May rewind

These are the books I read in May. Fun times. 

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
This is the latest anthology of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections. It’s just a collection of stories he’s written over the last some odd years. The stories are very different and some are basically just poems. I liked it. I didn’t love it. There weren’t any stories that like blew me away. Although, he has included the Sleeper and the Spindle, his take on Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, and the story before it was a sort of poem about the witch from Sleeping Beauty considering her future crime, and I loved that, weirdly. I also bloody loved the Sleeper and the Spindle. It was amazing. I feel like I need the book with the illustrations. I also really liked the Doctor Who story, because it’s Doctor Who. I loved the Shadow story because I like Shadow and American Gods. I think I’m willing to cut Gaiman a lot of slack, because I love his writing, but none of the stories really grabbed me. I just sort of liked them all.

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
This was weird, and fascinating. It’s about a young girl named Jess. She lives in England with her English father and Nigerian mother. Jess has trouble fitting into her life in England. She is scared a lot, and she probably has some pretty severe anxiety. When it becomes too scary she starts screaming and throws a tantrum. Her mother thinks it will help to go to Nigeria so they travel to see her family. There Jess meets a young girl named TillyTilly, and suddenly she has a friend who understands her. When Jess goes back home Tilly shows up there and claims he’s just moved to England. There she starts behaving in a way that terrifies Jess, and Jess starts to think she might not be such a good friend after all. It was really creepy. TillyTilly just got more and more menacing, and scary. And I really felt for Jess, she felt so trapped and scared, and like she couldn’t explain to anyone, even people she trusted. It was an interesting look at mental illness, and twins, and double-ness. I also feel like it left some questions unanswered, which annoys me, in a good way.

Shattered by Teri Terry
This is the third and final book in the Slated trilogy. In this last book Kyla is in danger from the Government and the terrorist group who tried to use her for their own goals. Kyla is sent into hiding by Aiden and lives with her birthmother who she was kidnapped from when she was little. She has to learn how to function with her mother. It doesn’t go great, as Kyla’s mother is a little too intense about them being together. Kyla still can’t let go of her need to find out what the government is up to. She also wants to fight back and she keeps getting dragged back into the fight. It was a good conclusion to the trilogy. It was a bit meh, it felt like a lot was wrapped up a little too neatly. I also felt like the twist concerning Kyla and her mother wasn’t that surprising. I liked it though, there was action and adventure and some good government oppression and shooting. The whole Kyla-Ben thing has sort of bugged me through the whole trilogy, so I was both annoyed and pleased with how that turned out. Anyway, those were my thoughts.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This was read as a book of the month for a goodreads group. It was great. It was a totally okay fantasy book, and a good start to a series. It’s about a young man named Kell, one of the last Travelers. He can travel from one London to another. One London is Grey London, which is this world, where there was magic, but the magic is gone now, one is Red London, where magic is revered and used responsibly, this is Kell’s London, and there is White London, where magic is seen as something you control and use, as a weapon. There is also Black London, but they don’t talk about that. Kell is a Traveler, a magician, and on the down-low, a smuggler. This gets him into trouble and he runs to Grey London where he runs into Delilah “Lila” Bard, a pickpocket and aspiring pirate. Now they have to work together to fix the problem Kell has gotten into, and save the world. It was fun, the world building was good. Kell and Lila were both interesting characters and their banter was fun. I thought the premise was well thought out and interesting. Some of it was solved a bit too easy, but there was also good stuff ready for book 2 and 3.

Way of Kings, volume 2 by Brandon Sanderson
This is the second volume of Way of Kings, because it’s fucking massive. It basically just finishes the first book in the Stormlight Archive, and it continues the story of Kaladin, Shallan and Dalinar. It’s fun, it’s exciting, there’s so much stuff, so much confusion, religion and awesomeness. I’ve written a whole review here, which is probably better than me trying to remember what I thought.

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
First book by the third Brontë. This is Anne Brontë’s debut novel. It’s about a young lady named Agnes Grey who grows up the relatively poor daughter of a minister. When her family falls into difficult financial straits she becomes a governess to a family with three horrible children. When this doesn’t work out she is fired and she moves onto another family. For some reason that felt very sinister when I read it back. I don’t know why. She there meets the young parson Edward Weston, and sort of falls for him. It was sweet. It was simple, and not a lot happens. Both the families she stays with are awful and I wanted to shake them. Agnes was sweet, she was a bit pious, and she sometimes felt a bit good about herself for being so good and pious and nice. While she is arguably a better person than Rosalie and Matilda she doesn’t need to feel so proud of herself. I’m a bit grumpy right now, I’m sorry Agnes, you’re very sweet, and Rosalie is a horrible human being.

What if? : Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
This I didn’t actually read, I listened to it on audio book. I’m not good at audio books, I tend to do other things while I listen, so I need them to really grab me or I’ll lose where I am, and what’s happened. This is sort of right in my wheelhouse, because I love weird science. I love the mavericks of science. This was written by a former NASA scientist who currently writes the web comic XKCD. He is obviously very smart, and he gets a lot of hypothetical science questions in his inbox, and he answers them. And a lot of them are weird, and a lot of them are just very absurd. It’s funny, I love his theory on what would happen if the planet was drained of water. His conclusion was, among other things, that the Netherlands, no longer under the threat of drowning, would take over the world. I love him. Wil Wheaton reads the book, and his voice is sort of perfect for this, he’s a nerdy, snarky, sarcasm machine. I think the book probably has some diagrams and stuff, but I did love Wil Wheaton reading it. Some of it was way too complicated for me. I’m a science enthusiast, but I studied social anthropology in University and I took Library science, so my math and physics knowledge is fairly limited. So some of it was just way over my head, but a lot of it was just a lot of fun and really interesting. I like it when weird people ask weird questions about science and really clever people try to figure them out.

The Girl Who Soared over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente
I read this for the bout of books read-a-thon and it took me like 3 days. It was great. In this installment of the Fairyland series September is 14, she’s slouching around Nebraska missing Fairyland when she somehow finds her way back. She is categorized as a thief and rebel and she is given a job from a Blue Wind. So she goes to Moon to deliver a box. There she meets her old friends, hangs out in a library, travels through time in a photograph and meets a Moon Yeti. It’s beautiful, and exciting. I love September, watching her sort of grow up and become a young woman. I love Ell, he’s lovely and weird. Saturday is amazing, and he is also sort of faced with himself and his future, and it’s very interesting and almost heart-breaking. There is also a fucking Turing test in the book, performed by someone named Turing. I laughed out loud, it was amazing. The book is beautiful and amazing and I’m excited to read the fourth book.

The Smartest Book in the World by Greg Proops
Greg Proops is a stand-up comedian, improviser and podcast-er. He has a Podcast called The Smartest Man in the World where he basically just talks about the state of the world, music, film, politics, poetry, art, baseball and ancient Rome, because those things naturally go together. The book is sort of his podcast in written form. He writes about things he likes, baseball, Ancient Rome, Music, Women, and film. There’s also poetry scattered around. It’s great. This is going to be based solely on me loving Greg Proops and not giving a shit about anything else. It’s funny, he writes a lot like he talks. The longest chapters are about his love of baseball, and the Negro League, and I barely know how baseball works, I have very little interest in it, and I loved those chapters. I think it’ll be a bit weird, and possibly annoying. I loved it. It has flaws, and it’s not perfect. I don’t care. It’s awesome.
Innsirkling 2 by Carl Frode Tiller
WHY IS THIS TAKING ME A FUCKING ETERNITY? I LIKE IT, WHY AM I SO SLOW? Anyways, still reading this. A bit frustrated. Not with the book, with me.