Titan by Francois Vigneault

Set in a mining colony on Saturn's moon Titan, this graphic novel by François Vigneault is far-future sci-fi that tackles issues of class, workers' rights, colonization, genetic engineering, and other political, social, and ethical issues. There are times when white text is printed on a light(ish) pink background (see image below). I hate to say how frustrating this was for me. My eyes simply aren't good enough to handle that without lighting that's much brighter than I prefer to read with. Aside from this one issue, I did love the artwork and that minimalistic color palette overall. It drew me in to the story and felt perfect for this off-world setting. I'm a huge sucker for a story that brings…

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

"If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?" The Immortalists hinges on the question above, and explores how four siblings' lives play out after finding out, as children, the dates of their deaths. This was my virtual book club's March pick. I finished reading it a week ago, but I feel like I'm still processing some things about this book. It'll be interesting to see how tonight's conversation goes. I loved Chloe Benjamin's writing. The prologue starts off with our four sibling protagonists as children, and it reads like an especially beautifully-written middle grade novel. This style places you right into the children's perspective, complete with all their wonder and curiosity, bravery and trepidation.…

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Unity by Elly Bangs

When Tachyon Publications reached out to me about Unity, Elly Bangs's post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, sci-fi debut, I couldn't resist accepting a review copy based on the blurbs I read. The novel is said to "evoke the perilous grittiness of Mad Max and the redemptive unification of Sense8." And then Meredith Russo's description really got my attention: "Imagine Neuromancer and Lilith’s Brood conceived a baby while listening to My Chemical Romance and then that baby was adopted by Ghost in the Shell and Blue Submarine no. 6." Does that sound super creative and unique, or what?! I know it also sounds like there's a lot going on, but Bangs ties it all together so masterfully, it reads at a smooth, fast, thrilling…

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Lucy Foley's The Guest List was my virtual book club's pick for February. Our book club started at the beginning of the pandemic, and we chose this title because we realized we hadn't yet read a thriller. I was on the edge of my seat reading this book, ready to shout, "I knew it!" even though I wasn't exactly sure I really did "know it." And turns out, I didn't! I never did, even at the end! And wow, was this was ever a fast, curvy roller coaster by the end. The pacing was great, I loved the different points of view, I loved the execution of the jumps in time, and I loved her writing style. Even the teaser…

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Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

Zak Salih's debut novel Let's Get Back to the Party is a look at cultural identity (specifically, gay identity) in the midst of a rapidly changing society. Set in the year between the U.S. marriage equality ruling and the mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando, the novel follows two gay men, Sebastian and Oscar, childhood friends recently reunited after years of estrangement. I enjoyed the character-driven, leisurely pace of Salih's writing. He digs deep into the psyches of these two men, and the slower pace and alternating points of view gave me the opportunity to get to know Sebastian and Oscar on a profound level. Let's Get Back to the Party explores cross-generational friendships within the gay community—and the feelings…

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Catch Lili Too by Sophie Whittemore

Catch Lili Too was an unusual reading choice for me, but when the author approached me about their "queer punk fantasy" book, something about this description was irresistible: Lili is a Mesopotamian siren, and life as an immortal being is hard enough as it is. She’s asexual (which is incredibly difficult to reconcile if your entire point as a mythical being is to seduce people to death). She’s also struggling with depression from being alive for so long. She moonlights as an immortal detective trying to track down a serial killer so ruthless that it makes even her murderous soul uneasy. However, there’s something larger at work than just one serial killer. A small town is hiding an even deadlier, global-scale…

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Novellas in November: Short Classics

The theme for Novellas in November week four (hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck) is short classics. Classics aren't something I normally reach for, and I have to make a real effort to include them in my reading. I'm finicky when it comes to classics, and there are a ton of popular ones I'm bored to tears by (see the question at the end of this post). When looking through past classics I've read, I found that I especially loved short stories by authors like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury. I did find some novellas, though—I enjoyed all of the books below (some are more on the "modern classics" side of things). The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (44…

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Novellas in November: Translated Literature

The theme for Novellas in November week three (hosted by Cathy at 746 Books) is novellas that are translated literature. I gravitate toward Japanese literature (Haruki Murakami being one of my favorite authors) but I tried to branch out a bit here. Well, I did a 50% branching out, at least! The only book on this list that I haven't read yet—but it's on my TBR—is Troubling Love. I've been hesitating on reading Ferrante because I wasn't sure if I wanted to read her books in the original Italian, or as a translation. If I'm honest with myself, my Italian isn't where it used to be, and 2020 has sucked any willpower I might have had about doing the extra…

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Nonfiction November: Book Pairings

The prompt for week 2 of Nonfiction November is "Book Pairing" (hosted by Julz of Julz Reads), where we pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. I've got three book pairings for you today! The fiction titles I've chosen have the same subject matter as their nonfiction counterparts. C and I have been reading through the young people's version of Neil deGrasse Tyon's Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and are enjoying his goofy sense of humor and knack for explaining huge concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. I recently read To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu [my review], which incorporates a lot of astrophysics and quantum physics in its hard sci-fi short stories. Some of those…

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Novellas in November: Contemporary Fiction

I know I'm already doing Nonfiction November, but I couldn't resist jumping in on Novellas in November, too. This event is hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck and Cathy at 746 Books. The theme for week one (hosted by Cathy) is contemporary fiction novellas. I found varying definitions of what "contemporary fiction" actually means, so I probably stretched it a bit with some of the speculative and sci-fi picks. I went more with a "fiction published in a contemporary times" sort of theme. . This World Is Full of Monsters by Jeff VanderMeer (38 pages) - Surreal, strange, and terrifying. This is the kind of story that doesn't get old because there's endless nuance for your mind to explore. If…

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