Five book wrap up

The last five books I read. Ish. So I haven’t done this in a while, because I’m lazy and I went out of town, and a lot of just, not blogging happened. So I’m going to wrap up some recent books. So these are five of the last eleven books I read. Let’s go for it.

The Quick by Lauren Owen
The Quick is a historical fantasy novel about a young man named James Norbury who in 1892 moves to London from Oxford. He moves in with a friend of a friend, a young aristocrat. They become friends of a sort and James is pulled out of his shell by his new friend. He starts to discover the underbelly of London. Suddenly he vanishes without a trace and his sister Charlotte goes from their Yorkshire estate to London to find him. She meets a tightrope walker turned vigilante, an American tourist in over his head and discovers that the secret to James’ disappearance lies with the Aegolius club. The Aegolius club is basically a gentleman’s club for privileged dudes who run companies, industries and the UK government. They also seem to never really age, or eat normal food, and they don’t like the daytime, how curious. It was a fascinating book, it was a great take on vampire books and I thought it was creepy and weird. Charlotte was a badass character. She was a very sort of no-nonsense, sensible woman who will not let anything stand in her way. James was lovely and broken and his story was so painful and beautiful. The ending was a bit… why would you do that, but it was okay. I feel like Owen did a good job with London, and I think London is an excellent city for vampires, being cold and foggy, at least that’s what I assume Victorian London was like. No offense to queen Victoria, I’m full of pop culture knowledge and that’s what pop culture says.

American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
This is about a little town in the Middle-of-Nowhere, America. Mona Bright, a former cop finds the deed to a house in her dead father’s storage locker. The mother she never really knew much about has left her a house in a little town called Wink, built to service a research facility. Mona has no idea where this is, or why there’s a house there for her, but she also doesn’t know her mother, so she goes there to discover more about her mom. This town turns out to be incredibly weird, it’s peopled by some very odd people, who haven’t really aged in 30 years, and when you look into their eyes it’s like something else is in there. They claim to not know Mona’s mother, but there’s photographic evidence that they’ve met her, and you shouldn’t really go out at night unless you want to disappear under mysterious circumstances. Mona falls deeper and deeper into the crazy that is Wink, New Mexico. I really liked it. This is my second Bennett novel, and it was so great. I don’t really have anything to compare it to, except maybe Welcome to Night Vale. Not overtly, but it has the same vibe. It’s this weird place where really creepy things happen and people just seem to go; yeah, that’s normal, right? And outsiders think; the fuck is wrong with you people? Bennett’s writing is so insidious and weird and creepy. And I can’t wait to read more of his books. Because both books of his I’ve read are great. So good.

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
This is an essay collection about geek culture and geek feminism. It’s full of essays about every aspect of being geek. So gaming, TV, books, film, and everything else you can be a geek about. It’s also a look at how women have sort of been ushered away through sexism, misogyny, threats of rape and violence, and through the assumption that they can’t be real nerds/geeks. That’s the assumption that I hate the most. I hate that some men assume that women pretend to like stuff to attract the attention of men, like, why would we do that? Ever. And why do we have to prove our geek credentials all the time? I have loved Star Wars since I was ten (my parents are weird). Leave me alone. Anyways. I thought it was great. Kameron Hurley is outspoken, and opinionated, and tough and takes no shit. And I also appreciated that she admitted that she had fallen into tropes herself, and not been aware of them, and felt defensive, but she had learned and changed, and that’s the least we can all do. I know I’ve done and said stupid and bigoted stuff, but I try to learn and change. Anyways. I loved this. I listened to it on audio, and I’m not sure it’s the best way of doing it because I felt like a lot of the essays bled into each other when I didn’t know where one ended and the next started. Also I had to listen on 2x speed, because the narrator read so slowly and e-n-u-n-c-i-a-t-e-d like she was getting a prize for it. I usually listen on 1.5x speed, but this was weird at 1.5x speed. That was a weird gripe, moving on. It was great and it warmed my geek girl heart. And it would have been lovely to give to ten-year-old me.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
I finally finished this. It took me a long while, I’m not entirely sure why. Madame Bovary is about a young woman named Emma Bovary who marries a provincial country doctor, Charles Bovary. She is sure her life will now be perfect, but she is incredibly bored. She has a child, but it only works as a distraction for a while. And because she’s bored she finds a lover and basically just has a whale of a time. She showers him with gifts, because she’s his sugar mama, apparently. She basically leads her family to poverty through taking lovers and showering them in gifts. She also spends a lot of money travelling back and forth to meet them. Emma is an incredibly unlikeable person. She’s very much whiny and she feels sorry for herself, and she mistreats her husband basically just because she’s boring. I don’t mind unlikeable characters, and I sort of reveled in how awful she was to her husband. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it. He was a wet blanket, and didn’t seem to really try to make his wife happy, he seemed to think happiness was just something that happened to you. Her lovers are both wankers. Especially the first one, he’s a complete piece of shit. I liked it. It was fun.

Ei Vinterreise (A travel in winter) by Ragnar Hovland
This is a Norwegian book, and it’s about a priest, named Lindemann, who goes back to his hometown, and is planning to travel to meet a girl he liked when he was a kid. He meets another man from his hometown and this guy offers to drive him. A young girl of about 16 comes with them to get a ride to her aunt’s house. The story then follows them over the mountain and into weird hotels, and weird little towns. Meanwhile there’s a second story that tells the life story of a guy who has been diagnosed with cancer. It’s told through diary entries. It was a really fascinating story. The story about Lindemann is told from his perspective and he doesn’t really talk a lot, preferring to just judge and instead lets the other guy, Thomas talk. He’s very introspective and thinks a lot about his own life and what he’s doing and what he should have done differently. It’s very weird to see it contrasted with the diary entries, which are these really mundane entries about the author himself going through cancer treatment, and just going through life before, during and after the treatment. And it really shows how scary and confusing and exhausting it is to have cancer when the health service is not perfect and just throwing you back and forth. It was really good. I want to read more by him.

So those were some books I read. And there should be another wrap up soon-ish.