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Bitsy's Books

Note: I'm uploading my books from Goodreads and since there are like 200+ it's going to take awhile. The uploading seems a bit wonky too, so hang with me as I fix things. Also there may be spoilers until I can make all the appropriate tags.

 

I'm an ex-English Major who, sick of reading classics after college, decided to read all the trashy books I didn't before because I was too snobby. Since graduating, I've entertained myself with comics, YA, and romance novels, finding out they can not only be decently written, but superbly written. I've since recovered from my classics aversion, but I'm now more open-minded reader willing to read from any genre. If a book has kick-ass heroines and/or witty banter and/or takes place in a different time or place (including fantasy settings), I will most likely fall in love with it. My favorite authors are Jane Austen, Shakespeare, E.M. Forster, Meljean Brook, Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Hartman, Catherynne M. Valente, and Aliette de Bodard.

Currently reading

The Blue Fairy Book
Andrew Lang
Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
Jennifer Homans
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 69 - Neil Clarke,  An Owomoyela,  Aliette de Bodard,  E. Catherine Tobler Overall: 4 StarsAn excellent issue with great stories. Even those that aren't exceptional are worth the read.Favorite: "If The Mountain Comes" by An OwomoyelaStandout: "Immersion" by Aliette de BodardDud: "Another Word: Assimilation, Multiculturalism, and Me" by Daniel AbrahamFiction"Immersion" by Aliette de Bodard5 StarsA young waitress and a wife of an interacial marriage find an unexpected common ground.Set in her Xuya universe, De Bodard explores globalization, cultural identity, and western-standards of beauty. While a much quieter story than others of her's I've read, she still manages to question the structure of not only sci-fi narratives, but political relations in the world as well. Her experiments with form and voice (such as second person narration here) have paid off in this story, not only putting the reader in the head-space of "the other," but becoming her. I haven't read a story about cultural ideals of beauty this heart-wrenching since The Bluest Eye. This story has won almost every award ever and I understand why."If The Mountain Comes" by An Owomoyela5 StarsA young woman is torn between her father, who militantly controls all the ever decreasing water in the village, and the man who promises to give the village their river back.This story starts off with probably the best first two lines I've ever read:Fran├žois and Papa were outside, discussing what to do if the water rose. I was in, scrubbing blood from the walls with a palmful of sand.It's beautiful, violent, and descriptive, immediately putting you in the mindset necessary for the story. I loved the religious and nature metaphors the author used to describe the village and the predicament. I loved how there were no simple answers and all the characters had both good and bad motivations. An Owomoyela is definitely an author to look out for."You Were She Who Abode" by E. Catherine Tobler3.5 StarsA war veteran struggles to regain make sense of her shattered memory after suffering a brain injury.This is very much a stream-of-conscious narrative, which was really really hard for me to follow. I think that is party the point - to reflect Cardee's confusion after her injury - but it made the story almost impossible to follow until about halfway through. It was a very emotional, yet hopeful story, showing the costs of war. However, I think the language was a bit too flowery and the stream-of-conscious a bit too chaotic for me to become fully invested. I was too busy trying to figure out what was going on to be emotionally engaged.Non-fiction"Energizing Futures: How SF Fuels Itself" by Stephen GaskellNot RatedI'm more of a humanities and social sciences person, so these extreme science articles make my eyes glaze over. I don't think I have the ability to give critical analysis to articles so outside my sphere of knowledge. So I'm just going to not rate very scientific articles in the future. The only argument I could level against this is it isn't very clear for those outside the discipline."Neither the Billionaire nor the Tramp: Economics in Speculative Fiction" by Jeremy L. C. Jones5 StarsAfter taking an economics class in high school, the term makes me shudder. However, I never really thought about how economics affects and drives narratives. Jones interviews many authors who give their opinions and tips on creating economies in sci-fi/fantasy fiction. It's a great companion piece to Owomoyela's and de Bodard's stories. It was very informative and will definitely influence how I interact with media and my own sad pieces of writing from now on.And John C. Wright is a sanctimonious ass."Another Word: Assimilation, Multiculturalism, and Me" by Daniel Abraham2 StarsI'm somewhat confused what the purpose of this article was. I guess a sort of memoir of the author's interactions with multiculturalism. He does bring up some good points (like how multiculturalism both exposes people to other cultures, but ghettoizes those other cultures into the "other"), but he never really explores any of those ideas. It seems to be more of a congratulatory patting himself on the back for his progressiveness. His final conclusion is just very naive. Of course there are good books from all cultures, but cultural background shapes reader responses to works. Works that don't fit the Western paradigm of active individualism (such as more passive characters who have things happen to them instead of "forging their own destiny," or importance is placed on community, not individuality) are turned down because they won't appeal to the Western reader. It's a much more complex problem than I believe the author realizes.You can read the full magazine for free here! If you like what you read, support the magazine by buying a copy for your e-reader.