So, in addition to the Christmas books that adorn my posts of December, I am also working on finishing the one reading challenge I made it through this year.
I considered doing Modern Mrs. Darcy but she wanted a book about modern issues and that was the last thing I wanted to read, which is pretty dramatic for me, as the books I talk about today were struggles but I made it through them. I don’t want to read about our mad president, I don’t want to read about climate change and all the other mismanagements that will keep me up all night for the anxiety. I would rather struggle through books I barely understand than increase my awareness of how screwed up everything is. Argh.
Next week I shall bestow upon you all the list of everything I read for Book Riot’s Read Harder, but the ones I am discussing today are the last ones that made it under the limbo pole to count toward this year’s challenge.
A Nonfiction Book about Technology:
Forensics, Val McDermid
I spent most of the year hemming and hawing over what to read for my book about technology as it threatened the sweet place in the sand where I bury my head. There are so many books out there about the internet and how everyone knows everything about you and I doubt there is much I can do about that other than giving up the convenience of my online endeavors, like my deep and abiding love of Amazon. We are in the middle of a Christmas season and I didn’t want to comb stores for the Lego set I wanted for my son.
Also I need a distinct human interest element to any book about technology. I want people’s stories and how they have changed through time, not something dry on this is how this works. Some people like that, but not me.
I noticed that this gem had been waiting on audio all along in my audible app, just waiting to be discovered. And it is narrated by a woman with a Scottish accent because McDermid is Scottish herself! Perfect. It is a primer on the technology used to detect whodunit, complete with famous historical vignettes. I would love to write and research historical fiction like she does and if I did I would absolutely want to make something separate out of my research.
I believe the many reviewers who reported that if you watch enough TV crime shows, much of these topics you already know something about, but I have not done a lot of crime solving TV in awhile. So I liked it. It was perfectly tailored to my level of ignorance, and talked about the differences in justice systems around the world, which was a nice touch.
Runners Up: Thunderstruck, Erik Larssen, The Wright Brothers, David McCullough
A Collection of Poetry on a Theme Other than Love:
King of a Hundred Horsemen, Marie Etienne
I refused to rate this on Goodreads because I didn’t understand it. There are some brave souls on Goodreads who must have a different, or any understanding at all, of this collection, who rated it, but I needed academic help. I read it. The last segment of poetry about birds resonated and made sense but I wandered through the rest. She very possibly could be brilliant, people who know something about something think she is, so I am in no position to refute that even if I find her work inaccessible. Does this help my reader understand how little I wanted to read a book about modern issues facing our world? That I would get through a hundred pages of translated poetry I didn’t understand?
I love Mary Oliver, and Stanley Kunitz, and Roald Dahl, and the poetry collections I have on my shelves but this was tough. I needed context, the old Gothic classrooms and an PhD student at my alma mater to get me through this. But I did it. There you go, Ausma Zehanat Khan, author that made me do it! Anyone who has a better understanding is welcome to help me out here.
Also, thanks to BookRiot for posting about possible fit ins for this category. It would have been a challenge to even find a book that would qualify.
A Book Published by a Micropress:
Tender Industrial Fabric, Toby Altman
This was Roxane Gay’s brainchild and I do love me some Roxane, especially on the Twitter, but I didn’t understand this one either. There were more stanzas and pieces that made sense that I could hang on to, like some descriptions of grief, sexuality, love and nature.
This looked to me like an artistic labor of love, even though it was somewhat lost on me, which I don’t even like to admit, because I think I am missing out a little here by not getting it. I don’t know. My father is a poet and where I get my love of writing and he has always seemed unapologetic about not understanding a poem, even if The New Yorker took it, but really, I have a deep and abiding fear that everyone else really does know more than I do sometimes. And I am missing out. Even as it is sitting next to me for this review I keep reopening it and hoping the magic will beam out at me, like it got over its shyness. Naw.
But probably all micropresses and their projects are, by definition, labors of love.
All right, so the roundups continue next week with what I did for BookRiot. I could have really binged to make it through Popsugar too but I have done slightly more writing this year. And that is the ultimate goal whilst there is available brain space. A limited commodity.
Comments/shares/likes are welcome!!!