I’m busy. It’s like a thing. You say you’re busy, I say I’m busy, we both secretly think the other person isn’t that busy, because like *I’m* the busy one. And also how important we are because we’re busy. Like unimportant people spend their time like sprinkles at a sundae buffet: willy nilly. But really I just seriously miscalculated how long some things would take and overcommitted and like all the things and never want to disappoint or say no and have a thing to prove and want to defy the expectations and stereotypes and so here I am – well past my bedtime, on an unmade bed (because the sheets had to be washed tonight to make a full load), trying to recall a book I read three weeks ago and promised myself I would blog two weeks ago and even while I was reading it was pretty sure I’d rather just be staring out the window but thought I had to post something here and so read it and thought it was mostly ridiculous but also halfway fun if you could put aside just wanting to nap. Or to plan a Farm Animal Theme Day for the Family Cottage because I also organized everyone into theme days for the cottage and my family can’t say no either and so now we’re all doing it and probably secretly hating that we have to organize it but we’ll have fun while it’s happening. Right?
Oh you wanted a book review and not… whatever this is? Right. Here we go:
The Obelisk Gate is… a book. Second in the Broken Earth series. I read the first one a few weeks ago and wrote about it here. This one also has characters and a setting and a plot. I honestly can’t remember much except there are some battles in a gemstone cave and some plans for more battles and maybe an epic mother-daughter fight (which is great because enough with the father-son fights) is coming. Some scenes with limbs being ripped asunder. A few where you’re like ‘who is who?’ ‘what is happening’ and ‘why does this matter’ but that’s probably because I couldn’t remember the rules of the world well enough from the first book, or the mythology/history of the world, to really be that invested in the next phase. Suffice to say I’m not going to read number three.
Or probably ever read for fun again. (Don’t worry, all, I’m almost done An American Marriage and I promise I’ll write its review when I’m not so overtired I’m seeing spots. (because I’m so busy and important, remember?)(but actually everything is a-okay, or at least it will be if I can get organized enough to relax at the cottage. Ha!).
There should be a rule when reading fantasy that you’re not allowed to quit reading before 50 pages. I feel like 50 pages in the minimum needed for world building and scene setting. “World building” meaning (for me at least) the figuring out of how the fantastical world is organized in terms of geography, time, politics, social order, customs, etc. Without the 50 page rule I’d probably have quit The Fifth Season and that would have been SAD because it was such a great read. But those first 50 were disorienting as there’s no quick way to be like “here is how this world works” without being obnoxious and pedantic so this reader just had to accept that the logic of the place was going to unfold and eventually I’d know enough of the things to be clear about what was what. Continue reading
- You think you know the kind of people who attend an open-invitation Sci-Fi/Fantasy book club because you have ideas about the kind of people who a) read Sci-Fi/Fantasy and b) attend open-invitation book clubs. Your ideas are not charitable. And they have – for some reason – not expanded to include yourself (even though you are attending said club). Like most occasions when you confront your assumptions (about anything) you discover that there is much more variety involved and far fewer references to LoTR (though there is one).
- Your belief that you can power-read* a novel (in under a day) (the way you did in undergrad) is as steadfast – and as erroneous – as your belief that you can still drink the whole bottle of wine and not get a hangover. You learn that you are older than you once were, and older than you imagine yourself to be.
- Open-invitation book clubs include 500% less conversation about pregnancy, childbirth and baby-rearing than all your other book clubs combined. Which is to say: none. Unless these conversations are relevant to the book. You realize these baby-less spaces are precious and that – right now in your life – you need them.**
Filed under Fiction, Mystery
You read a book like Octavia Butler’s Kindred and you get to thinking some bleak thoughts. Published in the 1970s, the ‘fantasy’ novel follows Dana through a time travelling slave narrative. Opening in the 1970s the reader is immediately hooked as Dana travels back in time to the pre-civil war South and finds herself – a black woman – among slavery. The mechanics of time travel in the novel are explained by virtue of the ‘kindred’ connection between Dana and her 1800something ancestor, Rufus: Dana is called back to the past each time Rufus is in danger of dying so that she can save his life; Dana is called back to the present each time her own life is in danger. Continue reading