Some more quick thoughts

Time for another quick review round up of things I’ve been watching and reading lately!

The Queen of the Tearling

First, I want to say I loved, loved, loved this book. I read it in less than a day while in bed with the flu. It was quick and fun, with plenty of cool fantasy/sf details to dig into. But, there were some things I had problems with. I wanted more non-white people in this 24th Century North American world, I wanted more female characters, and I wanted a little less fat shaming. Kelsea is a great character, but she spends almost all her time interacting with pretty predicable male characters. It would have been great to see a female solider somewhere in the story. Going back to Kelsea, the author tells us over and over again that she’s plain and heavy. I was thrilled with this, until her sword master told her she would have to lose weight in order to be able to defend herself with a sword. Kelsea agrees with him, thinking that her fat limbs get in the way of her training. As a heavy woman currently training to sword fight, I thought this was pretty awful. I’m about a month into training with a longsword (so certainly no expert) but my weight and my gender haven’t hindered me at all. When my limbs get in the way it’s because I’m a beginner, and sword fighting, like anything else, takes practice.

But apart from those few things that bothered me, I did really love this book, and I’m excited for the sequel in June.

The Martian

I read this a few months ago and recently convinced my fiance that we need to listen to it on audiobook during our long drives back to our hometowns. The audiobook is great, with lots of personality. At times it is a little harder to follow the science talk than it is when reading it on the page, but it’s still a really fun listen. Hearing it read out loud is getting me really excited for the movie in November.

All the Light We Cannot See

I read this for a bookclub I recently joined, and honestly, if I was just reading it on my own I would have put it down. I had a hard time getting into it, and it really didn’t feel like anything special. There were parts in the middle that I really enjoyed, but the beginning and the end did nothing for me. Maybe I’m just burnt out on stories about WWII and Nazis.

Mad Men

I caught up with Mad Men after a few years of not watching so I could finish this season with the rest of the world. I have mixed feelings about it. It’s an interesting show, and I like how weird it is at times. The moon landing episode where [spoiler]  Cooper dies [end spoiler] was probably my favorite episode of the show, and I would have been happy if it had been the finale. It was fun to catch up on, but a lot of the fun was in seeing the sets, costumes, and how characters reacted to now historical events.

Daredevil

I know people love this, but I really didn’t. Like WWII stuff, I’m burnt out on gritty superheroes. There were some great fight scenes, and there was that amazing episode where [spoiler] Foggy finds out that Matt is the guy in the mask [end spoiler] but for the most part I didn’t feel like I was seeing anything really great or revolutionary. I probably would have felt differently even a year ago, before I started feeling burnt out on superheroes.

The Girl with all the Gifts

This was another bookclub book, and I am so glad I read it! It was actually an interesting take on zombies, which is another thing I’m feeling burnt out on. There were some scenes towards the end of the book that combined the creepy little children trope with the feeling of that scene from Jurassic Park when the raptors are stalking the kids in the kitchen. Definitely worth the read, and another one that I’m excited to see turned into a movie.

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Scrooge McDucking in a Pile of Books

We live in a complicated, but wonderful time for books, particularly SFF boosk. Complicated, because any time people try to express themselves there’s going to be controversy. For more on the complicated side of things see Kameron Hurley’s article in the Atlantic, or George R R Martin’s blogs on the problems with the Hugos this year. There has been plenty said on the topic, but I don’t feel like my thoughts have to be added onto the pile.

Let’s talk about the wonderful stuff.

Imagine books instead of gold and you’ll have an idea of what I’m feeling.

THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS. I’m sure I’ve expressed this here and other places before, but I am constantly amazed at the sheer number of books out there, and how much I don’t know. We live in a golden age of books, and I am so grateful, and happy. Sometimes I feel like Scrooge McDuck, but instead of swimming in piles of money I’m swimming in piles of books, words, and ideas. There is so much out there for me to experience, and so much I don’t even know that I want to experience.

I get so excited when I come across an author, book, genre, or idea I haven’t thought about before. There are so many things about the world I don’t know about, or understand. I consider myself pretty well read, especially in SFF, but I’ve only seen a small fraction of what’s out there, especially if you consider self-published books.

I love that there are millions of books out there for me to choose from. We live in an exciting time, because we are not limited in what we read. Even just a few years ago we were limited to what we could find in the library, or what they could find using Interlibrary Loan. Today, it feels like the whole world of books is at my fingertips. I try to keep up with current publications, but I’m also trying to catch up on older books. Thanks to the internet, I can buy (or borrow from the library) most of those books seconds after I learn of their existence.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming–how on earth do you pick one book out of millions to spend your time on? Overwhelming, and a little sad that I’ll never get to read EVERYTHING, but mostly it is wonderful.

What’s your favorite way to find new books to read? Do you know of any books I should add to my reading pile?