o hai

Dec. 30th, 2013 07:11 pm
furyofvissarion: (Default)
[personal profile] furyofvissarion
I've actually continued to read books since this summer! I just have been massively failing to post about them. Here is the first bit of the backlog.

The Summer Prince - Alaya Dawn Johnson. This is brilliant; nothing I could say that hasn't already been said about this book, but: postapocalyptic Brazil, there's an assumed bisexuality & polyamory as the norm that I love, there's a lot of stuff about art & love & politics & how all three make uneasy bedfellows. I read this when I was in a v. bad patch mentally, & what struck me was that no one I'd seen talking about this book focused much on June's father, who wanted to die & accepted that his life was no longer worth living & made preparations for such. & years after his death, June is still raging at him, but, you know, I could identify w/him & admire him: he knew when his time was up, when it was pointless to keep trying, & I thought it was cruel of other people to try to stop him.

Kitty's Greatest Hits - Carrie Vaughn. A collection of short stories about Kitty Norville, the werewolf DJ. Spoilery for most of the books, so take note. I like that I can see how Vaughn's writing has improved & how she's found her feet in Kitty's world, by comparing the earlier stories to the later ones & her later novels. Like any anthology, this is somewhat of a mixed bag, but I liked lots of these a lot. Two standouts were a story about teenaged Ben & Cormac, & the Cormac novella, about his time in prison.

Heart of Iron - Ekaterina Sedia. I really enjoyed this! The setting is a Russia in which the Decembrists' rebellion succeeded, & we follow our protagonist, the teenaged Sasha, who somewhat reluctantly becomes one of the first female students at university in St. Petersburg. This is partly due to the manueverings of her feminist, politically embarrassing aunt Eugenia. Sasha makes friends w/some male Chinese students, partly because they're both shunned by others, & when they start disappearing, Sasha gets drawn into an international conspiracy that also includes a British Secret Service agent, the frightening Florence Nightingale. Yes, really! Anyway, I loved Sasha & the way she tries to navigate through societal constraints around gender & race & class, & overall this was quite an exciting story to work my way through!

Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent - Matthew Carr. Heartbreaking & really important, this book demonstrates how Europe's violent, militarized policy towards irregular migration -- what most people would call "undocumented immigrants" -- is inhumane, unnecessary, & doesn't even achieve the goals (security, economic prosperity, etc.) that it's supposedly intended to. Like the US, the European Union likes to hold itself up as a bastion of democracy & human rights, while doing lots of things that are precisely the opposite of that. Carr is relentless in both his criticism of EU immigration policy & in humanizing migrants, in showing the v. real & brutal effects of this on them, individually & collectively. Carr also shows briefly how the militarization of borders parallels developments in the US & Australia.

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance - Edited by Tricia Telep. Overall this was really disappointing, rife with all the -isms that show off the worst of the genre. There weren't even many stories that made me want to read around the -isms, either -- most of the stuff didn't grab me (I liked the Carrie Vaughn story, natch). It's been so long since I read this that I forgot a lot of the specifics, but that's probably for the best.

Date: 2014-01-02 10:26 pm (UTC)
sylvaine: Dark-haired person with black eyes & white pupils. (Default)
From: [personal profile] sylvaine
Oooh, I have got to pick up Fortress Europe some time; it sounds fascinating even though I'm sure it'll be infuriating (as human rights issues often are)!

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