A classic and a reread. This is such a great book and Ged is such a striking character—not good not bad but with the capacity for both. Nobody can build a world in so few strokes as Le Guin.
Tell Me I'm Worthless, by Alison Rumfitt
I listened to this book and it was a hard one to listen to. It would have been equally as hard to read. But. It was worthwhile as it explored privilege, queerness, nationalism, and race through the filter of fear. Trans woman Alice hasn’t been in contact with her best friend Ila, who is lesbian, since the night they visited an abandoned house with another friend and were subjected to invasive horrors. Their friend never left. Haunted by what they experienced at the truly malevolent house, they connect again to face what happened. This is a truly harrowing story. It also gave me a lot of food for thought. I recommend it with major caveats about sexual assault and abuse.
Starling House, by Alix E. Harrow
I read this one for the inaugural meeting of my new book club! I liked this book a lot. Opal lives in a dying backwater town in Kentucky. Being the soul caretaker of her teenage brother since their mom died, she is willing to do just about anything to help her brilliant brother escape town. Even taking on a cleaning gig at the sagging mansion whose owner is never seen. This is Southern Gothic at its best. Perfect if you like magical realism, portals to other worlds, and rich people comeuppance.
The Dark Lord's Daughter, Patricia C. Wrede
This middle grade novel was a blast. I loved the author’s Dealing With Dragons and another book she coauthored. This one was different than both and delightful. Adopted Kayla, along with her brother and mother, are somewhat kidnapped to another world where Kayla is the missing child of a fearsome (and dead) dark lord. As she discovers more about her crazy inheritance and powerful magic, she starts making her own reputation as a much nicer dark lord.
You Sexy Thing, by Cat Rambo
Another space opera about retired soldiers and their space exploits. This one was fun, not groundbreaking—definitely influenced by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There was a lot of action, not a lot of plot.
The Clackity, by Lora Senf
Kids horror. The Clackity is such a great name for a creepy creature that haunts the shadows of an abandoned abattoir, and who kidnaps a woman and forces her niece to face seven trials in a dark mirror world to get her back. Has lots of uncanny situations that remind me a bit of Atreyu’s journey in The Neverending Story. It’s a good story overall, but not my favorite. It’s the first in a series and I don’t know that I want to continue on.
Removal Acts, by Erin Marie Lynch
A book of poetry that was nominated for the Golden Poppies awards. Themes of understanding family history, disordered eating, and loneliness. The thread that runs through the book is the unmaking of her grandfather’s ties to his indigenous history and how that affected her, contrasted with the story of her white grandmother’s perfectly preserved Native American costume passed down through the generations. A lot of the experimental forms used felt academic and turns out Lynch is. There were some interesting elements, but overall not that moving.
Murder By Degrees, by Ritu Mukerji
Lydia is a doctor in 1875 Philadelphia. When one of her patients goes missing and a body matching her description is found, Lydia feels compelled to find out what happened to the girl. Decent mystery overall, but the writing wasn’t all that great.