October 2018 archive

Bless Me, Father by Neil Boyd

Bless Me, Father turned out to be just the thing for an autumn weekend afternoon. It’s short, light, breezily written and genuinely funny in places, which I hadn’t entirely expected — despite the recommendation that landed it in my set of books to read — from a book published forty years ago about events twenty years …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/23/bless-me-father-by-neil-boyd/

Soviet Mass Festivals, 1917-1991 by Malte Rolf

Every now and then, I like to read a book that is of interest mainly to specialists. Malte Rolf’s work uses the parades and other mass events in the Soviet Union as a lens for examining how that society developed over the course of its existence. Celebrations reveal a great deal about a society — what …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/21/soviet-mass-festivals-1917-1991-by-malte-rolf/

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

This book first came to my attention when work was doing coverage of the Edgars the year it was nominated for Best First Novel, but I deliberately chose another book on the slate because the blurb was equal parts attractive and repulsive to me. It sounded very much like rich white people problems, plus every …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/17/luckiest-girl-alive-by-jessica-knoll/

The City & The City by China Miéville

Don’t read the second sentence of this post. Don’t read the sentence that comes before this one. In this world, we do not acknowledge italics. Italics are the only text there is. If you see something written in another way, avert your eyes, unsee and unread before it is too late. We have some leniency …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/15/the-city-the-city-by-china-mieville/

Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. Le Guin

Here is Ursula K. Le Guin on life in pre-Roe America: My friends at NARAL asked me to tell you what it was like before Roe vs. Wade. They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/15/words-are-my-matter-by-ursula-k-le-guin/

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

You know what would be really scary? A novel written from the point of view of one of the women who believed wholeheartedly in the tenets of the Republic of Gilead, who rejoiced in the work they were doing, who revelled in her role as helpmeet, as implementer of God’s will on an earth that …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/14/the-handmaids-tale-by-margaret-atwood/

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

It often happens that the very best books are hardest to write about. I discovered TNC’s blog fairly early in his tenure at The Atlantic, and I made sure to keep coming back. Time zones — I lived in the South Caucasus at the time, even further from US schedules — meant that I missed much of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/14/we-were-eight-years-in-power-by-ta-nehisi-coates/

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

The Shepherd’s Crown is the end, and no way around it. The forty-first and last Discworld novel. After “The End” on page 328 there’s nothing more but what readers imagine might still happen on the Disc. Rob Wilkins, Pratchett’s chief assistant writes in an afterword that The Shepherd’s Crown was “not quite as finished as …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/13/the-shepherds-crown-by-terry-pratchett/

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

Hunh. So, okay. This book is super rich in ideas and philosophy and science, and posits a logical extrapolation of capitalism to its vilest ends. The question of autonomy vs indentured servitude, and the heartbreaking necessity in this future of individual (en)franchisement, plus the stranglehold of corporate patents on technology, are all discussed and examined …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/13/autonomous-by-annalee-newitz/

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Precious and Grace begins with Mma Ramotswe, founder and proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, reflecting on the people in her life: people who are late, others who are still with us; family, particularly her husband Mr J.L.B. Matekoni; friends and colleagues, from the formidable Mma Potokwani who runs the local orphanage to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/10/12/precious-and-grace-by-alexander-mccall-smith/