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radio-appears Locked account

Joined 1 year, 8 months ago

I read light, but broadly. Currently one of my favorite things is to dig up female sci-fi/fantasy authors from the 70s and 80s. I find it difficult to separate my own personal experience of a book from its "objective" good or bad qualities and rate and review it in a way that could be useful for some hypothetical Universal Reader. I just wanna chat, really.

Still trying to figure this bookwyrm thing out.

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radio-appears's books

Currently Reading

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Adam Hochschild, Adam Hochschild: King Leopold’s Ghost (EBook, 2020, HMH Books) 4 stars

In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of …

Still a must-read, 20 years later

4 stars

When King Leopold’s Ghost was published two decades ago, its only briefly blipped on my radar, leaving me with the vague impression that of the hells European colonisation created in Africa, Léopold’s (and subsequently Belgium’s) Congo was located in the deepest circles. Historical colonialism, however, beyond being bad on principle, was not an issue the liberal German Left was worried about at the end of the 20th century – in part because sympathy for the post colonial struggle was de rigueur, in part out of the entirely unfounded feeling that we Germans got out of that particular pickle just in time.

Fast forward 20 years, and Germany is beginning to acknowledge its colonial past, leaving no way to dismiss the story of the colonial Congo as some other nation’s problem. Colonialism, it turns out, was hellish everywhere, with the German colonies no exception (the chicotte, the rhino hide …

reviewed Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley: Sunshine (Paperback, 2004, Jove) 5 stars

Just should've re-read Deerskin

No rating

I've already written a review of another one of Robin McKinley's books, Deerskin. I loved that book, it was psychological, metaphorical, immediate, disgusting, cathartic and very introspective. Logically, I expected something similar from Sunshine. The premise seemed to promise that as well; A vampire and a human are locked together in a room. He hides in the shadows, she moves with the spot of sunlight falling through the window. But as night falls... I expected a tense, intense, slow thriller. Will she die? Will she convince the vampire to let her live? Who locked them in this room together and why? I looked forward to that story.

It wasn't that. It was that for like, the first chapter, and then it became something entirely different. In a sense, it isn't really fair to resent a story for not being what you wanted it to be. Sunshine isn't bad, it just …

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4 stars

1) "All that you touch You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change. God Is Change. EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING"

2) "For whatever it's worth, here's what I believe. It took me a lot of time to understand it, then a lot more time with a dictionary and a thesaurus to say it just right—just the way it has to be. In the past year, it's gone through twenty-five or thirty lumpy, incoherent rewrites. This is the right one, the true one. This is the one I keep coming back to: God is Power— Infinite, Irresistible, Inexorable, Indifferent. And yet, God is Pliable— Trickster, Teacher, Chaos, Clay. God exists to be shaped. God is Change. This is the literal truth."

3) "Sometimes naming a thing—giving it a name or discovering its name—helps one to begin to understand it. Knowing the …

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Interesting and informative

5 stars

Worth reading for anyone interested in understanding more about the roots of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In a nutshell, Schneer paints a colorful and detailed picture of how Zionist Jews managed to convert several key officials in the British government to their cause, and how the British government ended up using the land of Palestine as a bargaining chip with Jewish people in the UK, the USA, Russia, and elsewhere, while also promising it to various factions involved in the first World War--Arabs, supported by T.E. Lawrence, seeking to establish a pan-Arab kingdom, plus the Ottoman Empire, if they would only split with Germany, and also France along the way.

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Michael J. Tougias, Eric B. Schultz: King Philip's war : the history and legacy of America's forgotten conflict No rating

Started this this morning. First comment that caught my interest - this largely forgotten war set the tone for future conflicts between English colonists and Native Americans. Yikes. OK. You have my interest. Also, I am listening to the audiobook but now I kinda want the paper version so I can check out the maps. This war took place over several regions with which I am familiar as a result of having grown up in the northeast.

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In a world devastated by nuclear holocaust, Snake is a healer. One of an elite …

Snake is a lover, not a fighter, but she'll still fight

5 stars

I rarely read or watch anything more than once, so books that I read more than once for the pleasure automatically get perfect ratings from me. This is one of those books. The main character is a healer; her quest involves finding ways to help her and her fellow healers help people more effectively. There is some plenty of action in her confronting the dangerous elements of a world devastated by nuclear war and apparently held in thrall by distant alien rulers. There are plenty of elements I wish had been fleshed out more, like who ARE those aliens? But those unresolved questions didn't overshadow the enjoyment I got from watching Snake grow in confidence and use both her strength and her intelligence to escape dicey situations. Highly recommend, especially to those who enjoyed, for example, "The Light From Uncommon Stars" by Ryka Aoki or the Monk and Robot series …

reviewed The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth, #1)

N. K. Jemisin: The Fifth Season (Paperback, 2016, Orbit) 4 stars

This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single …

Slightly disappointing Hugo Winner

No rating

Warning: Extremely Vague Spoilers

It’s clear to see why The Fifth Season won a Hugo award and became immensely popular. Jemisin is an amazing world-builder and extremely good at plotting. She knows exactly at what pace to reveal the mysteries of her world to make her readers desperate to find out what happens next. The culture and history of her world are shaped by the titular “fifth seasons” years-long periods of environmental disasters, which is a great concept, and her orogenes are a really cool half-magic, half-science twist on typical elemental magics. She also manages to do something that was once thought impossible: create fantasy-cursing that is both thematic and natural.

Jemisin wants to do more than just write an exciting book though, she has a message, a two-fold one at that. She’s clearly both inspired by climate disasters in our world, as well as (racial) oppression. I say racial, …

reviewed The Runner by Cynthia Voigt (Tillerman Cycle, #4)

Cynthia Voigt: The Runner (Paperback, 2005, Atheneum Books for Young Readers) 4 stars

A SPEEDING BULLET Bullet Tillerman runs. He runs to escape the criticism of his harsh, …

Review after a re-read

No rating

Cynthia Voigt is one of those authors whose work more or less became an integral part of my personality. I discovered her series on the Tillermans around thirteen years old, and read and re-read these books throughout my teens, deeply identifying with the protagonists and their coming-of-age struggles.

“The Runner” was never my favourite, but it was still nice to revisit, now that I have some adult perspective.

In other Tillerman-books, Bullet is already a background character. The uncle who died tragically in Vietnam but left a deep impression on the people who knew him in his short life. In this book we actually get to meet him. In the earlier books, Bullet is understandably placed on a bit of a pedestal by the characters, but I don’t know if this story does a good job of taking him off of it. He’s presented as an extremely talented athlete, very …

started reading Hoog spel by Marcel Metze

Marcel Metze: Hoog spel (Dutch language, 2023, Uitgeverij Balans) No rating

High Stakes: The policital biography of Shell

A Dutch book on the history of the multinational oil corporation, that promises to be rather critical of the company. (Who'd guess that a multinational oil corporation wouldn't always act ethically?)

Much denser than I expected, so I'm still only in the first chapter!

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Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber (Paperback, 1990, Penguin Books) 4 stars

Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey …

I'd already been planning on reading this book for a while (I love a fairytale retelling, if it's done right). Then I watched the movie The Company of Wolves and it was the exact story I needed at that moment. Without going into detail, it really helped go through and get over some stuff. So I wanted to read the book even more. I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm going through it in order, saving the wolf-stories that I adored so much in the film version for last.