NOTE: I wrote most of this at the end of February 2023.
Welcome to my monthly round-up. I am planning on publishing them on the last Sunday of the month. They are primarily for me to look back on at the end of the year, but you’re welcome to come along for the ride.
I should be gentler with myself. I thought I had a terrible reading month. But I haven’t. I read Far From the Stars of Heaven by Tade Thompson and The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Bk1) by N. K. Jemisin (no review yet).
I didn’t manage to finish anything else.
I did try. I DNF’d my first book of the year. I am sure the book is fine, but I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough. What should have been a romp was an anxiety-producing misadventure. I haven’t mentioned the title, as I may try it again.
I am currently reading Siblings by Brigitte Reimann. Fifty years after it was first published in German, Penguin Classics has translated it into English for the first time. It’s only 129 pages long, but I have to pause to add tabs to the pages and write notes in my reading-focused notebook. It is a powerful meditation on East Germany at the time.
Both of these caused my reading to slow down, and I didn’t have the mental space to read any short fiction.
I’m reading A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files as my ebook. It’s 275 pages long and could technically be described as short fiction. But it’s not what I meant when I said I wanted to read more short fiction.
Just because I wasn’t reading didn’t slow my acquisition of new books.
I picked up some £0.99 ebook bargains, including The Kaiju Preservation Society, This This, Juniper & Thorn, and Now She is Witch.
I grabbed some anthologies: Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology and Unthinkable: A Queer Gothic Anthology from proud-geek.co.uk. I also purchased The Devil and the Deep, Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy and Isolation: The Horror Anthology.
I bought the entire series (so far?) of Wayfarers by Becky Chambers. I picked up the first book of The Founders Trilogy (Foundaryside) by Robert Jackson Bennett & The Outside Series (The Outside) by Ada Hoffmann.
I also picked up a few standalone titles: Masks by Fumiko Enchi trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter, Lanny by Max Porter, Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher and Sterling Karat Gold by Isabel Waidner
That is not all of them. I’ve logged all the books I’ve bought this year and know exactly how much I’ve spent. I need to calm down!
I am going to cancel my book box subscriptions. I have never been a hardback reader, and I know these are stunning, but they are expensive shelf-space-reducing objects.
This was ‘The Bad’? What is the ugly?
Chasing new shiny isn’t good for me. New shiny is where most of the book talk is aiming towards. I thought about ramping up my reading and reviewing again. I imagined chasing the waves alongside other book influencers. Realistically, it’s not going to happen. I either can’t or don’t want to devote time to keeping up with the field and reading the required work.
I must remember that I have moved on as much as the book-o-sphere has.
I will sit back and enjoy the content of those with energy and joy.
What’s the plan for March?
I’m writing this on the 12th of March. I have finished Siblings. I am still reading A Book of Tongues. I have eighteen days left of the month. The plan is to read an additional novel. That’s the plan.