what I read in June

june

1. The Martian, by Andy Weir. I picked this one up for a dollar at the library book store, and it was a fun read. Basic plot: astronaut team on Mars is forced to evacuate, leaving one of their crew members behind (he was separated from the group and presumed dead). But against all odds, Mark Watney wakes up and has to survive on Mars. The book is split between his perspective, and that of the people on earth trying to save him.

I can’t really speak to the science included in the book (fake science is about as plausible as real science to me), but I really enjoyed the way this book was set up, part scientific log, part diary, and the way the book moved between perspectives of the astronauts, NASA, etc. I look forward to seeing the movie.

2. The Psycopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, by Jon Ronson. Ronson explores the “madness industry” and the many ways we talk about and treat mental illness (specifically psychopathy), from insane asylums to Wall Street. This is actually the second time I’ve read this (it was a book club pick) and it’s low key and fairly delightful. Plus, Ronson is so anxious and neurotic he makes me feel normal, an added perk.

3. The Master Magician and 4. The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. I wrote about these last time too. I have a hard time really recommending them, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. It’s just that I picked them up thinking they were fantasy, and each story shifted more and more away from fantasy towards romance. But, you know, I did read all three, so clearly Holmberg did something right there.  See my full review here (linked because of massive spoilers).

5. The Maharani’s Pearls, by Charles Todd. This was a short story/novella for fans of the Bess Crawford literary cozy mystery series, set in Bess’ childhood home of India. Good for fans and those who might want to be one, but nothing very new.

The rest of the month was Brandon Sanderson themed, with

6. The Alloy of Law. This book is set in Elendel and picks up twenty years after the Mistborn trilogy ends, but involves different characters and I’m pretty sure could be a stand-alone novel. It involves a former rough-and-tumble lawmaker (now reformed and respectable(ish) lord) who has to draw on his old skills when a new threat hits the city. Good stuff.

7. Steelheart, 8. Mitosis and 9. Firefight. I couldn’t put these down. This series deals with a world in which somehow, humans receive superhuman powers, but instead of turning into a justice-seeking Superman, Spider Man, or Wonder Woman, the Epics become tyrants and rule over their respective cities with an iron fist. It’s an adventure series that in the best Brandon Sanderson style takes on questions of morality and responsibility as well, and I loved every minute of it.

2 thoughts on “what I read in June

  1. I’ve not ever got much into fantasy/sci-fi/alternate worlds kind of stuff….or into mysteries. But month after month I read your posts and feel like I’m somehow missing out on this huge, engaging genre. Any starter recommendations?

    xox

    • Hmm, that is a hard question! There is a lot of baaaaad fantasy out there. Have you ever read anything in the fantasy genre? Narnia? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? I’m a big fan of Brandon Sanderson (he’s a good writer, he never ever uses rape as a plot device, his worlds are intricate) but you might want to ease into the genre a bit more.. I was thinking of Lev Grossman’s the Magician, since that’s a literary (and at times dark! super dark) twist on the Narnia series. If you read Narnia as a kid (or adult, no judging) you might like those. What I like about fantasy is the way the writers have to build a world that abides by different yet highly specific rules. (What can I say, I like structure.) I find that highly fascinating, but ymmv, and if you’re not into world building, fantasy might be a long slog. Did you ever read Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow)?

      Also, every time I read your book list, I come away with a resolve to read more non-fiction! After I finish my dissertation…

      >

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