What I’m reading today II – Goodreads update

Alex Ankarr is 7% done with A Shadow on the Sun: Although it’s well-written I’m having trouble suspending disbelief due to the characters’ very ‘fantasy world-building’ names. It’s always a problem with made-up names, and I’m still at the point of finding them slightly risible. The story’s good so I’ll be able to shake that reaction off soon.

Honestly I’d be as happy if fantasy authors just called everyone Bill and Ted. Well, not the girls, maybe.

 

What I’m reading today – Goodreads update

Alex Ankarr is on page 112 of 544 of The Mammoth Book of Time Travel SF: I’m more than halfway through ‘The Wind Over The World’, highly praised and lauded by seemingly every reviewer. Thus far I’m finding it depressing, turgid and ominous. But I suppose everything may be transformed by the ending, who knows?

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich – Goodreads book review

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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in AmericaNickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really love this book, although I’m not sure why considering just how depressing it is. I think perhaps just because of that. Ehrenreich truly tells it like it is, and there’s none of the sugarcoating of economic abuse and exploitation that you get with even supposedly impartial media like the BBC and UK liberal press these days. Also I’m into it just because I love memoir beyond any reasonable point and every detail of Ehrehreich’s wilfully grim and dispiriting experiences is fascinating to me.

There is a temptation, as a reader, to keep second-guessing her choices, and the choices of her more truly blue/pink collar colleagues. To think and hope, wishfully, deludedly, that given the same circumstances one would do better, would rise above somehow and bootstrap one’s way up. It’s perhaps the same ‘blame the victim’ mentality associated with rape, bullying or whistleblowers – it feels so much safer to convince yourself that the system works, the target slipped up and was at fault somehow, and it could never happen to you. But it ain’t so, bud.

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Image – DustinGinetz.Photography on Flickr, public domain.

‘The Little Grey Men’ by B.B. – Goodreads book review

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The Little Grey MenThe Little Grey Men by B.B.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very gentle, sedate fantasy adventure, with just a few moments of high excitement. I give it four stars for the quality of the writing, although I usually like fantasy novels with more of the fantasy equivalent of car chases, explosions and alien invasions. The characterization is good enough that one does suffer along with the gnomes, lots of angst hoping for their safe journey and eventual reunion. If you invest the effort into really getting into the book then I think it pays off, although it might take a bit of doing.

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Image – Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr, public domain.

Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs – Goodreads book review

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Mercy Thompson: Hopcross JillyMercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly by Patricia Briggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I preferred this graphic novel short story to some of the regular installments in text-format of the Mercy Thompson story. The artwork was beautiful, the colour-scheme was perfect – moody and Gothic – and Adam in particular was beautifully drawn. He looked almost as young as he’s actually supposed to appear. (Although Mercy looked rather younger, TBH.)

It’s nice to have a Jesse-centric story, as she’s one of my favourite characters and I love her interactions with Mercy. And a genuinely unnerving old-wives’-tale Big Bad, too! Four stars all round.

ETA – must also add, as always – where the heck is the contemporary Bran-centric story, with a real romance for him? Where? WHERE? It must surely be in the works? Surely? Please?

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Image – Mathias Appel on Flickr, public domain.

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas Of Depression – Goodreads book review

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The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of DepressionThe Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lot of reviews comment on the disorganized nature of the book, and also on the privileged status of Solomon (which reads a bit as ‘what does he think he has to complain about?) Not really unfair, but neither criticism really bothered me. His personal story was interspersed between categories and into more detached analyses, but I love memoir so that’s fine by me. The interviews and accounts of other people’s experiences were also great, moving, and with some really good poetry in there. And yes, Solomon is rich and lucky in lots of ways, and perhaps takes it a little for granted. Don’t we all take our blessings for granted?

Imperfect, jumbled, but fun and absorbing and great to dip into here and there. Not a flawless book, but a very good book.

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Image – TOUZIMSKY, Josef Jakub, no known copyright restrictions.

What I’m reading today – Goodreads update

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‘Alex Ankarr is on page 60 of 544’

Immersed in ‘The Truth About Weena’, an H.G. Wells ‘The Time Machine’ homage and extension by David J. Lake. A bicycle made for two!