September was a month of sleep and rest and recovery from frantically submitting to Pitch Wars. I read a few books and got a library card, so we’ll see how much book consumption changes based on that.
What I Learned: Writing a Family Saga
Our office book club pick of the month was The Namesake. I really liked how much dimensionality Lahiri gave to her characters, using the main character almost as a lens to process his family’s experience in America. It continued our unofficial book club theme of “nothing good happens in the end,” so the book was a bit of a bummer. But the family felt so real from start to finish.
What I Learned: Telling a Truth in a Fantastic Backdrop
Read as an ARC acquired at ALA 2018. Comes out November 2018. While beautiful in its prose, this book explores survival in oppressive circumstances. Content warning for sexual assault. The friendships and relationships formed in this book are gorgeous and hopeful, even given everything happening. Using different magic castes really immerses the reader in the fantasy, but doesn’t distract from reality.
What I Learned: A Well-Balanced Anthology
Read as an eARC from NetGalley. Came out August 2018. I loved how this anthology took a look at so many aspects of witchcraft. From the contemporary to the classic, to historical, to rituals to more fantasy-based magic. There is truly something for everyone here, especially for those looking for more reads in which ladies love ladies.
What I Learned: Committing to the Aesthetic
Read as a NetGalley eARC. Came out September 2018. For anyone whose favorite movie aesthetic is Nightmare Before Christmas, this book is a must-read. There is so much steampunk love here with characters inspired by classical horror. I loved the interpretation of the Jack-o-Lantern as our main character and the witch, Ember, was so good.
What I Learned: Writing a Family
Read as an ARC provided by the author. Comes out January 2019. I have not wept over fried chicken or family feelings. Chen created so many dynamic characters that subverted expectations. I did not expect to connect with Kin’s second family as I had and everything hurt in the best way by the very end.
What I Learned: Going Beyond Your Premise/Committing to a Genre
Read as an eARC on NetGalley. Released September 2018. What really disappointed me about this one was how unfocused it was. Based on the blurb and opening, I was excited to get into a psychological horror, but I got neither a horror nor a science fiction by the end. Plus, the book didn’t really move past the premise or didn’t go deep enough with it to make it memorable.
What I Learned: A Different Kind of Retelling
This book is not the retelling you think it would be. The book uses the trope of the evil stepmother as a greater backdrop, so don’t expect any magic aside from beautiful metaphors around mirrors in order to tell the story of a family.
I’m out for most of October, but I am spending close to 24 hours in transit and you know what means? More reading.