Holy balls, I swore I wouldn’t do this again, but here we are. I’m gonna keep it short, since it’s been a while since some of these meetings.
Thanks to the pandemic, our last few meetings were done on Zoom, which worked out pretty well… it seemed to take longer to veer off topic than it did when we were face-to-face, or maybe we just had more to say about the books? Who knows.
Anyhoo, on to the books!
March: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
This was my pick, so yay for that. I loved this novella, and I loved the whole trilogy. I think if I saw math the way Binti does, I would have done a lot better at it in school.
Binti’s journey to Oomza Uni is traumatic, not just because of the wholesale slaughter of everyone else on the transport ship, but also due to her decision to essentially run away from her home and everything she knows to do it. And for someone so connected with the very soil of Earth, as seen in the otijze she wears as a Himba woman, to leave that behind is beyond impressive and just showcases her strength and determination.
We had the option to read the whole trilogy as a complete story, or just the first novella. I can’t remember how many of us actually read all of it, but I did and I do recommend reading all of it. It’s a great story by a really great author.
April: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
This was my first foray into audio books, and I was worried I wouldn’t retain as much from listening as I would from actually seeing the words, but I did retain the story, so that was great.
I was convinced at first that the weird sorta fairy tale world was a coma dream that David was having after that plane fell out of the sky and into the garden while he was standing there. The way all the women characters – Snow White, the Huntress, Sleeping Beauty, etc. – are decidedly unlikable, I figured they were his mind’s way of processing his relationship with his stepmother, Rose. He clearly didn’t like her and the portrayal of most women, aside from his own mother, reflected that.
It turned out that it wasn’t a coma, but I still think it influenced David’s view of the women in that world. It was an interesting story overall, and I liked how it ended.
The funny this is I ordered this and the next book back in March before all the shutdowns happened, and I received the next book first, which lead me to believe this book was indeed lost.
May: The Alehouse at the End of the World by Stevan Allred
OK, this one took a turn halfway through I wasn’t really expecting… mostly all the fucking. So many bird people/demigods fucking. Like…wow.
It had an interesting take on the afterlife, with the isle of the dead and how souls are kept in clam shells until they’re ready to be reborn. Plus the construction of the alehouse on the island to make the transition between life and death a little easier. Like I said, interesting concepts.
But then there had to be all the fucking. I’m not against fucking as a general rule, but that was a turn I didn’t anticipate. I’m glad I finished it, because we had a great discussion about it at the meeting and I love when that happens.
But yeah, definitely not my favourite.
June: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
I wasn’t at this meeting, as I was in another part of the province and it was the club’s first foray back into face-to-face meetings, but that’s OK.
I quite enjoyed this story. I like fish-out-of-water tales, and when they involve magic it’s even more fun. Plus a murder mystery is always great. Having the protagonist not be a magical person while investigating a magical murder helps the reader navigate through this magical world. Granted, Ivy was constantly talking about how she’s not magic, but honestly, if I were surrounded by people that could do actual magic, I’d be kinda melancholy about it too. Especially if my friggin’ twin sister was able to and I wasn’t.
I don’t know if everyone does this, but when describing a high school in books, I always picturing it taking place in my own high school… which in the case of this book would have made for far more interesting classes when I attended, but yeah.
This was also an audio book for me, so when it ended I was a little surprised, since it was left kind of open-ended. I figured Ivy would have at least had one last discussion with her love interest, but nah. Let’s end with her sitting on his porch waiting for him.
So that was our year. We do have the summer read coming up, Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, which will be discussed in August at the annual garden party.
I don’t know if I’ll attempt this book review thing again, since I kinda sucked at actually getting it done, but we’ll see.