Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Reading List: Charles

I will admit that my To Be Read queue at the moment is incredibly long. I tend to buy books about a year in advance of when I'll be able to read them, and this year I've definitely fallen behind. There's just so much to read! Anyway, that's why none of my picks for my Summer Reading List are new books. Not all of them are that old, but it's definitely a mix of newer and older things. First and foremost is catching up on some short fiction anthologies that I picked up at WisCon 38 (so they've been languishing for over a year now). But I am very excited about getting to these, as they are all sure to be better than the last book I finished, Circumpolar!**

Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History eds. Rose Fox and Daniel José Older

I really need to read this collection. The talent involved is truly impressive and I am a sucker for historical fantasy. Really, I should have read this already (I feel like given the amount of short fiction I read admitting that I haven't read this yet is a mark against me). But time and circumstance have conspired to keep me from it. No longer! This is at the top of my list of books to read next and I'm doing it!

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Given Seanan McGuire's output where novels are concerned, it's nearly criminal that this will be the first novel of hers that I will read. Really, I've meant to seek out her work ahead of this but whenever I went to the bookstore I either couldn't figure out where her work was shelved or they didn't have the first book in any of the series. This only further cements my opinion that genre distinctions (especially when it comes to how things are shelved) are not exactly doing anyone any favors. But that's a dead horse for another day. Anyway, I've been reading more urban fantasy and wanted to check out this series, which sounds like it's right up my alley. Mystery and magic and San Francisco!

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

This really is turning into a list of authors that I should have already read but haven't gotten around to. Miéville is an author who I've heard so many good things about. I really really want to read Embassytown, but this book made it into my greedy little paws first and so it looks like it will be my first introduction to the author. It's apparently for younger readers but that's never stopped me before and sometimes I think it's a testament to a writer's skill how they choose to write to a young audience. In any event, the description evokes both Alice in Wonderland and the Island of Misfit Toys and seems like it will be a fun and rather creepy read.

Line and Orbit by Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem

I will admit that, despite the other titles on this list, this is the one that I'm most excited about. Sunny Moraine has been one of my favorite writers of short fiction since I stumbled across their work and here is a novel for me to read by them. A novel with a science fiction romance between two men. And I am nearly certain, given what I know of the author's writing, that it will make me cry at least twice. Which might seem like a weird thing to look forward to, but emotional connection is something I look for and it is a huge reason that I really, really want to read this book!

Beyond Binary ed. Brit Mandelo

Here is the second fiction anthology that I need, that I need to read soon. It seems like such a great theme for a collection, examining gender and sexuality in way that needs to be examined. Not that stories like this never show up in publication, but to see an entire collection of them is important. Plus the talent involved is again amazing, including Nalo Hopkinson, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Catherynne M. Valente. Just wow. So yes, very much needing to read this collection.

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

And lastly, a book that I've been meaning to get to for quite a while. I never really knew that Left Hand of Darkness was part of a series, and from the description it's not exactly the most narratively link series of novels, but this one is technically part of the same cycle. Do people write cycles any longer? Hmm... But this looks like an interesting story that examines the line between utopia and dystopia and seems like a fascinating read.

**I cannot take complete blame for choosing this book. It has become a tradition that each WisCon partner and I scour the bargain-priced books of A Room of One's Own bookstore in Madison, WI, and select for the other person the most ridiculous-looking book we can find. This one features the Red Baron riding a mechanical Pegasus and waiving a gun. It's...well, it was certainly an experience.

POSTED BY: Charlesavid reader, reviewer, and sometimes writer of speculative fiction. Contributor to Nerds of a Feather since 2014.