by Yuko Higuchi (2015)
Publisher review: 「なんてやさしいねこたちなんだろう。 ぼくも あんなやさしいねこになりたい」 猫になりたいと願うぬいぐるみのニャンコと、 旅先で出会う本物の猫たちとの心あたたまる絵物語。 猫たちの優しさにふれて成長していくニャンコ。 「せかいいちのねこ」とは…。 ほんとうの幸せとは…。 個性豊かな猫たちの姿も愛らしい絵本。 2015年11月刊。
Started: Jan 04 2023
Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators' Revolution
by R.F. Kuang (2022)
Publisher review: A novel that grapples with student revolutions, colonial resistance, and the use of language and translation as the dominating tool of the British empire. Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal. 1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is 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. Babel is 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 its knowledge 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?
Started: Jan 07 2023
Lost in the Moment and Found (Wayward Children, #8)
by Seanan McGuire (2023)
Publisher review: A young girl discovers an infinite variety of worlds in this standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Wayward Children series from Seanan McGuire, Lost in the Moment and Found. Welcome to 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.
Started: Jan 30 2023
How High We Go in the Dark
by Sequoia Nagamatsu (2022)
Publisher review: For fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague—a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending 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. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects—a pig—develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenaged granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet. 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.
My rating: ★★★★★
Started: Jan 17 2023 Finished: Jan 30 2023
by Leila Mottley (2022)
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
by Maia Kobabe (2019)
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