Latest Reading List

November 21st, 2021Posted by Nancy

In the thick of my Nanowrimo drive for 2021 (target: 10,000 words). But I’m still getting some reading done. Here are my favourites of the last two months.

FICTION

The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo. Absolutely loved this novella about empires, hidden magic, and power in unexpected places. Bonus: Mastadon cavalries.

Black Water Sister, Zen Cho. As one review says: “Gods, Ghosts, Gangsters.” Set in Malaysia and very entertaining.

Temporary, Hilary Leichter. A very odd short novel about a woman whose temporary gigs involve being a ghost, a pirate, a CEO, and an assassin’s assistant.

The Lost Man, by Jane Harper. Some clunky dialogue and plotting made up for by vivid descriptions of life on a contemporary cattle ranch in the Outback.

NON-FICTION

I read a lot more of this than fiction over the last few months.

Our Own Worst Enemy, by Tom Nichols. Thought-provoking look at some of the broader societal trends leading to the rise of anti-democratic forces. Narcissism, rising standards of living, global peace, resistant to change are all cited. I didn’t agree with everything but I did, as they say, “feel seen.”

The Anarchy, by William Dalrympe. A look at how the East India Trading Company became a de facto arm of the British Empire in India. Full of fascinating characters, battles, politics, racism, and violence. This isn’t a period or a place I know much about, so I found it fascinating. Bonus: Camel Cavalries!

The Storm is Upon Us, by Mike Rothschild. Outlines the rise of Qanon and its impact on the US. I thanked my father for not watching Fox News after reading this.

On Freedom, by Maggie Nelson. A fascinating look at the interplay of freedom, care, and constraint through the lens of popular culture and art theory. A bit dense with jargon at times, but I wrote down a number of quotes I found important to think about more. Part of my attempt to figure out how I feel about some of the issues currently bedeviling us.

Villa Air-Bel, by Rosemary Sullivan. This came out of my reading of the novel about Leonora Carrington. Many of the artists, writers, and intellectuals desperate to get out of Vichy France before the Nazis could get around to rounding them all up lived at this villa outside Marseille while they waited for their papers. Sometimes hard to read, especially in the early going, because the reader knows how terrible things are going to become while the characters are telling themselves it will all be ok. Rather uncomfortable to consider that we’re likely just as blind.

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