Month: April 2017

Apr 26

The Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia Butler

Science Fiction 7

Howdy Bookworms,

Can we talk about how brilliant Octavia Butler is for a minute? I refuse to discuss her in the past tense, despite her having shuffled off this mortal coil a little over a decade ago. I have read quite a chunk of her body of work at this point, and I am blown away every time. She never leans on a formula; every topic from time travel to dystopian societies and even vampire lore is fresh and innovative. Which is why I OBVIOUSLY had to dive into her trilogy on aliens. Because ALIENS!

Don’t be fooled by the attractive woman’s cleavage on the cover. This book is about aliens full of tentacles.

The Xenogenesis Trilogy (sometimes known as Lilith’s Brood) consists of three installments, Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. The premise of these novels is that humanity has finally gone and done it and destroyed the Earth and themselves in the process. Big giant war, probably nuclear, wipes out all the things, and is horrible. Lilith Iyapo along with the other human survivors plucked from the wreckage of our now uninhabitable planet have been rescued by a mysterious alien race called the Oankali. The Oankali are motivated by two things. First, they feel compelled to heal any suffering they encounter. Second, they have a desperate need to merge with other species on a genetic level. While Lilith and the other survivors are given another chance at life, it’s nothing like the life they used to know.

I really don’t know how someone could NOT be intrigued by that story line. I mean, aliens cast not as aggressors, but rescuers? Complicated morality? SCIENCE? It’s as delicious and complex a series as anything else I’ve read by Butler and it’ll get the old noodle working big time. If you’re in the mood for a truly bizarre and innovative journey, you can’t beat The Xenogenesis Trilogy.

Alright Bookworms, who’s got Alien book recomendations for me?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Apr 19

Bleaker House by Nell Stevens

Memoirs 8

Greetings Bookworms!

When I’m confronted with a book that has a penguin on the cover, it’s almost a given that I will read it. Enter Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World by Nell Stevens. My friend and book-enabler Heather (aka Capricious Reader) sent me a link to this book and I wasted zero time in going to NetGalley to procure a copy. That’s right. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. As always, my integrity is worth more than the price of a digital review copy, so you can trust me to be honest. You can start worrying when people start handing me fistfuls of cash along with my free books. Which will happen exactly never. So. There you go.*

In this book, the author runs away to Falklands (on a school supported fellowship) in order to deprive herself of distractions so she can write her novel. She ends up finding that you can’t force the writing of a novel, even in utter isolation. Also she was bad about packing her food which made me as a reader anxious and hungry. Because her calorie count. So bleak. That was the bleakest bit, really, the lack of food. I wish I could blame this on the fact that I read this while pregnant, but no. I don’t like being hungry under any circumstances. There was a lot of useful self discovery and a bit of indulgent navel gazing (but really, who wouldn’t do that when isolated in such a manner?) I just wish there hadn’t been a penguin on the cover. While the author did see penguins on her frequent walks, they didn’t play a particularly integral role in the story. I mean, the author couldn’t have anticipated the level of penguin enthusiast who would be attracted to her book, but I was a bit disappointed when the penguin related capers and friendships I imagined never materialized.

Bottom line? If you’re interested in one writer’s process, definitely check out Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World. If you are more interested in penguin capers, email me and I’ll supply you with a reading list to suit your fancy.

Bookworms, I must know. Have any of you been hoodwinked by the cover art on a book?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Apr 11

Bite Size Reviews: April 2017

Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

I meant for this recap to post in March, but Hubs and I were felled by the plague. Poor dude got strep throat and pink eye, and while I only had a cold, I couldn’t take much of anything to relieve my symptoms because I’m incubating a human. So I mostly just drank a lot of tea (caffeine free) and whined. Oh. And used those nose strip thingies for snoring. Those are pretty great. But I digress. I’ve been reading so much! And I’m so terribly far behind! Here are some of the things, not in any particular order.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher- Oh Carrie, my darling. You are so missed. And not just by your impossibly cute dog. I listened to the audio version of this, narrated by Carrie Fisher. It was an excellent choice. And hearing passages read out of 19-year-old Carrie’s diary by her actual real-life daughter? So good. I’m so glad that in addition to her film work, Carrie left behind such delightful, witty, heartfelt commentary in her written works. Although, on a side note, this is the book in wish Fisher details her affair with Harrison Ford. Which is fine except that I’ve never found Harrison Ford particularly attractive because he reminds me of a neighbor/family friend from childhood with whom I always had a very sibling-y relationship. This book definitely didn’t change that perspective.

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen– This was the final installment of the trilogy which I reviewed HERE and HERE. YA Science Fiction/Fantasy is a hit or miss genre for me, particularly when it comes to trilogies. This one, for example, had me super stoked for the final installment, only to have a last minute plot twist kind of wreck the whole thing for me. This isn’t strictly a time travel series, but there’s some consciousness sharing that goes on which definitely gives it that time travel flavor. And all the potential pitfalls that go with the manipulation of the time/space continuum. I’d be happy to discuss my issues with anyone who has finished the series. In fact, I kind of need to hash it out. Help?

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman– I read this for my IRL book club. It takes place during WWII in Warsaw, Poland, and if you know even the tiniest bit about the Holocaust, you’ll know that Poland was not a particularly pleasant place to be. It focused on a Polish family who had once run the zoo (most of the zoo animals were lost to combat and/or theft by the Nazis) who did what they could during the war to keep Jewish folks safe. It was the WWII equivalent of being a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was a very interesting true story, but going into the book, I was totally expecting a novel and it turned out to be non-fiction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting more emotion and fewer facts about insect collections. I also kind of wish I could un-learn some of the insights into the Nazi mindset that this book taught me. Knowing it in an abstract way is one thing, but having the details spelled out in pseudo-scientific language? Troubling, to say the least. If you’re Jewish and have a hard time reading about this period in history? Skip it.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson– Who doesn’t love a story about a quirky kid? In this novel, a young woman working in publishing is sent to play nanny to a reclusive writer’s eccentric son. Frank is a dapper little gent, dressing more like Charlie Chaplin than your average 9 year old. What starts off seeming like it might be a simple caper in the antics of an unusually artsy kid takes some unexpectedly emotional twists and turns. Overall, a charming story.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich– Get your tissues ready for rage-tears. An adolescent boy’s mother is sexually assaulted. Dealing with the emotional trauma is tough enough on the family, but since the assault took place on Native American tribal lands, the seeking of justice becomes extremely complicated. RAGE TEARS. Like, if you thought that all the crap perpetrated on Native Americans ended back in the day, you’d be really, really wrong. Intense, excellent read, but if sexual assault is a particularly difficult issue for you, you might want to skip this one.

Alright y’all. There’s the quick and dirty of some books I read a while ago. What have you been reading?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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