The Reading Year (So Far, 2021)

From wsj’s Best Books of 2020/Science Fiction:

  • The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal – So far, one of the best novels she’s read in 2021
  • Ballistic Kiss, by Richard Kadrey – wildly inventive, self wasn’t so taken with the he/she/they gender politics of a major character

In a category by itself:

  • Dark, Salt, Clear, by Lamorna Ash — A first book by a 22-year-old, E.S.A.D.

Kick-Ass Discovery of the Year:

  • Eddie’s Boy, by Thomas Perry, the sequel to a 1982 novel, The Butcher’s Boy – That’s chutzpah, coming up with a sequel 40 years later. Kudos! Self added The Butcher’s Boy to her reading list.

from wsj’s Best Books of 2020/Mysteries:

  • All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny — Self adored Jean-Guy Beauvoir and of course Paris.
  • One Fatal Flaw, by Anne Perry — All hail the May-December almost-romance between 25-year-old Daniel Pitt and 40-year-old Miriam Crofft, daughter of his employer.

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Memoir

  • A Promised Land, by Barack Obama — Beautifully written, can’t believe 45 was succeeded by Drumpf.

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Fiction

  • SHUGGIE BAIN, by Douglas Stuart — an absolutely immersive experience, though her favorite character was not the title character but his unheralded older brother, Leek

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Business and Economics

  • No Rules Rules — This one was a disappointment.

from wsj’s Books of the Year 2020/Travels in the New North

  • Ice Walker, by James Raffan — another absolutely immersive experience, the ending almost broke self.

from Jonathan Strahan’s Notes from a Year Spent Indoors (Locus Magazine)

  • the first two books in Joe Abercrombie’s (smashing) Age of Madness trilogy and her first Grimdark: A Little Hatred and The Trouble with Peace

Two Movies Back-to-Back

At the Century 20.

Self liked Voyagers more than Godzilla v. Kong.

Although, Godzilla v. Kong was the first time in forever — mebbe the first time since Road Warrior‘s Feral Kid — that she didn’t find the kid in an action movie annoying, i.e. not just a gratuitous presence. And who knew Rebecca Hall would be good in an action movie? Well, she is. Not that she’s required to do any action scenes, really. But in this type of movie, character takes a back seat to . . . scenario. And she’s able to calibrate her performance so that it’s just the right temperature for this kind of movie.

That is all.

Books Are Time Machines

Self is on p. 42 of Dark, Salt, Clear. Exactly one year ago, at the start of the lockdown, when everything was scary/dark, self was reading this. Amazing, to think of the year that’s passed between, even just in terms of books read (each book is a world).

Favorite Novels (Thus Far 2021)

One is science fiction, the other is Grimdark:

  • The Relentless Moon (Book 3 of The Lady Astronaut series), by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • A Little Hatred (Book 1 of the Age of Madness trilogy), by Joe Abercrombie

Both those books she read about first in Locus, the science fiction/fantasy/horror magazine published out of San Leandro. She bought a few copies in the lobby of the Fox Theater, before a George R. R. Martin talk, some years ago. Locus was how she found Children of Time, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers.

New Photo Challenge: Share Your Desktop

Playing along with Share Your Desktop — March 2021

For the last few months, self’s desktop has been what might or might not be a still from the great TV series The Expanse (based on the nine-book series by James S. A. Corey — Corey is actually the pen-name for two writers: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). If you haven’t watched, you are missing something. The sixth — and final — season is filming now in Toronto. Air date (on Amazon Prime) TBA.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

What To Read Next

Link of the Week: FIVE SOUTH

The best hygiene for beginning writers or intermediate writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories.Ray Bradbury

Best Line of Dialogue

Weeping through Part III of The Restless Moon. Did nothing all day but read. 3/4 of the way!

p. 371:

“I will try not to snap at you.”

“Pffft . . . I’m a Taiwanese woman in the astronaut corps. Your drama does not frighten me.”

Sentence of the Day: The Restless Moon, p. 272


  • Sometimes I hate my brain, because I stood there, looking at a man I had known for years, and wondered if he’d poisoned himself to throw us off the scent.

Also: Lady Astronaut presses intercom button while standing in puddle of water.


Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Restless Moon: Halfway

CNN has been turned off for the evening. There is nothing like settling down with a good book on the first (or second) Friday after the insurrection, dressed in yesterday’s jammies. YAY!


Nicole, the Lady Astronaut, is on the moon while her husband Kenneth, Governor of Kansas, is back on Earth, having just announced his candidacy for President. Self keeps wondering if he’s having an affair, he is so Zen with his wife’s frequent absences. Nicole and Kenneth have devised this super-secret code for communicating with each other, but it involves Nicole checking a book out of the Moon Colony library, and that book has just gone MISSING MISSING MISSING (No one ever forgets to return a library book on the Moon?)

Nicole frantically searches the library’s shelves, and realizes she is being observed by the two other people in the library, who are also both on Nicole’s list of suspects — AWKARD! There is a terrorist who is sabotaging the program and causing rockets laden with vaccine to explode (The saboteur’s code name is ICARUS. Hell to the yeah!). Oh yes, self forgot to mention that there is an outbreak of polio on the moon, and since the rocket that was to deliver the vaccines to the Moon blew up, there is no vaccine. (Today, it was announced that, contrary to White House claims, there ARE NO VACCINES IN RESERVE — synchronicity much?)

The most ‘chill’ soldier on the Moon (whose great biceps Nicole has been admiring, despite the fact that she is happily married), Curt, falls over and loses the use of his legs because — of all people to be stricken with polio!

Anyhoo, this book is very exciting, self was supposed to return it in a few days, but she’ll try and stretch out her reading of it — to about a week.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe. And remember: it is okay to wear jammies while the insurrection.

« Older entries

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon


welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through fashion and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

lita doolan productions

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other