I managed to read 26 books in 2020. That’s 6 more than last year and more than twice as many as in 2017. I dare say I’m moving up in the world! As usual, it was a mixed bag: most were good, a few were bad, and one or two were amazing. Here’s the list with short reviews:Continue reading My 2020 in Books
I read the book first, then saw the movie a couple weeks later. Both were great but left entirely different and somewhat conflicting impressions. The author of the book, a Nobel prize winner, Kazuo Ishiguro, also had a hand in the making of the movie, which makes the unusual disparity even stranger.Continue reading Never Let Me Go – Book & Movie
I read the Semiosis duology by S. Burke and I loved it. It’s about a small colony of humans on another planet, Pax, their adventures with indigenous and visiting life-forms and in some ways even more alien fellow humans from distant Earth, which had been ravaged by the failing ecology and wars. The books comprising the series, Semiosis and Interference, are thoroughly engrossing, often unpredictable, subtly satirical, and gently suspenseful.Continue reading Semiosis
I have read Stim — An Autistic Anthology edited by L. Huxley-Jones and it was a breath of fresh air after suffering through the boredom of Le Carrre’s The Honorable Schoolboy, the relentless misery of R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War series and the cringe-inducing annoyance with A. Romig’s The Light series, which were seriously threatening my recently reacquired reading enthusiasm.
Stim is a loose collection of stories and essays written by autistic authors. Most are about autism, in one way or another; some are biographical, others pure fiction, and I have seen some reviews that took issue with this diversity. It didn’t bother me even a little. They’re all excellently written and with a few exceptions, they all held my interest and felt fairly relatable. None stood out as extraordinary, something to remember for a long time or in any detail, but the anthology as a whole made for consistently enjoyable reading.
The one thing I will remember for a long time I actually stumbled upon in the epilogue, where the editor gives an overview, in broad strokes, of what autism is all about. To my delight, while explaining the elusive concept of “a special interest”, they use Mass Effect as an example, and I assume it’s one of their own. The mention of my own long-time obsession in this context still makes me smile.
Another thing that sets this book apart for me, is that I helped crowdfund it through Unbound and seeing my name among the contributors at the end made me very proud. I’m glad Stim could raise the funds necessary to get published and I hope many readers will find it as uplifting as I did.
I might not have mentioned elsewhere on this blog that, in spite of my writerly ambitions, I’m a tragically slow reader. In 2018 I managed to read some 18 books — that’s 1.5 books a month — and considered it an achievement. In 2019 I planned to read 24 — the whole of 2 books a month! — but in the end managed only 20. Here they are, and how I remember them:Continue reading My 2019 in Books