Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
While I loved Greek mythology as a kid, I had no idea that The Iliad existed. My first proper introduction to the story of Achilles and the fall of Troy was actually the 2004 film. It’s a treat, and one that you owe yourself; it’s half an interesting take on the story (pushing the realism angle) and half an enjoyably bad big budget movie (HECTOR! just… HECTOR!). Troy’s release coincided with a few years where my preteen self was obsessed with seeking out representations of queer men in media, so, naturally, the story of Achilles and Patroclus became near and dear to my heart. (“In conclusion: cousin.”) It’s been almost a decade, but picking up The Song of Achilles brought back the days when I despaired over ever getting my hands on a copy of Velvet Goldmine.
The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
I really loved A Companion to Wolves, which sets out to deconstruct the trope of spirit animals and ends up exploring what it is to be female or female-coded in a patriarchy. Deep dark truths in speculative fiction: kind of my whole deal. It made my top ten list of last year, so when Memory told me there was a sequel, I was over the moon. Of course, my excitement was tempered (oh, come on, I get one pun, surely?) by the fact the only library copy I had access to was at my hometown library, so I couldn’t immediately capitalize on my delight. And hey, the last installment is expected this year, so perhaps the wait was more luck than delay…
Fire Bringer by Roger Clement-Davies
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne
This has got to be one of the fastest turnarounds on a recommendation I’ve ever managed. I read Michiko Kakutani’s review of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine in The New York Times at the end of January, when it was published, and I picked it up in March when I stumbled across it in my hometown’s public library. I have a weak spot for books transparently inspired by celebrities (thus Plastic Jesus and Between You and Me), and The Love Song of Jonny Valentine clearly patterns itself after the life of Justin Bieber. Bieber is an easy target, though, so it took Kakutani’s review to convince me I should give it a whirl.
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Unlike almost all of my childhood reading, I read The Lord of the Flies around the same age it’s commonly assigned to American schoolchildren. But I don’t ever recall reading it for school—I came across a copy that may have belonged to my brother among my parents’ haphazard library and picked it up. I don’t know how much I absorbed, without a guiding hand, but I do know that I’ve, more or less, always said “she’s got the conch!” whenever I encounter people who interrupt. I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for audiobooks of books I read before I started the book blog, so The Lord of the Flies presented itself in pretty short order after my last listen.
Where the Truth Lies by Rupert Holmes
Where The Truth Lies was one of those movies where I didn’t realize it was based on a novel until the title card came up in the film’s credits—I just wanted to watch it because This Film Is Not Yet Rated promised me that there would be some level of dudes making out. (A promise which was broken. Although it does sport an NC-17 rating for the sheer fact a woman appears to be enjoying herself too much during sex, so, you know, there’s some progress being made.) But while I didn’t enjoy the film, the story stayed with me, so eventually I just had to pick up the novel just to get out of my system, which resulted in spending three hours utterly absorbed in it while I should have been studying for midterms. Lord preserve the second semester college senior.
The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale
The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue
I’d never heard of Ronlyn Domingue before The Mapmaker’s War came across my desk, but I’m always intrigued when authors who write “literary fiction”—or fiction coded as such—make the leap to “genre fiction”. Y’all know I have extremely little patience with that pair of terms, since they’re mostly used to privilege certain books above others, regardless of any objective means to tell one genre from another. And yet, speculative fiction, especially the schools of science fiction and fantasy, does need to be seen in context—it’s got a history to it. We don’t need more Tolkienesque fantasy, for instance, we’ve run that into the ground several times over. So what happens when an author from outside the genre and the community tries to tackle the stuff without that weight in the back of her mind? Obviously, they’re welcome to—genre is just genre at the end of the day. But it does help, as we’ll see in the case of The Mapmaker’s War.