I've been meaning for a while to talk about what I've been reading. Because it's something that's not fic or meta or articles on feminist websites! After I graduated from college, it took me a long time to be able to read again because I'd spent so much time analyzing texts over those four years that I just got burned out. But I am back to being able to read again, and it feels good.
So what have I been reading? Some really good stuff.
* Kindred by Octavia Butler.
This book is perfect. One day, I want to be able to write something as perfect as this book. I was actually halfway through Fathom
(see below) when I picked this one up. Whenever I pick up a new book, I like to read the "beginnings," as I call them: the introductions, acknowledgments, author's notes, and the first few lines. So I read the first few lines. And I was really engrossed. And I thought, "I'll just read the prologue. It's like two pages long." AND I NEVER STOPPED. Seriously, the book is compulsively readable. But at the same time, it's deeply profound. Perfect characterization: I could spend the rest of my life analyzing the relationship between Dana and Rufus, for instance, and I would never get to the bottom of it. Add in Kevin and Alice and the others? Gah. I can't even talk about it.
And this book is about the kyriarchy. It's the best book about the kyriarchy I've ever read. The whole thing is an exercise in examining the hierarchies of power and the ways they're tangled up in race and gender and class and even health. But it isn't preachy, and it's just so entertaining, too: if you didn't know or care about the kyriarchy, you could still love it and enjoy it. It sucks you in and doesn't let you up and you're completely captivated by these characters, but it's just so easy to read! I adore that.
I also really loved how it fit in seamlessly with the slave narratives I read in Southern Lit in college. I've never been so glad for being an English major: having had that prior experience with slave narratives, I felt that this book was so much richer.
I cannot rave about it enough. I'm going to read it once a year till I die, I think. Oh, and I read it in a day, so yeah. Very readable.
[eta] What it's actually about: a modern (written in the 70s) black woman who keeps getting pulled back in time to the nineteenth century to save her white ancestor, who is the son of a slave owner. Time travel. Slave narrative. YES.
* Fathom by Cherie Priest.
This woman has a fantastic imagination. I can honestly say that you have never read a book like this. I adore the plot and the worldbuilding more than I can say. But I felt there was something lacking. I didn't really feel emotionally invested. I don't know if it's because I didn't feel like I got to know the characters well enough or if their motivations weren't nuanced enough or if it just wasn't long enough, but there was something missing for me. At the same time, I'm interested in seeing what else Priest has written because she has the most awesome imagination ever.
* Shards of Honor and Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Solid, character-driven sci-fi. Great characters--especially Cordelia and Aral and Kou and Drou and Bothari. Interesting relationships I cared about. Good worldbuilding. A strong female protagonist who was very competent but didn't physically kick ass. Good pacing and plotting. Basically just goodness, all the way around. If I could find more "sci-fi" (as opposed to fantasy) like this, I would read a ton more of it. This was my first Bujold experience, and I was impressed. Very.
Anyone have any advice as to how to proceed from here? I know she wrote the rest of the books all out of order, so I'd like to know which order to read them in. Chronologically? Or is it more like the Narnia books, where you need to read them as they were written? Help please!
And now for what some of you have been waiting for...
* The Hunger Games (all of them!) by Suzanne Collins
. What did I spend Friday through Sunday doing? Reading all of the Hunger Games books, of course. Because I am like that. And yes, becoming pretty addicted and loving Katniss/Peeta forever and falling for a lot of the supporting characters. Read the books, people!
I will now proceed to spoil you horribly. DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THEM!( spoilers for the first two books )( spoilers for Mockingjay )
And one last thing, because I am predictable:( a final, MJ-spoiler-free note on shipping )
People, is there any good fic out there? I want good fic, and I don’t know where to look!
And now I have a thousand comments to reply to! I should get on that!