October 14th, 2014

imaginative girl

Books That Are Keeping Me Happy

There are way too many important deadlines approaching in this house this month, between Patrick's current freelance deadline, my current freelance deadline, a grant application I'm trying to get sent off by the end of this week, and, of course, our big, looming house move in just over two weeks. (Auuuuuuugh! SO not ready.)

So, as you can imagine, there's a fair amount of stress going on over here at the moment.

But! I've been doing some really good reading. First, I read the best short story collection I've read in a long time, Zen Cho's Spirits Abroad. It's a collection of witty, fabulous f/sf short stories, and it's completely delicious. Obviously, I hugely recommend it. You can read my full Goodreads review here.

spirits-cover

Since then, I've been reading a YA f/sf anthology, Kaleidoscope, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, and it's really, really good, with a great variety of stories and moods, ranging from funny to scary, exciting to heartbreaking. I think my very favorite short stories in it so far are Tansy Rayner Roberts's "Cookie-Cutter Superhero" and Karen Healey's "Careful Magic", but I'm enjoying the whole collection.

kaleidoscope-cover

I've also found the most completely immersive novel I've read in ages, and it's one that really surprised me, because I actually bounced off it hard the first time I tried it, about a year ago. It's Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things, a big, bombastic nineteenth-century story centered around the character of Alma Whittaker, a passionate scientist living in an era when women were restricted to practicing "polite" botany. Last year, I set it down within the first three pages - I saw that the author was circling back to tell the whole story of Alma's dad before she even got Alma started, and I thought, Really? No. I don't have time for this.

This time, though, I was patient enough to keep reading - and I got completely sucked in. Now I'm reading it obsessively, grabbing my Kindle to read more at every possible opportunity, and it's been quite a while since I read a book so absorbing and compelling, with fascinating, larger-than-life characters. I'm absolutely loving it, and I feel silly for having given up on it so quickly last time 'round.

signature-cover

What about you guys? What are your favorite recent reads?