What I'm Reading: April 2019

I started these posts thanks to one comment on Twitter from someone saying they'd like to know what books I recommend. The idea of tracking my reading has now taken on a life of its own. Over the course of each month as I finish a book I drop a note here. I knew I read fast, but some months I surprise myself with just how many books I squeeze into a very full life. Other months, not so much.

And now for the April list, with thanks to these fine authors for their talents--
  • Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, by Caroline Criado Perez (@CCriadoPerez). As soon as I started reading this I started looking at everything differently. By everything I mean, pretty much, everything. Not sure you're interested? Read her Guardian piece on some of the findings from the book. If you're on Twitter just search on #InvisibleWomen and become part of a big virtual book club. While you're at it thank her for the research; she's being attacked on social media by men who don't want to acknowledge the bias built into the world. I'm talking about this book everywhere I go; just wait until you're in line with me in the women's restroom at a conference.
  • A Blade So Black, L.L. McKinney (@BladeSoBlack): Described as Alice in Wonderland meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is a great description that doesn't tell you half of what it is. I like this Alice soooo much better than the spoiled tantrum-throwing Lewis Carroll creation. The book has been optioned for a TV series and I've preordered the sequel.  
  • Shifter's Destiny, Anna Leonard: At first I couldn't remember how this ended up on my Kindle, then realized it was by a favorite author, Laura Ann Gilman (@LAGilman), writing under a different name. Shapeshifter love stories are a little like candy -- too many of them and you'll make your teeth hurt -- but this made a fun change of pace. And since as a girl I had a horse and read every horse book I could find at the Lewiston Library, a were-unicorn shapeshifter was more interesting than a scowling werewolf.
  • Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik (@NaomiNovik): So rich and real. For some reason this is billed as a YA novel but don't let that stop you if you technically fall into the adult age range. Grounded in threads from fairy tales that will feel familiar and yet so much richer and deeper -- how Jews were treated in medieval times, the taken-for-granted labor of women and their treatment as pawns in politics via strategic marital alliances, the bravery of women who can't get by on their good looks, the creation of a family through hardship and circumstance, not just biology -- there is so much here. Read it. And if you haven't already read it, get her previous fairy tale Uprooted. I also loved her Temeraire series (alternate British history -- naval and aerial battles with dragons).
  • Myths and Mortals, by Charlie N. Holmberg (@CNHolmberg): Sequel to Smoke and Summons, which I read last month. Magic involves being tattooed in ink and gold and being possessed by a demon, although it's technically illegal. The dominant religion took over rom a previous civilization and who knows what those "demons" really are?
  • Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear (@matociquala): Set in a steampunk Seattle-ish city in the Gold Rush days (here called Rapid City) with Karen Memery (yes, with an E), "seamstress", as narrator. Those of you who have taken the Seattle Underground Tour will understand just what kind of stitching she does. The world of those soiled doves, with racism and danger making their lives even harder, is narrated through the voice of someone who's not word-perfect in her story but it doesn't matter -- it feels real and the way she says "would of" instead of "would have," for example, feels so true to the character.
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, by Julie C. Dao (@jules_writes): How to describe this?? Beautiful, for starters. You can detect a strand of a certain European tale but I'm not going to give it away -- better to let the realization creep up on you. You will long for Xifeng to make good decisions. This is a massive book and I didn't finish it in April, but before I was finished I got the sequel Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix and preordered the third, Song of the Crimson Flower.
This month's additions to TBR, with notes on how I found the book. This list just keeps getting longer and longer.... Sometimes I want to stay in a particular theme, at other times I want to shift gears.
For a list of what's already waiting patiently on my Kindle, check out What I'm Reading Eventually, which was as of the end of February, and each month's post with what I added that month. I'll post another "eventually" list in a while to keep track as I read and add new books.

The importance of online reviews for the author: The numbers matter as much as the content of your review so don't stress out over your writing ability -- just praise what you like about theirs.

A note on local economies and these links: You should shop at a local, independently owned bookstore. Or check these out through your local library -- did you know they can do that with e-books too, if that's how you read? Links on this page are Amazon Affiliate links. I've never made a penny from Amazon but these links give you access to more information and reader reviews. If I ever do make anything I'll donate it to a local nonprofit that helps people who need it most.

Writers on Twitter: I have a Writers list on Twitter. It isn't everyone I read/enjoy but it's a good starting place if you find your tastes and mine overlap. I so appreciate the chances I get to interact with people directly to tell them I enjoy their work.

Related Reading on Reading