Monday, April 28, 2014

April Reads

Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Afrofuturism by Ytasha L. Womack
Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler
The Ballad of Beta-2 by Samuel R. Delany
Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan
The New House by Lettice Cooper
The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Some thoughts: Wolitzer's novel was entertaining, engrossing, but imminently forgettable. It slips away from me already and I just finished it. Oates' novel, the first Oates I read, was very loose feeling, as if with a good shake, the words might tumble out. It was good, but not great. Some trimming and a polish could have pushed it over the edge. Goonan's novel, the first of a quartet, was tremendous: complex, rewarding, engaging. Leckie's Hugo Award-nominated novel was fucking incredible. I can't wait to write on it. Predictably, both Delany novels were hard but rewarding and Butler's novel was almost perfect. All in all, a terrific month of reading.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Reads

The Queer Art of Failure by Judith Halberstam
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
For Today I am a Boy by Kim Fu
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Empire Star by Samuel R. Delany

A few words about Oryx and Crake: it was an awful experience reading this for a couple reasons. First, and most obvious, was that Atwood clearly hadn't read any post-apocalypse fiction before. It felt very rote. Secondly, and more subtle, was the strain of Orientalism and perpetuation of gross Asian stereotypes such as the hypersexualized inscrutable "geisha" character that caters to the sexual whims of the two male protagonists. Yuck. Oryx and Crake might have been one of the most crushing disappointments of my life. I love Atwood and think she is a phenomenal writer, but that book was just awful. Put this in perspective: it took me two days to read 600 pages of Invisible Man but 3 days to read 375 pages of Oryx and Crake.

This month? Not a single straight white male. I'm quite pleased with this project. I think I can keep going for a long time.