Tag: Katherine Addison

WWW Wednesday

Posted October 28, 2020 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

Here we go! I’m actually pretty on time to post this for once… Check out the host’s post and find others from the comments!

Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon JamesWhat are you currently reading?

I’m still working on Black Leopard, Red WolfI’ve sort of ended up just letting it wash over me, and see where it goes, and that’s working for me a bit better. I still don’t love the narrative style, and it’s hard to hold onto the clues that will be important later, because it feels unstructured.

I’m also reading Luke Arnold’s Dead Man in a Ditch, which is — like the first book — pretty fun but not amazing. It’s a nice pulpy read, like some of the noir it imitates in fantasy-form, and I’m still so frustrated by how much of an idiot Fetch is.

Non-fiction wise, I’ve got Mary Dobson’s Murderous Contagion on deck; it’s okay, but I know a lot of this stuff already, of course, and it doesn’t often go into the kind of tasty depth I was kind of hoping for (which pop-science/pop-history is perfectly capable of doing). Perils of the type of book it is, really!

Cover of Blackout by Mira GrantWhat have you recently finished reading?

Ugh, what have I? I’m having trouble focusing on reading at the moment, being honest. I did recently finish Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, and I’ve also read a book called The CBT Toolkit to evaluate whether it can be used alone. (The answer is no, I wouldn’t recommend it.) I also joined in part of the 24-hour readathon on Sunday, and finished a couple of books then, so I think mostly my brain is just too tired to hold onto stuff right now.

Cover of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha LeeWhat will you be reading next?

Well, I have four books on my “next up” pile. This doesn’t mean I’m definitely going to read them next, but it means they’ve been plucked off the shelves to sit prominently in my field of vision, increasing the chance I’ll pick them up. So that’s Phoenix Extravagant (Yoon Ha Lee), Cemetery Boys (Aidan Thomas), The Angel of the Crows (Katherine Addison), and The Animals at Lockwood Manor (Jane Healey). I should add a fifth book — Dead Man in a Ditch just came off the shelf, so it needs to be replaced.

What are you currently reading?

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Review – The Goblin Emperor

Posted October 26, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 5 Comments

The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

I know, I know, another reread! It was for a readalong, this time — I could hardly ask other people to read it without reading it myself, right? Right??

In any case, I’ve reviewed this so many times now that I won’t linger. But it is interesting to note that my memories of the book are profoundly positive: sure, there’s a coup or two, and there are some deaths, and past references to abuse and neglect… okay, okay, I see what you’re getting at, but the point is that those don’t define the book, for me. They happen, as bad things always do, but it’s not what I think of when I think of this book.

Instead, I think of the profound grace with which Maia takes his sudden elevation, his determination to be better, his mindful and deliberate rejection of pettiness (though he’s not human, and it does slip through, and he then patiently and carefully atones for it). I think of the way he offers goodness, and kindness, and understanding, and gradually finds his allies from the people who respond to it with kindness in their turn.

That’s what I find so hopeful about this book. Maia might be tempted to descend to the level of his tormentors, but he never does. He sometimes has to take his time, or put something aside to think about later, or he does something despite being terrified… but every time he tries to meet the world with mindfulness and grace, and thus, succeeds.

Rating: 5/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted October 7, 2020 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of How to Change Your Mind by Michael PollanWhat are you currently reading?

Oh, far too much at once! Non-fiction: still working on Michael Pollan’s How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics. Mostly the point so far is that the science isn’t so very new at all; psychedelic drugs were originally expected to be useful in treating mental health disorders, and go figure, now we’re figuring out that that was probably true.

Fiction: I’m rereading Mira Grant’s Deadline, in the firm hope that one day I’ll actually get onto Blackout and finish the whole book. It’s not that I don’t like the trilogy — I’ve read the first book several times! It just hits hard, and especially so at the moment, given the themes the zombie pandemic raises in the book…

I’m also reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf, and I kinda hate it. I can’t get into the narration, and it’s hard to find a story past the narration. I know, I know, I hear everyone on Twitter shouting at me that I’m just asking for all books to be typical European narratives, and that probably has a part to play. But… I don’t know, I’m not a fan of any of it so far; what I do understand is that there’s a lot of violence, including sexual violence. Just not the sort of thing I enjoy, without other high points.

That’s not all I’m reading, but that’s enough to be getting on with!

Cover of Entangled Life by Merlin SheldrakeWhat have you recently finished reading?

Non-fiction: Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake. I had been really looking forward to this, and it is really fun. I enjoyed all the facts about fungi! I think Sheldrake loves his subject a lot, and that always helps. Need to ponder my review a bit more, though. Obviously this had some odd parallels with How to Change Your Mind, since Sheldrake also mentioned psilocybin mushrooms!

Fiction: I finished my reread of Feed, basically all in one go now I’m not so dang anxious!

Cover of The Angel of the Crows by Katherine AddisonWhat will you be reading next?

Not sure, but I ordered Stuck: How Vaccine Rumours Start and Why They Don’t Go Away by Heidi J. Larson, and that just arrived today, so maybe I’ll get stuck into that before I shelve it and it goes out of sight, out of mind! Larson’s a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, where I now study, so it especially caught my eye — and public health initiatives like encouraging vaccine uptake are something I’d be interested in getting involved with myself.

Other than that, rereading The Goblin Emperor for a book club reminds me I really need to get round to reading The Angel of the Crows.

What are you folks reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books for a Younger Me

Posted September 8, 2020 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

It’s Tuesday, and I’m joining in with Top Ten Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks! The theme this week is “books for your younger self”, and I can think of a whooole bunch of different ways to interpret that. I’m going with a list of books I wish I’d read sooner than I did!

Cover of The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin Cover of The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison Cover of Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart Cover of Pet by Akwaeke Emezi Cover of An Unsuitable Heir by K.J. Charles

  1. The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin. Okay, maybe this one’s cheating, but I’m reading this at the moment and being so annoyed at my slightly younger self for not jumping right on that.
  2. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. This book has been such a comfort to me; teenage me could’ve really done with it.
  3. Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart. Or really any Mary Stewart book; I was so snobby about romance novels, but reading Stewart and Heyer made me see. How much awesome could I have read if I started sooner?!
  4. Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi. I feel like I’d have appreciated this even more if I’d read it when I was closer to the age it’s aimed at. I liked it now, but… I’d have liked it more then, I think.
  5. An Unsuitable Heir, by K.J. Charles. Also one of the books that properly pulled me into romance, but this one is extra special because the existence of Pen as a character, as a person it was possible to be, would’ve possibly sped up figuring out some stuff for me.
  6. Spillover, by David Quammen. Because it helped me figure out that staying curious about stuff really does help with anxiety — and maybe if I’d read it a couple of years earlier, some of my anxiety would have hit less hard. Or maybe it’d have chosen a different path, who knows.
  7. Feet in Chains, by Kate Roberts. Or pretty much any Welsh classics, the existence of which I only discovered at the age of 21, having been told that Welsh people didn’t write anything worth reading.
  8. River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey. I needed Hero. Much like Pen, they’d have taught me a bit more about what’s possible. Also, hippos.
  9. Strange Practice, by Vivian Shaw. This is just so much fun, I’d have liked it to be in my life way before now.
  10. Strong Poison, by Dorothy L. Sayers. Or the whole series, of course, but I can’t believe I only picked these up in my twenties. Though that’s partly because they were out of print, I think? I can’t imagine my mother wouldn’t have bought me them sooner if they were in print.

Cover of Spillover by David Quamnem Cover of Feet in Chains by Kate Roberts Cover of River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey Cover of Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw Cover of Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

How about you? Anything you wish you’d read when you were younger?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Could Read Again For the First Time

Posted June 23, 2020 by Nicky in General / 18 Comments

Ten years of Top Ten Tuesday! Wow. This week I’m turning to an old one… that I probably did before, knowing my interests. Here are the ten books I wish I could experience again with fresh eyes. I’m mindful that the suck fairy may have visited books I loved when I was less mature, so I’ve steered away from childhood favourites.

Cover of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin Cover of The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien Cover of Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Band Sinister by K.J. Charles

  1. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. Everyone knows I loved this one, I think! I wish I could read it again and then compare notes with myself. Did I love the same characters? Did I suspect the same characters? What different things would I focus on, being a different person now than I was then? Honestly, that goes for all of these, though: I’d love to know how things would stack up if I could experience them anew from where I’m standing now. The Goblin Emperor is a special favourite, though.
  2. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. This book has been around for 10 years now, and had 12 reprintings! Whoooa. I remember the first time I read it, it was so compulsive — I had to know what happened, how everything was going to work out, why things we’re happening… I’d love to have that experience again.
  3. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. My mother made me wait to read this until I was eleven, to try and ensure I was mature enough to understand some of the subtleties. I know I didn’t get it all, and my readings of it more recently have been layered with those early impressions, and also with studying it. I’d love to be able to read it for the first time with all the stuff I know now about mythology and Tolkien’s intentions.
  4. The whole Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood. I’ve read all of the Phryne books now, some of them twice, and I’d love to be able to recapture the first time reading them and falling in love with the characters. Some of it’s getting a little too familiar now!
  5. Band Sinister, by K.J. Charles. It was just so sweet and funny and I laughed so much. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy reading it knowing what happens… but I’d love to recapture that breathless ack, how are they going to deal with this?!
  6. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. I’m not sure I can take rereading it in full knowledge of where it’s going, but I remember being so blown away by it.
  7. Fledgling, by Octavia Butler. I feel like I’m better equipped to handle Butler and where her work was coming from now, but I know this book had a lot of impact on me because it was uncomfortable to read. I don’t know if it’s lost that uncomfortableness now… but I don’t feel like it should. I’d like to get uncomfortable all over again, as an older and wiser adult.
  8. A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan. The first time I read this book I didn’t love it, and that feels like a waste now. I’d also love to know if it’s something you have to read again to love, or if I was just a crankypants that day.
  9. Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Same! I ended up loving both these series, and yet… did not love the book first time through. I was just drawn back by something to give them another try. I’d love to give them another first try and see what happens!
  10. Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. I feel like this one actually gains from rereading, because I felt like I understood it better on a second read, when I’d absorbed more of the world… but also I remember the way it completely grabbed hold of my brain the first time. I’d like to have a clear schedule and a rainy day, and just… give it a second first try.

Cover of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell Cover of Fledgling by Octavia Butler Cover of A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan Cover of Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal Cover of Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Some of these are probably obvious choices, but… it’s not just books I like to reread (actually, I’ve struggled to reread The Sparrow). It’s about recapturing that first impression, and I’ve no idea if I would love all these books the same way if one could do that… but I’d love to find out.

So if I’m ever found with a lost memory… you know what to sit me down with! What would you want to re-experience for the first time?

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