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« August, 2020 »

Chilling Effect   book icon  
by Valerie Valdes (2019)

read: 30 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

This is another one of those books which has a cover that is a little wacky (and has cats) but the book is less wacky and has fewer cats (I mean they are in there but not as major plot points). I enjoyed this but got a little hung up in it at times. The main characters is a stocky (tho not on the cover) Latina who runs a cargo ship doing stuff that she tries to keep in the legal realm. But then her sister gets kidnapped and she’s forced to do a bunch of things she otherwise doesn’t want to in order to straighten the situation out. And then it gets more complicated. Meanwhile there’s an inter-species romance and a lot of interpersonal stuff going on with her crew and within her family. Complicated!

Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin   book icon  
by Megan Rosenbloom (2020)

read: 26 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

Read an ARC of this eagerly-awaited book, it’s so so good. Think you know stuff about books bound in human skin? Think again. This book gives you some good facts and a compassionate look at what can seem like a ghoulish practice. Plus Megan’s a librarian! She tries to look into this practice to see if what we think is true (this was a practice mostly done by creeps and ghouls) is true (no). A few deeper looks at extant book where the provenance is well known and some speculation about cases in which less is known.

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet   book icon  
by M. C. Beaton (1993)

read: 25 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I neither love nor hate these cozy mysteries that take place in a small village in the Cotswolds. Agatha Raisin is a not-super-likeable woman who is independently doing her thing and things happen around her. In this case, a mystery death of a person she thought was one type of person but turned out to be an entirely other type of person. Lively enough and not super challenging but I like the small-town vibe to these books.

After Atlas   book icon  
by Emma Newman (2016)

read: 21 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Second book in the Planetfall series, this one looking at one person who has been “left behind” when the whole last book happened. He has a kind of rough backstory and is now basically an indentured slave to one of the megacorporations that runs the world. But! He is also highly trained and has to investigate a murder which brings him right back in to the community (the cult!) that he left behind. A good read and has a lot of weird and complex parts to it, not a lot of tie in with the other book, works fine as a standalone, but fleshes out some of those stories a wee bit more.

The Dream of Perpetual Motion   book icon  
by Dexter Palmer (2010)

read: 16 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Picked this up right after the previous book because I liked the way this guy’s mind worked. This book reminded me more of Stephen Millhauster, a lot of tiny details that make up one whole weird story. I didn’t really love what happened to the women in this book (or the last one, come to think of it) but enjoyed the weird city with the weird rich guy and the sort of low affect kid who was trying to figure it all out.

All That Remains: A Life in Death   book icon  
by Sue Black (2018)

read: 10 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

One of those great books about forensic biology, this one by a woman who works teaching anatomy-via-cadaver in Scotland and also is part of a forensic exhumation team. A lot of different and interesting parts to it including exhuming mass graves in Kosovo, trying to ID random remains in Scotland and just talking about life and death within her own family. Not everyone’s thing but I really liked it.

Version Control   book icon  
by Dexter Palmer (2016)

read: 10 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Similar to The Intuitionist one of those books which is kinda about time travel but also kinda about race in America. A little sciencey didactic at times, there are some VERY long digressions into various topics. The ending was not to my taste, a thing on which reasonable people can disagree, but overall a different kind of time travel book, in a good way. Ultimately I was a little confused as to what the actual plot was (there were some multiverse things going on) so I will have to read up on this book on review sites, but I care enough to look it up which is the sign of a good book.

The Intuitionist   book icon  
by Colson Whitehead (1999)

read: 3 August 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I hadn’t realized when I picked this up, somehow, that it was by the same author of Underground Railroad. It’s very good and kind of a sleeper novel in many ways. A book nominally about elevators but really about race in America and a whole bunch of layers of how that can shake out against the background of something as banal as engineering infrastructure. A low affect female protagonist (my favorite!). Good, and thought provoking.

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