It looks like I’ve published 3 posts in a row about things that disappointed me, raising the inevitable question: “Well, is there anything you’ve read lately that you have liked?”
Well, yes. I’ve actually read more books I’ve liked than not, I’ve just reviewed them elsewhere. Here is a recap of several books I’ve read in the past few weeks that I can highly recommend:
Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson. Set in an unnamed Mid-Eastern country <coughEgyptcough> this cyber-fantasy is brisk, delightful and raises interesting questions about the nature of faith.
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal. The fourth book in her Glamourists series is a caper story with the deepening relationship between Jane and Vincent at its core. Funny, exciting and heartwarming. And… puppets, pirates and Lord Byron!
September Girls by Bennett Madison. Madison’s strange, insightful YA fantasy about summers at the beach, broken families, “manhood,” getting laid and mermaids is one of the most thought-provoking and original books I’ve read all year.
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. This mashup of thriller and horror story was also original and powerful.
Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. Missing those wildly innovative William Gibson books from the old days, like Neuromancer and Burning Chrome? Look no farther than Gregory’s new pharma-tech thriller. Filled with strange characters and wild adventures, laced with interesting tidbits about brain chemistry, as a bonus it will leave you asking yourself serious questions about God.
I read and enjoyed the novel Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress, although the first half of the book was the better part. I also read — or read through, it felt like I missed part of it somehow — Leaving the Saints by Martha Beck. This story was chilling and interesting, with a strange, witty, almost light-hearted delivery as she wrote about the worst of sexual abuse by a family member, and being shunned by family, friends and neighbors after she and her husband reluctantly left the Church of Latter Day Saints. I see this style a lot from my Mormon and post-Mormon friends, and it seems almost cultural. I don’t completely understand it.
So yes, some very good reading going on. The blog is my personal refuge, though, a place I can gripe about a book that disappointed me without having to formulate a complete review. So, sorry, everyone. Carry on.