Recommended Reading: February, 2022

February got away from me. I was working on a deadline and dealing with several other things. Plus a nightmare course at school that I eventually dropped. (The course was cursed; the original prof had left the university suddenly, so they substituted a woman whose Spanish was as good as mine [which is to say, not great]. All the native speakers dropped out. It was a business class and she didn’t know business either, and then the department decided to use the class to test professor candidates. Maybe if I needed the course to get my degree in 4 years, I would have stayed. No matter what, though, I had done a lot of the homework she assigned, instead of reading. Sigh.)

Then, as I was getting into March, I was nearly done with the book I was writing, so I didn’t do anything extra. Book, school, work. Book, school, work. No time to put in any of the books I read or recommend anything. And I don’t have a lot to recommend. I read a number of books and started a few more, but most didn’t really excite me much. So on top of it all, this list is short.

All of this is an apology for being so dang late with the Recommended Reading! I hope March will go back to normal….

February, 2022

Clark, P. Djèlí, The Haunting of Tram Car 015, Tor, 2019. I have no idea how I missed this one, because I like Clark’s work, but oh, man, I’m glad I found the story. It’s wonderful. It hits all of my reader cookies. Alternate history, a mystery, a culture that makes sense coming out of the changes to history, great characters. And, from what I can tell, more books to read. (Including one that’s on my shelf.)

Clayton, Dhonielle, editor kinda, Blackout, Quill Tree Books, 2021. A wonderful wonderful book set in a fictional blackout in New York City. This book was written by six writers, alternating stories. They are Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon. I’m going to point out a couple of the stories that I liked, but this book works best as a unit. The book is YA, and a couple of the viewpoint characters are so annoying that I couldn’t believe anyone would hang out with them, but it all worked out in the end.

Clayton, Dhonielle, “All The Great Love Stories…And Dust,” Blackout, Quill Tree Books, 2021. Set in the New York Public Library in the middle of this blackout, the story has footnotes! Oh, that melted my geeky heart. Even if the last footnote wasn’t as powerful as it could have been. I loved this and could picture every part of it.

These are teenage love stories, some with a meet-cute in a crisis and others with people repairing relationships. The book was a 2020 project, to keep everyone’s minds off the pandemic, and dang, it’s one of the few pandemic projects that I read that actually work.

Cogdill, Oline H., “Nicholas Meyer: Storyteller,” Mystery Scene Magazine, Winter 2021. I don’t think I’d ever put Nicholas Meyer the director together with Nicholas Meyer the Sherlockain mystery writer. This article opened my eyes and made me order Meyer’s autobiography.

Ford, Will, and Wufei Yu*, “172 Runners Started This Ultramarathon—21 of Them Never Came Back,” Runners World, Issue 6, 2021. *Actually Wufei Yu’s name comes first on this article, but I reversed the names due to my own ignorance. I’m not sure exactly how to put Wufei Yu’s name into my system. Sigh.

Anyway…

Runners World often has great articles about runners. This was about an ultramarathon held during the pandemic that went horribly wrong. A storm came in on the mountain and killed many of the marathoners, who thought they would have to deal with heat, not a snow storm. Sad, terrifying, and dramatic. A disaster that got lost in all of the other disasters of the past two years. Worth the read.

Mallory, Michael, “Steve Fisher: The Man Who Wrote Too Much,” Mystery Scene Magazine, Winter 2021. Michael Mallory often writes about writers who are forgotten or not as well known as they should have been. Fisher wrote a lot, but for Hollywood as well as for the magazines, decades ago now. I don’t think I had heard of him before. Fascinating read.

Stone, Nic, “Mask Off,” Blackout, Quill Tree Books, 2021. Great story about two boys, one of whom has claustrophobia, trapped in a subway car. They’ve been attracted to each other forever, but were worried about revealing the attraction. The story is delicate and it works beautifully.

Woodfolk, Ashley, “Made to Fit,” Blackout, Quill Tree Books, 2021. Probably the most memorable story for me. When I think of this group of linked stories, I think of this one first. It’s set in a retirement home, and the kids are dealing with panicked old folks, a lost item, and an attraction. Powerful and well done.

 

 

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