Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2021.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads API.
The City We Became (Great Cities #1) cover
Currently Reading
The City We Became (Great Cities #1)

by N.K. Jemisin (2020)
Publisher review: Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city. Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
Started: May 18 2021
One Hundred Years of Solitude cover
Currently Reading
One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel García Márquez (2003)
Publisher review: The brilliant, bestselling, landmark novel that tells the story of the Buendia family, and chronicles the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love—in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."
Started: Mar 01 2021
Lords of the Sith cover
Currently Reading
Lords of the Sith

by Paul S. Kemp (2015)
Publisher review: "It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted." Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor's chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader's allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now. On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as "spice," an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure that his will is done. For Syndulla and Isval, it's the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. For the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet's surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.
Started: Apr 10 2021
Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1) cover
Currently Reading
Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1)

by Rebecca Roanhorse (2020)
Publisher review: The first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic. A god will return When the earth and sky converge Under the black sun In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Started: Jun 08 2021
日本語総まとめN5かんじ・ことば・ぶんぽう・読む・聞く[英語・ベトナム語版] cover
日本語総まとめN5かんじ・ことば・ぶんぽう・読む・聞く[英語・ベトナム語版]
by 佐々木仁子
My review: 日本語能力試験 (JLPT)N5のために勉強しています。本の中に日常のレッスンがあります。練習もあります。本のイラストはとても面白いです。この本がすきですが、聞く練習のセクションが短すぎます。JLPTのセクションの中で聴解の方が一番難しいだと思います。 (★★★★)
Started: May 29 2021 Finished: Jul 10 2021
Ring Shout cover
Ring Shout
by P. Djèlí Clark (2020)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novella category. I have read some other books by this author before, including A Dead Djinn in Cairo that I loved, hence I was looking forward reading this one. I was not disappointed.
Ring Shout a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan's reign of terror: it turns the real horrors of the time into supernatural ones.
D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth. Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she's not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she's fighting monsters she calls "Ku Kluxes." She's good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh... and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.
A great read, in my opinion one of the strongest contenders in the Novella category for the year. (★★★★★)
Started: May 28 2021 Finished: Jun 06 2021
Upright Women Wanted cover
Upright Women Wanted
by Sarah Gailey (2020)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novella category. I have read some other books by this author before, and while their book have almost always a Western backdrop (a genre that I am not very fond off), I nevertheless really like them. I had high expectations, but I was blown away anyway: this book is really remarkable. It reminds me a little of The Handmaid's Tale, but with a queer Western spin.
Upright Women Wanted is the story of Esther, a stowaway. She has hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her... a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.
Wonderfully written, one of the strongest contenders for the Hugo awards this year. (★★★★★)
Started: May 11 2021 Finished: May 27 2021
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 160 cover
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 160
by Neil Clarke (2020)
My review: This "review" is for two of the stories in this issue.
Helicopter Story by Isabel Fall.
I have a small group of friends that share similar taste in books. We often discuss books and once in a while, when one of us discover a great book, we share recommendations with each others. Last month one of them sent a link to this story, telling us how good it was. I was very busy with work and I could not jump on it right away, but one after the other, each friend that read it started commenting how good it was. I confess I initially recoiled when I saw the title (that employs a common transphobic meme), but I was reassured that the author actually own the meme and turned it on its head. This said a big controversy erupted around this story: some people read it as transphobic trolling, while other read it as an attempt to reclaim and own a transphobic meme on its head. It may sound strange, but I do see how people can perceive the same story in such opposite ways, since the author is subtle in messaging the moral of the story. I am really sorry that after working so hard, the author ended up requesting the story to be unpublished, and I am really sorry that people got hurt by the discussion around this story. I hope the controversy did not scared her away from writing, because Isabel is incredibly talented, and I really hope to read more from her.
Monster by Naomi Kritzer
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I have read some short fiction by this author before, and I was looking forward reading this story.
The story is told via alternating timelines: the "present", where a scientist devoted to genetics is traveling to China on a mission to locate a childhood friend, and (via flashbacks) a near past, when the narrator and her friends met and grow together. I do not want to say more to avoid spoiling the story.
I will say though, that it is tremendously enjoyable, and one of my favorites for the Hugo in this category for the year.
(★★★★)
Number of times I read it: 2
Started (first time): Jan 18 2020 Finished (first time): Feb 01 2020
Uncanny Magazine Issue 35: July/August 2020 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 35: July/August 2020
by Lynne M. Thomas (2020)
My review: This review is for "The Inaccessibility of Heaven" by Aliette De Bodard.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I have read some short fiction by this author before, and I was looking forward reading this story.
The story is set in a near future / alternative reality where rebel angels have been cast down to Earth by god, and they live mixed in with humans while longing to go back to the heavens.
It's a very enjoyable story, even if the deux ex-machina at the end ruins it a little. (★★★★)
Started: May 09 2021 Finished: May 16 2021
Uncanny Magazine Issue 34: May/June 2020 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 34: May/June 2020
by Lynne M. Thomas (2020)
My review: This review is for Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super by A.T. Greenblatt.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I have not read any work by this author before, and I was eager to discover a new author.
This is the story of Sam, an accountant that has discovered a super ability: he can set himself on fire. This happened by accident in a bar, and led to loss of his friends and boyfriend. The incident makes the news, and Sam receives an application to the local Super organization. After a humiliating interview, he is accepted... to work as an accountant.
With his ability to set himself on fire, it doesn’t look like he'll be doing a lot of rescuing people, even though that's what he dreams of. More accurately, he dreams of impressing the people who dumped him when they learned he had a super power.
This is a story about accepting us for what we are, that evokes coming out stories in the real world.
This novellette is very well written, intriguing, and very enjoyable; definitely a strong contender for the award.
(★★★★)
Started: May 08 2021 Finished: May 09 2021
Two Truths and a Lie cover
Two Truths and a Lie
by Sarah Pinsker (2020)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I had previously read and enjoyed short fiction by this author, and I was looking forward reading this one.
This is the story of Stella, connecting with some of the friends of her childhood while visiting her parents. While talking she makes something up, or at least she thinks she made up a lie on the spot, asking her childhood friend if he remembered the strange public broadcast TV show with the unsettling host she and all the neighborhood kids appeared on years ago. But he does remember. And so does her mom. So why doesn't Stella? The more she investigates the show and the grip it has on her hometown, the eerier the mystery grows.
Incredibly well written, Saran Pinsker clearly knows how to write a gripping, impossible to put down story. I was a little disappointed by the ending, but I won't say anything to avoid spoiling the fun. (★★★★)
Started: May 04 2021 Finished: May 05 2021
Open House on Haunted Hill cover
Open House on Haunted Hill
by John Wiswell (2020)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I had never anything by this author before, and I was quite happy to discover somebody new.
The author tells us that this story was born at the World Fantasy Convention in 2018. He went to dinner with some people and they ended up talking about Horror. While the author consumes a lot of Horror media, he very rarely writes anything of that genre. Instead he tends to put Horror-y things back out as humorous stories or heartwarming stories. Off the top of his head he gave them the example that if he ever wrote a haunted house story, it wouldn't be like Haunting of Hill House... it would be about a haunted house that was lonely and desperately wanted someone to live in it. One of his fellow authors reached across the table, grabbed him by the hand, and said, "Please write this". On the train ride home, he did. And that's how this story came to be.
It's a good story, with heart and feelings in it. (★★★)
Started: May 03 2021 Finished: May 03 2021
Little Free Library cover
Little Free Library
by Naomi Kritzer (2020)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category.
I had read and enjoyed the Hugo award winner Cat pictures Please, and I was looking forard this story.
This is the story of Meigan that decides to set up a small "Little Free Library" outside her house. Books take a lot of space and since she is not planning to re-read many of them (even if she loved them), she decides to share the stories she loved with her neighbors. That is one of the most magical forms of connection there is. But then something strange starts to happen... and she develops an unexpected friendship with a mysterious borrower of books from her Little Free Library.
The story is great, well-written, interesting, and hard-to-put-down. I was a little disappointed by the ending. I was left with a feeling I had just read the first chapter of a book, and I was left wanting more. (★★★★)
Started: May 02 2021 Finished: May 02 2021
A Guide For Working Breeds cover
A Guide For Working Breeds
by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2020)
My review: This review is for A Guide For Working Breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category.
100 years after Karel Capek coined the word, "robots" are an everyday idea, and the inspiration for countless stories in books, film, TV and games. They are often among the least privileged, most unfairly used of us, and the more robots are like humans, the more interesting they become. This collection of stories is where robots stand in for us, where both we and they are disadvantaged, and where hope and optimism shines through.
I loved this story, it is deeply funny yet it has some depth and some sweetness in it. I strongly recommend it. It's definitely one of my favorites in this category. (★★★★★)
Started: May 01 2021 Finished: May 02 2021
Uncanny Magazine Issue 36: September/October 2020 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 36: September/October 2020
by Lynne M. Thomas
My review: This review is for Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher (a.k.a. Ursula Vernon).
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I previously read and liked some work by Ursula Vernon, but not as much written by her under the "Kingfisher" pen name (she uses that name for her non YA work).
This story was inspired by the classic fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, but has very little left of the inspiration. It is the story of two sentient robot, raised in an abandoned and isolated elderly robotic genius parent, that has sought to shelter and protect them from the darker sides of humanity. But the time comes when the elderly parents need to leave them to get medical attention...
Very enjoyable and fun. (★★★★)
Started: May 02 2021 Finished: May 02 2021
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #298, Special Double-Issue for BCS Science-Fantasy Month 5 cover
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #298, Special Double-Issue for BCS Science-Fantasy Month 5
by Scott H. Andrews
My review: This review is for "The Mermaid Astronaut" by Yoon Ha Lee.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I had previously read and deeply loved previous work by this author, including the Ninefox Gambit series. I had downloaded The Mermaid Astronaut on my eReader even before learning it was one of the Hugo finalists, and the nomination made me even more eager to read the story. I was not disappointed.
This is a re-telling of the The Little Mermaid, but instead of being a tragic story of a young woman sacrificing everything because of an infatuation for a man she barely saw from a distance, it's a story that focuses on the difficult balance between following your passions and family. It is the story of an emigrant, supported by her family to succeed in reaching out for the star, and the struggle to reconciliate that with the deep love that roots her where her family is.
Well deserved Hugo nomination. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 30 2021 Finished: May 01 2021
Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020
by Lynne M. Thomas (2020)
My review: This review is for "Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse" by Rae Carson.
Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I had previously read and enjoyed her The Wine in Dreams in the Star Wars' Canto Bight and I was looking forward reading more by the same author. The story is excellent, I really need to follow this author more closely.
This is the story of Brit and Marisol surviving along with Brit's mother Eileen and other women the Zombie apocalypse. Resources are scarce, but they make do. Brit is about giving birth which makes the Zombies restless: they smell blood and a newborn will cause a rampage. That's why Brit and Marisol have to leave the enclave and go to a safe haven in form of a shipping container...
The story is extremely fast paced, full of excitement and emotions. I particularly loved the implicit criticism to the misogynistic tropes of survival stories, that often cast an often only male or predominantly male set of characters, and where women, and mothers in particular are often portrayed as frail, dimwitted, and hysterical. This story features a full cast of kick-ass mothers doing an amazing job at fighting zombies.
(★★★★★)
Started: Apr 30 2021 Finished: Apr 30 2021
Heir to the Jedi (Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion, #3) cover
Heir to the Jedi (Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion, #3)
by Kevin Hearne (2015)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute or doing some chores. The quality is not always great, but they are usually at least enjoyable.
This book centers around Luke Skywalker, after the destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he's a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there's no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot. In the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there's no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.
A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire's purposes. But the prospective spy's sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she's willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It's an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that's too precious to pass up. It's also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who's got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.
Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it's now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.
It's an enjoyable read, but that's pretty much it. (★★★)
Started: Mar 20 2021 Finished: Apr 10 2021
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men cover
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
by Caroline Criado Pérez (2019)
My review: An incredibly eye opening read, solidly based on tons of research data. I am sometimes weary of non fiction books: they tend to have one or two interesting ideas or facts stretched into a full book. Quite the opposite was true for this book: each chapter could be easily expanded into a full book.
Data is fundamental to the modern world. From economic development, to healthcare, to education and public policy, we rely on numbers to allocate resources and make crucial decisions. But because so much data fails to take into account gender, because it treats men as the default and women as atypical, bias and discrimination are baked into our systems. And women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money, and often with their lives.
Celebrated feminist advocate Caroline Criado Perez investigates the shocking root cause of gender inequality and research in Invisible Women​, diving into women's lives at home, the workplace, the public square, the doctor’s office, and more. Built on hundreds of studies in the US, the UK, and around the world, and written with energy, wit, and sparkling intelligence, this is a groundbreaking, unforgettable exposé that will change the way you look at the world. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 26 2021 Finished: Mar 19 2021
The Salt Witch cover
The Salt Witch
by Martha Wells (2020)
My review: This review is for the short story "The Salt Witch" by Martha Wells, originally published in Uncanny Magazine 37.
I read and loved Well's Murderbot diaries series, and I was quite curious to read a fantasy story by the same author. The story follow Juana, a witch, that while trying to travel towards the Caribbean, she keeps getting pulled towards a mysterious sandbar island populated by ghosts of he past and hunted by some evil presence.
It's a very good story, but I confess I strongly preferred the Murderbot Diaries. :P (★★★)
Started: Feb 27 2021 Finished: Mar 01 2021
The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2) cover
The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2)
by John Scalzi (2018)
My review: I had read the previous instalment of The Interdependency series as part of one of my 2018 Hugo Finalists Read-a-thon, and I was looking forward seeing where the story was going.
In The Collapsing Empire humanity's interstellar empire is on the verge of collapse. The extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible is disappearing, leaving entire systems and human civilizations stranded. Emperox Grayland II of the Interdependency is ready to take desperate measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth, or at the very least an opportunity to an ascension to power. While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war. A war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, as are her enemies. Nothing about this will be easy... and all of humanity will be caught in its consuming fire.
This is a light read, yet quite entertaining and fun. Also, some of the characters, are incredibly memorable and funny. I can't wait to read the last book of this trilogy!
(★★★★)
Started: Feb 02 2021 Finished: Feb 27 2021
The 5am Club cover
The 5am Club
by Robin S. Sharma
My review: For years I have woken up at 5AM and started the day focusing on healthy habits like exercising or studying before starting my work day. I learned that there was a book, The 5am club that proposed exactly this, and argued it was a good thing based on a series of scientific studies. I was quite excited to read it and... it was uttermost trash. It was by far the worst book I have ever read in my life, and it was so bad that, when I started, I thought that the author was making fun of the self-help genre. Then I decided to continue because the book was making me laugh (even if the author did not intend to do it). My favorite part? The author write himself in the book as one of the main characters, and creates other characters around him to non-stop praise his "Truths" as "revolutionary" and "life changing". Seriously?
This is my first ZERO star review on goodreads. ()
Started: Feb 06 2021 Finished: Feb 24 2021
The Key to Kanji: A Visual History of 1100 Characters = Kanji Etoki cover
The Key to Kanji: A Visual History of 1100 Characters = Kanji Etoki
by Noriko Kurosawa Williams (2010)
My review: I always enjoyed etymology (the study of the history of words), and when I started learning the Japanese writing system this love intensified. I decided to leverage on this love, to help myself learn more 漢字 (kanji). I bought this book to supplement my learning, expecting to use it just as a dictionary. I did not know that the book also had a few sections covering the history of the Chinese and Japanese writing system... I ended up devouring those sections.
This turned out to be a great purchase, I use it to reinforce my kanji learning by understanding each symbol origin, as well as to understand better where this incredibly complex writing system came from. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 12 2021 Finished: Feb 14 2021
A Crash of Fate (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, #1) cover
A Crash of Fate (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, #1)
by Zoraida Córdova (2019)
My review: I am fond of the Star Wars fictional universe: I have a nostalgic attachment to it, and despite some drops in quality along the way (e.g. The Phantom Menace), recent installments like Rogue One, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were even better than the original series. Because of this fondness, I started reading some of Star Wars books during my commute. The quality is not always great, but they are usually at least enjoyable.
A Crash of Fate is quite enjoyable, despite being a tie-in story for the new Disneyland park section. It's the story of Izzy and Jules. They were childhood friends, climbing the spires of Batuu, inventing silly games, and dreaming of adventures they would share one day. Then, Izzy's family left abruptly, without even a chance to say goodbye. Izzy's life became one of constant motion, traveling from one world to the next, until her parents were killed and she became a low-level smuggler to make ends meet. Jules remained on Batuu, eventually becoming a farmer like his father, but always yearning for something more. Now, thirteen years after she left, Izzy is returning to Batuu. She's been hired to deliver a mysterious parcel, and she just wants to finish the job and get gone. But upon arrival at Black Spire Outpost she runs smack into the one person who still means something to her after all this time: Jules. The attraction between them is immediate, yet despite Jules seeming to be everything she's ever needed, Izzy hesitates. How can she drag this good-hearted man into the perilous life she's chosen? Jules has been trying to figure out his future, but now all he knows for certain is that he wants to be with Izzy. How can he convince her to take a chance on someone who's never left the safety of his homeworld?
A cute and entertaining read, that while does not contain any revelation nor features any of the well known characters, it still managed to evoke the magic of the Star Wars universe and make you like in it for few hours. I liked it. :) (★★★)
Started: Jan 09 2021 Finished: Feb 06 2021
Masquerade in Lodi (Penric and Desdemona, #9) cover
Masquerade in Lodi (Penric and Desdemona, #9)
by Lois McMaster Bujold (2020)
My review: I have grown fond of the Penric and Desdemona series, and I particularly liked Nikys' story arc started in Penric's Mission. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a new instalment was out. I was not disappointed: the story is definitely entertaining, even if not as good as the one in Nikys' arc.
This novella jumps back in time, to when Penric was younger and still unattached. It is set in the canal city of Lodi, the equivalent of Venice in the world of the five gods. Bastard's Eve is a night of celebration for most residents in Lodi... but not for sorcerer Learned Penric and his Temple demon Desdemona, who find themselves caught up in the affairs of a shiplost madman, a dangerous ascendant demon, and a very unexpected saint of the fifth god. (★★★)
Started: Jan 26 2021 Finished: Feb 01 2021
Randomize cover
Randomize
by Andy Weir
My review: I had read and enjoyed The Martian, hence I was looking forward reading this short story by the same author. It is definitely entertaining despite its short length.
The story is set in the near future, between the Silicon Valley and Las Vegas. An IT whiz at the Babylon Casino is enlisted to upgrade security for the game of keno and its random-number generator. The new quantum computer system is foolproof. But someone on the inside is no fool. For once the odds may not favor the house... unless human ingenuity isn't entirely a thing of the past. This story was released as part of Forward, a collection of six short stories of the near and far future from acclaimed speculative fiction authors. (★★★)
Started: Feb 01 2021 Finished: Feb 01 2021
Their Eyes Were Watching God cover
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston (2020)
My review: After reading good review after good review of this book, I had been wanting to read Their Eyes Were Watching God for a while. I was not disappointed. While I had initially some minor difficulty with the use of a Southern vernacular I was not used to, I soon came up to speed and got enchanted by the highly lyric and poetic writing.
This book is one of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century. It brings to life a Southern love story with wit, pathos, and incredibly beautiful writing. I loved following the main character (Janie Crawford) through her life, see her growth beyond the strict gender norms imposed by society to be able to finally find love in a fulfilling relationship of equals.
Out of print for almost thirty years, due largely to initial audiences' rejection of its strong black female protagonist, Hurston's classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 04 2021 Finished: Jan 25 2021
Slaughterhouse-Five cover
Slaughterhouse-Five
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1999)
My review: There has been a lot of talk around this novel, finalists of the Nebula, Hugo, and National Book awards. Modern Library even listed it as one of the 100 best novels of all time, while there has been numerous attempts to censor this book: in 1973 for example, a school board in USA decided to burn all the school libraries copies of the book. As a result I had extremely high expectations: I was prepared to be blown away.... but I was not.
Do not get me wrong: it's a good book, with a great anti-war message. It just did not meet my over hyped expectations.
Slaughterhouse-Five is centered on the infamous firebombing of Dresden. It is the story of Billy Pilgrim a person that claims to be experiencing time in a different way: he jumps back and forth, experiencing pieces of his life in almost random order. This odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most. (★★★)
Started: Dec 31 2020 Finished: Jan 08 2021
How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future cover
How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future
by Steven Levitsky (2018)
My review: This is one of the scariest and most interesting books I read in a while. How Democracies Die analyzes the path taken by countries that narrowly avoided falling into authoritarianism, and countries that did not manage to avoid the descent into full dictatorship. This analysis is used to explain how easy is for democracy to be eroded and die, and it provides useful insight on USA recent history and the current challenges faced by our nation.
The recent political escalations, the erosions of Democratic norms had made many of us wondering: is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang, in a revolution or military coup, but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, we have already passed many of them. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die, and how ours can be saved.
The book is three years old by now, I would love to read an updated and extended edition covering recent events, including attempts by the outgoing administration to overturns the election results. I would love to hear the authors' take on this. Is it too late? What can be done, by both party, to re-establish respect and democratic norms? (★★★★)
Started: Dec 24 2020 Finished: Jan 04 2021