Milkman, by Anna Burns

Milkman won last year’s Man Booker prize. I’ve been reading it on and off for a while. Not because I didn’t like it, but its long sentences and paragraphs and stream-of-consciousness, tangential structure were too challenging when, say, I’d been reading student papers much of the day. Now I’ve finished it and I loved it, and I won’t have time to do it justice but wanted to get down something of my love before the next set of papers to grade comes in.

Janine’s Goodreads review captures what I loved about the book. You could just go there. But I’ll add some thoughts of my own. Continue reading

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TBR Challenge: The Spy Who Tamed Me, by Kelly Hunter

This month’s TBR Challenge theme is “Series.” Kelly Hunter’s The Spy Who Tamed Me is part of a series in the loose romance sense: the characters are related and appear in each other’s books, but each book stands alone fine and has its own romance couple/plot. In fact, as Hunter herself notes, the West Family books “were scattered across various Harlequin lines and imprints as lines consolidated and morphed. Finding and following this series through to completion is not for the faint of heart!” Find them I did, though (except for the prequel novella), and followed–here and there, over years–the Wests to their conclusion in The Spy Who Tamed Me.  Continue reading

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Recent Reading: January (and some February)

I will skip the laments about not blogging more regularly and get to the book talk. It has been a pretty good reading year so far! I feel I should be reading less from the library and more from my TBR, but it was ever thus.

Some poetry: 

  • Rae Armantrout, Itself  These poems were pretty baffling, but I enjoyed the experience of bafflement. If you read a bit about Armantrout and the Language poets you might see why.
  • Billy Ray Belcourt, This Wound is a World  Part of my goal of reading more Indigenous writers this year. These poems insist on embodiment in the face of erasure, on desire as resistence to alienation.
  • Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings  I read this after Oliver’s death, which made me realize how important she was to many of my friends. I liked her deep attention to the natural world and thought she mostly avoided sentimentality while writing about themes that risk it, but I’m not a new devotee.

Continue reading

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TBR Challenge: Snowspelled, by Stephanie Burgis

This month’s TBR Challenge prompt is “We Love Short Shorts,” always a gentle introduction to the Challenge.

I’m pretty sure I had Stephanie Burgis’ novella Snowspelled in my TBR because of Ana’s review. I like fantasy with an alt-Regency setting, and this sounded fun.

And so it was, a good balance of romance and fantasy, with enough background to make some sense of its world but leave me wanting to read more about it.

Clarissa Harwood lives in a world where men do magic and women do politics. Her mother was a leading member of the Boudiccate, the elite circle of women that governs the country. But rather than following in her mother’s footsteps, Clarissa has fought to study magic at the Great Library. While she finally succeeded and was top of her class, Snowspelled opens four months after an event that took her magic (what that is isn’t clear at first, and I don’t want to spoil it). Now Clarissa has been persuaded to attend a house party where the Boudiccate has gathered for a winter solstice ceremony, and where she will encounter her ex-fiancé Wrexham, himself a powerful magician. Continue reading

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Form(at) and Meaning

I’m in the middle of a couple of books. It’s been a slow reading book, both because it was my first full week of the semester and because these aren’t books to be read quickly. Both deal with some difficult subjects (though lightened with humor) and their style is complex. But for both, I had to think about what format I wanted to read in, so here are some musings on what difference format makes. I want to say up front I don’t want to create a hierarchy of formats, suggest ebooks or audiobooks aren’t “real” reading, or anything like that. But format does affect my experience of a book, and I think in some ways my understanding of it, and I’m always interested in pondering that difference and hearing about other people’s experiences.

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