Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Reading List 2017: Charles

Ah, summer. I feel like there’s something extremely nostalgic about the idea of summer reading. I can remember being younger and setting up a little station with books, lemonade, and a shady spot in the yard. Ray Bradbury and that feeling of summer and childhood and hope and magic. Things are...a bit different now. Time seems always short, and there’s always a pressure to be doing something, earning money, scrambling to get by. Summer means yard work and midyear bills and trying to squeeze in some time actually outside and active. Of course, in Wisconsin where I live, that also means dodging snakes and ticks and mosquitoes. So my summer reading station is typically wherever I can steal sometime, prefer ably with a cold drink.

I’m also playing catch-up with my reads this year. I am Very Behind when it comes to reading and have been since November (for some reason, idk), but am trying to push toward catching up. Of course, I’m slipping in a few new acquisitions in as well, including an upcoming release that I’m super excited about. Anyway, enough rambling. The books!

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

I absolutely loved the Tor tie-in story to this book, “Extracurricular Activities,” so much so that while down at WisCon I dropped some heavy hints to my partner that this would be an amazing birthday present for me. Well lo and behold! I’m very much for fast and fun science fiction, and that’s exactly what I would call the short story I read. Of course, I’m expecting even more depth and complication in the novel (because it’s a novel and all), but that will hopefully just mean more of a good thing. Given how much I’ve appreciated all of the author’s short fiction, though, I’m sure that whatever this novel provides, I will love it!

Asian Monsters, ed. Margrét Helgadóttir

Okay yes I am way behind on reading this collection, the third in the Monsters anthologies from Fox Spirit Books. I was a huge fan of the first two anthologies and this third one promises to be another stellar installment. I’m a sucker for monster stories, after all, and these books have always had a nice mix of outright horror, more emotionally wrenching pieces, and more fun action/adventure. It’s always a treat to find what local horrors lurk out there, and this series is a great way to explore the world and its myriad monsters without ever leaving home.

Nasty: Fetish Fights Back, eds. Anna Yeatts & Chris Phillips

This is slightly a cheat because, full disclosure, I have a story in this anthology. That said, it looks to be an amazing collection of subversive stories that center on fetish, resistance, and affirmation. Many promise to be solidly SFF as well as scorchingly sexy, which is something that I am All About. It’s a book that pushes the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in SFF and I very much believe that’s something that needs doing.

The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar

I rather loved A Stranger in Olondria and so this one seems like a no-brainer. I’m trying to read as widely as I can this summer, which means this book is solidly my second world fantasy pick. From my experience with the first book, I’m expecting a slower, denser experience than many of the others on the list, but that’s part of why I’m excited for it. Sometimes I want a popcorn read, and sometimes I want something to really sink my teeth into.

Null States by Malka Older

Continuing the theme from the last pick, this one is another sequel to a book that I very much enjoyed, and one that’s come more and more into focus for me as the country has slid in the direction it has. Infomocracy was all about elections and the power of information (and Information) in an age where political, corporate, and personal power are all intersecting. The first book connected on an idea level and a character level, and I’m excited to see where that might go. I’ve also gotten a taste for it with the recent “Narrative Disorder” story released at Fireside Fiction, which delves a bit more into a fascinating part of the first book and hopefully sets the stage for what comes next.

The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine

Okay, so remember when I started out saying summer reading feels nostalgic? Well, I'm just going to embrace it for this one, because I'm continuing my reread of the Goosebumps series. It's cathartic, and sometimes that's just. fine. okay? I've actually been very much enjoying going through the old stories and seeing how well they've aged (spoiler alert: mostly not well). It's very fun, though (especially with alcohol involved) and I don't care what anyone says, it's my summer reading list and I'll include what I want!


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