As you may know, Ursula K. Le Guin died in January of this year at the age of 88. Over the next few weeks, I thought I would post a small round up of links and videos so that we can get to know the author and the influence that she’s had on the world. First up is the video of Le Guin’s acceptance of National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014. This video is only 6 minutes long, but in it she comments on why speculative fiction, fantasy and science fiction is important.
In the comments below, tell us why you think science fiction and fantasy are worth reading. What have they brought to your life? Why do you keep coming back to these genres?
According to GoodReads.com I read 20,948 pages from 57 books. So you can imagine how hard it was to narrow down to only 10 for the best books I’ve read this year. There were so many good ones! I think I ultimately went with these 10 was because while I may have liked some of the other books more or given other’s better reviews or more stars, these 10 books stuck with me longer after finishing reading them. I would like to think that our Diverse Lives, Diverse Stacks: Diverse Narrators reading challenge is working for me because half of the books were written by Women of Color and they contain protagonists from very diverse backgrounds. That’s exciting to me but enough of this, let’s get on to the list.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas– This book was as heartbreaking as it was realistic. Starr is caught between two worlds but doesn’t really how different they are or how truly different she acts to accommodate both parts of her life until her friend is killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop and she is the only witness. This really should be a must read in all schools for generations to come and I’m excited that it will also be a movie coming out next year.
Pyromantic by Lish McBride– It’s funny, it’s sarcastic, it’s action packed but mostly it is just plain fun. I really hope that Lish returns to these characters because there is just so much weirdness she can do with them.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor-This is such a lush story with great imagery and original concept. There really isn’t another novel out there right now. The ending was such a surprise that I have no idea what to expect in the sequel.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon-Just like The Hate U Give, this is another heartbreaking but all too realistic look at today’s youth. To strangers, meet and share a life changing day as Natasha fights to stop her family from being deported and Daniel fights the expectations of being a child of immigrants.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin-How do you describe this book? It has so much going on and it’s not certain how they all interweave but you know they must somehow. It’s truly a powerful book it’s no wonder it’s won so many awards.
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray-The third book in The Diviners series takes place in the 1920’s but with it’s themes of race, gender equality and science it’s more relevant than you would think. Evie, Sam, Memphis, Jericho, Theta, Ling Henry and Isiah have to overcome the coming darkness but also the social limits society places on those in the minority.
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater-People come from far and wide to seek miracles from the Saints of Bicho Raro but even saints themselves need miracles and sometimes those miracles can’t be achieved on their own, sometimes they need a little help from others. That’s the lesson from this one, it’s great to self sufficient but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake-It’s dark and mysterious but also cool to read of world where women rule and men play supportive roles. That women are just as complicated and conflicted and are able to be both and still show strength and vulnerability. Here we get three young women who all of those things and more.
WarCross by Marie Lu-This was fun and exciting thrill of a book. Full of mystery and kind of a spy novel in a way. Emika a down on her luck, hacker/bounty hunter gets a chance to play in the biggest game ever in hopes of finding another hacker trying to sabotage the game. It’s full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing.
So these are my favorite books of 2017. What are yours?
The Throne of Glass series has expanded way beyond the original books and has so many characters that Sarah J Maas basically had to pull a George R.R. Martin and split the characters up in to two books. Tower of Dawn takes place at the same time that Empire of Storms but this time in the Southern Continent. Chaol and Nesryn journey to meet the Khagan and his family in hopes of swaying them to join their cause but to also heal Chaol paralysis with their famed healers. Chaol meets the young healer Yrene, who readers first met in one of the prequel novella’s. Yrene and Chaol have the typical antagonizing relationship that turns into a romance but they have more chemistry in their first scene then Chaol and Nesryn ever did. Chaol is one of my favorite characters and I was total Celaenia/Chaol shipper and was sad when they broke off but it was inevitable since as we know Celaenia turned out to be Aelin the Queen of Terrasan. Chaol was in love with Celaenia not with Aelin and it’s not that I don’t like Nesryn but they just seemed off. I’m happy that Chaol found someone who is more his equal. Now back to the story. The Khagan and the southern Continent have powerful armies and Aelin and Dorian need all the help they need if they are going to defeat Erawen and the Valg but the Khagan are not easily persuaded. They have had peace in their lands for years and are not eager to rush into a war on another continent. They are also in mourning of their youngest daughter who supposedly killed herself but some in the family don’t believe it. After Chaol tells Yrene how he was really injured, strange things start to happen. Another healer is mysteriously murdered that not even the healers can figure out how. Are the Valg already here? Chaol, Nesryn and Yrene piece together who the Valg are and who they are really fighting. Let’s just say some holes are filled in. The nice thing about this book was that it only had 3 POV’s. As the series has grown and the world expanded and more and more characters were introduced, there were more and more storylines and subplots and POV that it was getting a little out of control. Again, think Game of Thrones. It was nice to have a much simpler storyline to follow. It was filled with the same intrigued and action as the previous books and it was nice breather before the finale comes out next year.
I have missed my sassy Cajun, Nick and his friends. Eight books in and boy that boy has been through a lot. This is the last book in the Chronicles of Nick but not really as it’s lead in to a spin-off series, I guess? I’m not really sure how I feel about it. First, the book was fun and zippy. Just like the other books in the series, it’s no-stop from the beginning to end. It’s fast paced that I had to slow myself down or I would have read it all in one sitting. Nick’s son, Cyprian Malachai has come back from the future to make sure that Nick stays on the path to destroy the world. In doing so, he frames Nick for the murders of his former friends that kicked off the whole series. That plot line is actually a nonentity in the book itself as it’s quickly resolved but it does lead to Nick start to understand what is really going and how to stop it. The one thing that has separated Nick from the all the Malachai’s before him is that he was loved by his mother and he has the loyalty of his friends. Cyprian makes it clear that one of the reasons he hates Nick is that he is well liked while Cyprian is not. This seems kinda weak to me but who am I to judge. I’m sure we will get more in the Shadows of Fire series that will feature both Cyprian and Nick. So how does Nick defeat his foe. Obviously major spoilers so if you want to read more, check under the cut. Continue reading →
Lately some of the books we have read are being turned into TV shows and we couldn’t be happier about it. Here’s three that will be hitting the airwaves in the next couple of years.
The first being The Raven Cycle by Stacks Fave Maggie Stiefvater. It’s still in development but making progress. It’s found a home on Syfy with Catherine Hardwick of Twilight fame at the helm. Now this series is perfect for a series. There is really just too much for a movie. Too much of it’s weirdness and nuances would have to be cut out to make it fit into a two hour movie. As a TV show, we can get all the adventures of Blue and the Raven boys and also expand on the people of Henrietta. I’m particularly hopeful they dip deeper into the ladies of 300 Fox Way. I’ve been dying to know more about Maura, Calla and Persephone. Like how did they even meet?
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor has been optioned by HBO and produced by George R.R. Martin. This is exciting because it takes place in a post-nuclear-holocaust Africa meaning an all black cast. Yeah diversity on TV! I’m not sure how this will play as a TV series. It wasn’t a very long book but plenty of room to expand on the universe. Go more into Onyesonwu’s people and the conflict between the Okeye and Nuru. If you are squirmish about some of the violence in Game of Thrones this is going to be any better. There were several scenes in the book that were very hard for me to read. I’m not sure how they are going to do them on TV, even if it is HBO. I can definitely tell you that there will be nothing like this on TV and the fact that HBO and George R.R. Martin are taking it on is impressive. Almost makes you forget that they are also trying to make a TV show about the Confederacy. Almost
Who Fears Death maybe produced by George R.R. Martin and HBO but in my mind N.K. Jemisin’s novel The Fifth Season is probably closer to Game of Thrones in scale of epic story telling. The Hugo winning novel was picked up by TNT earlier this week. I’m not even sure how they will be able to present this on screen without giving too much away. It also means more diversity on primetime television as the main characters are all women of color. If this done right it’s going to be impressive. This also reminds me I better get on to reading book two in the Broken Earth series, The Obelisk Gate.