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Showing posts from January, 2014

Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want to Live In

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want to Live In 1. Panem I would not do well in a stadium fight to the death. 2. Divergent -era Chicago I would definitely be divergent, but I would definitely not be Dauntless either, I'd probably get stuck in either Abnegation, Erudite, or Candor. 3. Utopia Yup, that's right. Thomas More's Utopia is pretty ridiculously weird. And I'm not too cool with their tactics of undermining other societies' governments via assassination. 4. Omelas I'm reading "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" with my students now, stay tuned for a post. Basically, I would not want to be tempted to live in a perfect society based on one child's suffering. 5. Arrakis/Dune I'd definitely want to visit, but living in the desert and conserving all my body's water in a stillsuit does not sound like a good time for very long. I would definitely live on Calladan, though. 6. Salusa Secundus Don

Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

This is an interesting one, Broke and Bookish . This week's TTT is top ten things I would be interested in reading about... Top Ten Things on My Reading Wishlist 1. Early Modern Women Writers Except I'm not going to be more specific, because I might want to write these books! 2. India/Pakistan I'd be interested in some more fiction on either of these countries in general or about the conflicts and history behind the creation of the separate countries. 3. U.S. Occupations of the Philippines, Hawai'i, etc. Again, I think there should be more fiction about this time period/moment in history. 4. Virtual worlds Because Ready Player One was awesome 5. Non-humanoid aliens Either encounters with, or from the perspective of. 6. Shapeshifters Plenty of series about vampires, even werewolves, but shifters get short shrift. 7. Disabled protagonists A girl and her sister are campaigning for the next American Girl doll to look more like her, and I thoug

Top Ten 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! So, I'm not sure if this is supposed to be only new-author debuts, but I'm going to include just general books coming out this year that I'm excited about. Top Ten Five 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For 1. Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear 2. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin 3. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison 4. Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson 5. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Not Killing It in Box Office Poison

2. Box Office Poison by Phillippa Bornikova I read Bornikova's debut and the first book in the series, This Case Is Gonna Kill Me , last year. So, I decided to finally follow up with the sequel, which I also received for review. In this world, the Powers (vampires, werewolves, and Alfar) outed themselves in the 1960s and now play open and significant roles alongside humans. Linnet Ellery, a human who was fostered in a vampire home, also works for a vampire-owned law firm. The firm, IMG, seems to be at the center of simmering tensions between the Powers and humanity. In this book, Linnet is sent to help arbitrate a conflict over whether Alfar, with their magical elven charm, have an unfair advantage in Hollywood or not. The world is mildly intriguing and this time, Bornikova's writing style was improved, at least in my mind. However, overall, the plot was fairly predictable, and I won't be spending any more of my time on this series.


Recently, I've become addicted to the TV show "Lost" (No spoilers please, I just started the second season). It seems to be a theme of the show that it is our lies, our secrets, our half-truths, that make us who we are, that make us human. I think this is an interesting hypothesis, but perhaps there's more to it than that. What makes us human isn't lies, exactly, it's narratives. "Lost" is a show about narratives, and how we control, or attempt to control, our own narratives. In some cases, we have very little control over our own lives. But we do have some control of how we represent ourselves. Every made-up detail, every withheld detail, every one of the words we choose, is a story that we are telling about ourselves. The story is who we want to be, or who we think the person in front of us wants us to be. Narrative is a means of survival, and a means of identity. Taking control of someone else's narrative is also a means of revenge, or sab

Bookish Goals 2014

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Bookish and Not Bookish Goals for 2014 1. Post to the blog at least 5 times a month 2. Read more short stories 3. Read more poetry 4. Write every day 5. Go for a walk at least three times a week 6. Go to more bookish events, like this one 7. Read at least one book for a book club/discussion 8. Host a literary gathering of some sort 9. Read at least two books translated from a different language 10. Read at least three non-fiction books I didn't meet many of my goals last year, so again this year, I am aiming to be as reasonable as possible, with the added caveat that it's totally okay if I don't meet all of my goals as long as I enjoy another year of reading and writing! What are your goals, and are you worried about meeting them or not? Do you try to make goals that are easy to fulfill or ones that will really challenge you?

SFF Lit Round Up for 2013

If you haven't heard of the SFF Lit Project, click here and join in! I haven't gotten to read as much SFF Lit as I would like this year. Fortunately my Utopian Sci-Fi class in the spring introduced me to a few really strong books, and I knew where to look for authors who had stood the test before. 1. Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear I didn't think it could get much better than Range of Ghosts , but Shattered Pillars brought new depth to characters and more magic to the kingdoms of the Eternal Sky. I'm looking forward to the third book this year! 2. Necessary Evil by Ian Tregellis Tregellis has still got his way with words, and this time around I even got to like detective Raybould Marsh, both as his scarred back-from-the-future self and idealistic younger self. And Gretl-a madwoman who can change time because of man-made powers? A book to ponder, for sure (despite the icky man-with-a-gun cover). 3. Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy Mattapois

Book Review: The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

1. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Conner McNees The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott is a thoughtful reflection on the life and influences of the Transcendentalists' most successful member. McNees writes a simple yet profound story that is clearly grounded in a deep understanding of Louisa's personal history. As a huge fan of the author myself, I have read a few biographies of her, as well as being familiar with the books and history of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and other great men and women who formed the environment in which she grew up. McNees has read those same biographies and more, but she brings a light touch to her prose. There are no info dumps here, only simple, everyday events that show without telling the characters of Louisa, her sisters, their parents. The scene where the family reads their journals to each other, for example, illustrates a well-known occurrence, but is much more effective than the non-fiction. McNees