Monday, June 3, 2019

Summer Reading List 2019: Joe

There are many things in this life which I really, really like. Two of them are reading books and making lists. A third would be making lists about reading books. Strangely, I'm not sure if I want to read a book about making lists, so we'll just move right on from there, shall we?

It is something of a tradition here at Nerds of a Feather to post one's Summer Reading List. Now, since I've been adulting for quite a number of years, the concept of "summer" doesn't have quite the same cache for me as it might have two decades ago. I have to go to work in July much the same as I do in February. And while the summer does mean more trips up to the family cabin, now that I have a child, some of that time spent reading on a swing overlooking a lake with a beer in my hand is going to be spent playing with my children. This is not a bad thing.

With all of that said, I do rather enjoy making lists about books. Nerds of a Feather is a genre blog, so while I plan to continue to read more non fiction each year and I've been reading an increasing amount of non SFF fiction, I do still get through more than one hundred books each year, so what I'm going to highlight is some of the science fiction and fantasy I plan / hope to read this summer.

For those keeping score at home, I have only read three of the six books I listed last year, so I hope to show some improvement with this year's list.

1. The Black Raven, by Katharine Kerr

Most years I can't be trusted to read more than two books by a single author in the same year and because of that, I've been working on my Reading Deverry series for four years now and I have only written two of the four planned essays. The Black Raven is one of two Deverry novels I need to read this year if there is any hope of not continuing my two and a half year gap between essays. The farther we get from Rhodry and Jill, the more this is beginning to feel like a different series - but it is one I'm still invested in.

2. Grass, by Sheri S. Tepper

I had long meant for Grass to be the first Sheri Tepper novel I read, but then Feminist Futures happened and I turned to The Gate to Women's Country (my review) for that project.  I'm not sure if Grass is truly Tepper's most iconic work, but it is the one novel of hers that has been on my radar for more years than I can count, and a copy of Grass has been on my bookshelf for almost as many years as that, which means that it is well past time that I finally read it.

3. The Flowers of Vashnoi, by Lois McMaster Bujold

I didn't write a proper essay on my reading resolutions for 2019, but I do have a list of a number of books I want to read this year in seven different categories. One resolution was to fully catch up on Bujold's Vorkosigan novels. At the time, I had eight left to read. Today I have one, the most recently published novella, Flowers of Vashnoi. I'm not ready to say goodbye to the series, but it is time.

4. The Shore of Women, by Pamela Sargent

Sargent is most well known as a novelist, but I discovered her work as an anthologist during my reading for the Feminist Futures project as she edited the Women of Wonder anthologies. Pamela Sargent is the author of 21 novels. The Shore of Women is one of her more notable standalone works and even though we are not pushing Feminist Futures as an active an ongoing project as it was last year, it has indelibly shaped my reading.

5. Semiosis, by Sue Burke

I've had a copy of Semiosis since before the novel was published, have heard nothing but praise and acclaim for the novel, but for no particular reason I just haven't read it. Semiosis is a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and perhaps that is the final push I need to pick up the book and dive in.

6. The Secret Feminist Cabal, by Helen Merrick

When I began work on our Feminist Future project last year there was one essay I wanted to write and wasn't sure if I would be able to, either because of time, research, or ability: a short history of feminist fanzines. Research became an issue as I struggled to find the level of detail I was looking for, but there was one work could help pull it all together - that being Helen Merrick's The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms. It's time.

Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 3x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan.