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review 2018-04-21 10:10
Mundane Fiction in Disguise: “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers

“Lovers are fun, but kind of stupid, too. They say stupid things to each other and they ignore all their friends because they’re too busy staring, and they get jealous, and they have fights over dumb shit like who did the dishes last or why they can’t fold their fucking socks, and maybe the sex gets bad, or maybe they stop finding each other interesting, and then somebody bangs someone else, and everyone cries, and they see each other years later, and that person you once shared everything with is a total stranger you don’t even want to be around because it’s awkward.”

 

In “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers

(No, I didn’t get the quote wrong; it’s really in the book ipsis verbis)

 

Should all speculative fiction be written in a fantastical, hyper-imagined future where everything is new and shiny and different?

 

Having a rich panoply of characters make 'walk on' appearances engages the reader and helps them to develop a richness, texture and depth to a work. The reader can determine whether or not one of these 'extras' connects to the story-line elsewhere - and an impressionistic sketch of these characters and their activities actually requires that the reader puts in some effort in constructing the world in which the characters operate. Roger Zelazny used this device quite well, and I enjoyed it: discontinuities were everywhere, and hints and ephemera enhanced the story. I didn't want to see everything in a well-lit room. I tried Larkin when I was twelve, then when I was sixteen (yay for required reading as part of my British Council English education.) Much preferred Tennyson and then I was in my late twenties. 

 

 

If you're into a Mundane-Fiction--in-Disguise, read on.  

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text 2018-04-20 13:23
Book Blog number 3
Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds moved to Brooklyn, New York when he first started his writing career. This heavily influenced his writing style. He mainly writes about black culture in cities. Long Way Down is about Will, a kid who wants to avenge his brother's death by killing the guy who killed his brother. In certain neighborhoods, shootings happen a lot. In New York City, this happens sometimes.. Jason Reynolds does a very good job at explaining this, especially if you do not know a lot about this type of thing.

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review 2018-04-19 23:21
there's delight in every sentence
A Long Way From Home - Peter Carey

It's been a long time since I've found such delight in a story's every sentence.

 

The telling is all fine wordsmithing and sharp phrase-turning and frank soul-searching, neither sentimental nor cynical nor pretentious, and thoroughly engaging.The story is also satisfying and among the best I've read, and it's not the only Peter Carey work to earn that status with me.

 

It's told in first person, primarily by two narrators, each nearing 30 and introduced as neighbors in small-town Bacchus Marsh. The woman, Irene Bobs, is married to car aficionado and would-be Ford dealer Titch Bobs, and they're raising two children. The man, Willie Bachhuber, is a school teacher and quiz-show whiz, who left his wife and child over a misunderstanding about the child's parentage. The latter leads to much of the story's depths and surprises, and takes the reader into the thick of Australia's troubled racial landscape. The narrators wind up in a car called a Holden (Ford's Aussie competitor) in Australia's 1954 Redex Trial, a cross-continent auto race over much grueling outback.

 

Irene is my favorite narrator, but I've grown very fond of both voices. Irene, who considers herself little more than a pretty decent mum, turns out to be a bad-ass driver. Willie is her spot-on though occasionally delirious navigator. Their personal journeys progress apace with the race, eventually along separate but criss-crossing paths, never stereotypically and always with great heart.

 

Here's a taste of the telling, from Irene's perspective:

 

"The smell of a rally car, the stink, the whiff, the woo, you will never find the recipe for this pong in the Women's Weekly but ingredients include petrol, rubber, pollen, dust, orange peel, wrecked banana, armpit, socks, man's body. I drove into the night on the ratshit regulator. My headlights waxed and waned depending on the engine revs. Beneath us was bulldust, two feet thick. It was always smooth and soft-looking but the Holden banged and thudded like an aluminium dinghy hitting rock. It is a miracle our suspension didn't melt. Sometimes I saw the shock absorbers of a car in front, white hot, glowing like X-rays. Cattle loomed from the blackness and if I had rolled or hit a roo, if I killed us all, what then?"

 

What then, indeed. It is well worth the read to find out.

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quote 2018-04-16 16:11
"My stomach was aching, the quaking world in the bottom of it, and it wasn't long before I could feel myself splitting apart" (Reynolds 229).
Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds

This quote is important because Will is in the elevator with his father and he thinks that his father is now trustworthy. Then while they are hugging each other, his father pulls Will's gun out of his belt and holds it to his head. This leaves Will feeling betrayed and terrified. He realizes that at any moment, his father could kill him and he is so hurt because he thought his father was finally worthy of his trust and love. 

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text 2018-04-16 04:01
Reading Update: 30%
Wild at Whiskey Creek: A Hellcat Canyon Novel (Hot in Hellcat Canyon) - Julie Anne Long

Thing was, Kismet implied that there was some sort of larger, ultimate plan and he was at the mercy of it. He’d never much liked being at the mercy of anything. He did not like ambiguity.

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