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No One Can Pronounce My Name

I picked this book up because of the riot of my favorite colors on the cover. It was a really well-done story about a few different Indian Americans, centered in Cleveland, and thinking about Indian American culture versus American culture and how people relate to one another and their own senses of self-identity both within cishet marriages and within gay culture. Starts off in a complex and conflicted place and smooths out over the course of the book. Ultimately a story about friendship(s) and how they work with a lot of different sorts of people.

Do You Remember Being Born

If you’d like to read a novel about a human poet writing important poetry with a poetry-writing AI, this is probably a great novel to read. I had mixed feelings about it--it was extremely well written and the human poet was a great character with a story that was both quirky and felt real--because I just find “An AI wrote this!” aspects of our real world neither interesting nor cool (yet). There’s a sense, in this story, of this poem, the one which is the center of this novel, being incredibly momentous in some way and yet, the final reveal seemed a weird after-effect and not really a big deal. It was weird. Good but weird. I’ll search out the author’s other books.

This Country

A poignant graphic novel about a young couple’s move to a tiny house in Central Idaho. They run a local movie house. They garden a lot. They learn about birds and trees and nature. They meet their neighbors. Then they decide to have a baby and have a soul search about how while they are *visiting* this culture, their child will grow up with it being *their* culture. And they leave. As someone who was that kid, and whose parents didn’t leave, I read it with fascination.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

This book starts out dark and gradually gets less dark. It’s about a woman who witnesses a crime involving a family member and winds up stuck in a series of backwards time loops trying to figure out how to stop it from happening. Each step helps her figure out a bit more. I don’t want to give a lot away but it’s very well laid out. It’s a roller coaster of a novel. I didn’t really know where it was going to wind up until it was almost there. Very well done.

The Art Thief

I have a few categories of books which I love and “Someone tells me more about art theft” is one of them. Finkel also wrote a really good book about the North Pond Hermit which was interesting while also not being tawdry or sensational. This book is about an audacious European art thief who lived in an attic at his mom’s place surrounded by dozens of valuable artworks that he brazenly stole over the course of years. It’s really convoluted and I enjoyed the “how I got these details” recounting at the end almost as much as I liked the book. A lot of good research leads to this tale well-told.

A Quantum Love Story

Don’t remember how I found this book but I had enjoyed Chen’s earlier book about superheroes, We Could Be Heroes (Chen loves Bowie which also shows up in this book a tiny bit). This one is a “How do we get out of the time loop, but also we’ve grown closer while caught in the time loop....” sort of book. More romance than science, and plausible romance at that, but not really a romance novel per se. I really enjoyed reading this though I wish there was a little more wrap-up to the ending. As it was, I’m not entirely sure what happened.

The Tusks of Extinction

This novella by Ray Nayler will be hugely appreciated by folks who liked The Mountain in the Sea. That one looked at octopus consciousness, this one looks at (potential, possible?) mammoth consciousness and goes a bit into some of those “We’re going to bring back mammoths from their old DNA” stories that have been shuttling around. But with a twist you both don’t expect and also don’t entirely understand at first. Started off a bit confusing but went a bunch of places I enjoyed.

Liberty’s Daughter

From what I gather, this is one book which is assembled from a few short stories that take place in the same general place. It’s a really engaging YA-ish novel about a young woman who grows up on a “seastead” an area in international waters off of the coast of California that a bunch of libertarian types have grown their own societies in. It highlights a lot of the pitfalls of this sort of no-government-with-technology setup. You get a lot of what is essentially slavery along with gross things like skin farms and extreme class divides. Interesting without being too didactic. The image on the cover didn’t seem to be something actually in the book

The Undertaking

This is one of those lesser-known books about people who work in mortuary/funeral services. This one is by a guy who worked in the family funeral services growing up and now runs his own business in rural Michigan. He is also a poet, so it’s a little more ornately written than others. I sent the guy an email about a typo on his website (and to say I liked the book) and got a charming email back from him. You’d probably like this if you like the genre generally.


This was a book with a very interesting premise--aliens dispassionately walk among us trying to accomplish their own goals and one of them has to do with radio waves--which gets hampered by too many real-world analogues to things like Scientology and Art Bell’s radio show. I enjoyed the book for what it was, I just felt it didn’t need to hew so closely to things that already exist in the real world. A lot of cool dog characters, if that sort of thing is your thing.

Long Past Dues

A sequel to another book from a magic-adjacent world where people’s jobs are to oversee that the magic doesn’t get too out of control. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby (that name!) is a new member of this Auditor group, keeping things stable in Boston’s Department of Unorthodox Affairs. A bunch of stuff goes wrong. There’s a fair amount of ‘Our exhausted protagonist tries to hold on just a bit longer so that things don’t go totally wrong.’ Liked, did not love.