang of Runners to Enter the Craziest race in America. [more inside]
Humanity has started to spread among the stars, terraforming worlds and beginning uplift experiments. But their inner demons get the best of them and the crowning achievement of Doctor Avrana Kern is sabotaged. What will emerge from the wreckage and how will she keep tabs on her work? [more inside]
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser discuss the tension between wage labor and freedom. Fafhrd finds religion. The Mouser tries his hand at career a in organized crime and gets bumped up into a supervisory role. They make a detour from Nehwon to explore the Levant. They see more of Ningauble's ocular organs than anyone should be comfortable with. [more inside]
Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, and everything is taken from her—home, family, possessions, even her name. She is now known only as Arha, the Eaten One, and guards the shadowy, labyrinthine Tombs of Atuan. Then a wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs’ greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. Tenar’s duty is to protect the Ring, but Ged possesses the light of magic and tales of a world that Tenar has never known. Will Tenar risk everything to escape from the darkness that has become her domain? (Book 2 of the Earthsea cycle) [more inside]
December 14, 2020
n the quiet suburbs, while Dorothy is doing chores and waiting for her husband to come home from work, not in the least anticipating romance, she hears a strange radio announcement about a monster who has just escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research… [more inside]
December 10, 2020
From Your Fat Friend, a book about the need for "fat justice." This book diverges from the well-trod path when it comes to fatness and fat people. In it, you’ll find a mix of memoir, research, and cultural criticism all focused on unearthing our social and cultural attitudes toward fat people, along with the impacts those attitudes can have on fat people, ourselves. Where our cultural conversation focuses relentlessly on personal responsibility and the perceived failures of fat people, this book seeks to zoom out, offering personal stories while simultaneously identifying the macro-level social, institutional, and political forces that powerfully shape the way each of us thinks of fat people, both in general and in particular.
December 8, 2020
I love making fun of movies. I love turning a piece of criticism into a piece of entertainment. I love pointing out a plot hole that makes a superfan write me an angry e-mail. I love turning my unsophistication into a tool. I love being hyperbolically, cathartically angry for no reason. I love being flippant and careless and earnest and meticulous all at once. Shit, Actually is inspired by a series of essays I started at Jezebel, in which I’d rewatch successful movies from the past to see how they hold up to our shifting modern sensibilities... What do we do now with beloved cultural works that don’t hold up?