Best Books of 2015

5 January, 2016


1) The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (The Cinder Spires

When I first heard of this new series I was actually a bit annoyed as it meant less time for Butcher to spend crafting new books in the Dresden series.  About 20 pages into The Aeronaut’s Windlass I forgave him.  This is a richly detailed fantasy world with unique peoples, cultures and magics.  Humanity lives in spires high above the uncertain and dangerous mists of Earth.  Butcher peoples these spires with unique and entertaining species and races (this is where I should mention the scene stealing Cats).  The Spires are run like nations, with armadas of stunningly crafted mist-sailing ships.  Butcher has grown really, really good at creating wonderful series- each individual book is satisfying on its own but also part of a larger, more complicated and multifacted story.

2) Red-Rose Chain Seanan McGuire

I truly adore this series– I took this one camping, in thirty degree rain. I curled inside my sleeping bag, exhausted and drained and yet unable to stop reading until my eyes closed of their own volition. McGuire’s characters grow and change; they do so subtly, gradually and with realistic growing pains. I wonder sometimes if these stories would be as effective if they were a little less violent but really, I don’t really care– I’ll keep reading until the series ends (please don’t end)

3) Sitting Pretty by Richard Kadrey

Man, this series. I love it. It’s dark and violent and funny. I’ve mentioned before that James (“Jimmy”) Stark is the perfect anti-hero, glittering in his scarred and tarnished armor, but it’s worth repeating. I appreciate an author who makes Satan a relatable character without resorting to cheesy-ness (although there is a strong element of camp).
I usually download the audiobooks in this series as soon as they are released– the narrator does a fantastic job. His female voices can sound pretty similar, but it almost never detracts from the story

4) Armada by Ernest Cline

I feel kinda bad for this book because I think I would have liked it more if the author’s first book hadn’t been so damn good

5) The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

I honestly haven’t been able to read it yet, because when I do… Well…


Snowed In

14 February, 2014

There was a very rare snowstorm in my area last weekend, and even though I was living almost exclusively on chocolate ice cream from Dairy Queen (I had my wisdom teeth out last week) the roads aren’t plowed here, so we stayed home. Eli has chains for the car, so we could have left if we really needed to, but, and it shocks me to say this, we had fun staying in with the little. He’s 17 months old now and just FULL of energy, excitement, and screaming. He is exhausting, but, he is awesome. The absolute naked joy on his face as he lay in a snow pile and let the flakes hit him in the face more than made up for the hours of frustration I’ve felt lately.
And I have been frustrated– with the little and with myself (for loosing patience with someone so angelic and so very very ornery).
He has recently decided that the stroller just won’t do– he wants to walk, spatula in hand (oh dear god don’t get me started on the fucking spatula). So I leash up the dog, shoe-up the little (which takes a half hour, even though he was screaming to go outside), and we get outside. Twenty minutes later, we might make it out of the yard. An hour later, we might (maybe) have made it up the block. It is irritating going that slow, literally going backwards at points (and why can’t the dog and the little stop at the same time?!). But why, why is it so irritating? Where do I have to be? Why DON’T I want to sweep the house for the 10th time in a day, when he so clearly enjoys it and wants nothing more than to ‘sweep’ with me (forgoing the small broom I got him in favor of his spatula). It is especially hard on the days when I just want to read but know I’ll have to wait for that hour or two after he goes to bed but before I do– the same hour where I clean, plan, and occasionally say hi to Eli. But, I signed up for this– I want to stay home with him. I want to enjoy every little thing… even if it means taking two hours to go around the fucking block… Which is why that snow was so magical. Because it was the most amazing thing to ever happen to him, and we didn’t miss a bit of it.

full and solid and soft

31 December, 2013

I said “Let’s not let this baby change us”. I said “Let’s not let our house be taken over by toys”. I said “Lets make time for one another”. But here I am, one day away from the 31st of 2013, one day away from my 31st trip around the sun, and, whew boy, did I request the impossible. My house (especially after christmas and especially after a flu that left Eli incapacitated and the little dragon grump-tastic and foggy) the little shoe box we’ve been temporarily living in is FILLED with fucking toys. And there is a swear jar on the shelf FILLED with quarters and even though I said ‘fucking’ in the last sentence I had to pause and think after I typed it. And we do try and make time for each other but it’s crammed into the two hours after the dragon’s bed time and before we pass out, the time when we must also clean ourselves and put away and occasionally pet the dog.
So, really, it’s a pretty normal American life. And while I feel so old (the oldest I’ve ever been) and so tired (so tired) my life is full and solid and soft and I (mostly) appreciate all the little presents that leave too quick. Or I try. And that’s all I can ask of myself, really. Just to try to live in the moment, because while the moment is sleep deprived and tripping over toys, it’s adorable and it’s mine.

revel and languish

15 September, 2013

False Lilly of the Vally
An hour or more on a rumpled couch, laptop open, eating the only chocolate in the house (dark, and not my favorite), not not thinking about all the things I should be doing and I take another bite and slouch a little deeper, sigh and let the dog in because she’s barking but I will not walk her yet no dog, go lay down, and smile, smirk, because I’m sneaking out on life, stealing a moment of useless, just, yes.

I’ve loved every part the most

4 September, 2013

Dearest one (year old),
I remember when I was a kid and I read a book where the main character leaves Earth to live amongst aliens. I don’t remember the name of the book, but I loved the idea. If offered the chance, I told myself, I would leave. I mean, sure, I would miss my pets and my mom and everything– but– aliens! Space travel!! New!! This idea stuck with me as I grew, and is probably why I studied anthropology for so long. I told your daddy that as much as I loved him (and oh, I love him) I would have to go if aliens asked me to. He would always look at me a little sadly and then shake his head OK, comfortable with the odds of me getting to live on alien spacecraft.
But you know what, little one? When you were born I no longer wanted to leave Earth. Even if you and your dad got to come with, I don’t want us to go. I want you to know Earth and what it is to be human, what it means to love someone and to eat strawberry shortcake. All of the good things and even some of the bad and the boring and even, even broccoli.
So that’s my lesson from this year– you are so wonderful, so beautiful, so unique that I’ve had my philosophies and hidden dreams and heart completely changed by it. I don’t want to know other worlds so badly that I’d leave this one– now I want to know what the world is with you in it.
You grow so fast, so fast. I’ve loved every stage the best. I thought I knew joy, knew love, knew all the best things that the universe had to offer, but I didn’t, because I didn’t know you.
Happy first birthday, baby.

I have more to tell you, but no time to tell it. Later, perhaps.