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review 2018-10-15 03:03
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders

This is in a lot of ways a fun, quirky book, but somehow I managed to not realize going in that it’s ultimately about the effects of catastrophic climate change. So I wound up finding it too depressing, for real-world reasons, to really enjoy.

 

The book starts with the two protagonists, Patricia and Laurence, as kids, both outcasts at school who happen to be unusually gifted (Patricia with magic and Laurence with science) and who become friends. Usually I don’t have much to say for child characters, but the third of the book following their childhoods was my favorite part of this one. It’s fun and quirky, vividly over-the-top in a Roald Dahl kind of way that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And the pair as kids are fun and relatable.

 

Then they grow up, and the middle third of the book sags a bit, as the characters meander through a near-future San Francisco without a particular sense of urgency. The characters aren’t especially deep, but they do feel like real, weird people, speaking and thinking like actual millennials; for instance, Laurence worries that he’s not good at active listening, while Patricia is concerned that she’s too self-centered (when she’s not). Then at about the two-thirds mark, we get a chapter straight out of On the Beach, and this became “that horribly depressing book that I have to finish because I’m most of the way there” for the remainder; even when depressing things weren’t actually happening, it was still a climate change book. The ending isn’t a total downer, but only because of

a fantastical solution with no real-world application.

(spoiler show)

 

And yeah, it’s important that people think about this stuff and take it seriously, but I’ve done that for years with no effect; in the end I’m one person with no particular power to effect change, and exposing myself to this kind of material depresses me without doing anyone any good. Real power is in the hands of corporations and the politicians they fund (supported by a public who will believe any message they want to hear that lets them claim moral high ground while requiring nothing of them). And the powers-that-be don’t care much about anything beyond this quarter’s profits. So, too bad we don’t have the level of magic and science that exist in this book to solve our problems for us, I guess?

 

God, this was depressing. I would read something else by this author on a different topic though.

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text 2018-10-13 23:08
BOOKLIKES! WHY Did I need to ADD this!?!?!?
The Walking Dead, Vol. 30: New World Order - 'Robert Kirkman',Stefano Gaudiano,Cliff Rathburn,Charlie Adlard

Yes, I know it was published just over a month ago, on 9/11/2018.  But IT'S THE WALKING DEAD!  Just HAVE THINGS I WANT TO READ!  HAVE THEM!  THAT'D BE GREAT, THANKS!!!!

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review 2018-09-21 18:39
The Lost Book of the Grail, or the author wrote this with Moonlight Madness in mind
The Lost Book of the Grail - Charlie Lovett

Oh, how I loved this bookish book.

 

Some of you might remember me mentioning recently how much I loved Anthony Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire. I am also a huge fan of Arthurian legend. I love books about books and bibliophiles. And I love mysteries centered around historical objects, especially books. This book fulfilled every single one of these loves.

 

I doubt that it will be for everyone. It is rather slow moving, to be sure, and the main character, Arthur Prescott is so very, very stiff upper lip British male. But for me, it was the bookish equivalent of cat nip, namechecking characters from Trollope's beloved series, set in the Barchester cathedral that he created out of whole cloth, all about a mystery related to a lost medieval manuscript. I sunk into the book, emerging at the end, blinking and wondering where I was and how I got here.

 

I read this for Relics and Curiosities.

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text 2018-09-21 02:19
Free at Tor
All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders

this is free at Tor until September 22 for US and UK. 

 

https://www.tor.com/2018/09/18/download-a-free-ebook-of-all-the-birds-in-the-sky-by-charlie-jane-anders-before-sept-22-2018/

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text 2018-09-19 17:38
Reading progress update: I've read 25%.
The Lost Book of the Grail - Charlie Lovett

I am absolutely loving this book. I didn't realize when I checked it out, but it's set in the fiction Barchester of Anthony Trollope, and the author has done several call-outs to Trollope's creation. The main character lives in a converted cottaged created from two of the rooms in the almshouse that was at the center of The Warden, and Septimus Harding has been mentioned by name! It's just delicious!

 

Combining the Arthurian legendarium with the Chronicles of Barchester? The Grail at Barchester Cathedral? OMG, sign me up.

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