What I’m Reading: April 2020

I wish I had meaningful advice to offer on getting through this dark time. Things are scary out there, lives and livelihoods are both in danger, and I don’t have answers for you. All I have to offer are some of the books that I’ve been reading, that are helping me to stay sane

The City We Became, by NK Jemisin

This book is amazing, which comes as a surprise to exactly no one who has been following the Hugos the last few years. This book is much lighter than her Broken Earth trilogy, but no less bitingly insightful. It’s a love letter to New York City, and giant middle finger to the xenophobia of HP Lovecraft, and I can not recommend it highly enough. She does things with language here that made me laugh out loud with delight.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez

haven’t read much middle grade fiction since I stopped working at a bookstore, so if I hadn’t read this for a class (Writing the Other: Deep Dive Into Description, which I highly recommend to any other writers out there), I would have missed out on something really fun. Hernandez deals with some heavy themes (loss of a parent, Diabetes, and a sick newborn), but somehow never loses the fun of this story.

I intend to reread this once I’ve gotten farther in my study of Spanish on Duolingo, to see if I can parse any more of the Spanish dialogue. The story is perfectly understandable without that – anything important is explained by Sal in his own voice – but I think it would be fun to do.

The King of Next Week, by EC Ambrose

This is a quiet novella, about a dreamer who marries a djinn, set shortly after the American Civil War, in New Hampshire. It’s everything I want from a historical fantasy: strong details to ground me in the time period, and enough magic to make the familiar strange and the strange familiar. It’s a little bittersweet, but it will make you think without breaking your heart.

Adventures of the Incognita Countess, by Cynthia Ward

This novella reminded me of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but much more sapphic. It’s a delightful blending of Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and a few other classic works of British fiction from the time, all converging on everyone favorite doomed vessel: the Titanic. The narrator starts off with some frustrating prejudices, but is disabused of them by the end. It’s a fun adventure, a send-off on classic horror, and a love story.

I’ll stop here, since I doubt anybody wants to know everything I’m reading right now. I hope you are all safe, and warm, and fed. Take care of yourselves, and each other.