Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2023.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads API.
Autonomous cover
Currently Reading

by Annalee Newitz (2017)
Publisher review: Autonomous features a rakish female pharmaceutical pirate named Jack who traverses the world in her own submarine. A notorious anti-patent scientist who has styled herself as a Robin Hood heroine fighting to bring cheap drugs to the poor, Jack’s latest drug is leaving a trail of lethal overdoses across what used to be North America—a drug that compels people to become addicted to their work. On Jack’s trail are an unlikely pair: an emotionally shut-down military agent and his partner, Paladin, a young military robot, who fall in love against all expectations. Autonomous alternates between the activities of Jack and her co-conspirators, and Elias and Paladin, as they all race to stop a bizarre drug epidemic that is tearing apart lives, causing trains to crash, and flooding New York City.
Started: May 26 2023
The Curse of Chalion (World of the Five Gods, #1) cover
Currently Reading
The Curse of Chalion (World of the Five Gods, #1)

by Lois McMaster Bujold (2003)
Publisher review: A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril, has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, as the secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it will ultimately lead him to the place he fears most, the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies, who once placed him in chains, now occupy lofty positions. In addition to the traitorous intrigues of villains, Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle, are faced with a sinister curse that hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. Only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics, can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge—an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous, and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.
Started: Apr 24 2023
System Design Interview – An Insider's Guide: Volume 2 cover
Currently Reading
System Design Interview – An Insider's Guide: Volume 2

by Alex Xu
Publisher review: System Design Interview - An Insider's Guide (Volume 2) This book can be seen as a sequel to the book: System Design Interview - An Insider’s Guide. It covers a different set of system design interview questions and solutions. Although reading Volume 1 is helpful, it is not required. This book should be accessible to readers who have a basic understanding of distributed systems. This volume provides a reliable strategy and knowledge base for approaching a broad range of system design questions that you may encounter. It will help you feel confident during this important interview. This book provides a step-by-step framework for how to tackle a system design question. It also includes many real-world examples to illustrate a systematic approach, with detailed and well-explained steps you can follow. What’s inside? - An insider’s take on what interviewers really look for and why. - A 4-step framework for solving any system design interview question. - 13 real system design interview questions with detailed solutions. - 300+ diagrams to visually explain how different systems work. Table of Contents Chapter 1: Proximity Service Chapter 2: Nearby Friends Chapter 3: Google Maps Chapter 4: Distributed Message Queue Chapter 5: Metrics Monitoring Chapter 6: Ad Click Event Aggregation Chapter 7: Hotel Reservation Chapter 8: Distributed Email Service Chapter 9: S3-like Object Storage Chapter 10: Real-time Gaming Leaderboard Chapter 11: Payment System Chapter 12: Digital Wallet Chapter 13: Stock Exchange
Started: Apr 05 2023
Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) cover
Currently Reading
Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4)

by Stephen King (2003)
Publisher review: Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Jake’s pet bumbler survive Blaine the Mono’s final crash, only to find themselves stranded in an alternate version of Topeka, Kansas, one that has been ravaged by the superflu virus. While following the deserted I-70 toward a distant glass palace, they hear the atonal squalling of a thinny, a place where the fabric of existence has almost entirely worn away. While camping near the edge of the thinny, Roland tells his ka-tet a story about another thinny, one that he encountered when he was little more than a boy. Over the course of one long magical night, Roland transports us to the Mid-World of long-ago and a seaside town called Hambry, where Roland fell in love with a girl named Susan Delgado, and where he and his old tet-mates Alain and Cuthbert battled the forces of John Farson, the harrier who—with a little help from a seeing sphere called Maerlyn’s Grapefruit—ignited Mid-World’s final war.
Started: Apr 27 2023
Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) cover
Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)
by Jeff VanderMeer
Publisher review: Area X has been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition. The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.
My rating: ★★★
Started: Apr 22 2023 Finished: Apr 27 2023
Knot of Shadows (Penric and Desdemona #11) cover
Knot of Shadows (Penric and Desdemona #11)
by Lois McMaster Bujold (2021)
My review: I enjoyed the previous installments of the Penric and Desdemona series, and I was eager to see what will happen in Knot of Shadows.
When a corpse is found floating face-down in Vilnoc harbor that is not quite as dead as it seems, Temple sorcerer Penric and his chaos demon Desdemona are drawn into the uncanny investigation. Pen's keen questions will take him across the city of Vilnoc, and into far more profound mysteries, as his search for truths interlaces with tragedy.
This is another entertaining story set in the world of five gods. It's probably not the best one, but I enjoyed it. (★★★)
Started: Apr 16 2023 Finished: Apr 23 2023
Noor cover
by Nnedi Okorafor
My review: I loved Who Fears Death and I was looking forward reading more by this author.
This story is set in near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: a woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong. Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn't so predictable.
This is really a great book, I am looking forward reading more by this author. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 01 2023 Finished: Apr 21 2023
Anansi Boys cover
Anansi Boys
by Neil Gaiman (2009)
My review: I did like American Gods, but not so much as to read its sequel... or so I though. I saw Anansi Boys on sale and i though "why not?". So I gave it a try. Funny enough I enjoyed it much more than the previous instalment of the series, even if its scope is much narrower.
This is the Story of Fat Charlie and Spider. When Fat Charlie's dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie "Fat Charlie." Even now, twenty years later, Charlie Nancy can't shake that name, one of the many embarrassing "gifts" his father bestowed -- before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie's life.
Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie's doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who's going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun ... just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.
Because, you see, Charlie's dad wasn't just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.
This was a very enjoyable read. I shoudl give other Neil Gaiman's books a try! (★★★★)
Started: Mar 19 2023 Finished: Apr 16 2023
Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky, #2) cover
Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky, #2)
by Rebecca Roanhorse (2022)
My review: I had previously read and deeply loved the previous instalment of Between Earth and Sky series, Black Sun. When I learned that the second instalment was out I was extremely eager to read it... I was not disappointed. This is one of the best series of the decade. I cannot wait to read the next book!
Fevered Star starts when Black Sun left off: the sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent. As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth. And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction? (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 04 2023 Finished: Mar 31 2023
The Origin of the Flow (The Interdependency, #0.5) cover
The Origin of the Flow (The Interdependency, #0.5)
by John Scalzi (2019)
My review: I had just finished reading and loved the Interdependency series when I discovered this short story set in the same universe existed. I had to read it.
It turns out it is a prequel of sort, a reference piece that the author had written for himself to give some context to himself about what he was writing. He decided to release it as part of a charity event.
In the Interdependency series, humans get around space via “The Flow”, a “metacosmological multidimensional space” that’s not of this universe but lets people get around in it at multiples of the speed of light. This is the Flow's origin story, and it covers how people discovered it.
It's cute and interesting to read, but you definitely do not need to read it to appreciate the series. The author himself describe it as "non canonical" and "fan-fiction of his own work". (★★★★)
Started: Mar 21 2023 Finished: Mar 21 2023
The Last Emperox (The Interdependency, #3) cover
The Last Emperox (The Interdependency, #3)
by John Scalzi
My review: I previously read and loved many books by this author, including the other books in The Interdependency series. While I thought that the first instalment of the series was a little rough and rushed out (the author said that he did rush to complete it before a deadline), I enjoyed the story and I was vested into completing it. The second instalment was already really good, but The Last Emperox is by far the best of the series, and I really loved and laughed out loud reading it (the author has a great sense of humor).
In this book the collapse of The Flow, the interstellar pathway between the planets of the Interdependency, has accelerated. Entire star systems and billions of people are becoming cut off from the rest of human civilization. This collapse was foretold through scientific prediction... and yet, even as the evidence is obvious and insurmountable, many still try to rationalize, delay and profit from, these final days of one of the greatest empires humanity has ever known.
Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people form impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough.
A great conclusion to a great series, that I recommend to everyone. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 03 2023 Finished: Mar 19 2023
System Design Interview – An insider's guide cover
System Design Interview – An insider's guide
by Alex Xu
My review: The system design interview is considered to be the most complex and most difficult technical job interview by many. Those questions are often intimidating, and always open-ended. This book is perfect to prepare systematically. The book provides an insider's take on what interviewers really look for and why. It describes a 4-step framework for solving any system design interview question, and goes through 16 real system design interview questions with detailed solutions.
A great book, I strongly recommend it to all software engineers. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 20 2023 Finished: Mar 14 2023
Neom cover
by Lavie Tidhar (2022)
My review: I have previously read and enjoyed books by this author, and I was looking forward to reading this book when I heard of it.
The city known as Neom is many things to many beings, human or otherwise. Neom is a tech wonderland for the rich and beautiful; an urban sprawl along the Red Sea; and a port of call between Earth and the stars. In the desert, young orphan Saleh has joined a caravan, hoping to earn his passage off-world from Central Station. But the desert is full of mechanical artefacts, some unexplained and some unexploded. Recently, a wry, unnamed robot has unearthed one of the region’s biggest mysteries: the vestiges of a golden man. In Neom, childhood affection is rekindling between loyal shurta-officer Nasir and hardworking flower-seller Mariam. But Nasu, a deadly terrorartist, has come to the city with missing memories and unfinished business. Just one robot can change a city’s destiny with a single rose—especially when that robot is in search of lost love. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 26 2023 Finished: Mar 04 2023
Ezra's Gamble cover
Ezra's Gamble
by Ryder Windham (2014)
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 is the story of fourteen year-old Ezra Bridger. He lives alone on the Outer Rim planet of Lothal. He fends for himself by picking up odd jobs and hustling unsuspecting stormtroopers. But when Arena Day arrives, an underground tournament where mighty beasts battle to the finish and all the swindlers, gamblers, and no-gooders come to make a profit, Ezra is whisked into an unlikely partnership with the fearsome bounty hunter Bossk. He find himself ensnared in a high-stakes chase against an endless fleet of troopers. Ezra isn't willing to trust anyone, but he soon learns that surviving doesn't always mean just fending for himself.
It is a cute prequel to the animated series Star Wars Rebels that I have not seen yet. I was definitely not part of its target audience, it is intended for very young readers, and that clearly limited its enjoyability. (★★)
Started: Feb 25 2023 Finished: Mar 03 2023
Remote Control cover
Remote Control
by Nnedi Okorafor (2021)
My review: I previously read and loved other books by this author, and I was looking forward reading this new novella. While it's not as good as Who Fears Death, it is quite good.
The story is set in a future Ghana and revolves around a very young orphan, Fatima.The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­, a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.
Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks alone, except for her fox companion, searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? (★★★★)
Started: Feb 23 2023 Finished: Feb 26 2023
Babel: An Arcane History cover
Babel: An Arcane History
by R.F. Kuang (2022)
My review: This book has won many awards and tons of people were recommending it hence I decided to give it a try... and I did not regret the choice. This is one of the best book I have read in a long while. The book is hard to define: it is an alternative history book, where fictional historical facts echo real historical events and help us understand them. It's fiction, yet it's also historical fiction.
Babel is set in 1828. The main character is Robin Swift, an orphan by cholera in Canton, brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation, also known as Babel. The tower and its students are the world's center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver-working, the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars, has made the British unparalleled in power, as the arcane craft serves the Empire's quest for colonization.
For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?
I strongly recommend this book to everyone. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 07 2023 Finished: Feb 24 2023
Into the Riverlands (The Singing Hills Cycle, #3) cover
Into the Riverlands (The Singing Hills Cycle, #3)
by Nghi Vo
My review: I had read and enjoyed the previous instalments of the Singing Hills series, so I was quite eager to read this.
in Into the Riverlands wandering cleric Chih of the Singing Hills travels to the riverlands to record tales of the notorious near-immortal martial artists who haunt the region. On the road to Betony Docks, they fall in with a pair of young women far from home, and an older couple who are more than they seem. As Chih runs headlong into an ancient feud, they find themselves far more entangled in the history of the riverlands than they ever expected to be. Accompanied by Almost Brilliant, a talking bird with an indelible memory, Chih confronts old legends and new dangers alike as they learn that every story, beautiful, ugly, kind, or cruel, bears more than one face.
A very enjoyable book, I am hoping there will be more. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 19 2023 Finished: Feb 22 2023
Defekt (LitenVerse, #2) cover
Defekt (LitenVerse, #2)
by Nino Cipri (2021)
My review: I have previously read the previous installment of the LitenVerse series (Finna) and while it was original, funny, and interesting, I was not sure I wanted to read more of the series... but I decided to give it a try and... I actually loved it!
Defekt can be read pretty much as a stand-alone story, set in the same universe (store) of Finna, but with a different cast of characters.
This is the story of Derek, LitenVärld's most loyal employee. He lives and breathes the job, from the moment he wakes up in a converted shipping container at the edge of the parking lot to the second he clocks out of work 18 hours later. But after taking his first ever sick day, his manager calls that loyalty into question. An excellent employee like Derek, an employee made to work at LitenVärld, shouldn't need time off. To test his commitment to the job, Derek is assigned to a special inventory shift, hunting through the store to find defective products. Toy chests with pincers and eye stalks, ambulatory sleeper sofas, killer mutant toilets, that kind of thing. Helping him is the inventory team... four strangers who look and sound almost exactly like him! Are five Dereks better than one?
This is an hilarious and witty take on capitalism and corporations... if you are looking for something to make you smile or laugh, this could be a good book for you. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 14 2023 Finished: Feb 19 2023
Sea of Tranquility cover
Sea of Tranquility
by Emily St. John Mandel (2022)
My review: A few years ago I read Station Eleven. I liked it, but... I was not crazy about the ending. I was not planning to read more by this author but a good friend recommended Sea of Tranquillity to me, so I decided to give the author another try. I was NOT disappointed. I *really* liked this book. The narrative structure reminded me of Cloud Atlas and How High We Go in the Dark (I loved both of them), and it's very hard to put down.
This is a novel of art, time travel, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon five hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.
Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal--an experience that shocks him to his core.
Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She's traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive's best-selling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.
When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.
A virtuoso performance that is as human and tender as it is intellectually playful, Sea of Tranquility is a novel of time travel and metaphysics that precisely captures the reality of our current moment. (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 08 2023 Finished: Feb 13 2023
Lost in the Moment and Found (Wayward Children, #8) cover
Lost in the Moment and Found (Wayward Children, #8)
by Seanan McGuire (2023)
My review: I have read and enjoyed the previous instalments of the Wayward Children series, and I was looking forward reading this latest instalment. The latest instalment, Where the Drowned Girls Go, had set up the stage for a big final battle between the Whitethorn Institute and Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, and I as expecting this book to focus on that. Instead it is a a stand-alone novel focusing on one of the residents in the Home for Wayward Children, Antionette. Yes, in this book we learn how she ended up living with Eleanor West, but the book is NOT one of those boring "prequel" books with no interesting content that some author write to milk their successful story. This is a remarkable book in itself, more dark than average for this series, focusing on very difficult themes like grooming, gaslighting, manipulation of adult/child dynamics, etc.
The book takes us into the Shop Where the Lost Things Go. If you ever lost a sock, you’ll find it here. If you ever wondered about favorite toy from childhood... it’s probably sitting on a shelf in the back. And the headphones that you swore that this time you’d keep safe? You guessed it…
Antoinette has lost her father. Metaphorically. He’s not in the shop, and she’ll never see him again. But when Antsy finds herself lost (literally, this time), she finds that however many doors open for her, leaving the Shop for good might not be as simple as it sounds. And stepping through those doors exacts a price. Lost in the Moment and Found tells us that childhood and innocence, once lost, can never be found.
Seanan McGuire never disappoints, I am looking forward the next instalment of the series. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 30 2023 Finished: Feb 07 2023
How High We Go in the Dark cover
How High We Go in the Dark
by Sequoia Nagamatsu
My review: This book was nominated and won numerous literary awards that made me want to read the book. I propose the book to my work book club, and my coworkers were as intrigued as I was, so we ended up picking it.
The book follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague. This is a daring and deeply heartfelt work of imagination from a singular new voice. Beginning in 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus. Once unleashed, the Arctic Plague will reshape life on earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy.
Each chapter focuses on a different cast, always linked in often surprising ways to the characters of the previous chapters. Some of the chapters have quite far fetched premises, but I soon realized it did not matter: the character development and exploration was so incredibly well done that you end up ignoring "death roller coasters for terminally ill children" and "talking pigs". Yes the premises will challenge your suspension of disbelief, but the experiences of this characters feels so real, so relatable, so moving.
From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resiliency of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.
Reviewers compare this book to Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven. The narrative structure is similar to the former, but while in Cloud Atlas it made the book a little harder to read, in here it does not. This book is much more accessible and easier to read than Cloud Atlas. To be clear, Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books, but it's not an easy reading. The similarities with Station Eleven are a little thinner in my opinion: the settings and the character focus is similar, but the similarities ends there.
One of the best books I read in a while. It does have its flaws, but its strengths make those flows irrelevant and hard to notice. I am definitely looking forward to reading more books by this author. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 17 2023 Finished: Jan 30 2023
Nightcrawling cover
by Leila Mottley
My review: When the book club at work I lead selected this book I was quite curious. I have heard that it was quite good, and it is set in the town I live, so I was quite intrigued. I became even more interested when I learned that it was inspired by a true story.
Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are scraping by in an East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison. But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent--which has more than doubled--and to keep the nine-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed. One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. Her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.
The book is masterfully written and shed lights to topics and situations that are never discussed enough. I do recommend it to everyone, especially if you live in the USA. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 01 2023 Finished: Jan 16 2023
Gender Queer: A Memoir cover
Gender Queer: A Memoir
by Maia Kobabe
My review: I read this book as part of Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community (librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types) in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
For the past few years I have been participating to the event reading some of the most challenged books in the previous year.
In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
I found the book to be quite enlightening, it is rare to read something written by an agender and asexual person about the way e sees the world. It is very honest, easy to connect with, and strongly recommended to anyone. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 14 2023 Finished: Jan 15 2023
A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables, #2) cover
A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables, #2)
by Alix E. Harrow
My review: I previously read and liked quite a lot the previous instalment of the Fractured Fables series, A Spindle Splintered, hence I was quite eager to read its sequel. It was even better than the first one!
This is again the story of Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty. After the events covered by the previous book in the series, she is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.
Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can't handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White's Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she's desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen's poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path?
Strongly recommended to everyone (but please read A Spindle Splintered first!). (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 01 2023 Finished: Jan 06 2023