Between the Bookends at GeekMom

Book stack photo: Flickr user austinevan
Book stack photo: Flickr user austinevan
Vicious
Image: Tor Books

This month, the GeekMoms have been captivated by a Kickstarter reward, entranced by classics, and educated about science fiction. What have you read lately?

Fran dropped everything to read V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. She received the book as part of a Kickstarter reward; when it came in the mail, she opened it casually, read a few pages, and soon found herself furtively reading while cooking dinner and by flashlight late at night.

Twenty-four hours later, she finished it and put the book back into her to be read pile.

Vicious is about choices and second chances and morality and villainy and pain and pronouns and tropes and relationships. It is addictive and fun and does not shy from the difficult. It feels like V.E. Schwab took Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Donna Tart’s The Secret History and Buffy and the X-Men, a couple poets, two philosophers, and a box of masks and capes down to a secret lab in an undisclosed location and emerged with not a Frankenstein monster, but something entirely new. Something that is brutal and wrenching and very, very good.

The rest of the Kickstarter box contains many equally exciting books, including Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons and Cory Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema. That should keep her busy for a while.

September was another month in which Patricia could take a break from her Air War College coursework and enjoy a pleasure book. This time she kicked it old school and revisited one of her childhood favorites: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. She caught a wonderful Amazon promotion in which the entire Anne collection is available for only $0.99 (and it still is, as of this writing) and therefore has been able to delve even deeper into Anne’s stories than ever before. Patricia has one more week to enjoy the books before returning to her studies; so far in September she has read Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, and is nearly finished with Anne’s House of Dreams. This is a series that’s well suited for pre-teens through adulthood, chronicling the adventures of Anne Shirley, an orphan girl who is accidentally taken in by a Prince Edward Island couple and grows up into a successful woman, but not without her share of adventures (and humorous misadventures!). The descriptive settings in the series have made Patricia want to visit Prince Edward Island one day.

foxandcrowarenotfriends
Image: Random House Books for Young Readers

Sarah has taken the plunge with a book that has been on her shelves, unread, for ten years. Fully immersed in the land of cotton, she is finding Margaret Mitchell’s epic Gone With the Wind to be as engaging as the movie, but with several shocking differences.

One hundred pages in, she is delighted to know the back story of Gerald and Ellen O’Hara’s marriage, surprisingly unalarmed at Scarlett’s lack of moral fortitude, and completely in love with a cad, oh Rhett!

Next to this epic work lie the week’s findings from the children’s library. Her family is currently addicted to Pete the Cat: I love my White Shoes and everything by Mo Willems, though GeekMom’s own Melissa Wiley gets a look with Fox and Crow are NOT friends.

Karen Burnham has been reading some non-fiction lately and is excited to recommend Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha Womack to everyone she meets.

It is relatively short and written to be accessible to a wide audience, and it provides insights into the history of science fiction that may be new to you. Karen was especially happy to learn new things about science fictional themes and aesthetics in musical forms ranging from jazz to funk to hip-hop, and also about some black 19th century authors who dabbled in science fiction. If you have any interest at all in the history of literature and art, you could do a lot worse than picking this up.

Taking a break from serious stuff, Karen picked up one of the excellent adventures from the Pathfinder Tales RPG-tie-in series from Paizo publishing. Pirate’s Honor by Chris A. Jackson is the modern equivalent of a pulp adventure novel. Torius Vin is a pirate with a heart of gold. Celeste is his lunar naga lover and navigator. After a theft gone wrong leaves them on the wrong side of the powers that be, they hatch a plot to restore their fortunes and take revenge on those who would mess with them. Add in a half-orc bosun, stiffly elvish first mate, and snarky gnome engineer, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a fun adventure novel that’s quick to read. If the eventual plot gets rather loaded down with complication after complication (mostly stemming from Celeste & Torius’ unfortunate tendency towards emotional drama), at least it is still a fast read in the great pulp adventure tradition. This is a fast-paced sea story with good dialogue, just the thing for a rainy weekend.

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When Lisa Kay Tate picked up Ian Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher, she was unaware the unintended side effects of it, most notably the uncontrollable urge to read passages aloud to anyone who would listen: “Proceed with care…I have earn’d the penalty of death in many systems…./Luke: Tut, careful shall I be/Being 2: — Thou shalt be dead!

She has plans of building a backyard barn soon for the sole purpose of staging dramatic readings, complete with chorus and costumes.