Sunday Status Update: June 28, 2015

Today, Supergirl’s back for the first time in a while. Yeah, I had no other ideas, so we’re going to fall back on mocking superhero costumes.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Supergirl: Apparently, while I was looking the other way, everyone got a new costume from somewhere or other. Superman is in jeans and a t-shirt, Batgirl’s in a caped tracksuit, and even Wonder Woman has traded in that idiotic bustier for some kind of pauldroned weirdness. I’m sure someone’ll get to redesigning my look soon too. No more dumb Kryptonian cheerleader outfit. We’re on top of this, right? Uh… right?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Jana: Over the last two weeks, I’ve been reading Tamora Pierce‘s SONG OF THE LIONESS quartet: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and Lioness Rampant. It sounds more impressive than it is; the books are quite short, and intended for a YA audience, but still generally enjoyable. I also started Bell Weather, by Dennis Mahoney, which is atmospheric and intriguing thus far. Colonial Florida is not a setting I’m familiar with, but I really like how Mahoney uses time and place to affect the story.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews João: Exams are destroying my will to read, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell isn’t helping at all. I did read the fourth part of K.J. Parker’s The Two of Swords, which was pretty great, and have started Teresa Frohock’s In Midnight Silence, the first instalment in her new LOS NEFILIM series of novellas.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Kat: A new summer session started last Monday, which means that until August I’m in the classroom 4 mornings per week with 150 delightfully eager freshmen. That’s in addition to the online course I teach all summer, and a couple of research projects I’m trying to get going. So, reading time has suddenly and drastically diminished. I only managed to read one book this week: David Weber’s The Short Victorious War, book three in his HONOR HARRINGTON series. I had quit the series after reading the first two books, but Marion has a review for book four ready to go, so I thought I might as well fill in that empty spot for book three since I already own the audio edition. Book three was better than the previous books, and I can certainly see why Weber has so many fans but, as is the case with Marion, these books just don’t really fit my personality or reading preferences.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Marion: This week I finished one of the best books of 2015, Uprooted, by Naomi Novik. A review will follow. I also read to the end of Sisters of the Revolution, an anthology of feminist speculative fiction edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer. Last night I stared Helen MacDonald’s H is for Hawk. It would be correct to call the book a memoir, but it is so much more. I’m lapping up information on T.H. White, falconry, environmentalism in England, and the different ways people deal with grief. It’s fascinating.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Ryan: This week, I continued reading Kim Stanley Robinson‘s The Years of Salt and Rice. Just kidding! I finally finished it, and I thought it was great. Actually, I looked it up on Wikipedia and saw that it was nominated for the Hugo. It faced a pretty tough slate that year, including China Miéville‘s The Scar. However, both of these excellent novels lost to Robert J. Sawyer‘s Hominids, which seems impossible to me. So I’ve begun reading Hominids.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Sandy: Moi? I have been tearing through Edmond Hamilton’s classic space opera The Star Kings (1949) this past week, and have been finding it fairly unputdownable. I had planned to next read a book from Hamilton’s wife, the great Leigh Brackett, entitled The Starmen of Llyrdis, but am now sorely tempted to seek out the sequel to The Star Kings, entitled Return to the Stars. THAT’S what I call “star power”! Stay tuned…

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Stuart: After finishing the excellent Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, I listened to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness narrated by Kenneth Branagh. While I liked the Coppola film Apocalype Now and the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse inspired by this book, I found the book to be turgid and uneventful, since the mysterious and menacing Kurtz turns out to be a broken shell of a man who is sick and muttering “the horror, the horror.” Big disappointment. I guess SFF is really my cup of tea, so I started Neal Stephenson‘s new book Seveneves on audiobook, which I will listen to during an upcoming family trip to NY, DC, and PA, our first visit to the East Coast in a decade. I’ve uploaded a couple reviews to be posted during that time so you wont’ forget about me!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Terry: I finished Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey and immediately started Glamour in Glass, which seems more assured and a bit more free of the influence of Jane Austen, while still being firmly rooted in Regency England. I’m enjoying it very much. I also started The Acolyte by Nick Cutter, a dystopian novel of a country in which the religious right has thoroughly won, and Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, the beginning of an urban fantasy series that I’ve missed until now, when Andrews is about to issue the eighth in the series. I have a lot of catching up to do!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews Tim: I finished Tanith Lee‘s The Birthgrave (finally), and I’m now proceeding with The Silver Metal Lover by the same author. If I get tired of Lee (difficult to imagine, but it could happen), I’ve also got Emma Bull‘s War for the Oaks still waiting its chance. I’d started it some time ago, but left off in favor of the siren song of an audiobook. Now I may return to it.

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TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

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  1. Tim, I want to recruit you to help me with art for World Wide Wednesday. No, seriously. I do.

  2. Ryan, your update made me laugh twice.

    Marion, it’s coincidental that you’re reading H if for Hawk because I believe that Kate just got a review copy of T.H. White’s The Goshawk, which is related.

    • I really want to read that, since it is a big part of MacDonald’s book. T.H. White’s account of attempting to tame a goshawk was, um, apparently NOT met with great acclaim by the falconry community.

  3. April /

    Terry – each of the Glamourist books is better than the last so you have good stuff to look forward to, though I’ve yet to read the latest. Additionally, the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews is a treat, especially for the internal wit and dialogue over and above the fun (if monster hunting is your thing) plots.

    • April, one of my biggest reading problems is that pretty much every kind of fiction is my thing. Okay, espionage, westerns and romance aren’t high on my list. But give me a good book in any genre, and I’ll read it. Jack of all trades, master of none, they call me.

  4. April /

    Pretty much the only thing I don’t read is horror. Fantasy of all flavors and scifi are my faves but I read it all too.

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