Weekly Reading Update 25/06/2020

Updates

Welcome to Wednesday bookwyrms. Usually I do these weekly updates on a Wednesday (though I have on occasion been known to be less than consistent) but today is a day late simply cos it was so hot yesterday I felt like I was melting unless I was sat in my garden with a big ol’ glass of Gin & Tonic. I’ve been getting a bunch of reading done recently though, so here’s a snapshot of what’s on my radar right now.



Recently Finished: THE ORDER OF THE PURE MOON REFLECTED IN WATER by Zen Cho
I’d been looking forward to this book for ages. Since many months ago in fact, when Caitlin from Realms Of My Mind posted about it, floating this line from the blurb: “A bandit walks into a coffee house, and it all goes downhill from there”. I was sold instantly and it ended up being a cool wuxia story about found family and a pretty deep reflection on war and conflict. I did enjoy this book, though not nearly as much as I expected to given how much I’d built it up in my head. That’s on me I guess, and there are perhaps some lessons to be learned about how expectations can influence how you experience a book.

Currently Reading: BEFORE THEY ARE HANGED by Joe Abercrombie
Okay, I’m finally gonna complete this series! I read The Blade Itself towards the end of 2019 and, despite enjoying it, just never continued with the series. And as a massive grimdark fan, it seems somewhat sacrilegious to still have this uncompleted series on my TBR. I’m not too far in yet, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my old problematic fave Sand dan Glokta throwing his weight around in Dagoska. One of my favourite parts of the first book was the conspiracy involving the Guild of Mercers and the economic and political manoeuvering surrounding that storyline, and it looks like we’re gonna get a bunch more of that stuff here. I’m rubbing my hands together with gleeful anticipation.

Next Read: LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS by Joe Abercrombie
I don’t often read series books in consecutive order these days; I like to have something sandwiched in between so I don’t get burned out (and who knows, maybe I’ll still end up doing that here) but I really want to finish this series, so I’m at least planning to move straight to the final book in the trilogy. I want to finish it posthaste for a few reasons; a) because I’m enjoying it and that should always be the number one reason to read anything in this hobby, but also b) because I have so many uncompleted series on the go right now and I can only go so long before I just forget what happens and have to start from the beginning again. Anyway, looking forward to getting to LAST ARGUMENT OF KINGS; I haven’t been spoiled thankfully, but I hear some crazy shit goes down in the rest of this series!


If you want to take part in WWW Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, just answer the following questions:

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Weekly Reading Update 17/06/2020

Updates

Welcome to Wednesday bookwyrms. I didn’t have a weekly update last week cos I’d been moving house, so honestly just hadn’t got much reading done. I’m on a novella-reading binge at the moment though and can I just say how happy I am that the novella is is making a comeback. Especially in genre fiction, and fantasy specifically, that has long been associated with the ‘doorstopper’ novel. I Love a good thousand-pager as much as anyone, but there’s something beautiful and incredibly skilful about the craft of a good novella, where tonnes of character and world building can be packed into such a small package. Here’s a selection of the novellas I’ve got on my radar at the mo.



Recently Finished: THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
I’m on a bit of a P. Djèlí Clark kick at the moment. After reading his short story A Dead Djinn in Cairo I thought I potentially had a new favourite author on my hands. So I quickly moved on to his Haitian sky pirate novella The Black God’s Drums and thought “Yep, this guy is incredible” and after THE HAUNTING OF TRAM CAR 015 I can confidently say P. Djèlí Clark is one of the smartest, most engaging authors out there right now and is undoubtedly a master of the novella. This story takes place in the same universe as A Dead Djinn in Cairo and follows Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr as he tries to solve the mystery of the haunting of a tram car, along the way encountering the Egyptian suffragette movement and becoming acquainted with a group of magic-wielding women deeply knowledgeable about the folklore of multicultural Cairo.

Currently Reading: ON A RED STATION, DRIFTING by Aliette De Bodard
I’ve missed science fiction. Even though Wyrd & Wonder ended a few weeks ago I’ve still been reading mostly fantasy and non-fiction, and my beloved sci-fi remains abandoned by the wayside. I technically haven’t started this yet as I’ve literally just closed the final pages of Tram Car 015 ten minutes ago, but thought it was about time I sated my science fiction craving. ON A RED STATION, DRIFTING is the first novella in Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya Universe, which also incldudes The Citadel of Weeping Pearls and The Tea Master and the Detective, the latter of which I’ve already read and loved. ON A RED STATION, DRIFTING is the story of Station Mistress Quyen and Honoured Ancestress, an AI born of a human womb, as they struggle to keep their loved ones safe amidst a brewing war in the Dai Vet Empire.

Next Read: RING SHOUT by P. Djèlí Clark
No surprise by now that I’ll be reading another P. Djèlí Clark novella next. RING SHOUT sounds incredible, and is particularly pertinent given the mass uprising against racist violence in the US right now. It sets up D. W. Griffith (a real life figure who directed a vile, racist film called The Birth of a Nation in 1915) as a sorceror whose film was a spell that drew from the darkest thoughts and wishes at the heart of American society. Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it too, but to confront this ongoing evil she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh – and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it. Sounds absolutely amazing.


If you want to take part in WWW Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, just answer the following questions:

What have you just read?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Let me know what you’re reading and if you enjoyed this update follow the blog to never miss a post!

Weekly Reading Update 03/06/2020

Updates

Welcome to Wednesday bookwyrms. I haven’t actually got any fiction to talk about this week. I’m sure everyone reading this is aware of the massive rebellion that’s broken out in the USA in response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week and the subsequent declaration of war by the police on US citizens. In addition to donating to bail funds and Black Lives Matter groups I’ve took the long overdue step of reading some of the books that are required reading for any white person who wants to overcome their own bias and racism and truly be an ally in the fight against police violence and Black oppression. If you’re a white person reading this and want to take a step in the right direction, read some (or all) of the books I talk about here and donate to a bail fund.



Recently Finished: HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST by Ibram X. Kendi
The title of this one seemed like a logical place to start. In it Kendi talks about how being ‘not racist’ simply isn’t enough to challenge the deeply entrenched system of racism that pervades society and how being antiracist isn’t a constant state of being, but something we must always be striving for. He weaves together a powerful narrative of history, ethics and science with his own personal account of his journey into anticracism. A must read for anyone who wants to go beyond awareness of racism’s existence and start to building a truly antiracist and equal society.

Currently Reading: WHITE FRAGILITY by Robin Diangelo
I’m not very far into this one yet but already I feel like it’s going to be laying down some harsh truths about how white people approach discussions around race and racism and I’ve been compelled into several moments of self-reflection. One of the main points I’ve taken on board so far is how racism is framed as this individualised act or belief that only ‘bad’ people do and have, as opposed to an institutionalised set of oppressive systems that are baked in to the way society functions. And so to be told something we’ve said or done is racist can feel like a personal attack on our moral character, rather than something for us to reflect on and try to improve. I think this book is going to teach me a lot.

Next Read: NATIVES: RACE AND CLASS IN THE RUINS OF EMPIRE by Akala
The two previous books are written by American writers and focus on American society and, although they are very applicable to Western societies in general, this book is very much focused on British racism. It’s very easy for people in the UK to look across the Atlantic and be shocked by the levels of racism and police violence in the USA and yet still overlook our own problems. And while our police aren’t armed to the teeth and militarised in the same way as the American police force, we still have a big problem with institutional racism here. Britain has yet to have an open and honest conversation about our own history of empire and its legacy and this book is part of kickstarting that very necessary process.


I just want to finish up by encouraging you all to donate to one of the many organisations supporting the protesters. Click here to see a list of places you can donate. I also want to encourage all my white followers to educate yourselves. Read the books I talked about here and join the protests that are now going global. Stay safe if you’re out there on the streets everyone. To all my Black brothers, sisters and comrades, you have my full and unconditional support. Solidarity and much love to you all.


If you want to take part in WWW Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, just answer the following questions:

What have you just read?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Let me know what you’re reading and if you enjoyed this update follow the blog to never miss a post!

Weekly Reading Update 27/05/2020

Updates

Welcome to Wednesday bookwyrms. The more discerning and long-reading among you may have noticed that I’ve dropped the Hey! Watcha Readin’ tagline from today’s post. That’s because I realised I was referencing something that a lot of you probably aren’t familiar with, and even if you are the reference isn’t particularly obvious haha. Anyone familiar with the TV show Gavin & Stacey? If so then you probably recognise Nessa’s catchphrase “Oh, what’s occurin’?” which is quite famous here in the UK. I enjoyed my little pop culture reference myself, but realised it probably makes no sense to anyone else… I dunno folks, let me know if you get the reference and/or think I should resurrect the Hey! Watcha Readin’ tagline. But before I digress too much, let’s just dive into what I’ve been reading this past week.



Recently Finished: OF DRAGONS, FEASTS AND MURDERS by Aliette de Bodard
I love Aliette de Bodard’s books so much. They just make me so happy and warm inside. This short and delightful novella is about a Dragon Prince and his stabby Fallen Angel husband who get roped into solving a murder when they return home for the Lunar New Year. Family drama and intrigue ensues when they both have to use their own brand of detective work – diplomacy and stabbing respectively – to get to the bottom of the mystery. Look forward to the full review soon 🙂

Currently Reading: KINGS OF THE WYLD by Nicholas Eames
I promised myself I’d finally read this one for Wyrd & Wonder and I am 😀 If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me post about how this book takes the medal for quickest book to make me cry. I started reading it in bed one night with the intention of reading a few chapters and nodding off to sleep. By chapter 3 I was sobbing into my pillow and couldn’t put it down. I honestly picked this one up just expecting an unapologetic fantasy adventure romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously – which it absolutely is – I just wasn’t expecting so much heart to go along with it. Much fun.

Next Read: A KING’S BARGAIN by J.D. L Rossel
This was also my ‘Next Read’ from last week, but haven’t got round to starting it yet. It’s an epic fantasy about a legendary warrior who just wants to settle down, but is dragged back into the world of adventure when he meets an ambitious village boy who wants to make a name for himself. They set out and become embroiled in the plots of monarchs, on the frontlines of an ancient war and at the mercy of an ancient sorcerer. I’ll be reading it as part of the Storytellers on Tour blog tour and I was initially drawn to it cos I really love that cover art- I mean just look at it ❤ Looking forward to diving into this one next 🙂


If you want to take part in WWW Wednesday, hosted by Taking on a World of Words, just answer the following questions:

What have you just read?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Let me know what you’re reading and if you enjoyed this update follow the blog to never miss a post!