Magic for Liars has a very cool cover, but I think it led me astray. I was expecting something a bit more dynamic based on that design and the book’s excellent title, but the resulting story was only competent and a bit unexciting. I did like the book well enough, and would definitely be game for reading work by Sarah Gailey – I’ve seen raves for just about everything they’ve ever written – but maybe I’d prefer the ones about carnivorous hippos?
Mawrth Valliis by EPHK has a gimmick: all of the dialog is in the “original Martian”, so you have to infer the story from the illustrations. However, nothing in the book itself actually explains the conceit; instead, all context is left to whatever marketing materials you’ve read before cracking the cover.
Sticking with a recent theme, Black Star is minimalist sci-fi, focusing on characters caught in a deadly conflict. In this case, my favorite part of the book was the art. The story was straightforward enough, but the main character spends all her time doing terrible things for the sake of no one but herself.
I think I experienced a bit of synesthesia while reading In by Will McPhail.
The book is largely done in sketch-like black and white, the characters little more than outlines on a white background, except for moments when Nick, the main character, experiences real human connection. As soon as he makes that connection, the pages burst into fully painted, dynamic scenes, and I oftentimes felt like I could hear the sounds of crashing waves or the swell of some imaginary film score in my head. It made the whole thing quite extraordinary.
Sarah Anderson is best known for her Sarah’s Scribbles web comics, where a big-eyed, spiky-haired version of herself deals with introversion, anxiety, and the vagaries of modern life in a humorous, relatable way. Those strips are the exact sort of thing that people love to share on social media.
When I heard about her new book, Fangs, I was intrigued because it sounded so different from her oftentimes silly work in Sarah’s Scribbles.
I did most of my reading via audiobooks in June, but I did also finish a recent hardcover book, so I still felt like I was starting to get back into the swing of things. The number of books I finished this month was comparatively low, and two of them were short stories in audio form, but Shorefall was a bit of an epic listen, so that balances things out.
When I read about Delas Heras’ debut, The Intergalactic Interloper, it sounded like a perfect change of pace from the world outside.
It’s a short book, humorous if not laugh-out-loud funny, and charming in a gentle, nostalgic way.
The action begins in the distant past of New York City 1995, a place and time that feels comforting purely because it is a quarter of a century and thousands of miles away from where I am right now.
April was another very slow month for reading. I spent way too much time doom-scrolling and feeling horrible about the state of the world. The best decision I made all month was re-reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That book is a classic, and was exactly what I needed to improve my mood.
In February, I listened to two audiobooks that ended up being very timely and appropriate: Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, which is a sprawling epic about a pandemic, and The Shining by Stephen King, which is about going crazy while locked inside for months. I loved them both, even if I was oftentimes unsettled by the news out of China while I listened to Wanderers…
I’ve had a version of this post sitting in my drafts for months as I write this intro in August. Originally I was just being lazy, but come March, we all know what happened. After the LA stay-at-home order on March 13th, my reading slowed to a crawl for a number of reasons. I couldn’t focus on books, I wasn’t listening to audiobooks during my commute, and I was spending way too much time doom-scrolling on Twitter.