forestofglory: picture of califorina poppies (poppies)
Yotsuba&!, Vols 2-7 by Kiyohiko Azuma This slice of life manga about 5 year old Yotsuba and her friends and neighbors is really cute!

Golden Kamuy vol 1 by Satoru Noda I continue to enjoy this rather gory historical fiction manga. Its maybe a little info-dumpy but I'm into info dumps about how to catch and eat squirrels and other wilderness survival stuff. The art is very pretty I love how detailed the costumes and tools are. Plus I've started to care about the characters -- the story is getting more of found family vibe as it goes on.

Yona of the Dawn Vol 1-2 by Mizuho Kusanagi This was rec'ed to me by a friend who loves it, but I'm not finding very compelling. It just seems to have lot of tropes that I'm bored with in YA, dead moms, lost heirs seeking revenge, shifting alliances. I doubt this is fair but its not what I'm in the mood for right now so I'm not going to keep reading the series.

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi trans. Taro Nettleton manga memoir about a mangaka in post war Japan. Since I've been reading a lot of manga lately I thought I'd like to learn a bit more about the history of form. This was maybe a bit more focused on publishing that I was looking for but was still fascinating. And as and add bonus I enjoyed the built enviroment details about the various places he lived.

The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World by Emma Marris I'm starting to get frustrated with ecology books that acknowledge that Native Americans manged the landscape before European settlement but don't acknowledge that Native Americans are still around and value those practices for cultural reasons. Aside form that problem this pretty good introduction to the idea that there's no such thing as untouched wilderness and some of the practical implications of that. Since I've studied environmental history none of these ideas where new to me but it was nice to have them in one small book.

Not For Use In Navigation: Thirteen Stories by Iona Datt Sharma I'm about halfway through this collection. The stories in it are so beautiful! but I'm reading it pretty slowly because they are the kind of stories that I need focus on, and then I want to let that story sink in before I rush off and read the next one. Still very much recommenced. (NB I received an ARC of this form the author)

Guardian I finished watching this! It was such an intense experience! I'm not really sure what to say about it. I loved it but I also found the ending pretty heartbreaking. Also I'm still confused about quite a lot things. But I've found some other people's thoughts to read and that helped make sense of some of the things. Maybe I will write some more coherent thoughts up in bit. For now I'm excited to go lurk in the fandom. Its very nice for me that the show has pretty active fandom here on DW. I can actually find conversations. Maybe I will be brave an join in.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
It’s been a mixed reading year for me so far. This winter I was tired and sick a lot and didn’t have great focus. So I ended up reading a lot comics and manga since I find that easier to read. So by the numbers I have read a lot of books already this year: 67 total. 49 of those are some kind of sequential art -- and reading lots sequential art has been pretty great. I finally finished reading Fruits Basket which I started but never finished year and years ago. I read the first two volumes of Fence, and Lucy Knisley’s new graphic memoir. I tried a bunch of new to me manga series, some of which I really enjoyed.

Well the 1st quarter of 2019 is complete so it's time to do a check in with my reading. After I didn’t do very well on my reading goals for 2018 I decided to set relatively few simple goals for this year. So when with two goals. Let see how I’m doing with both of them

Goal 1: Read 30 books by non-white authors. stretch goal 40

So far I’ve read 39 books by non-white authors in 2019. So I’ve already succeeded at my base goal and have almost met my stretch goal! As mentioned above

Goal 2: Read 15 non-fiction books

So far I’ve read 6, mostly comics, and also one prose book which was mostly read in 2018. But I did just finish a prose nonfiction book. So I guess I’m on track for this goal too.

Anyways I deliberately set myself easy goals and I’m doing pretty well one them. So for now I’m going to just keep reading fun things that strike my fancy. I’m looking forward to reading more manga and I’ve got a copy of The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie to read when I’m feeling focused enough for a whole novel.

How is your reading going so far this year? If you set yourself reading goals are you happy with your progress on them? Read any really awesome things?
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I try to make sure that the collection of picture books we have at home features a diverse set of characters. One thing I've really struggled with is finding books with queer characters where their queerness is not a problem. There a fair number of books where some is queer and the book explains that that's ok, but I want to show my kid that queer people are normal and can be the part of all kinds of stories. So I was super excited to find Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima about a little girl who has an adventure and also has two dads who are just her dads. I bought it and read it to my kid today and its super cute! Anyways I thought I'd share in case anyone else out there is also looking for this type of picture book.
forestofglory: Glasses and books (books)
I’ve been using Goodreads to track my to-read list and my reading since 2010. Over that time I’ve figured out several tricks to help make the most of Goodreads as a source of data about my reading --especially for tracking my personal reading goals. I find that Goodreads has lot of useful functionality that’s not well documented and can be somewhat clunky to use. So I thought I’d write up some of my most-used ways to get info out of Goodreads.

All of these tips are for the web browser version of Goodreads. They all begin at the “My Books” page. You can get there by clicking on “My Books” at the top leftish (after “Goodreads” and “Home”) of the screen.

Show the intersection of two (or more) Shelves
Goodreads lets you add lots and lots of tags or “Shelves,” as they call them. Sometimes it’s handy to see a list of works that you’ve tagged with more than one shelf. For example, you might have one shelf called “fantasy” and one called “lgbt+”. If a friend asked you to rec them some queer fantasy, it would be helpful to see what books have both tags. So here’s how you do that.

Read more... )

Show all books with a tag read in a year
This is super helpful when you have a reading goal like “read 15 non-fiction books this year.”

Read more... )

Sort by date published
Did you know you can get goodreads to sort your books by all kinds of things that don’t show up in the default view? My personal favorite is date published, but you can also sort by things like condition, or even recommender. I’ll be using date published for this example though.

Read more... )

I hope some of you find this helpful! Let me know if anything is confusing and I’ll try and help you out. And please share any Goodreads tips that you have.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin and Pooh floating in a upturned  umbrella , with the word Ahoy in the corner (The Brain of Pooh)
I'm covered most of my recent manga reading in my last post but I'm still looking for more manga recs. But here's a bit about some of the non-manga things I've been reading and watching lately.

Legend of Korra Season 4 I'm working on a longer write up for this so hopefully more later. Meantime if anyone has recs for criticism or fanworks for Korra or ALTA that would be great!

Fruits Basket I finished it! I have such sense of closure about finishing this manga that I first read about 15 years ago. It was like a gift from my younger self. I liked the ending but I kinda wish the characters had more agency in one of the major events.

The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones One of my friends read this for the first time recently and inspired me to do a reread. Its still very charming!

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley Its so nice to read something about pregnancy that acknowledges that it can really suck even when you want a baby. Lucy's pregnancy was much harder than mine, but I hated being pregnant. And the stuff about her miscarriage was really affirming if hard to read because it reminded me of my own experience.

Never After: Thirteen Twists on Familiar Tales by Marie Brennan Collection of flash fairy tale retellings. I am generally a fan of Brennan's work but this was bit dark for my tastes.

Ben's Bakery and the Hanukkah Miracle by Penelope Peters Gay Jewish Hockey romance. A lot of the conflict in this had to do with the couple having different levels of Jewish observance and since they where both more observant than I am I found that stressful. And honestly the more observant dude was kinda a jerk about the whole thing. It did have donuts and cute pee wee hockey team though.

Guardian This Chinese drama seems like it is popular here on DW so I thought I'd check it out. I've watched the 1st 17 episodes and I'm really liking it so far.

I'm a little confused by this because its not really my usual thing. It centers around police group that investigates the supernatural, and I'm generally not into the police or shows with a lot of crime and violence. It's also not great on female characters either. And it can be confusing at times. Reasons the show is confusing 1) subtitles I'm not great at these at best of times but the ones for this show are extra confusing, sometimes the English grammar is wonky, names are transliterated differently in different episodes, every now and again the subtitles are just missing. 2)This my first time watching a Chinese drama and I'm not familiar with the conventions 3) the plot is pretty complex with bits of backstory being reviled slowly through flashbacks so there's a lot to keep track of 4) there's probably plot holes and stuff but I can't tell for sure because of 3. Anyways I've decided to just roll with it and be confused and that's working out ok for me.

So that's all things I don't like so I should talk about what I do like. The drama is biased on a Boys Love novel but they aren't allowed to have gay romance on TV in China. But what this seams to mean in practice is that they've taken out all the kissing but left in all the flirting. So I really enjoy the relationship between the leads. So many intense looks! And one of them keeps feeding the other one. I generally like the team, they spend a fair amount of time bounding/bickering which is good fun. Plus I just enjoy the fact that its bit cheesy with melodramatic bits a silly specially effects. Its not sophisticated to admit to liking cheesy stuff but its defiantly something I enjoy.

SG1 This is what R and I are watching together. We are doing a good parts version and only watching the episodes that he thinks are good. Its my favorite level of serialized where each episode is contained story but the reset button isn't pushed and there's some meta plot. I enjoy the team dynamics, and how they all look out for each other. Every now and again they say something really sexist or racist and I have to yell at the TV. We are currently in the middle of season 2. The last episode featured a body swap machine which I image is a boon to fic writers.
forestofglory: Glasses and books (glasses)
I've been reading a lot of manga and comics lately. I want to read more manga but I don't really know what's out there, since its been such a long time since I really paid attention manga. So please tell me about manga you like. I'm up for trying anything, though please warn me if something is gory or dark or there is a dead mom. Here's some thoughts on some things I've read recently to give you an idea of where I'm at.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon v1 by Naoko Takeuchi I've never read or watch any Sailor Moon before so I thought it was high time I tried some. This was cute but confusing in places. Also transformation sequences are much less awesome in comics than in anime.

Yotsuba&!, Vol. 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma Cute slice of life manga about toddler who moves to a new town. I thought it did a good job of portraying what's awesome about little kids -- and why they are exhausting.

A Bride's Story, Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori I liked all the historical detail but I couldn't get past the child marriage that's central to the plot. It's just not ok!

Cross Game vol. 1-3 by Mitsuru Adachi I read the 1st omnibus. I really liked the art in this. The faces are very expressive. But I was upset by the fact that child character dies suddenly. I was not expecting that. Its most a sports manga about baseball which is fine but wasn't really grabbing me.

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya I got up to volume 10 in the collectors edition and someone else at the library has checked out the last two volumes -- and they are now two and half weeks over due. I have ordered a different edition ILL because I really want to finish this and find out how it all works out.

Golden Kamuy vol 1 by Satoru Noda Well this really gory and thus not my usual fair at all. But I've got the next volume form the library and am enjoying it. It historical fiction set in early 20th century after Russo-Japanese War on Hokkaido Island, and I'm loving all the details of the setting and the art. There's a lot of wilderness survival (including eating squirrel brains and other gross things) and I'm especially enjoying those bits.

Anyways I'd love some more recs for manga to try out!
forestofglory: Glasses and books (books)
A while ago I mentioned looking for Theater fluff so here's an update on what I've found so far.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier reced by [personal profile] ambyr I’d read this before but went to reread after the rec. This was just what I wanted, good mix of tech stuff and feeling set during a middle school musical. I especially liked that it focused on backstage characters more than the actors.

The Backstagers, Vol.1& 2 by James Tynion IV Vol 1 was reread. This was fun but I wanted more actually theater tech and less magic.

Backstage Prince by Kanoko Sakurakouji This manga showed up when I looked up the Backstagers on goodreads and since it is only two volumes I decided to check it out. I was able get it via ILL. I was a bit disappointed with this. I want lots of kabuki theatre and it most just kinda boring Shojo romance.

The Importance of Being On Stage by aralias This Dr Who fic reced to me on Twitter. I enjoyed this but I think I would be better if I remembered these characters and the plot of The Importance of Being Earnest better.

Theatrical Sins: A Play in Three Acts by Aria Good Omens fic. I found this by poking the theater tag on AO3 it not actually about people putting on a show but rather people going to the theater but it's cute and fun.

On order:
The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown reced by [personal profile] alchimie The library didn’t have this so I’ve ordered a used copy online.

So that's how my quest for theater fluff is going so far. I’m also thinking about rereading some of the Shoes books since they tend to hit this spot really well. I'd love even more recs! (Any medium is fine)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Here's some thoughts on some of the media I've consumed recently:

*I saw a play! It was Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman and the Berkeley Rep! Its a play based on Ovid's Metamorphoses, so Roman myth, preformed with a pool. I'd seen this once before about 20 years ago but forgotten a lot. Anyways it was really good, I loved how the stories flowed together and how they used the water, but rather darker than I remembered.

*I'm still reading and enjoying Fruits Basket. I think I'm about at the point where I stopped reading years ago.

*R and I have been watching a little bit of Stargate (SG1). The pilot was not great, but he's been he's picked a few good episodes form the 1st season that I've enjoyed so far. I last one featured a kickass older woman scientist which was nice. Which also watched the 1st few episodes of netflix's Carmen San Diego, which was very pretty. But it didn't really grab either of us.

*I have ton of things out from the library just now. A lot of it is Fruits Basket, but there's also some other Manga, a few graphic novels, the most recent trade of Squirrel Girl, and couple of YA books I want to try to read before nominations close for the Lodestar.

*I've only got three stories left on in my 2018 short fiction TBR.

What are you reading and watching? Seen any live performances lately
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I’ve been reading a lot of comics, graphic novels, manga ect in the last month or so. So here’s quick rundown of some things I read and what I thought.

Gin no Saji Silver Spoon, Vol 1-4 by Hiromu Arakawa This a manga about a kid who goes to agricultural school to escape his parents’ academic expectations. I liked it a lot. There’s thoughtful exploration of agricultural ethics and finding or having a vocation.

The Divided Earth by Faith Erin Hicks It's the final volume of The Nameless City Trilogy and I liked the resolution. The central friendship of the trilogy is just so great.

Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha What it says on the tin. I now know a bit more about Korean food but I didn’t try any of these recipes. They seem pretty approachable though.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 10: Parents' Day by Shannon Watters et al. This was cute installment of this series about girls at summer camp having supernatural adventures. It was fun to see our campers with their parents.

Sound of Snow Falling by Maggie Umber This was on my goodreads TBR for years and years and I finally got via IIL. And it was ok? I guess? It's basically paintings of owls with no words but I couldn’t really follow what was going on and I didn’t love the art style. I think past me who added this to the TBR would have liked it more than present me does.

Conspiracy of Ravens by Leah Moore, John Reppion, and Sally Jane ThompsonI feel like a book about bird themed magical girls at a boarding school should be my thing but this never quite clicked with me.

The Ancient Magus' Bride, Vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki I think the creepy parts of this outweigh the parts I liked. There's mentorship and the art is really nice but also the main character's mom died by suicide, and there's very inappropriate romantic relationship and lots of creepy magic. So I think I won't be reading more of this.

Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya I was really into this series years ago then I went away to uni and never finished it. (I used to be part of friends group that consumed a lot of manga and anime together but we drifted apart while I was in uni) Recently [personal profile] umadoshi has been talking about it a lot, so that reminded me that it existed. So I got this volume out from the library. It's still very cute. I’m a bit more eyerolly about teen behaviour than I was back in the day. And the magic caring depending on know when someone is the “opposite sex” is problematic to say the least. But I also have a lot of nostalgia for these characters and enjoyed reading and plan to continue the series.

I’m enjoying reading lots of comics. I’ve got some more on hold at the library. In the past I’ve been reluctant to read unfinished series but right now I’m trying a few to see how that goes. Have you read any good comics lately or have any recs for me?
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Stephanie Burgis was kind enough give me an ARC of Thornbound, her new short novel coming out February 25. It's the sequel to her novella Snowspelled which I loved. If you haven't read it you can get it on sale for 99 cents unit Thornbound comes out.

I loved Snowspelled so much I was little bit afraid that my expectations for this sequel where too high and that I would be disappointed, but I'm pleased to say that wasn't the case! Thornbound does an excellent job of continuing Cassandra's story building on what came before while still surprising me. I especially appreciated the themes of disrupting traditional gender roles, community building and women mentoring other women. It was very much my thing!

I very much recommend this series. (There's also prequel novella, and the planned next book is going to focus on and F/F couple)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
This year I’ve formatted the questions I generally try to answer about my end year in books in a more meme-ish format. I think it will be handy for me next year. Feel free to take these questions and answer them yourself (or modify them) if you want.

Books Read:123 (according to goodreads -- but I didn’t record some of the shorter comics I read this year because they were so quick to read.)
nonfiction: 16
oldest book: Citizen 13660 by Mine Okubo
Most recent book: Swordheart by T. Kingfisher
Books by non-white authors: 37 (30% !!!)
Graphic stories: 30
Novellas: 11
Highlights: Wells & Wong Mysteries by Robin Stevens, The Hidden Witch by Molly Ostertag, The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard, The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Provenance by Ann Leckie
So how about those reading goals?: So for 2018 I had bunch of reading goals and I only completed one of them. My goals where:
1)Read 24 books by new to me non-white authors
2)read 10 scholarly books
3)reread 20 books -- because I need to remember not to always rush after the new shinny things
4)read one book more than 100 years old

The 1st one is the one that I finished! But it was so hard because I’ve been avoiding reading dark things and POC have hard time publishing cheerful books. But it's probably why I did so well on my percentage of books by non-white authors. For 2017 I read 21% POC so 30% is big jump! As for the other goals I read 6.5 scholarly books, reread 12 books, and didn’t read anything more than 100 years old.

What are your goals for 2019? Given that I didn’t do great at my 2018 goals I’m going to scale down a bit. I think that if I don’t push myself I won’t read as many books by non-white authors as I’d like so I’m going set a goal of 30 books by non white authors with 40 as stretch goal. And I’m sad that I’m not reading all the interesting non-fiction that I want to get to so I’m going to set a goal of reading 15 non-fiction books (with 20 as a stretch goal) and try to worry less about how scholarly they are.

I’ve got started working on a couple of other 2018 in review posts about media I consumed so expect to see those in the next couple days. I might also do a favorite short SFF of 2018 post but seeing as I haven’t read much short SFF in the second half of 2018 I have so caughting up to do so if that happens it will be in a month or two.
forestofglory: (ship)
1)The Bay Area was full of smoke form wildfires to the north for about two weeks. It was very unpleasant. We had to keep the kid inside and E who is in her 70s and has some breathing problems got quite sick. We were able to plan a last minute escape to Morro Bay where we spent two nights. I saw many sea otters! We hung out on the beach which was lovely, and E slept a lot and has recovered. So I'm really glad we had the time and money to do that

2) Our Thanksgiving was nice. I hosted for my family, and my turkey came out well. I still miss being in the UK or grad school and having peers to invite but its nice to have the family too.

3) I'm one of many people over at Lady Business discussing our anticipated books for 2019.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Well 2018 is almost halfway over so I thought I'd see how I'm doing with my reading goals. So far this year I've read 65 books (according to my not always perfect goodreads account). That puts me on track to read a lot less that total books this year compared to last year when I read 161 books, but still a bit more than 2016 when I read 104 books. This makes sense to me -- the world has been a lot lately and I'm finding it harder to sink into a book, and also having a harder time with heavy books. I've started an decided not to finish a lot of books recently because of these issues.

So with that in mind lets go over my reading goals one by one.

Read 24 new to me non-white authors
Read so far:9
So, not on track here. This goal has been a real struggle -- I just want to read happy fluffy things and the books by non-white authors that I see get the most attention are all downers and I can't read then right now. In fact I have bunch of books like this on my TBR and they are probably just going to keep sitting there for a while. So if you have any recs for me here that would be great. Comics and Manga count too!

Reread 20 books
Reread so far:6
I don't know what's up with my brain and rereading. I'd think rereading would be great when I'm want something comforting but my brain keeps reminding me of all the bad things about any book I consider rereading and then I don't want to reread it anymore in case I don't like it after all. Which seems unproductive. I don't know brains are strange.

Read 10 Scholarly Books (defined as experts writing about the thing they are expert in)
Read so far:5
Hey I'm on track for this one! Yay!

Read 1 book that's over a 100 years old
Read so far:0
Well there's still time but will I have the mental energy? We shall see.

Well that's not great but it could be worse. Did you set yourself any reading goals? If so how are you doing?
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I’ve been feeling super frustrated with recent SFF that I’ve been picking up lately. I have been searching for hope and not finding it. I want fiction that will make me feel the future is worth fighting for, but instead I keep finding unrelenting disaster and bleakness. I want to believe that humans can be good and kind and learn and grow but I kept finding stories that highlight the worst of human nature.

In the wake of Ursula K Le Guin’s death I’ve seen a lot of excellent quotes from her around the internet. One of them struck me particularly hard:
"Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality."
Le Guin said that in 2014 as part of her National Book Award Speech but I don’t think the SFF world has taken her words to heart.

I need to image a better future. A future where climate change can be managed, not one where it will kill everything I love. A future where marginalized people are more accepted than today, not less so. A future where we learn to distribute resources more fairly, not less so. I don’t want to close out the possibilities of the future. One of the things I love about SFF is it lets me imagine other ways society could be even if there is no clear path between us and them. Fantasy and far future settings can be hopeful in the societies they depict. I want to see fictional societies where caring for others is valued. I feel uplifted by reading about societies that value and care for diverse people.

The unhappiness of this lack of hope is overshadowing all my reading recently. I’m finding it hard to love stories I think I might otherwise enjoy. Mildly grim stories that I would otherwise shrug off are getting me down. I’m putting off reading books I was once eager to start because I fear they will take too much of a toll on my spirits. I’m having a hard time getting into a reading groove. And since reading is one of the things I use to fend off depression this whole thing is getting me down.

I’m also feeling grumpy because people keep telling me that stories I don’t find hopeful are hopeful. I ask for hopeful recommendations and people give me the names of stories I found bleak. This makes me feel like I’m out of touch with reality. Like this reality has gotten so dark that the bar for hope has gotten incredibly low. It's baffling and distressing.

I recently read a story that felt was really manipulative in the way it framed the world and it reminded me of this essay by Cory Doctorow about moral hazard in science fiction. The essay talks about “The Cold Equations” a “classic” story where the narrator is forced to throw a young woman (referred to as a “girl” because sexism) out of an airlock. He is compelled to do so by the cold logic of physics or so it seems. Doctorow writes:
"The parameters of ‘‘The Cold Equations’’ are not the inescapable laws of physics. Zoom out beyond the page’s edges and you’ll find the author’s hands carefully arranging the scenery so that the plague, the world, the fuel, the girl and the pilot are all poised to inevitably lead to her execution."
I'm feeling this way about the grim hopelessness of so much SFF, that it doesn't have to be this way. That we could shift the frame, change the logic of the stories, and find hope. Unrelenting grimness and hopelessness is seen as more realistic and therefore in someway better for you than optimism and hope. But hope is necessary and good and we need it. Without hope how can we strive for a better future?

I hope SFF writers will take Le Guin more seriously in the the years to come. That whether writing fantasy, space opera, near future SF, or any other sub-genre of SFF that writers will try to be “realists of a larger reality” and to frame their stories so as to leave room for hope. I want this for me personally so that I can find the kind of stories I like best but also for society at large so we can image and create a better future.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I just finished reading Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation ed. Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland. This the 1st explicitly solarpunk work I've tried. Solarpunk seems like it would be my thing hopeful stories with a ecological and social justice focus. However I was disappointed. I felt this volume had less ecology and less hope than I wanted and expected.

I don't know maybe the editors just have different idea about what hopeful means or we live deeply cynical culture and any story where humanity survives on a future earth is now considered hopeful. But I found these stories really really bleak. In basically all of them the Earth is in tatters. There was one I range quit because of in seemed to be endorsing cruelty to children on the theory in would make them people who lived within their ecological means. These futures didn't feel better than the present.

I also wanted more ecology, and more complex look at human nature relationships. I've learned to question the idea of wilderness and thus the idea that human nature interactions have to be about humans destroying nature but most the stories in this book don't question those ideas. I would have also loved to see some manged or created ecosystems but there was very little of that.

I did quite like "The Desert, Blooming" by Lev Mirov and I enjoyed all the art and most of the poetry and the fact that the book included both.

Overall the book was not what I was expecting and I found it a major let down. Since this was the first time I've read anything solarpunk I don't know if this typical of the genre, but I'm going to be much more wary of anything labeled solarpunk going forward.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Well 2017 is over so I wanted to take a minute to look back on what I read during the year, and think about new goals.

I read 161 books including comics and novellas. I read 28 non-fiction books, 39 comics -- either trades or graphic novels, 23 novellas. My bookmark folder of 2017 fiction has 109 things in it -- plus I read a few things in print. (That's also not counting thing published before 2017 which I read last year.) I'll talk more about my short fiction reading and provide lots of recs in separate post I'm working on.

Highlights include rereading both The Memoirs of Lady Trent and The Queens Thief series, Gwenda Bond's Lois Lane books, The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui, and The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein.

ETA:Oldest book was Memoirs of a Spacewoman by Namoi Mitchison published in 1962 and newest book was Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts published Dec 12, 2017.

I had set myself two reading goals. I reached the 1st one which was read 24 books by new to me non-white authors. I had hoped that this goal would help me improve my percent of non-white authors over all and it did! In 2016 I read 16% non-white authors and this year I read 21.7% Still not where I want to be but nice to see improvement. I'm going to repeat this goal for 2018 since it was fun and helped me read more widely.

My other goal was to read 12 scholarly books-- defined as experts writing about their area of expertise. I had started the year with a goal of read 10 academic monographs but I wanted to include some books that didn't quite fit so I broadened the category but added two more books to the goal. In the end I read 11, which considering I had a major non-fiction reading slump in November and December wasn't too bad.

So for 2018 my reading goals are:
1)Read 24 books by new to me non-white authors
2)read 10 scholarly books
3)reread 20 books -- because I need to remember not to always rush after the new shinny things
4)read one book more than 100 years old

So what about you? How do you feel about what your read in 2017? Do you have any reading goals for 2018?
forestofglory: Glasses and books (books)
2017 is halfway done. So I thought I'd check in with my reading goals and see how that was going. I don’t set a yearly goal for how many books to read in a year because I don’t enjoy that. But this year I did set two other goals, so I thought I’d do a midyear check in.

Scholarly books
Goal for 2017:12
Books Read:
1. Queer: A Graphic History
2.The Most Defiant Devil: William Temple Hornaday and His Controversial Crusade to Save American Wildlife by Gregory J. Dehler
3.Camembert: A National Myth by Pierre Boisard
4.S.P.Q.R: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard
5.Larding the Lean Earth: Soil and Society in Nineteenth-Century America by Steven Stoll
6.Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
7.Seeking Refuge: Birds and Landscapes of the Pacific Flyway by Robert M. Wilson
8. Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman
Thoughts: Originally this goal was to read 10 academic monographs but I had some books that I wanted to read that didn’t qualify so I modified the goal. Anyway this goal is going great! I’m ahead. I think I’ll take a break from reading scholarly books for a bit and read some memoirs.

Books by new to me non-white authors
Goal: 24
Books read:
1. Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah
2.Runtime by S.B. Divya
3. Everfair by Nisi Shawl
4.The Accidental Alchemistby Gigi Pandian
5. Honey and Clover, Vol. 1 by Chica Umino
6. Little White Duck : A Childhood in China by Na Liu
7. Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
8. Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
9. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
10. Black Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
11.Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older
12. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
I’m on target with this goal too! Though I feel guilty that such high percentage of these are comics or novellas. The idea behind this goal was that I’d find new to me authors and want to read all their books. So far that hasn’t worked out – I’ve either not wanted to read more or the authors haven’t had much back list. Also I read a lot of these for Hugo consideration either things I was considering nominating, or finalist I read to decide where to rank.

On the other hand I’ve read 17 books by non-white authors so for this year which more than in all of 2016. I’m currently at 22% of book read this year are by non-white authors.

Did you set yourself reading goals for 2017? If so how is that going?
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
I've decide to modify my non-fiction reading goal for 2017. My original goal was to read 10 academic monographs in 2017. However I was struggling to define academic monograph and also had some books I didn't think counted that I wanted to read on my shelf. So after talking it over with some friends I've decided to change the goal to 12 scholarly books, where scholarly is defined as written by a scholar not a journalist.* I upped the number of books to 12 (or one a month) since I'll be including some less dense books.

Having made this decision I've started reading Mary Beard's SPQR, which has been really interesting so far. The introduction promised some discussion of food and trade which I'm really looking forward to.

*Who is a scholar is not clear cut. For example I have book about planning written by practicing planner is he a scholar? I'm going to say yes for proposes of this book challenge. Because he is an expert in the field and not a journalist. Anyways I think "who is a scholar?" is an easier question to answer than "what is an academic monograph"
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
So Hugo nomination season is open. I've been ordering holds from the library and even bought a couple of books so I can read lots of 2016 work before nominations close in March. Anyways during this process I've also decided to not read a couple of things that are probably really good and well done, but aren't what I want to be reading.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (Novella) This a retelling of a Lovecraft story that a bunch of my friends loved. I'm not reading it because I don't like Lovecraft, and I find retelling generally lose a lot if you are not familiar with the original.

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw (Novella) I've really enjoyed a bunch of Khaw's short fiction, but this one is described as dark, lovecraftan and noir and none of those things are for me.

The Obelisk Gate by by N.K. Jemisin (Novel) This the second book in Jemisin's new trilogy, and I've had a copy of the 1st book since it came out. However I've been told that there is some really awful child injury in that book, and I can't bring myself to read it, so I won't be reading the second either.

Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction by André M. Carrington (best related work) This sounds awesome! It's academic history/criticism about race and science fiction. But I want to finish watching DS9 before I read this and I've been watching it pretty slowly and doubt I will finish before March.

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley (best related work)I really admire Kameron Hurley, but every time I read one of her pep talks I feel bad about myself for not working hard enough. I'm really good at beating myself up without any extra help so I'm going to skip this book, and try to work on self compassion instead.

Anyways if you are not me these might be great books that you will love. Consider checking them out.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
Goodreads tells me I read 105 books in 2016. This imperfect especially as I was a bit inconstant about how I counted manga a graphic novels. I also seem to have counted one book I abandoned in disgust. Anyways this many fewer books than I've read in any other year where I have full goodreads count. I'm going to blame this on baby N as this was my 1st full year being a parent. I also think that as N has gotten older I've been finding more time to read so I expect this number to be higher next year.

Fiction: 85
Non fiction: 18

Of the non-fiction 11 where academic monographs, in keeping with my goal of reading 10 of those (Though one I skimmed.) I feel pretty good about having achieved that goal though I still miss my grad history seminars and having discussions about the history I've been reading.

13 Novellas
22 comics/graphic novels/manga

I still count these even if they are shorter to read then full novels.

I'm not currently keeping track of the gender of authors because I'm happy with the stasis quo here. (Ie I read lots and lots of books by women.) I'm think thinking of keeping track of books by queer/trans authors going forward though. I could use some more data on this to see if it something I should address.

I read 14 books by non-white authors or 16% which is below my goal of 20%

Oldest book: Anne of Green Gables
Youngest book: Hurricane Heels by Isabel Yap

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls by Aliette de Bodard
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Volume 1
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by by Marie Brennan
Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century by D. Graham Burnett

Next year I want to read 10 more academic books and also read 24 books by new to me not white authors. These need to be novella or longer, but I'll also count graphic novels and manga. I'm going to count authors I've read one or two short fiction pieces by as new, but not authors where I've read a lot of their short fiction.

I've been saying for few years that I want to read more books by POC but I haven't been doing that. So to push myself I'm going to try reading a bunch of new authors. I went with 24 because that is 2 a month an seemed doable.

On a vaguely related note I'm working on finishing up my 2015 short fiction reading. Is there anything I should be sure not to miss?


forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)

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