Whitewavedarling is back for 2021...

Se habla de2021 Category Challenge

Únase a LibraryThing para publicar.

Whitewavedarling is back for 2021...

1whitewavedarling
Editado: Dic 25, 2020, 3:50pm

Some of you (hopefully?) remember me... I participated in the category challenges regularly up till last year, and decided that I'd take a break in 2020. Right now, I can't remember what prompted that decision, but I've come back for 2021.

I'm Jennifer, and it's been a crazy year--as I'm sure a lot of you can also say. My husband was sick and out of work for four months with covid, but we made it through and now he's fully recovered. It was probably the longest four months of my life--especially the first two months, when he was most ill and I constantly worried--but we managed to get through it. My own freelance work (I'm a full-time editor) somehow, magically, didn't disappear as it did for so many other freelancers, which was a major blessing, or I'm not sure what would have happened.

On the heels of him recovering, another crazy thing happened. Finally, after five years of working at it on and off... I signed with a literary agent at a respected New York literary agency. I'd been querying my manuscripts on and off for the last few years, piling up rejections. I'd spoken to a few other agents who either ended up ghosting me or were clearly going to be a bad fit. And then, suddenly... the dream came true. And, truly, he feels like a perfect fit, and is excited to represent me throughout my career as an author--working with him has already been a dream come true, which is weird to say since the rest of 2020 has been such a disaster. But I've already worked with him to revise the (speculative fiction) manuscript he responded to, he's planning on sending it out on submission to publishers in January, and he'll also be reading one of my other manuscripts in the new year so that we can start working on that one.

So, all told, it's been a roller coaster of a year, with horribly low lows and crazy-high highs.

Predictably, my reading really fell off. For years, I've read around a hundred books each year (not counting the works I edit), and this year it was more like half that. I don't know if that had anything to do with me not doing the category challenge (probably not, really), but I hope to get back on track this year.

Meanwhile, it's also worth saying here that I'm having to be a bit more careful about how much time I spend on the computer, as I'm dealing with early carpal tunnel issues. With that in mind, I probably won't be able to keep up with all of the threads I used to, but I'll try to be a presence on the category threads and pop in where I can--probably mostly lurking--and I hope you'll all feel free to jump in here and chime in at will!

I'm not going to try to detail out careful categories as I have in the past--my goal, really, is going to be to get back to where I'm reading more consistently and come close to that 100-count, and participate in a few of the Cats, at least. My plan will be to write a post at the beginning of each month, outlining my plans for the month, and then count through the year...

2whitewavedarling
Editado: Feb 22, 7:39pm

My planning thread!

As in past years, I'll work on reading through the alphabet--reading one book whose title begins with each letter of the alphabet, and reading one book whose author's last name matches up with each letter of the alphabet.

Alphabet by Title:

A D F J M S T W

Alphabet by Author:

C F G H K M P S

And then, I'll also be trying to keep up with the following challenges: The ScaredyKit, the RandomCat, the GenreCat, the SFFKit, and the AlphaKit. We'll see how it goes! I won't try to read one for each challenge--there'll be overlap--but I'm going to do my best to complete them!

February: Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey (AlphaCat K)
March: Wounds: Six Scary Stories from the Border of Hell (ScaredyKit--Short Stories), Murmur by Will Eaves (Surprise RandomCat), The Lie Tree (SFFKit--Indiana Jones in Space/Fairyland), Sleep Donation by Karen Russell (R AlphaKit), Utopia (GenreCat for Military/Spy/Thrillers & AlphaKit--U)
April: The Demonologist (ScaredyKit--Possessed), RandomCat, In the City of Shy Hunters (GenreCat--Literary Fiction), Leviathan Wakes (SFFKit--Series), Witch Fire by Anya Bast (AlphaKit--A & W)
May: The Scapegracers (ScaredyKit--Witches & Magic), RandomCat, Dead Reality Anthology (GenreCat--Short Stories/Essays), Yesterday is History (SFFKit--Time Travel), North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud (N AlphaKit), I'm Thinking of Ending Things (AlphaKit--I)
June: ScaredyKit--Diverse Perspectives, RandomCat, After the War (GenreCat--Historical Fiction), SFFKit--It's About the Journey, Dance on Saturday by Elwin Cotman (AlphaKit--C & D)
July: In the House of In Between by J.D. Buffington (ScaredyKit--Ghosts & Hautings), RandomCat, Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks (GenreCat--Romance, SFFKit--Historical Fantasy, AlphaKit--S), AlphaCat O
August: ScaredyKit--Adrift in water or outer space, RandomCat, GenreCat--Poetry/Drama, SFFKit--Female Authors, AlphaKit--V & J
September: ScaredyKit--The Dead, RandomCat, GenreCat--YA/children, SFFKit--Near Future/Alternate Reality, AlphaKit--F & L
October: ScaredyKit--Real Life Monsters, RandomCat, GenreCat--Horror/Supernatural, SFFKit--Creature Feature, AlphaKit--H & E
November: ScaredyKit--Stephen King & Family, RandomCat, GenreCat--SFF, SFFKit--Short Stories, AlphaKit--B & Y
December: ScaredyKit--Horror Thrillers, RandomCat, GenreCat--Mysteries, SFFKit--Gothic Fantasy, AlphaKit--G & Q

LASTLY... I'm curious about the years I'm reading--when books were first released. I'm planning/hoping to read more new releases this year, and thus support more authors as they begin their careers. With that in mind, I'm going to include the years here, in order:

1986 (1),
1990 (1), 1995 (1), 1999 (1)
2005 (1), 2006 (1), 2007 (1),
2010 (1), 2016 (1),
2020 (4)

3whitewavedarling
Editado: Dic 25, 2020, 3:54pm

In January, I'm going to try to tackle all of the books that I MEANT to read in 2020, but didn't quite get around to, while at the same time measuring up to my CAT/KIT goals.

With that in mind, I plan to read:
The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman
Deader Homes and Gardens by Angie Fox
Just Another Soldier by Jason Christopher Hartley
Water Logic by Laurie J. Marks
The Colleen Colgan Chronicles Book 1 by Richard Phelan

The only one of these that hasn't already been sitting on the corner of my desk for a while is Deader Homes and Gardens, the fourth book in Angie Fox's Southern Ghosthunter series, which I've picked out for the RandomCat LOL read. I don't read much humor, but the books in this series never fail to make me laugh.

Hopefully, a few other books will sneak their way onto the January list, but at the very least, I plan to finish these!

4rabbitprincess
Dic 25, 2020, 6:49pm

Welcome back, Jennifer! Congratulations on getting an agent for your novel! I'm sorry to hear that your husband had covid but relieved that he has fully recovered. It has indeed been a roller coaster this year.

5Tess_W
Dic 25, 2020, 9:20pm

Good luck with your 2021 reading! How exciting about the agent!

6MissWatson
Dic 26, 2020, 3:04am

It's good to see you back here! I hope things will go more smoothly now after such a topsy-turvy year. Congrats on finding an agent!

7Helenliz
Dic 26, 2020, 5:01am

Good to see you back. Good luck with your reading in 2021

8dudes22
Dic 26, 2020, 5:51am

Glad to see you back, Jennifer. Hope you have a good reading year and good luck with your new agent.

9Jackie_K
Dic 26, 2020, 6:13am

Welcome back, and what brilliant news that you've snagged a great agent! Good luck with the submissions!

10NinieB
Dic 26, 2020, 9:08am

2020 really did bring you some terrible lows and wonderful highs! Best wishes for a consistently good year ahead!

11whitewavedarling
Dic 26, 2020, 9:57am

So glad to see all of you, and thanks for the congrats, too! I can't wait to visit your threads :)

12majkia
Dic 26, 2020, 10:08am

Glad to hear your husband is recovering! And wow, the agent. You go girl!

13LittleTaiko
Dic 26, 2020, 10:41am

Welcome back! What wonderful news about the agent!

14DeltaQueen50
Dic 26, 2020, 1:02pm

Great to see you back, Jennifer. I am looking forward to seeing the last of 2020 and have high hopes that 2021 will be a much better year for us all.

15whitewavedarling
Dic 27, 2020, 2:57pm

>12 majkia:, >13 LittleTaiko:, >14 DeltaQueen50:, Thanks! I'm glad to be back :)

16thornton37814
Dic 27, 2020, 10:25pm

Welcome back! Enjoy your reading this year.

17hailelib
Dic 28, 2020, 8:00pm

Welcome back! And good luck with your manuscript and agent.

19LadyoftheLodge
Ene 1, 2:05pm

Good to see you back and hopefully 2021 will include peace and good things for us all.

20lkernagh
Ene 1, 4:26pm

Welcome back, Jennifer and wishing you a Happy New Year! Congratulations on signing with a literary agent! That is wonderful news! wishing you a wonderful year of reading in 2021.

21whitewavedarling
Ene 3, 11:44am

>19 LadyoftheLodge: and >20 lkernagh:, Thanks! And, you too!

Meanwhile, happy new year, everyone--2021 has started!

I'm already off and reading, into both Just Another Soldier by Deader Homes and Gardens!

22whitewavedarling
Ene 8, 9:37am

1. Deader Homes and Gardens by Angie Fox (read now because of the RandomCat's LOL theme)

This installment in the series felt a little darker than the earlier books--the humor was still here, but it was rather as if there were two storylines, where one was serious and one was more humorous. The book was still really enjoyable, but that separation led to the book feeling a little less light than the series has up to this point, and there were some other small things that didn't sit well with me because it felt like they were taken TOO lightly by the characters. On the whole, I did enjoy this book--I love the characters, enjoy Angie Fox's writing, and the story kept me turning pages--but this fourth book in the series didn't quite feel like it stood up to the earlier books.

I'd absolutely still recommend this series, and only give the caveat that some of the humor of books 1-3 gets lost with this one.

23whitewavedarling
Ene 15, 8:10pm

2. The Colleen Colgan Chronicles Book 1: Flowers From Cannibals by Richard Phelan (Read now for Alphacat)

There's a lot to admire about this book, and that goes especially for the core concept and the storytelling. Yet, I also have to say that it was such a frustrating read, I sincerely doubt I'll be reading the next book in the series.

The issue at the center of the book's issues is editing--this is one of those self-published books that would have benefitted hugely from the traditional publication route specifically because a lack of editing is at the center of the book's issues. Bogged down from telling vs showing, needless head-hopping, and minor contradictions/inconsistencies in plot and character, there are a lot of distractions for the reader who'd like to be totally wrapped up in the story, but instead gets distracted by what amounts to a lack of editing. There's also a consistent falling back on the adult author coming through, at moments where the reader can clearly feel/sense the adult stepping in to use middle-school characters as a mouthpiece for a lesson. This isn't one of those books where it constantly feels as if an adult is writing the book that he/she thinks kids Should be reading... but there are enough moments where that happens, that it is an additional frustration.

I'd love to say that I love and can recommend this book, but the truth is that the unfinished quality of it really ruined it for me, constantly taking me out of the story. I'm not somebody who's against self-publishing--there's a ton of amazing self-published work out there--but it's abundantly clear that this book suffered from a lack of professional editing. I'd love to try another work by Phelan if he ends up publishing traditionally or if I discover he's hooked up with a professional editor, but until then, I'm afraid I can't see giving his work another shot, much as I hate to say it.

I suppose it's worth noting here that I am a critical reader--I'm a full-time editor, and a lot of my income comes from self-publishing authors. But more than anything, that helps me see the huge potential in this work, and what it could have been, which is why it ended up being such a frustrating read for me. I'm sure another reader would find a lot of enjoyment in it, but for me, it was just too unpolished to be what it should/could have been.

24whitewavedarling
Editado: Ene 17, 8:17pm

3. The Sandman #2: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman (read now for ScaredyKit)

There was a point in the second half of the book where I felt the story lagging, but on the whole, I really enjoyed this installment in the series. I can't quite say it lived up to the first volume, which had me entranced from page one on through the duration, but where the story here held to the main characters it followed, I truly enjoyed it. As would be expected, the storytelling and the artwork were both stellar, and I look forward to moving into the next book in the series.

25whitewavedarling
Ene 22, 1:28pm

4. Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq by Jason Christopher Hartley (read now for GenreCat)

I first became aware of this book right around the time it came out. I'd been teaching STS--Science and Technology in Society--for a few years by that point, and part of the course's goal was to look at how the development of new technology influenced society, and vice versa. Even before the book, I'd been aware of Hartley's blog and the censorship discussions it had prompted. In short, if you haven't heard about the controversy surrounding the blog, it comes down to this: A soldier started keeping a blog while he was deployed in Iraq, and even though his goal was to talk about the life of a soldier (going to pains to avoid giving up any information which could potentially compromise national security), his military superiors requested he take it down as soon as it was discovered. Later on, when he put it back up toward the end of his deployment, he was demoted and penalized for doing so. At the time of the blog's writing (2003-2004), the military wasn't yet prepared for soldiers' widespread use of the internet while overseas. Policy hadn't caught up to technology, so there was a loophole allowing for a soldier to, essentially, informally report his day-to-day life to whoever wanted to read it.

In the case of Hartley's blog (though his wasn't the only one), the blogs talk about everything from food to sex to fighting, with particular focus on average soldiers' positions and thoughts.

When we talked about it in my class, this was a real-world, current example of technology and the government being out of step when it came to capability and policy, and we had some amazing discussions in relation to some of the blog entries I shared. As a result, I always meant to get around to reading the whole book... and finally got around to it now.

I have to admit, it was hard to read at first. Not because of the war, but because of the unflinchingly sarcastic and non-PC comments that, on some level, I guess I've gotten used to not seeing (especially not coming from a voice that I'm already preconditioned to be sympathetic to). So, it took me some time to get used to Hartley's voice, and also to remember that all this was written nearly two decades ago, when what could pass for jokes--even if seen in bad taste--were still on some level seen as acceptable and not to be censored. Do I think that this, as it stands, would get printed today? Probably not without some of those non-PC jokes being removed. (And I don't say this lightly, but I admit I cringed at a number of moments, especially in the beginning when I wasn't quite prepared for some of what I was walking into, or had just perhaps forgotten some of the jokes I'd come across in reading original entries.) At the same time, there's something to be said for this being a snapshot backward in time, and providing a real look at soldiers on the ground, so in some ways I actually appreciate that none of it was toned down.

Can you tell I've got mixed feelings about the voice? Well, there you go.

That said, Hartley's writing is powerful, and the honesty that comes from the pages is more powerful because he doesn't go to pains to over-analyze what he's saying or censor himself. What's printed in the book is, in large part, simply a printing of the blog that he wrote while on the ground in Iraq, which he was writing even when he wasn't allowed to post online. I'm glad to have read it now, and I'm glad it got published in this form; ultimately, I'm also glad that Hartley kept writing, and pushed the boundaries of what he was "allowed" to have an opinion on as far as the army was concerned. The book is worth reading for all of those reasons.

Would I recommend it? Well, it depends on the reader. It is a snapshot backward in time. If you're looking for the thoughts of an average soldier in those days, or a look into the day-to-day stressors, mindsets, and difficulties, it's worth reading. Hartley's talent for bringing the people around him to life in few words, and for not censoring himself, make the book a powerful one that's got a lot of sincere thought, and no little amount of humor. It is, at times, hard to read, and it's not meant to be a full story of the war or politics in any way, so if you're looking for a full history in that dimension, this book isn't it.

Yet, I'm glad to have read it, and as jaded as some of its pages and reportings are, there's a lot of goodness to take from it, too.

26whitewavedarling
Ene 22, 4:13pm

5. Accra Noir edited by Nana-ama Danquah (prioritized in reading list as an LT early reviewer book)

Over the last few years, I've become a huge fan of the Akashic Noir series, and Accra Noir is no exception to the series' quality. Maybe more than any other collection I've read, it brings its focus city to life, so that Accra becomes a real place and character explored through the pages of the stories collected here. The voices are so varied, there's a lot to be admired here, and my only complaint is that many of the authors represented here seem to be new voices...which means I can't find more of their work so soon as I'd like! Truly, though, that speaks to the quality of this wonderful collection.

My favorites in the collection included works by: Kwame Dawes, Ernest Kwame Nkrumah Addo, Anne Sackey, Nana-Ama Danquah, Eibhlin Ni Chleirigh, and Anna Bossman.

Absolutely recommended.

27whitewavedarling
Ene 27, 9:45am

6. A Short History of the Island Butterflies by Nicholas Christopher

Nicholas Christopher's poetry here offers stories and meditations which come across in such gorgeous, telling detail, and whether a given poem leans toward the surreal or the emotional, each poem is so crisp that a reader can't help being affected by the vision and the language. More than the other collection I read from him, many of these poems feel almost cinematic in their beginnings--otherworldly, detailed openings to something much larger--but they are always more than simple observations or depictions in the end.

I adore Christopher's poetry, and I'm sure I'll be revisiting this collection in the future.

28whitewavedarling
Ene 31, 3:42pm

7. Water Logic by Laurie J. Marks (read now for SFFKit & AlphaKit)

The third book in Laurie J. Marks' Elemental Logic series, Water Logic picks up where the earlier books leave off, and absolutely lives up to their magic. Partially made up of dual narratives that echo each other in a gorgeous line of symmetry, the book pulls together all of the magic and wonder from the earlier books, and only builds upon it all. As true-feeling as the characters are, the book's world is one that you can't help being sucked into.

I'd absolutely recommend this series, and I can't wait to read the fourth.

29whitewavedarling
Ene 31, 3:46pm

I've got one more book I hope to finish today--Sorrow's Anthem by Michael Koryta--and another one I already finished that's just waiting for a review, but meanwhile, looking forward...

In February, I plan on reading:
These Nameless Things by Shawn Smucker
Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
My Battery is Low and it is Getting Dark (anthology)
The Avocado Drive Zoo by Earl Hammer
and Skin Shows by Jack Halberstam

30whitewavedarling
Ene 31, 4:37pm

Attention: The below review is for one of those VERY rare books which I'll probably carry with me always in my head, and which I wish I could put into every reader's hands. It's worth reading. (Do read to end of review for some potential content warnings, though they're clear from the blurb for the book also.)

8. Depart, Depart by Sim Kern

In a work that sits at intersections of climate justice, prejudice, queerness, and social justice, Kern brings together a number of issues that would seem to be far too much for a slim work like this. Yet, Depart Depart is a powerful and beautifully told story, and as difficult as it is to read, the humor and empathy of the central character, Noah Mishner, make it all but impossible to put down and walk away from. Instead, Noah is a character who will carry readers through the journey told in the book, and then accompany them outside of the pages to demand that more thought be given to his story.

What makes this book work so well is that no one issue monopolizes either story or reader. What would probably be chaos in another book works here because it is all telescoped into the continuous, lived experience of a single trans man and his found family as they live through the aftermath of a an unprecedented hurricane. Is it overwhelming? Often--for the reader as well as Noah. And that's why it works--because the reader is brought so close to Noah that they cannot deny the way all of these issues are brought together in his life during these days after the storm.

As such, this is one of those books that I know will stick with me. It's a book that ought to be carried around and passed on and talked about--that's how timely and necessary it is, difficult as parts of it may be.

There's a lot here, and readers should be aware that the book doesn't flinch away from confronting lived experiences of transphobia, anti-Semitism, and trauma. But at the same time, this book has such an incredible amount of heart--packed into every page--that it is one I would absolutely recommend to every reader out there.

31whitewavedarling
Feb 1, 9:31pm

9. Sorrow's Anthem by Michael Koryta

This is a solid procedural with great, believable characters and a twisting story that keeps the pages turning. The one problem? Koryta is even better now than he was then. And that really is the one problem. I discovered Koryta through his more recent works, so I went into this book with incredibly high expectations. I've since discovered that he wrote this when he was only 22--TWENTY-TWO!--and the debut book before it when he was only 21, which is remarkable, and as a procedural or mystery, it really is a great book. The problem, though, is that Koryta has gotten better over time, and his more recent books are fantastic. Call this an 8 on the procedural scale, and call his more recent works 12 (on a 10-point-scale) of thrillers.

So, would I recommend this book? This series? Absolutely. But if you've discovered Koryta through his more recent works, know that the books in his Lincoln Perry series are more traditional procedurals, and written when he was a younger, still developing writer--albeit an incredibly talented one already. And if I'd discovered him through this book, I'm sure I still would have picked up more of his work, which is probably all that needs to be said.

32whitewavedarling
Feb 13, 11:10am

10. These Nameless Things by Shawn Smucker (for AlphaKit T, and because this had been sitting & waiting from LT's Early Reviewer Program)

I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program for free, in return for an honest review.

First, I want to say two things. The first is that I think this book does itself and readers a disservice by holding back the author's inspiration from the blurb. I think it would be more likely to attract interested readers, and also be more engaging from the beginning, if that literary point of inspiration/connection were advertised. As it was, the early chapters feel more vague than satisfying--enough so that I paged to the back in search of some sort of author's note. This isn't something I normally do, but it seemed so certain that I was missing something, I didn't see what choice I had. Sure enough, I found an 'Author Note' that referenced a particular piece of classic literature as a reference. I won't mention it here since the blurb holds it back, and so I suppose it would have to be considered a spoiler, but considering how directly the author works from that point of reference, and that he says he hopes this book will be 'a mirror' to that one... well, again, I think it's a disservice to readers, to pretend that that isn't a crucial piece of information. I've read other books that used the same reference point beautifully, and I would have read this one, too--with even more excitement--if it had been advertised in that fashion.

The second thing I want to say is that, so far as I can tell, I'm the exact target audience for this book. I love mysterious, speculative works. I'm always glad to see literary allusions and reference points. And I love genre fiction as much as I love literary fiction.

So, on to the review. As you've probably guessed by now, just from that beginning, this book just didn't hit the right chord for me. There were some fantastic scenes where the writer's talent shown through, but so much of the first half (especially) was based more in atmosphere than story, it was incredibly hard to engage with the book. And I never got to a point where I felt any real momentum, or compulsion to keep reading. I think the central problem is that the author was working from such a direct reference point, but he was trying also to make this book its own book that could stand on its own. As a result, we ended up with a fairly drawn-out story that didn't have a particularly cohesive or clear plot--until you understood the reference, at least, and could get some better feel for what was happening. But, at that point, it just seemed belabored.

I think this probably could have been a fantastic novella. Or maybe it even would have been a great novel, if the writer had embraced his reference point a bit more and made it clearer from the beginning, really leaning into it. As it is, though, I kept reading simply because I'd started reading, and it's hard for me to imagine recommending this book except in a situation where readers wanted a work feeding off of that literary reference I mentioned.

33whitewavedarling
Feb 20, 10:05am

11. My Battery Is Low and It Is Getting Dark edited by Joshua Palmataier (read now for SFFKit Sentient Things)

When I picked up this anthology, I somewhat feared that the stories would become repetitive even though the theme itself intrigued me. Instead, I found that the fourteen stories here are all utterly distinct and original, each one written by a talented author whose writing made a whole world come to life within only 10-15 pages. It's rare that I can say I truly enjoyed every story in an anthology, but in this case, it's true. Although there were two or three where I didn't love the writer's style, even those stories were so vibrant and original that the reading experience itself was more than worthwhile. An added bonus is that most of these authors were new to me, and now I'm looking forward to looking up the novels that they've written.

Some of my favorites in the collection were: "Ganbold and the Best Drone in Mongolia" by Dana Berube, "This Cold Red Dust" by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, "Traveling Hopefully" by Jacey Bedford, "Brewing Insurrection" by Jose Pablo Iriarte, "Sassi's Last Ride" by Alethea Kontis, and "Beneath the Pall" by Edward Willett.

I would absolutely recommend this anthology to lovers of science fiction.

34whitewavedarling
Feb 21, 11:05am

12. The Avocado Drive Zoo by Earl Hamner

There are some sweet and incredibly amusing anecdotes about animals in this book, and it was also interesting to get to know the voice/writer behind two of my mom's favorite old shows (The Waltons and The Man from Snowy River)--but, at the same time, I'm not sure I'm all that likely to recommend this book to anyone (let alone my mom, who I would have thought of first). On the animal front--because, truly, that's why I picked up the book to begin with--Hamner has such a practical attitude, and is so unsentimental, that there were times when I just wasn't sure I wanted to read further. Animals' deaths were, for the most part, related so casually and with so little affect in the beginning that I learned a 'bad ending' would often enough follow up an anecdote; or, if not bad, at least sad or not good. As a result, every time I put the book down, I had mixed feelings about picking it up again. And while my interest was truly in the animals--and that's what the book proclaims itself to be focused on, after all--it often felt like Hamner was a little more interested in talking about his feelings about different animals, versus the animals themselves. So, where I would have expected them to feel a bit more real and distinct, that didn't always happen.

I think this came from the realist's perspective, but it put me off a bit. For instance, I have five animals now--each one of them has a distinct personality and quirks, as has been the case with every other animal I've had over the years. Yet, we didn't really see those 'quirks'/'personalities' of the animals in this book. We saw how the humans interacted with them, and we saw what the humans felt was worth observing... but for the most part, the animals felt more like props in the story than the focus of the story, and with Hamner's ultra-practical and rather curmudgeonly attitude throughout the book, the sweetest of the moments in the book were harder to fall in love with not because they were so rare or so sweet, but because the voice they were coming from and what they were surrounded by.

Am I glad I read the book? I'm not sure, to be honest with you. There were some great anecdotes, and it was a fast read, but a lot of it struck me in a sort of off way, and the parts about animals were so fast, so without detail that would have brought the animals/scenes to life, that I'm unfortunately hard-pressed to say I enjoyed all that much of the book. I was amused, often enough, but I'm not sure I can say more than that.

35whitewavedarling
Editado: Feb 21, 5:50pm

13. Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters by Judith Halberstam (read now for ScaredyKit)

Skin Shows is one of those books which landed on my shelves when I was in academia, but which I was so curious about that I kept it around to read (eventually) even after leaving that world behind me. And, truly, I'm glad I did. Although this book is undeniably academic in nature, it's also so accessible and readable that I found myself reading far more in one sitting than I ever would have expected. Halberstam's analysis and discussions of horror, as grouped around both classic literary texts (such as Frankenstein and Dracula) and more recent films (such as Silence of the Lambs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre), range from covering the ground of literary theory on to psychoanalysis, so that an incredible amount of thoughtful commentary is packed into the relatively short book. The ideas are offered with a depth and thoughtfulness that add weight to each discussion of the monstrous and what it entails.

For anyone interested, I'd certainly recommend the book.