Archive for June 4th, 2014

June 4, 2014

May Reading

A certain amount of reading seems to have got itself done this month, I don’t know how. Not enough (never enough!), but then it has been a busy time.  


Evelyn Smith, Seven Sisters At Queen Anne’s: You know how in a lot of classic school stories the new girl travels to the school and is different and has to learn the ways of the school and it all ends well? Here, the new girl doesn’t change much, and nor does the school, and everyone still manages to quite like and respect one another. And it’s smart and funny and I would like to read more Evelyn Smith please.


Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation: Gorgeous, and likely to be one of the best things I read this year. Column here.


Nnedi Okorafor, Lagoon: I ended up really liking this despite (because of?) its messiness. Column here.


Sarra Manning, The Worst Girlfriend in the World: My track record with Manning is that she either leaves me a feels-y mess (You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me) or leaves me entirely unmoved (Adorkable). This book did neither of those; it did make me happy because it’s a book about female friendship where love interests are either entirely secondary or entirely ridiculous.


Sophia McDougall, Mars Evacuees: I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books about Issues this month—lots of death and war and trauma. Mars Evacuees is also set during a war and it never forgets that, or neglects to take seriously the fact that people are at risk of death—and one of the ways in which it treats these issues more seriously than a lot of the other things I’ve been reading is that it sees actual people caught up in them. And yet it’s also funny and warm and warming. It’s not perfect, but it is very, very good and made me very happy.


Kathryn Allan (ed), Disability in Science Fiction: I have a review of this up at Strange Horizons, here.


Sara Levine, Treasure Island!!!: Last week’s column, here.


Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Child’s Elephant: I’m part of a Carnegie shadowing group (the award winner is announced later this month) and so read this for that. I was not impressed.


Karen Joy Fowler, The Science of Herself: PM Press have put out an e-chapbook containing “The Science of Herself” (a story about Mary Anning), “The Pelican Bar” (which I’d already read) along with another short story, an essay titled “The Motherhood Statement” and an interview. I was between Carnegie books and thought I’d read the first story, and naturally sat and read the whole book instead, including the story I’d already read. I hadn’t known, or had forgotten, that the title story was about Mary Anning—this was a day or so after the google doodle in her honour. This was an even better tribute, and I should have something longer on it soon.


Kevin Brooks, The Bunker Diary: Another of the Carnegie shortlisted books. I’ll be writing about this at greater length soon; I’m not sure it works, but I am sure that I respect it.


Anne Fine, Blood Family: Also on the Carnegie list, and will also be written about soon. I was not exactly blown away.


Katherine Rundell, Rooftoppers: Another Carnegie book. Treads a precarious line between charming and twee and sometimes slips, but is also sometimes great. I don’t know if it’s the SF fan in me that demands more worldbuilding, better fleshing out of this particular iteration of oppressive state and secret lives of vagabonds, but its lack of substance did annoy me at times. On the other hand, it would make the most wonderful Disney movie.