Reading Books in 2021

will be interested when you finish it, a few chapters really didn’t work for me on their own merits most of the ones about younger people, but they still fit pretty well into the overarching story

Borne and Southern Reach were great. I’ve just finished Dead Astronauts which is set in the same world as Borne - I think Vandermeer was trying to fully embrace his surreal side with it and I found myself struggling to pull together threads at the end (although I liked it)

Would be curious to get your thoughts if you’ve read it?

I struggled with Girl, Woman, Other. I liked bits of it, and I think it ended quite well. But I read a review from someone on Goodreads about it which I agreed with, which compared it to lots of Guardian articles giving some kind of biography for each character. I kind of got a bit fed up starting a new chapter and then having a new back history to read through, so I didn’t get the big love for it that other people do.

Because it was massively overshadowed, I guess. To Kill a Mockingbird was absolutely huge in American culture, not just in literature but in film as well.

Unfortunately McCullers has always been on the wrong side of recognition.

planning on reading this, for some reason i find the idea of reading a novel by someone i’ve followed on twitter for ages strange though. not even friends with her or anything, dunno what’s wrong with me

There’s an obvious joke to be made here and I’m doing it. Sorry.

Not got round to it yet, but it is on the list so hopefully get to it in the next month or so and post back. I see he’s got a new one out as well Hummingbird Salamander that will have to pick up at some point.

I reread Borne and read The Strange Bird and Dead Astronauts last month. I just absolutely adore the Borne world perhaps even more than the Southern Reach. Hope he returns to it one day. Dead Astronauts was a tough read, abstraction upon abstraction, but I definitely got a fair bit out of it. Have already picked up Hummingbird Salamander too which I’m excited for.

Yep, I read Long Petal of the Sea and The House of the Spirits. I enjoyed both, they’re proper page turners, but I felt with both that there was something lacking. I feel like she’s not very good at endings.

Ha, I’ve felt the same in this regard… bought it as soon as it came out but haven’t felt compelled to read it yet.

Her essays that she’s posted on Twitter previously have been so brilliant though. Just really perfect articulations of things I feel but don’t have the words to put together. Sounds from @DumboOctopus it would be exactly that!

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I skipped The Strange Bird and wondered whether it was crucial to understanding Dead Astronauts maybe? Glad it’s not just me that found it tough, I agree though that it’s an absolutely amazingly realised world!

I almost bought Hummingbird Salamander last weekend, it sounds excellent. I’ve held off though as I bought the Ambergris trilogy a few months back and need to read that first!

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Strange Bird mostly relates back to the Borne plot, but there’s a little bit about Charlie X in it. Won’t make any difference to understanding Dead Astronauts at all though tbh. It’s just a nice little addendum and is a bit more poetic than Borne.

Read a few, remember The Infinite Plan being very good (but it was literally decades ago I read it), and The House Of The Spirits, obv

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I’ve just bought this, feminist space opera it’s been called, very keen to read it.

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I have to say I really didn’t get on with ‘Goldilocks’… Might just be me of course: wanted to like it but found it all a bit… meh.

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So many good things these days that tick both boxes! Have you read Becky Chambers?

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Oh boy you are in for a treat

The ‘Wayfarers’ series (starting with ‘A Closed and Common Orbit’) is the best thing to happen to sci-fi in the past few years I reckon. Warm-hearted and generous in every detail, brilliant characters, smashingly inclusive. Cannot recommend enough (unless you only like reading misanthropic stuff in which case you’ll find it unbearable).

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i really liked how relatively organic this felt. At the start I was a little wary (very very in favour of the message, but felt it was a bit on the nose or heavy handed) but that disappeared very quickly. And just the design of the characters/species made those inclusivity aspects make total sense in-world, which is all you can really ask for from fiction

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The first one is The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet! Hopefully this means you’ve still got one you haven’t read…

I second the recommendation. It’s an unfairly maligned word when it comes to fiction, but they’re just nice, with loads of humanity, empathy and compassion on display.

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Oh yeah, of course it is! The only bad thing about the series is the titles are cumbersome and bear little relation to the actual plot of the book so you can make daft errors like that…