I did not leave empty-handed. . . .
As I've said before, however, I still value very much the community that we've built here, and I think this platform might be better both for sharing your recommendations and for finding each other's recommendations later.
So with the aid of my little notebook, let me catch you up with my reading, and then perhaps you'll tell me about yours. (I do realize that this notebook approach means that my comments on what I've read will tend to be more fragmentary, but at least this way I might end up posting more regularly.)
Transcription: Fantasy -- post-apocalyptic/dystopian. Cohesive imaginative world. Great characters.
Actually, this is perhaps more science fiction than fantasy -- Speculative fiction?
It's frighteningly easy to imagine this as a post-apocalyptic Earth, although the orogenes and stone-eaters might be an extrapolation too far. They work so well as analogy, though, and allow so much to be explored re race and class and caste, individuals and communities, power, politics, respect for the environment, what survival means and what values survive the focus on survival. . .
Also, the layers and layers of history, the regular annotations from the books that lay down foundational stories, rules for survival etc., And then the stories (written and oral) that question or counter these . . .
Gender, sexuality, erotics -- imaginative and credible. Horrifying control of "Breeding" but/which applies to both genders.
here and here and here.
And as you'll see, above, on February 13th I admitted that I'm not going to finish the book, and below I declare that decision was made without regrets. Hmmmm.
8. Philippe Georget's Summertime: All the Cats Are Bored is the first in a French noir series I highly recommend (I'd love to be able to find at least one of the series in the original French and will keep an eye out when I'm next in France; our library doesn't have a copy, although it does keep a decent French collection).
9. Anna Burns' stunning Man-Booker-prize-winning Milkman
I recommend this highly. An amazing tour-de-force, a sort of misbildungsroman, if you will. (A country/community/culture like the one depicted in this novel -- clearly Northern Ireland during The Troubles, although identifying names or landmarks or military forces are never given except in generalities such as "the country across the water" and "the country across the border" and "the state" and "renouncers of the state" -- is not capable of "bildung" -- of "building" or "educating" its young to adulthood). The young female protagonist is the most compelling mix of perception and naïveté and humour and impetuousness and caution and mutism and resistance. . .
And the writer -- wow! -- stylistically and structurally this book invites analysis and deserves marvel. Her mastery of long divergences that prove themselves inarguably relevant, and the litanies, catalogues, pilings-on of analogies in the protagonist and her community's attempts to get closer to saying what they mean (in a culture with a disposition to use language well, to tell stories, but in a time and place where muzzling is a dominant force, gossip a terrifying and potent discursive element).
This section below, when the narrator's mother inquires if her daughter's been "fecundated" by the eponymous Milkman -- and then goes on to offer alternatives to that "singular" word. . .
10. I've just finished Terese Marie Mailhot's Heart Berries: A Memoir to the library where there were 14 people waiting for a copy (and 65 copies out being read -- and it deserves all that attention, this brilliant, lyrical, searingly honest, beautiful, painful memoir about a First Nation (Coast Salish) woman who breaks away from the poverty and family dysfunction that are a direct result of colonialism -- but, in breaking away, in making a place for herself in the academic world of creative writing, also struggles with mental illness, with motherhood, with negotiating a healthy relationship with the man she . . . nope, no spoilers here. This one you will want to read for yourselves.