Wednesday reading 7 December 2016

What I just finished reading

Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell – A travel memoir about a man trying to visit the most polluted places on earth. It started off pretty neat with his visit to Chernobyl but as the book went on, it seemed to lose its way, especially after the author went through a break up part way through. The chapter in India was especially meandering. Blackwell nearly brought things full circle at the end when he mentioned the Fukushima nuclear accident happening as he was wandering around India, and how it reminded him of Chernobyl, but in the end that didn’t really go anywhere and he drew no real conclusions. The book was fine and I liked it well enough, but I expected more.

What I’m reading now

Nil. Too busy shoving Ace Attorney into my eyelids.

What I’m reading next

I got four writing guides out from the library to sceptically read, so I suppose I should read those before it’s time to take them back.

November 2016 recap and links

I reviewed:

Making Books: Contemporary Australian Publishing on the 2nd;
Caliban’s War and Bird by Bird on the 10th;
The Hanging Tree on the 14th;
The Weekend Book Proposal on the 16th;
My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs on the 19th;
The Dark Wife on the 23rd; and
Weird Dinosaurs on the 30th.

That’s a lot more reading done last month than I realised.

Some interesting links:

How a Publisher Markets Your Book by Jessica Faust.

A profile about Leonard Cohen in The New Yorker, looking at his new album, from before he passed on. RIP Cohen, a musical great.

Elena Ferrante, Charlotte Brontë and how anonymity protects against female writing stereotypes by Erin Nyborg at The Conversation.

20 Typography Mistakes Every Beginner Makes – And How You Can Avoid Them by Janie Kliever at Canva Design School.

Remembering Sheri S. Tepper, Eco-Feminist Sci-Fi Firebrand by Genevieve Valentine at npr books. Tepper is a complicated figure to look back on, because she was an outspoken feminist but also in favour of eugenics, and it can be difficult to reconcile those two things.

The prospect before us by Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Making Light about writing SF/F in a world with US Pres-elect Trump.

Why Fiction Matters by Nancy Jane Moore at Book View Cafe.

Death of the hatchet job: Book reviewing used to be a blood sport. How has it become so benign and polite? by D J Taylor at New Statesman. Interesting read. There’s still plenty of amateur reviewers willing to say you’ve written the worst book in the history of humanity on goodreads but I have noticed in certain sectors pro  and semi-pro reviewing is somewhat timid. Also even amateur reviewers of romance novels seem more likely to say ‘I didn’t enjoy but it was okay, 4 stars’, which is fascinating. This article OTOH locates trends of reviewing within the history of reviewing.

The Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train – Why are there so many books with “girl” in the title? by Emily St. John Mandel at FiveThirtyEight. I’ve definitely linked other articles of people noticing this phenomenon before.

Who is the Genius Behind Merriam-Webster’s Social Media? In Conversation with a Dictionary by Emily Temple at LitHub.