novin_ha: Destruction Girl Hotaru ([sailor] destruction girl)
[personal profile] novin_ha
I should probably try to post more generally, but I've been promising myself to do a book post for a while now. "I'll do it at the end of the first quarter" - never happened. "I'll do it when I finish Vorkosigans" - see above. Well, it's May Day, let's give the labours of the mind and imagination the steering wheel and celebrate the first four months in books.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with my reading so far this year. It's been very satisfying and I'm at a much better place, numbers-wise, than I was this time last year. I'm also pretty happy with the quality of the books so far: no utter fails, and only a few middle-of-the-road books.

All of the books, all of the books below.


My challenges:
0) My current challenge on GR is 80 books, and since I'm at 55 (woot!) I'll be upgrading it sometime soon. To 100 first, and I would love to get to 120, but I'm promising myself I'll be working hard in the summer to complete my PhD, so who knows.

1) at least 10 books by Polish authors:
So far I'm at three. I need to step up my game! But I knew this one was going to be the difficult one ;)
I've read: 
1. the historical mystery (think Miss Marple but written in an omniscient and opinionated narration) Tajemnica Domu Helclów by Maryla Szymiczkowa (a pseudonym of Jacek Dehnel and Piotr Tarczyński);
2. the urban fantasy Dziewczyna z Dzielnicy Cudów by Aneta Jadowska,
3. and the excellent (magic-realist?) metaphysical thriller Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych by Olga Tokarczuk (go watch its adaptation Spoor, but the book is much better).

2) at least 5 collections of short stories:

I was hoping the number would be raised later, but so far not so good. I'm still at two, and that's what I managed in January, finishing collections I'd been dithering on for a while then. These were:

1. Ken Liu, The Paper Menagerie - largely hit or miss for me, alas. I had too high expectations, I guess.
2. Karen Russell, Vampires in the Lemon Grove - also mixed bag; I felt like the author finished in the wrong place a lot, too late or too early. For a book that's sort of idk, mainstream/slipstream? this could have used some more restraint in literalizing and repeating and explaining its metaphors.

3) at least 10 books by LGBT authors or with prominent LGBT themes:
I'm already at 8! This one will be exceeded I suppose.

1. Maryla Szymiczkowa, Tajemnica Domu Helclów
2. Sebastian Barry, Days without End
3. Sarah McCarry, Dirty Wings (much as I disliked that part of the book)
4. Aneta Jadowska, Dziewczyna z Dzielnicy Cudów
5. Deborah Levy, Hot Milk
6. Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey
7. Lois McMaster Bujold, Ethan of Athos
8. Lois McMaster Bujold, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

4) at least 2 re-reads:
I'm halfway through! Yay me! (Maybe I'll even manage three!)

1) Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor started a very long read of all the other Vorkosigan novels.

5) at least 5 authors of colour new to me:

(A very minimalist project, hopefully goal to be increased)
1) Ken Liu
2) Carmen Maria Machado
3) Kai Ashante Wilson
(I've also read some short stories by other new authors, but I sort of feel like they weren't enough to count them as reading a new author)


My favourite books and stories of the year so far:

Carmen Machado, "Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU"
Sebastian Barry, Days without End
Olga Tokarczuk, Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych (also THE BEST title of the year award: it's a partial quote from Blake, "Drive your plow over the bones of the dead")
Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey
Lois McMaster Bujold: I'm tempted to go easy on myself and just say "the whole series" but there's "Labyrinth" in there so just no. The best ones for me are Shards, The Mountains of Mourning, Memory, Captain Vorpatril's Alliance and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. Second tier is Komarr, A Civil Campaign, Brothers in Arms, Mirror Dance and Barrayar
Tessa Dare, A Week to Be Wicked
 

 Currently reading: Tessa Dare's Any Duchess Will Do, Jo Walton's What Makes This Book So Great, and I've started Karen Joy Fowler's Sarah Canary, but I'm only at the beginning so far.

I'm also lazily and slowly reading assorted Hugo & Nebula-nominees and winners starting from 1986 (using my birth year for a convenient cut-off point) and I might post about how that's going at some later point. There's no particular goal to it, like "get to 50%!", just using it as a source of ideas for books to read; still, it's fun crossing books off.
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