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Books read October - Luke McGuff

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November 2nd, 2014


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09:13 am - Books read October
Sacred Games
Vikram Chandra
A large, sprawling, multi-faceted/multi-threaded/multi-lingual novel about Mumbai as much as any of the characters. Frequently crude, occasionally horrific, often deep and moving. The threads warp and weave and appear to digress like a Bollywood movie, but it all comes together ... and continues.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Roz Chast
Glad I haven't had to go through this; hope I don't put anybody through this.

The Girl in the Road
Monica Byrne
Took me a while to get into it, after being so impressed with Sacred Games. Felt too much like it was an upper-middle-class white woman writing. I didn't think the cultures she was writing about were misrepresented (as far as I could tell) as much as unrepresented.

The Gift of Fire/On the Head of a Pin (novellas)
Walter Mosley
I must admit I bounced off of this one. I liked Mosley's Easy Rawlins novels, and his Socrates Fortlow novels, but I've found his SF to be very heavy-handed and bleak. I gave up on "The Gift of Fire" while it was still in the heavy-handed part and before it got too bleak. I looked at a couple of reviews but nothing indicated I should have felt differently.

My Life and Hard Times
James Thurber
My Life and Hard Times was a book we read camping one year when I was a child. I remembered parts of it, even though I don't think I've read it since then. Most of it is still pretty funny, but how he writes about the family's black maids is pretty dated.

Ancillary Sword
Ann Leckie
Even better than Ancillary Justice.

Family Life
Akhil Sharma
A very intense novel about a family tragedy, and its repercussions for decades. Beautifully written; if this had been a movie, I'd have found several scenes painfully uncomfortable to watch. But they felt inevitable in the writing, and were so sympathetically portrayed I felt a deep connection to the characters.

Little Humans
Brandon Stanton
"Little Humans" is portraits of children taken for "Humans of New York." Each picture is more of a page, with a line of large print underneath. I wish he'd had left the text that accompanied the original publication intact somewhere, and perhaps had more pictures. But the pictures were good.

Up Against It
M. J. Locke (Laura Mixon)
This took me a long time to get into. I kept thinking there were gaps in the extrapolation, missed bets. I especially thought the first major catastrophe was completely illogical. I finally had to shut off that part of my mind and just read the book. Even to the end, though, I kept having nagging thoughts about what might have been done better. The plotting and action as very good, though, and it kept me wrapped up. Nice happy ending.

Statistics!
Nine books listed above, three nonfiction, six fiction. Five were by men, four by women; three were by people of color. Two nationalities, Indian and USian.

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