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Since the pandemic started I've stopped watching just about any visual media. I read so many books. Might as well tell the void about them!

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Detransition, Baby (Hardcover, 2021, One World) 5 stars

A whipsmart debut about three women--transgender and cisgender--whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces …

My review of 'Detransition Baby'

5 stars

Another just stellar book! 2020 was a great year for some phenomenal fiction that I know I'll be returning to. Aimes as a character really spoke to me personally. His journey of detransition and return to masculinity was a window for me to consider my tenuous relationship with it. As a nonbinary folk I haven't attempted to sever my connection to it as fully as Aimes did during the transition to Amy (at least, not externally/publically). But I recognized a lot of myself in him. The ways in which transition demands authenticity, and how absolutely terrifying that is. And especially how much masculinity in our current society offers the emotional shield of never having to be authentic.

This book is a must read in my opinion. Whether your are cis or trans, and especially if you love someone who falls into one of those boxes which you do not.

The City We Became (Hardcover, 2020, Orbit) 4 stars

From three-time Hugo award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N. K. Jemisin, The City …

My review of 'The City We Became'

5 stars

Oh my. This book is so good! It's such a phenomenal subversion of Lovecraft's notion of horror while also being an excellent piece of Cosmic Horror that people have come to thoughouly associate with Lovecraft. The characters are vibrant and compelling, and so delightfully diverse! They are all very different people and it matters in the story, their diversity is a reflection of the diversity that is essential to the plot. This might be a go to example for me to point people to what meaningful diversity in characters looks like.

And the worldbuilding! I love it so much! What an incredibly cool and thought provoking was to construct a fictional reality. And I'm not entirely sure that it's all that fictional. The worldbuilding is born directly out of real problems and real struggles of communities. The birth of a city both invokes and evokes ideas that I'll be contemplating …

Gathering blue (2002, Laurel-leaf Books) No rating

Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in …

My review of 'Gathering Blue'

No rating

You know, in some ways Kira would love the city of The Giver. A communal collaborative place. I found Kira's world and experiences much more engaging and compelling that those in The Giver. I suspect most of that is just my personal preference. I enjoy the exploration lower technology guild style society more than the highly structured highly technical communal one. But also Kira felt like a more compelling character. She experiences suffering far more than Jonas did in The Giver, and so I found myself much more quickly rooting for her. I do exceptionally like the contrast of the endings however. Jonas, in an act of courage, fled his home in order to hopefully help his community. Kira's act of courage was to stay.

I'm still mulling over some questions that arose for me while reading these. Why are the dark societies that exert excessive control such a central …

The Giver (Paperback, 1993, HMH) 3 stars

It is a school edition used in many schools across the US while it a …

My review of 'The Giver'

No rating

I've never read these books, despite having them come up in conversation and in passing many times. The first one was good, but for the most of it I found myself thinking about how cliche it felt. Young Adult Dystopians novels always seem really obsessed with social control. Not that that's a bad thing, and of course that's a set of ideas that is actually really important to young adults. But to me, it made this narrative feel really...trite. I enjoyed the second novel in the series much more.

Nemesis (1990, Bantam Books) 5 stars

Tearing its way through space on a collision course for Earth is Nemesis, a fiery …

My review of 'Nemesis'

5 stars

In the grand scheme of things, we are all impotent. That is the lesson I took from this story. This was a great read. I really loved the story, and quite often read longer than I had intended to because I was so engrossed. But, having finished it, I find myself thinking of little more than one of the minor characters. Janus Pitt convinced the people of his settlement to leave the solar system and strike out for a new star system to colonize. He had grand visions of performing a great experiment, of populating and entire system with a homogenous culture that would thereby be devoid of the chaos and political struggles so endemic to the planet of humanity's origin.

Janus' plans were spoiled in a way and ultimately he was powerless. If we strive for power over others in order to enact our plans we will meet the …

Using and Administering Linux : Volume 1 : Zero to SysAdmin (Paperback, 2019, Apress) No rating

My review of Using and Administering Linux: Volume 1

No rating

I picked up this book as a part of a bundle of books on Linux from Humble Bundle, So not only do I have this three volume set, but there's also about a dozen other books. I'm going to be busy with technical reading this year. And boy did I really love this book! I love free software, and GNU/Linux holds a special place in my heart. This book is a delightful read, as Both takes the time to cover the history and structure of why behind various system structures and plans. I need to go back over this volume and take better notes before I move on to the next one but I'm very eager. Computers are such magical little machines! I love them so much, and it's so much fun to reach into the internals of these incredibly complex boxes of electricity and mess with them. Bend the …

Sexual Intelligence (Paperback, 2013, HarperOne) No rating

My review of 'Sexual Intelligence'

No rating

This is a fascinating book. I picked it up at a whim because of course that title is interesting. Klein has a really warm writing style and I found myself liking him more and more throughout the book. Klein really loves sex, and all the quirks, oddities, and variety of human sexual expression. His enthusiasm made the book a really fun read, and his exploration of the differences between men and women are some of my favorite. To paraphrase, there aren't any. Klein lays bare (pun intended) all the ways in which sex is work, and how the emotional vulnerability and connection that is quite often what people really want from sex requires concerted effort and change on our part. The lessons this book holds have very little to do with sex. We all want (and need) genuine human connection. Sometimes that connection involves sex, but most of the time …

The fifth installment in New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire's award-winning Wayward Children series, …

My review of the Wayward Children series

5 stars

I devoured this series by Seanan McGuire. It's so much fun! I really love all the bizzare, weird, impossible worlds she constructs in these. They make for great adventures, but also their impossiblities offer some perpectives to think about our own world, our own ethics and morals. The one that has stuck with me most is the world McGuire creates in In An Absent Dream. The Goblin Market enforces the concept of fair value on all transactions its citizens make. You must pay fair value for the goods or services that you receive. If you do not, the market will gradually turn you into a bird. Interestingly, as the story points out, enforcing fairness seems to also preclude generosity. If all transactions must be fair, then it's much more difficult to give someone a gift. The Goblin Market is generally a place full of happiness and love, but it raises …

The Great Gatsby (Paperback, 1992, Collier Books, Maxwell Macmillan Canada, Maxwell Macmillan International) 4 stars

For the first time in paperback, one of the classics of twentieth-century literature, The Great …

My review of 'The Great Gatsby'

No rating

The Great Gatsby is in the public domain this year! And as a celebration, NPR's Planet Money team did a full, unabridged reading of the book and put it out for all to listen to! This was a fun book to return to. I read it in high school, but as is often the case with teenagers, I did not have the attention or experience to appreciate it's skillful writing. One of the things I like about this novel is how short it is. I love books I can read in an afternoon. It makes it possible to digest the whole thing in a day, and then just mull over the narrative for awhile. I recommend listening to this BBC In Our Times Episode on The Great Gatsby before listening to the book. I found that it primed me really nicely to take better note of the magnificent imagery …

The Perennial Philosophy (AudiobookFormat, 2017, Tantor Audio) 3 stars

My review of 'The Perennial Philosophy'

3 stars

I have a lot of feelings about this one. And I do feel I need to toss in a disclaimer here, I listened to this in audiobook format. Which for me, while I love them, I often don't give them my full attention. And this book is dense, if you really want to pull out all it has in it, it needs one's full attention. Okay, disclaimer over. So large portions of this book is Huxley being far more mystical about a single omnipotent deity than I'm comfortable with. Which, really wasn't bad, and he's certainly never preachy about it, it's just that after growing up in a toxic religious environment I'm not keen on the whole g-d thing. I do see myself as having faith and participating in religious practices, but those that I chose to pursue are all very light on g-d. That said, this is very good. …

Before the Coffee Gets Cold (Paperback, 2021, Hanover Square Press) 4 stars

My review of Before The Coffee Gets Cold

5 stars

Oof. I loved this book! It's such an interesting take on time travel and I was gripped! The premise is that in a certain coffee shop in Japan it's possible to travel back in time, but there are rules. Among them; you can only travel back in time to meet someone who has been to the shop before, nothing you do to change the past will change the present, and you must return before the coffee gets cold. I would say it's a deep exploration of how we deal with regrets, and the ways in which small shifts of our own internal perspectives can have profound impacts on how we judge our situation, and the actions we are willing to take to achieve our own happiness. The narrative follows several different characters, each with something in the past that they long for, something that is a huge hindrance to their …

Wishful drinking (2008, Simon & Schuster) 2 stars

Fisher comes clean (well, sort of) with the crazy truth that is her life, in …

Review of 'Wishful Drinking'

No rating

What a delightful memoir! I was never super into Star Wars as a kid so most of my familiarity with Carrie Fisher is from social media screenshots of her great tweets. And this memoir very much fits in with the tone she cultivated on there. She was traumatized a few years prior to the book by the death of a friend, and that is very much the current that flows underneath everything she shares. She shares quite a bit about the traumatic event, and the fact that it affected her deeply, but she never dwells on it, and she always cracks a joke about it. I found myself wondering a little, are the jokes a way to avoid the weight of it? Or are they a way of dealing with it? We all suffer trauma in life, and we all deal with it in our own way. I really got …