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« July, 2023 »
Project Nought

This was a great read-it-in-an-afternoon YA novel about a future world where young people in the New Zealand of today (2090?) do “foreign” exchange with young people from the past, in this case a long time ago in the 1990s. The giant corporation in charge of it all seems to have some secrets. A wide cast of LGBTQ characters and some nice commentary about ways the world is, or could be, better in the future.


A pretty interesting Korean SFF novel which envisions a future where there is AI and a fancy space elevator but still the same old corporate fuckery and warring factions vying for power. The space elevator is attached to one island and the history of that island, and who tells it, are somewhat in play during this story. I had a little bit of trouble with keeping the names straight (a me-problem) since there are a few generations of folks in the same family being discussed, but there’s a great hard-boiled “external affairs” guy who narrates a lot of this. Very narration-heavy generally.

The Librarianist

I will read nearly any book about librarians. This book may have cured me of that. It’s a well-written book full of interesting pathos and characters, you might like it, but all the library stuff seemed written by someone who only knew about libraries from the movies and I Could Not Get Past It. The librarian has no friends, is poorly-treated, worked in a library for 50 years (that doesn’t really exist) and spends his whole life getting over a brief marriage. There is a lot of reflection, not a lot happening. The writing is lovely but you spend a lot of time inhabiting the head of a character who is hard to root for. Bah.

Red Team Blues

There was some early overexplainy stuff in the beginning of this book which made me think I wouldn’t like it, but the story actually kept me paying attention. There’s a background of crypto/blockchain topics but even if you don’t want to read about that sort of thing, you might like this. A Red Team guy (one who looks for vulnerabilities in systems) needs to play for the Blue Team (i.e. protect himself) and it’s interesting, not super deep, but I enjoyed it.


This was a book written in 2004 about the sociological changes that cell phones were bringing to the world. The cover shows a candybar-style phone but stylized to look like a swiss army knife reflecting a very particular point in time when cell phones could kiiinda do pictures/video but not much else, but other stuff was right on the horizon. The author skips footnotes in favor of parentheticals which makes for a weird reading experience because there are a lot of asides often pointing to other things he’s written. A neat time capsule of when cell phones were a very specific thing.

Titanium Noir

I felt a little overwhelmed by Harkaway’s book Gnomon like I didn’t quite get it and it was not quite grounded in reality enough for me. This one is more accessible and really good. It’s in a future where the ultrawealthy can get medically enhanced, becoming a class of humans called Titans who are bigger and stronger and longer-lived than everyone else. Our protagonist is a not-a-cop guy who investigates legal situations Titans may be involved in. And, of course, gets too wrapped up in stuff. At its heart, a noir-sh mystery but with a scifi bent. I’m sorry it’s over.

The Motion Picture Teller

Ever read a book that has another story inside it (a movie or a play or a novel) and you think “I bet this author wrote this other thing and is now trying to wedge it into this thing.” That is EXACTLY what this is. An interesting story about a film buff postman in Thailand who becomes obsessed with a movie he encounters randomly. But there sure is a lot of that movie’s screenplay in it. Also he’s a white man writing about Thailand which always makes me feel odd. I’ve heard good things about the author, don’t know much about him generally, the book gave me a weird vibe even while being a good story.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

I feel like I’m the last person in my loose circles to read Solnit. I love her writing. I like the poignancy and the almost-instant nostalgia she can evoke. These essays are various ruminations on things lost--people, ideas, places, animals--and some of them land well and some of them land a little less well. I think the deeply personal ones, told in Solnit’s specific narrative vagueness, get the point across but maybe not in the way she intended. I found myself sort of muttering in disagreement with some of her topics, but nodding in agreement with some of her other ones.

Goodbye Pound Cake

This was a YA book I read for work, a fairly run-of-the-mill redemption arc of a young woman with a weight problem who is bullied and unhappy, living with a single dad. She decides to do something about it, joins the cross-country team, becomes friends with the young man she has a crush on. This book seemed more like it was written in the last century, a LOT of fat shaming and approaches to young people’s struggles that felt outmoded and outdated.


From the author who brought you Machinehood, this is another nicely complex story about where humans fit into a future world that is ruled by alloys (i.e. sentient machines) and especially the overlap between their two cultures. A lot of politicking, some space exploration and a love story at the heart of it. Some really sensible and compassionate treatment of the question “What is a disability?” with a protagonist with sickle cell and an alloy who gets damaged. I loved the different ways the author approached these ideas and how there wasn’t just one right way to be a human OR be an alloy.


This is a great book about the history of beavers in North America and what the US might have looked like before humans eradicated nearly all the beaver population before they came (a little bit) back. The author looks at modern-day trappers, beaver enthusiasts, folks who study rivers, and a quirky assortment of academics. It’s readable, strongest when it’s giving you cool beaver facts and fascinating beaver history, and weakest when the author talks about her Connecticut neighborhood and the more “wild” parts of it.

The Contradictions

I am starting to feel like my public library specifically stocks these “memoir-style stories by young awkward queer women trying to work out some shit” books (more power to them!) and I pick them up thinking they are different sorts of stories and they’re not my jam. This was a well-illustrated story about Sophie’s time in Paris where she befriends and goes on a multi-country crusty-punk style road trip with someone who seems super annoying. But at least one review I read said it was not a memoir so I don’t even know what to think. There’s just a lot of ennui in these books which is good for illustrating but sometimes tough for reading.