So I have been putting off blogging about my reading for months! It's not an obligation, of course. Nobody is obligated to blog daily, but see, I want to share this. I just haven't. So anyway, I've mostly forgotten what I wanted to say about all but the most recently read of these so I'm just going to put them all in one post and just to do something different I'm going to stick some completely unrelated photos in here as dividers. (These are not all of the books I've read this year, just some highlights.)
Earlier this year, thanks to Amazon's recommendations for me, I read two books with similar subject matter. Both are set during the Civil War era, including the pre- and post- Civil War years. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim is about a young plantation owner's daughter's warm, loving relationship with her nurse, a slave woman named Mattie who is separated from her own son in order to nurse the white infant.
In the other book, Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel, Adelaide is given a slave girl named Rachel to be her personal maid when they are both still children. The two get along well and soon discover that they are actually half-sisters. The story follows them through adolescence to young adulthood.
I highly recommend both of these books. The stories are interesting and the characters are fully developed and realistic. Both books manage to illustrate the tragedy and injustice of slavery without beating the reader over the head with brutality at the expense of the story. I don't want to give away the endings but I will say that both are satisfying though the ending of Yellow Crocus seems the more plausible of the two.
Of course one of the highlights of my reading year was Amongst the Stars, the third book in Kelly Sedinger's Song of Forgotten Stars series. This is the kind of fun and exciting adventure story that got me hooked on reading science fiction in the first place. While I now love a great variety of science fiction it's great that someone is still writing this kind of purely fun story.
I am a huge fan of fantasy writer China Mieville. His novella This Census-Taker is quite different from the other books of his that I have read. In it a young boy witnesses his father killing his mother. The authorities (and most other adults) choose to believe his father's version of events, that his mother abandoned them, but there are other hints that Dad is "not right." There are elements of fantasy in the story but they are so subtle they almost don't matter. This Census-Taker reads almost like a mainstream novella.
I have started reading Three Moments of an Explosion, a book of short stories by Mieville. They are also very different from the Mieville that I'm used to and I like some better than others. I have taken a break from it to read some other books though. The nice thing about a book of short stories is that you can spread them out, reading them one at a time between other books.
For some reason a lot of authors follow me on Twitter. I figure they're just trying to get attention, which is fine, but mostly I haven't paid much attention to them. I'm not sure what was different about S.E. Smith. Maybe the titles, maybe the cover art. Whatever it was, I followed her and followed her links to her books on Amazon and discovered A FREE KINDLE BOOK! A Warrior's Heart. Free. So I didn't even bother to read any reviews; I just downloaded it.
I am so glad it was free. Oh! My! Gawd! As I have already said on Twitter, it's pornographic. But dammit it's still science fiction and there was actually a bit of a story and I really hate to not finish a book; I mean like a Sheldon level have to finish so, quickly skipping over certain scenes, I kept reading. Turns out there were really only a couple of explicit (very explicit) scenes near the beginning and a couple more near the end.
Aside from that there was a lot in the book that just seemed silly to me. Two brothers who were kidnapped from Earth and enslaved as children grow up and fall madly in lust with two sisters from an alien warrior race. (Think Klingon but even meaner and cuter and purple) Anyway, in spite of the fact that these sisters are perfectly capable of kicking anyone's butt and feeding it to them, and the brothers really are not, the brothers constantly feel the need to "protect" their alien girlfriends.
Overall the story is pretty simplistic. The only real action (other than the aforementioned [ahem] "action") is a pretty standard escape. That's really unfortunate because the races and civilizations mentioned in the story seem like they could be interesting if the author would concentrate more on those and less on the "romance" and interpersonal [ahem] activities. But, you know, I guess some people are into that sort of thing. I won't judge. Or at least I'm trying not to judge.
Photos taken by me over 10 years ago.