I read 192 books this year in a split of: 54 ARCs (up from last year), 33 audiobooks (down from last year), 72 manga volumes (down from last year), 20 physical copies (up from last year), 8 light novels (up from last year), and 5 eBooks (down from last year). I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my favorite 20 2022 books, favorite 10 books from before 2021, and my favorite 5 manga. I would have done a favorite 20 of backlist books, but, unfortunately, I did not prioritize this year, and I think that contributed to my exhaustion.
Overall, it’s not as many things as last year, and it did bring me dangerously close to burning out on reading. 2023 will be a year for resetting some of my priorities with regards to reading, which will focus on my backlog and reading a whole lot of light novels.
November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).
Happy release day to R.B. Lemberg and their collection, Geometries of Belonging. As I mentioned in my review, the Birdverse is among the richest worlds I have ever been given the gift of visiting. There’s magic, there’s normalized queerness, there’s a variety of fantasy roles and occupations that aren’t rebel and ruler and mercenary, plus so much more.
I’m thrilled to have R.B. on the blog to chat about the origins of this secondary world fantasy, how they come up with stories and poems, plus a little bit of what they’re working on now.
Received an eARC from the author Content warnings: In-universe prejudice, discussions of war, grief
The Birdverse is among the richest worlds I have ever been given the gift of visiting. Between The Four Profound Weaves and The Unbalancing, it is evident that this is a wholly realized world with its only political structures and magic system. This latest excursion, a collection of short stories and poems, really bring forth that incredibly unique creativity. Told in a multitude of styles, from missives to annotations to more structured tales, this collection offers an invitation to a world ruled by the magic of names and where the land responds to the human activity happening in its space.
R.B. Lemberg will be featured on the blog on November 29th, 2022.
Somehow, September also saw me in New York City. We can thank the CDC for letting me reunite with my best friend from my childhood in Poland, along with several others who I haven’t seen in years even before the pandemic. This is also a reminder for folks to get the bivalent booster if you are 18 and haven’t had COVID within the last 3 months.
I finished my revision and resubmitted it, which is my big project completion that robbed me lots of reading time. Now, I’m resting an embarking on a reading adventure to learn how to write a horny goth book. Hopefully, I’ll be able recapping that in October’s post. But we’ll see.
Read an ARC from the publisher Content warnings: earthquakes and the aftermath of natural disasters, references to past ableism
Gelle-Geu is an island city whose star god is restless and earthquakes come closer and closer. Ranra has taken on the role of starkeeper, and her first task is to unravel the problems left attended by her predecessor. She seeks the counsel of Lilún, a poet whose ancestor is begging them to take on the role of starkeeper. Their relationship ignites while disaster strikes, and it’s a race against star charts and magic to possibly save the city.
This novel has all the dreaminess of poetry and being told a bedtime story with intense calamity on the horizon and tender romance at its core.
Summer is coming to an end, I guess. The autumn equinox doesn’t hit until September 22nd, but we can already get pumpkin spice lattes, so I’m saying summer is over. A few more books read this month. No interviews, but I have so much excitement coming in September. Continue reading →
In the Birdverse, weaves carry magic and four are the most profound: change, wanderlust, hope, and death. Having mastered three of them, Uiziya goes on a journey with her close friend the nameless man to learn the fourth from her aunt.
What really makes this story stand out is how often we don’t see older protagonists get to go on an adventure. There is a sense of recovery and a continued exploration of identity even at older ages. The nameless man is searching for a name, and in a world where magic stems from the number of syllables in a name, this ties in the world-building to a character arc. I won’t spoil how it ends, but it left me with light in my heart.
In addition, the villain worked so well because he represents an opposite theory . There is melancholy in that to weave from death means weaving from bones, but the framing Lemberg establishes throughout infuses the book with brilliant, resistant hope (in addition to hope being one of the weaves). The novella takes its time in these explorations, especially as it relates to connections both familial and platonic.
A delightful debut about identity, art, and friendship.