Monday, August 31, 2020

Summer Is E-Going Out

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Some coolth descended upon as as summer is winding up. The boys are back at college. Local schools here are planning to start up (remotely). The library summer reading programs are wrapping up -- WAIT. I'm not done yet! I'm mean, obviously I clocked a few thousand minutes in my county library program, but I only have a BINGO or two on the city SPL Summer Book Bingo. I'd better get cracking if I want a blackout!

I'm still working on running, although my intervals have moved out to three days between runs. I'm old! I need a lot of recovery time. Also, it's lonely on my own. 

And I have to get back in the kitchen since my live-in personal chef has moved out to be next to his virtual college. I skipped my first turn by taking us out to our favorite local restaurant and its lovely outdoor dining to celebrate Empty Nesting, but on Friday I ponied up and made a Mexican lasagna with fresh bread (yes I made that too) to accompany my Greek salad made from mostly farmer's market ingredients. We all agreed that my salads are not nearly as flavorful as Paulos's. He has a more profound understanding of oil and vinegar. 

I met up with my friend for a walk in the park, and then saw many of my family (including my son!) on the weekly ZOOM call, so that was pleasant. We also had a meeting for the FOOLSCAP convention concom to address how we'll handle the whole virtual world that conventions have to face. We thought we were safe since we were among the last pre-pandemic cons last February, but next February is not looking as safe as we initially hoped it would be. We've got some good ideas for things we can do though.

My currently reading has lurched back up to 21 including the three I'm just pretending to read, but also including things like serials that I subscribe to and my Greek picture book which I aim to read 2 pages a day in. Because I don't actually speak Greek despite what Duolingo thinks. 

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called "It's Monday! What Are You Reading" so I'll sign up there. Ditto for the children's lit version at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers. The Cybils poetry run makes me eligible.


The Miscalculations of Lightning GirlSlippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures #1)Judgment in Death (In Death, #11)
The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination (A Poetry Speaks Experience)The Bill Martin Jr Big Book of PoetryCities in LayersThe Deal of a Lifetime

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, Stacy McAnulty. Cybils finalist.

Slippery Creatures, KJ Charles. I bought it because I want to read it!

Judgment in Death, JD Robb. A reread because these are great.

The Tree that Time Built, ed. Mary Ann Hoberman & Linda Winston. Cybils finalist.

The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry, ed. Bill Martin Jr. Cybils finalist.

Cities in Layers, Philip Steele. Book to review.

Deal of a Lifetime, Fredrik Backman. I need to finish my SPL Summer bingo! This is a translated work.


Minor MageMe and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination (A Poetry Speaks Experience)Judgment in Death (In Death, #11)The Deal of a Lifetime

Minor Mage, T. Kingfisher.  I liked this kid and his armadillo. They did a good job working together, evading ghouls and bandits, and navigating complex emotional territory such as having compassion for while still resenting the way the neighbors betrayed him, and how to feel if a bad guy dies because you dodged his murder attempt. I would have delighted in this book as a kid.

Me and White Supremacy, Layla Saad. I kinda cheated because I'm only half-way through the journaling, but I wanted to get an overview of how it worked and also to be able to participate in the book club. I think it's a very worthwhile plan to examine how racism has shaped thinking patterns in ways I wasn't conscious of, but the writing itself isn't as impressive as Stamped From the Beginning. That is probably an unfair comparison, but this poor book came in right behind that one! 

The Tree that Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science and the Imagination, ed. Mary Ann Hoberman & Linda Winston. 2009 Cybils poetry finalist. This was a great concept for anthology, and I read it at the perfect time. Last week I finished Braiding Sweetgrass, another peon for the merging of science and literature, so I was very open to listening to how poets interpret the world around them and how science learns from and teaches these efforts. I enjoyed the notes at the bottom which were equally likely to discuss scientific progress as the poetic techniques used. A real delight. 

Judgment in Death, JD Robb. A reread. The series is on #50 or so and this is (I think) #11 and written 20 years ago, so it was a big jump back and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to see the early days of Eve and Roarke's marriage as they fight and then figure out how to meet each other in an acceptable middle ground, both of them proud and confident and determined to protect the other (which infuriates them both). I also loved seeing young Peabody and realizing how far she's advanced in her career and there were touches at Charles, Mavis, etc. One bit that didn't work as well was the plot about the bad cops and the bad IAD that investigated them; these days it's harder to laugh at a police officer who is accepted because he wears the uniform and everyone just shrugs about his bad attitudes towards women, minorities, or anyone different from him. But if he starts working with a rich guy (instead of just assaulting poor people) then he crosses a line! Nowadays I suspect Eve would draw the line a little differently. 

Deal of a Lifetime, Fredrik Backman. Quick story (is it really a novela?) about a guy realizing he made have made some poor choices. 

Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:

Tender MorselsUncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington, #14)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Black Leopard, Red Wolf
A Long Time Until NowPolaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion, #1)The Illustrated A Brief History of TimeChildren of Time (Children of Time #1)

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 9/10 discs. People are awful. I'm on Bransa's side here.

Uncompromising Honor 27-28/??, David Weber. Baen Free Radio Hour's serial. Still stuck in a battle.

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling. I'm listening to celebrities read this to me

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James. Sword and Laser pick. I need to get back to this, but I want to spend time with it. It's not a book for reading in five minute spurts.

A Long Time Until Now, Michael Z Williamson. I'm not used to Williamson protagonists being goofballs with flashes of competence; they are usually competent with flashes of goofiness. Does he not like the modern military?

Polaris Rising, Jessie Mihalik. For my Cloudy book club. For some reason I thought this was going to be fraught and angsty, and instead it's a lighthearted space opera. Yay!

The Illustrated Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking. For my Tuesday book club. I did not finish this on time, but I think I've already read the next book so I can take my time with this one.

Children of Time, Adrian Tchaikovsky. I jumped to another book with a book teammate picked the same category. I should have doubled up -- this would have been a huge point earner!

Picture Books / Short Stories:
Αλφαβητάρι με γλωσσοδέτεςFrankenstein Makes a SandwichRed Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
HandspringsTour America: A Journey Through Poems and ArtAfrican Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways

Αλφαβητάρι με γλωσσοδέτες, Eugene Trivizas. Continuing through the Greek alphabet.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, Adam Rex. 2006 Cybils Poetry finalist. Fun collection of poems featuring famous monsters in strangely domestic places. My kids would have enjoyed this until they realized it was full of POETRY.

Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors, Joyce Sidman. 2009 Cybils Poetry finalist. At first I found the triangular character who tiptoes through the illustrations a bit repellent, but by the end of the book I was won over. But although I enjoyed the verbal play and sharp sense of each moment, I don't know whom I could share this with. It was hard living with a family of poetry-averse barbarians.

Handsprings, Douglas Florian. 2006 Cybils Poetry finalist. Again, I enjoyed this but I don't know which kids I could share it with. I did get an addition to my poetry notebook out of it though.

Tour America, Diane Siebert. 2006 Cybils Poetry finalist. I adore the concept but it would've been hard to sustain my kids in this given their aversion to poetry. I liked the combination of poems and art and imagining her travels from small town to small town. 

African Acrostics, Aven Harley. 2009 Cybils Poetry finalist. I'm not a huge acrostic fan so I didn't fall in love with any of the poems, but the photographs were exquisite. I can definitely see a teacher reading this out loud to a class and then the kids making their own acrostics.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeGive All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Wool (Wool, #1)
The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao: The Hawaiian Story of Pāka'a and Kũapāka'a: Personal Attendants of Keawenuia'umi, Ruling Chief of Hawaii and Descendants of La'amaomaoSorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

The Educated Child, William Bennett. 

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. 

Wool, Hugh Howey. 

The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao, Moses Nakuima.  The trickster child works with his dad to defeat their enemies, help their lord, and regain their status. 

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho. Our hero battles with the bureaucracy, and is forced to lecture to a girl's school. I think this has brought us another major character.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. How to teach kids to leverage information out of nonfiction books.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017. None. I just need 3 YA books to be done.
  2. Cybils 2018. Started Lightning Girl. 
  3. Cybils 2019. Only one picture book left -- the library seems to have gotten it lost in transit. Then all the fiction novels.
  4. Early Cybils: Read a bunch of poetry.
  5. Reading My Library. Haven't started the next one yet.
  6. Ten to Try. At 9/10. Haven't read it yet, but I've got #10 on my tablet. It's also here in paper. 
  7. Where Am I Reading: 16/51 states. 22 Countries. 
  8. Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. Got Indigenous author! I'm technically done, although a few of my entries are pretty feeble.

Anti-Racism Challenge

  1. Watch 13th (started, watched) 
  2. Read Blog Post "Dear White People" (read)
  3. Read Fences. (requested, got, started, read)
  4. Book Launch event for Anti-Racist Baby (found one, started, watched)
  5. Read article "So You Want to Know About Juneteenth" (reread)
  6. Podcast "Case for Defunding the Police" (downloaded/listened)
  7. Blog "Reflections From a Token Black Friend" (read)
  8. Listen to Dirty Computer (found on spotify, started, completed)
  9. Read "Performative Allyship is Deadly" (read)
  10. Watch "The House I Live In" (looking)
  11. Listen to "When Colored Girls Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enough (read it)
  12. Read/Watch Just Mercy. (read. Read the YA adaptation. Watched the movie.)
  13. Listen to an episode of Pod Save the People (downloaded one, listened)
  14. Read "We Protest Police in the Streets But Why Do We Let Police In Our Schools" (found, read)
  15. Watch Episode 1 of "Dear White People (found, started, done)
  16. Listen to Code Switch "A Decade of Watching Black People Die" (completed)
  17. Watch American Son (Netflix) (started)(Interrupted for BookMarks)(Interrupted for Social Media docu)
  18. Read "More States Are Trying to Protect Black Employees Who Want to Wear Natural Hairstyles At Work" (found, read)
  19. Listen to an episode from podcast 1619 (found, downloaded, heard.)
  20. Read "The Case For Reparations"(started, completed)
  21. Listen to "To Pimp a Butterfly"(found on Spotify, finished. Um. More explicit that I'm used to)
Hey, there's another Challenge at the 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge, and this one comes with a chart I can maintain.

These are the tasks. You pick your own order. For these, I'll strikethrough the ones I've done so I don't mess up the formatting.

The Challenge

Pick one of the resources listed every day for 21 days.

Diversify your understanding by doing some of each.

Track and reflect by using the planning tool below.

Share your reflections at the end of the challenge.

Pray for the places you are challenged and for those you are learning about whose lives may be different than yours.

Join us for conversation on June 7th and 21st at 4:00 pm via Zoom.

Planning Tool


Racism is Real, A split-screen video depicting the differential in the white and black lived experience. (3 minutes)

Confronting ‘intergroup anxiety’: Can you try too hard to be fair? Explores why we may get tongue tied and blunder when we encounter people from groups unfamiliar to us. (5 minutes)

CBS News Analysis: 50 states, 50 different ways of teaching America’s past, Ibram X. Kendi reviews current history curriculum production and use across the U.S. (5 minutes)

The Disturbing History of the Suburbs, An “Adam Ruins Everything” episode that quickly and humorously educates how redlining came to be. (6 minutes)

What Kind of Asian Are You? Humorous two minute YouTube video that illustrates the utter silliness of the way many white Americans interact with Asian Americans. (2 minutes)

Birth of a White Nation, Keynote speech by legal scholar Jacqueline Battalora, offers a blow-by-blow description of the moment the idea of, and word for, “white” people entered U.S. legal code. (36 minutes)(working on it)

13th, Netflix documentary by Ava DuVernay about the connection between US Slavery and the present day mass incarceration system. (1 hour, 40 minutes)

This is Us, Dr. Eddie Glaude explains why blaming current racial tensions on Donald Trump misses the point. (3 minutes)

How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward themTED Talk by Vernā Myers, encourages work vigorously to counter balance bias by connecting with and learning about and from the groups we fear. (19 minutes)

The danger of a single story, TED Talk by Chimamanda Adiche, offers insight to the phenomenon of using small bits of information to imagine who a person is. (18 minutes)

How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time, TED Talk by Baratunde Thurston that explores patterns revealing our racist framing, language, and behaviors. (10 minutes) 

Indigenous People React to Indigenous Representation in Film And TV, Conversation with a diverse range of Indigenous people by FBE about  media depictions of Indigenous people, Columbus day, and Indigenous identity. (15 minutes)  

What Being Hispanic and Latinx Means in the United States, Fernanda Ponce shares what she’s learning about the misunderstanding and related mistreatment of the incredibly diverse ethnic category people in U.S. call Hispanic. (12 minutes

Tyler Merrit Project: Before You Call (3 minutes)


Code Switch, hosted by journalists Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji (downloaded)

Black Like Me, host Dr. Alex Gee 

Scene on Radio – Seeing White Series, host John Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika 

TED Radio Hour – Mary Bassett: How Does Racism Affect Your Health? host Guy Raz speaks with Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University 

Here & Now – Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power? host Jeremy Hobson and author Edward Baptist

NPR Morning Edition – You Cannot Divorce Race From Immigration journalist Rachel Martin talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

Pod Save the People, Activism. Social Justice. Culture. Politics. On Pod Save the People, organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson



Test Your Awareness: Do The TestThis video shows us the importance of paying attention, and how much more we see when we are looking for particular things around us.

Use each question below separately as one day’s challenge.

  • Who is and is not represented in ads?
  • What are the last five books you read? What is the racial mix of the authors?
  •  What is the racial mix of the main characters in your favorite TV shows? Movies?
  • Who is filling what kinds of jobs/social roles in your world?  Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?

And I'm still tracking books I've been reading: 

Books by/featuring Black people read:

  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction By People of Color, Nisi Shawl.
  • A Properly Unhaunted Place, William Alexander. Black co-protagonist.
  • The Parker Inheritance, Varion Johnson. Black kids solve a puzzle involving black history.
  • Deep, River Solomon. What if the children of pregnant Africans tossed overboard by slavers survived?
  • Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Ibram X. Kendi.
  • Ordinary Hazards, Nikki Grimes. Verse memoir of growing up in foster care and then with a mentally ill mom who struggled to stay on meds.
  • Heavy, Kiese Laymon. A memoir of growing up in an abusive family in a racist world, where poverty and sexual abuse is just a normal part of growing up. He looks at the history of addiction in his family and how it plays out in his life, warmping some of his choices and options. 
  • Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler. 8/20. This near-future dystopia has a lot of modern resonances in a very grim way. I like her matter-of-fact presentation of racial dynamics, and the acknowledged reactions to the age disparity with the guy she is attracted to. The brief and sudden flurries of violence are very realistic and also heart-wrenching.
  • Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo. 8/22/20. Little Women rewritten as a biracial New York family.
  • Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad 8/26/20. An Instragram challenge expanded into a book, inviting the reader to ask themselves tough questions.
  • Crush, Svetlana Chmakova. 9/10/20. I think the super awesome Jorge is black. 
  • Elysium, Jennifer Marie Brissert. 9/10/20. Neat concept. Characters and author are Black.
  • It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime, Trevor Noah 9/15/20. Not just funny, it also gives a representation of life in South Africa for non-white people -- Trevor straddled a lot of color lines, which gave him a sharp perspective on many of them.
  • Don't Call Us Dead, Danez Smith 9/17/20. Poems about being black, being gay, seeing your community attacked by authorities, fearing AIDS, and being human.
  • Reaching For the Moon, Katherine Johnson. 9/26/20. Yes, this is a hero from Hidden Figures, but even better, because we see her whole life and it's not filtered for movies!
  • The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson. Great setting and character. Dull romance.
  • Clap When You Land, Elizabeth Acevedo. Annoying verse novel, but I liked the characters.
  • This Book Is Anti-Racist, Tiffany Jewell. How kids can join the antiracist movement.
  • Deadly Sexy, Beverly Jenkins. Fun romance with good characters.
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi. Reynolds revisits Kendi's books for kids, simplifying the structure and personalizing the tone. It's still great.
  • This Promise of Change, Jo Ann Allen Boyce & Debbie Levy. Memoir by one of the Clinton 12, the famous desegregation team I had completely forgotten.
  • We Are Power, Todd Hasek-Lowy. There are a lot of PoC in these chapters on nonviolent resistance.
  • All Boys Aren't Blue, George Johnson. Teen memoir of growing up Black and gay.
  • The Talk, Wade Hudson. Different authors matched with artists discuss preparing kids in their community for life in a racist world.
  • Jubilee, Margaret Walker. A classic! A story covering before, during and after the Civil War showing a woman and her strength and the people around her: her father, the plantation owner, his wife, her husbands and children, and  her half sister, the daughter of the plantation. 
  • Changing the Equation: 50 + US Black Women in STEM, Tonya Bolden. A collection of short biographies of an often overlooked demographic.
  • The Last Mirror on the Left, Lamar Giles 11/8/20. Two kids have adventures that save the world. Well, that was the last book. This time they save themselves and a bunch of parallel dimensions.
  • Fledgling, Octavia Butler. 11/6/20. Interesting vampire story that should have had two sequels. Butler is great at exploring power imbalances. 
  • My Name Is Tani ... and I Believe in Miracles, Tanitoluwa Adelumi 11/25/20. A poor immigrant boy is great at chess and his family wins the GoFundMe sweepstakes -- they get a home! I hope they also get approved to immigrate (they are refugees).
  • John Lewis: Civil Rights Leader and Congressman, Duchess Harris & Tammy Gagne. 12/5/20 Biography for 1-3rd grades.
  • Lifting As We Climb: Black Women's Battle For the Ballot Box, Evette Dionne. 12/7/2020
  • Call Me America, Abdi Nor Iftin. A Somali's memoir about growing up with a fascination for America and then becoming an immigrant.
  • Becoming Muhammad Ali, James Patterson & Kwame Alexander. 12/10/2020. Boyhood biography of Cassius Clay, who grew up to be Muhammad Ali.
  • Education, Race and the Law, Duchess Harris & Cynthia Kennedy Henzel 12/18/2020. Good overview of the history of these intersections in America.
  • Walk Toward the Rising Sun, Ger Duany 12/23/2020. Memoir by a boy who went from herding cattle in the Sudan to basketball, modeling and acting in the US. And now he works for war refugees.
  • The Camping Trip, Jennifer K. Man. A little girl goes camping with her aunt. 
  • Marriage, Race & the Law, Duchess Harris & Rebecca Morris. 12/15/2020. I learned a lot about how racist structures use marriage law to promote white supremacy. And how many countries have very different rules for men and women on what marriage means (women tend to lose citizenship, for example).
  • Punching the Air, Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam. 2/13/21. YA verse novel about a young man locked in juvenile detention after being wrongfully convicted. It's realistic and emotionally tough, even tougher because of the realism. 
  • Take a Hint Dani Brown, Talia Hibbert. 1/28/21. Fun romance with a fake relationship that turns real between an ex rugby player and a feminist post-grad. 
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, Carlos Hernandez. 2/20/21. I can't remember which characters are Black as well as Hispanic, but the school is definitely multiracial so I'm including this wonderful fantasy in the genre of Percy Jackson but with a more subtle fantasy element.
  • Kobe Bryant: Basketball Superstar, Tammy Gagne 3/9/21. I learned a lot about basketball careers (Kobe's dads as well as his own) and the dangers of helicopters. Safer than cars, though!
  • Class Act, Jerry Craft 3/15/21. Black scholarship kids at a prep school with mostly wealthy kids face all the usual parts of growing along with navigating sometimes well meaning but always clueless administrators and fellow students. 
  • You Bring Me the Ocean, Alex Sanchez. Two boys in a small town fall in love, but one is out and the other can barely admit to himself he is gay, let alone to his mom and best friend, whom he suddenly notices has a crush on him. They work this out with the delicacy of teen boys, so there's a lot of crashing and bungling and hurt feelings (and a few punches). There's also a superhero aspect, as the closeted boy is also the mutated son of a supervillain, but that wasn't all that important.
  • The Murders of Tupac and Biggie, Sue Bradford Edwards. The bits about their lives and careers was interested, but it didn't manage to make the conspiracy theories relevant to anyone not already interested. Aimed at junior high school kids or so.
  • The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennet. The story of two sisters and their families looks at family loyalty, abuse, race, and even some queer issues while always being about this family.
  • Reckless, Selena Montgomery. 4/25/21. I read this because Stacey Abrams is awesome, but I didn't really like the dude. The heroine was cool.
  • Tempest, Beverly Jenkins. 4/19/21. This was a fun historical but a bit of a dull romance, since the couple met, learned about each other, and then fell in love. The love story part wasn't really a plot. Once I started reading it for the rest of the story I liked it. It was interesting seeing how race mattered at some times and disappeared at other times, which felt realistic.
  • King and the Dragonflies, Kacen Callender. A young boy admits he is gay while mourning the sudden death of his older brother and his lost friendship with a possible abuse victim as his parents cope with the death of their son through several frightening mechanisms. Did I mention the shifting peer group and the girl who wants to be his girlfriend? And his doubts whether his parents can accept him if he is gay? A good book but a bit overstuffed.
  • Medical Apartheid, Harriett A. Washington. Historical recounting of the grotesque and horrendous relationship between American medical systems, from doctors and insurance to funeral services and research, and African American people, who have been brutalized, lied to, experimented on, and generally treated with contempt for as long as we've been a country. Or longer. There is no question why the trust is low between many communities and medical advisors. 
  • Snapdragon, Kat Leyh. 6/18/21 A middle schooler makes friends by being obnoxious and loud. The old witch lady is cool, though. 
  • Handful of Earth, Handful of Sky, Lynell George 6/28/21. An examination of Octavia Butler driven by the notes and records she left behind, showing how she helped shaped herself into the writer she wanted to be. 
  • Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead 6/1/21. Two boys in a Florida reformatory in a state full of violent racists. A school famous for its brutality. And great writing (the book, not the school).
  • High Cotton, Kristie Robin Johnson 6/1/21. Essays about growing up and living as a Black writer in America, raising two sons and juggling work, love, and parenting. 
  • You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey, Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar 8/4/2021. It's funny because it's true. And also heartbreaking and maddening.
  • Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi. 8/16/21. Hugo novella finalist. Supremely evocative and angry.
  • An Extraordinary Union, Alyssa Cole 7/18/21. Good historical book, although the romance was rather lame. (Hunger Games effect, probably). I liked seeing Maryland from an enslaved spy's point of view, and also the stolen pilot ship, because I recognized the real event it was based on. 
  • From Scratch, Tembi Locke. 8/10/21. Memoir of love and grief, with lots of great thoughts on family. There's the in-laws, traditional Italian (Sicilian) people who weren't keen on their son marrying and Black American, her family, with deep roots in the south of America and all that implies (including land stolen from them by local government, references in other reading while I read this book), and the family they create with their adopted daughter.  Good meal companion.
  • Forever Strong, Piper J. Drake. 8/29/21. Fun romance with a cute dog and two people I could respect building a relationship while dodging kidnapping thugs.
  • Beautiful Struggle (Young Readers), Ta-Nehisi Coates. 9/29/21 (I also read half the adult version before I switched). Vivid story of growing up in Baltimore, in a racist world with a complicated but loving family. A great window book for me. 
  • You Should See Me In a Crown, Leah Johnson. 10/10/21. Teen story where the protagonists is one of a small number of Black students in school, while also being a lesbian, a band kid, and ambitious. And she goes for Prom Queen (for the scholarship).
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntozake Shange. 9/22/21. Some good poems but mostly I couldn't really hear them. I think I want to watch a performance of this to really understand it.
  • In Bibi's Kitchen, Hawa Hassan & Julia Turshen. 10/8/21. Fascinating cookbook that is mostly too ambitious for me to try but I really enjoyed meeting the various women who provide the recipes and tell about their countries. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Hugos Are Coming, Here, Gone!

My First WorldCon!

I think I've signed in. I've got discord up. I'm looking at the schedule. I've lost the main page and I have to reregister to get back! No, that doesn't break anything, whew. I shall remember bookmarks this time...

(A week disappears)

That was really fun! My first WorldCon! I went to a lot of panels, chatted with a lot of people, and managed to go to parties, fan tables, the exhibit hall, artist and dealer areas, and even poked into a filking circle to listen for a while. I had downloaded the homework file so I could vote responsibly on all the Hugos, but I waited too long to start all the reading so I didn't quite get to everything. Better luck next time, me!

Best Novel (read)

Not my top pick, but no arguments. It would be hard to go wrong with this list. I like the diversity -- space empires, near-future Earth science fiction, contemporary fantasy, portal fantasy, space necromancers, and a degenerating space colony. There were love stories, although hmm, nobody got a HEA, although one is still hopeful. And almost everybody was young, as I guess is average for the genre. 

  • The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
  • Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
  • A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
  • The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir ( Publishing)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)

Best Novella (read)

OK, this was my bottom pick but it was still a strong novella. The language was lovely enough. I thought Chiang, McGuire, and Solomon all had stories with a stronger punch, and Solomon also had very evocative language. 

  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))
  • In an Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
  • The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga Press/Gallery)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press; Jo Fletcher Books)
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing)

Best Novelette (read)

I thought it was a bit too much message, not enough character, but still a good story.
  1. “Omphalos”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))
  2. “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019)
  3. “For He Can Creep”, by Siobhan Carroll (, 10 July 2019)
  4. Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection (Amazon))
  5. “The Archronology of Love”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019)
  6. “Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019)

Best Short Story (read)

OK, I admit it, I wimped out and put the hopeful story on top. Good job other Hugo voters.
  1. “Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, by Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019)
  2. “As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang (, 23 October 2019)
  3. “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019)
  4. “Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, by Rivers Solomon (, 24 July 2019)
  5. “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, by Nibedita Sen (Nightmare Magazine, May 2019)
  6. “A Catalog of Storms”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2019)

Best Series

This is a tough category, although a worthy one, because if I haven't been keeping up with the series already it's hard to judge. So I gave up but now have a reading list. I'll push the Expanse books higher up my TBR pile.

  • InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Wormwood Trilogy, by Tade Thompson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Luna, by Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
  • Planetfall series, by Emma Newman (Ace; Gollancz)
  • Winternight Trilogy, by Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)

Best Related Work

On this one as well I did not manage to finish enough of the works to think I could judge. I did manage to watch Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin during the Hugos and thought it was great, and the acceptance speech made a change in the world (they renamed the award) so I'm guessing the other options are good as well. They are on my reading list...

  • Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, produced and directed by Arwen Curry
  • “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, by Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound)

  • Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, by J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager US)
  • Joanna Russ, by Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press (Modern Masters of Science Fiction))
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, by Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square)

Best Graphic Story or Comic (read)

So, as I was rating I refused to read any previous volumes because I don't really like reading comics online anyway and it seemed a bit much to expect me to wade through 8 previous tomes to judge your newest entry. Maybe that's why my favorite pick (Die) came in last in the voting. The winner lost points with me because I was lost some suspension of disbelief when all the nice accepting people had no qualms about the alien inadvertently doing genetic experimentations on them, even as they blamed each other for pregnancies. Like, I have questions. 

  1. Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  2. LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)
  3. Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)
  4. Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)
  5. The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: “Okay”, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  6. Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (watched)

My top pick won! I watched Good Omens with my sons last summer and enjoyed it a lot. I didn't watch US, because it looked scary, but I think that's fair because if you make something I don't want to watch, I'm not going to vote for it no matter how good it is. Russian Doll was fun but all the smoking repelled me. The superhero movies were fun.

  • Avengers: Endgame, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Captain Marvel, screenplay by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios/Animal Logic (Australia))
  • Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, screenplay by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams, directed by J.J. Abrams (Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm/Bad Robot)
  • Us, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions/Universal Pictures)
  • Russian Doll (Season One), created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, directed by Leslye Headland, Jamie Babbit and Natasha Lyonne (3 Arts Entertainment/Jax Media/Netflix/Paper Kite Productions/Universal Television)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (watched)

I'm happy with this.
  • The Mandalorian: “Redemption”, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Taika Waititi (Disney+)
  • The Good Place: “The Answer”, written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)
  • The Expanse: “Cibola Burn”, written by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”, written by Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof, directed by Nicole Kassell (HBO)
  • Doctor Who: “Resolution”, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Wayne Yip (BBC)
  • Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being”, written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, directed by Stephen Williams (HBO)

Best Editor, Short Form ??

I have no idea how to judge this. I liked some of the stories?

  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • C.C. Finlay
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form ??

I have even less idea how the judge this. I left it blank.

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Brit Hvide
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist (looked at)

I am completely unqualified to judge this. That didn't stop me from casting my ballot!

  • Tommy Arnold
  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Alyssa Winans

Best Semiprozine (read)

These were fun to read! Sadly, I also had to learn how to pronounce FIYAH from people making fun of how G.R.R. Martin did it.

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor Scott H. Andrews
  • Escape Pod, editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney, audio producers Adam Pracht and Summer Brooks, hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart
  • Fireside Magazine, editor Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson, copyeditor Chelle Parker, social coordinator Meg Frank, publisher & art director Pablo Defendini, founding editor Brian White
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editor Troy L. Wiggins, editors Eboni Dunbar, Brent Lambert, L.D. Lewis, Danny Lore, Brandon O’Brien and Kaleb Russell
  • Strange Horizons, Vanessa Rose Phin, Catherine Krahe, AJ Odasso, Dan Hartland, Joyce Chng, Dante Luiz and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, nonfiction/managing editor Michi Trota, managing editor Chimedum Ohaegbu, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine (read)

I think I am looking for different things from a fanzine. 

  • The Rec Center, editors Elizabeth Minkel and Gavia Baker-Whitelaw
  • The Book Smugglers, editors Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus, senior writers Rosemary Benton, Lorelei Marcus and Victoria Silverwolf
  • Journey Planet, editors James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Ann Gry, Chuck Serface, John Coxon and Steven H Silver
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla, and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur

Best Fancast (listened to)

These ended up being a lot of fun to listen to on my walks (and later my runs, as I became a runner during the pandemic). That prejudiced me a bit against Rousseau, since I had to sit down to watch her, but when I did I ended up liking here a lot. I would prefer a podcast though.

  1. Be The Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  2. Our Opinions Are Correct, presented by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  3. Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel, produced & presented by Claire Rousseau
  4. The Skiffy and Fanty Show, presented by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke
  5. Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, producer Andrew Finch
  6. The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolf

Best Fan Writer (read)

Cora is the best at telling me what I might want to read.

  1. Cora Buhlert
  2. James Davis Nicoll
  3. Bogi Takács
  4. Paul Weimer
  5. Alasdair Stuart
  6. Adam Whitehead

Best Fan Artist (looked at)

I am utterly unqualified to vote on this. That did not stop me -- my top pick won!

  • Iain Clark
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Elise Matthesen

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo)

I did not get to read enough of these to have a good opinion. But I liked the winner.
  • Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
  • Deeplight, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
  • Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee (Disney/Hyperion)
  • Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
  • Riverland, by Fran Wilde (Amulet)
  • The Wicked King, by Holly Black (Little, Brown; Hot Key)

Astounding Award for Best New Writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo)

This is another one where it's hard to know how to judge. Not that I let that stop me.

  • Sam Hawke (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Jenn Lyons (1st year of eligibility)
  • Nibedita Sen (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Tasha Suri (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Emily Tesh (1st year of eligibility)