I promise I’ve been reading…I’m just doing an excellent job at reading and not writing reviews. So here is a short and sweet round up of the titles I’ve finished so far!
#1 Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
This is a book I have seen over and over again on those buzzfeed style lists of the “top SF or greatest SF of all time.” Honestly the cover art was so atrocious I never thought to pick this up. It was just cheesy and lame. Thankfully that old adage “never judge a book by its cover,” proved to be true in part here. The book definitely had some cheese, but in a fun 90’s way. Think naming your main character Hero Protagonist. The author really pokes some fun here at the genre. Hero Protagonist has to battle his way through a real and virtual world to bring down the leader of a dangerous and influential cult. This cult has released a drug called “snowcrash” into the Metaverse. Snowcrash only affects “hackers.” It causes a total system failure of their brains. In order to get to the bottom of who is responsible for this new drug Hero has to delve deep into conspiracy theory from ancient times. It all sounds like it shouldn’t hang together, but its a remarkably entertaining story. I can see its influence on current SF works such as “Ready Player One.” Hero is helped along by several support characters that are reasonably fleshed out in their own right. In a breath of fresh air the main supporting character is a punk rock skateboarding girl who is not just there to be a romantic interest for the main character. She doesn’t end up with the main character and holds her own throughout the story. This was a fun and fast read. If you like SF and especially dystopian future where everything has gone to crap and we all live in VR then I highly recommend this book!
#2 Americanah by Chimamadda Ngozie Adiche
This book blew me away. I first read Adiche’s work during the last reading challenge when I was assigned the random category of “the work of an african author.” I read her essay “We should all be feminists” and then promptly read it again once I reached the end. This work follows the story of Ifemelu a young Nigerian girl. Ifemelu leaves Nigeria and the love of her life for America. Its a story about her struggle and her moments of triumph as she comes of age in a strange new land. I’ve never read anything that deals with what it means to be immigrant to the US much less an immigrant speaking from an African point of view. The story telling was superb and I couldn’t put this down. It was a beautiful window into an experience I’ve never had to live. Peppered throughout the story are Ifemelu’s blog posts (she becomes a noted blogger on race in america) that are insightful and made me think about racism in the US from a perspective I don’t have much experience with. Its at once a love story, a commentary on what it means to be a black woman in America and a story about finding yourself. I loved this book.
#3 Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
After such a dense and emotional read as Americanah I needed a break. Anyone not familiar with Allie Brosh’s webcomic by the same name as this book should absolutely look her up! She is a master of story telling and MS Paint. Her comics are hilarious, tragic and often center around her own missteps in life. I find her anecdotes about life with dogs (horribly neurotic and impossibly simple dogs) especially entertaining. She doesn’t just stick to the comic aspects of life but also deals with her long and difficult battle with depression in a funny but heart wrenching way. Her drawings appear crude and rushed, but the feelings she is able to convey with them are touching and vast. This was a fun romp!
# 4 The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Oh, how I have things to say about this work! However it’s going to have to wait for a later edit. There is much I want to say and my current state of sleepiness wont allow for a coherent review.