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Hello, mid-2015! We meet again, mid-year, WAY TOO SOON! 2015's been an interesting year so far, full of a lot of things I thought I would love but didn't (Avengers!) and some things I love that I never expected (Bone Gap!). This is the time where I'd generally be going, "Oh no! HUGO DEADLINE!" but we all know what happened in that particular clubhouse, so I actually only need to read The Three Body Problem and I'll be done (it's gonna have to knock my socks off to get more than my third slot, though). It's opened up my opportunities for July for sure, as I head into the second half of the year.

September's looming. Is anyone else both excited/terrified for the books coming out in September? Even August is starting to make me a little nervous.

Books


Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear — my favorite book of the year so far, featuring lots of ladies, urban adventures and adorable romances. I've been told that this is very much a different book for Bear, and that I should be careful with the back list. I could always just reread this and relive all Karen's exciting takedowns of gross dudes featuring her awesome steampunk superhero team.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett — despite my fury/disappointment with parts this book (definite spoilers), I still love it so much. The sequel, City of Blades, isn't coming out until 2016 (although this didn't stop someone from getting to read it EARLY and ACCIDENTALLY TORTURING ME with how awesome it is) and I haven't been this excited about a fantasy novel since I found out about Court of Fives.

A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers — I said on Fangirl Happy Hour that this reminded me a lot of Mass Effect. After a little distance, this books feels very plot light. It's very much a novel about specific characters, and they sit around and talk about their feelings a lot, and not too much happens. I'm super into this kind of thing, though, and feel like if you love characters sitting around talking about feelings and admiring intricate world building, this is definitely a novel you should try. It's being republished by Hodder in August. :)

Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey — I love this book. I love (most) of this series (sorry Miller 1.0 and Holden). The cliffhanger at the end of this book was pure evil. The next book better explain (and also feature more Bobbie without hooking her up with Alex, oh god please)! NO PRESSURE, THO.

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie — I loved this more than I loved Ancillary Justice, which was a whole lot. I really enjoy the way Breq plays with politics and stands her ground, and the examinations of privileges that feel intimate and personal in ways more academic conversations sometimes fail to manage. I have so many questions. I hope Ann Leckie does more events this October when Ancillary Mercy comes out so I can go and quiz her during the Q&A.

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan — okay, I never expected to like this because my interest in historical (or historical-ish) fiction is slim to none. But I really loved this book and the characters and the background drama. I swallowed this book and then almost the entire series (I have two books left). Courtney Milan has quickly shot to the top of my favorite authors list. Super happy making books. :D

Uprooted by Naomi Novik — This book is wonderful! I said before it's like if Rodney McKay was a grumpy magician, and this is so true. It's so true. I especially love the female characters in the background and the romance. [personal profile] owlmoose pointed out to me that all the things people are praising about this book are things likely learned writing fanfic, and I absolutely agree (come to fandom, we probably have hot porn about your favorite characters).

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby — The biggest surprise of the year. This book tried to fake me out in the beginning by being opaque, but if you invest some time to have your questions answered — wow. What a payoff. I talked a bit about the strengths of the novel in my review, and they definitely hold up after reading.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen — The cutest and most heartwarming comic I've read all year. If you like girls and friendship and adorable romances and raccoons and magic and adventures, this is definitely the comic for you.

Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch, and Stjepan Šejić — my favorite fantasy comic so far this year, Rat Queens has everything I love. Ladies! Fighting! Friendship! Hot love interests (no, I don't mean Sawyer, I mean Dave). The first volume is the best. The second is good, too, but the switch in artist and more in-depth back stories slow the pace a bit. I'm excited for the next volume because I don't read this in floppy, but probably won't be for months.




Film


Camp Takota — 2015 is the year I fall in love with camp media. I never even went to camp (unless very limited attendance to Vacation Bible School counts), but apparently I love camp stories about friendship. This was kind of a sleeper story that sideswiped me with how much I actually liked it. I would love for these three to make more films.

Jupiter Ascending — Jupiter Jones is my hero.

White House Down — this film is sneaky. It's like, "heck yeah Channing Tatum is a badass who SAVES THE WHITE HOUSE/PRESIDENT!" which, while factually true, leaves out that the TRUE AMERICAN HERO is his daughter. It's like watching future award winning journalist crack open a terrorist plot with her cell phone while Channing Tatum beats on evil white dudes and glistens.

Wild — I was surprised this ended up being one of my favorite films of the quarter, but maybe I shouldn't be. It appeals to my introspective sensibilities and the central relationship is between Cheryl and her mother. We see so many stories about fathers and sons and broken relationships and lack of closure that this was really heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. It was surprising for how often we don't see more explorations of this dynamic.

Mad Max: Fury Road — Please visit Tumblr for more on why this film was amazing and should win every SF award available.

Inside Out — I'm not sure where this falls on my Pixar scale (everyone has their own personal Pixar scale, right?). It doesn't beat The Incredibles or Finding Nemo, but it might be up there right below those two. It's so cute and all the representations of Riley's mind are fascinating. The nuance that they managed to communicate about emotions and to a lesser extent, trouble with emotions (like depression) is so well-done. And this had three girls as main characters!


Podcasts


My interests in podcasts are shifting away from SF. Maybe for good or maybe not! But there are five podcasts I have gorged on in the past few months.

Criminal — this is a crime podcast that was recced to fans of Serial. Although they're both crime podcasts, Criminal handles a wide array of topics outside of murder (although murder does feature very prominently). My favorite episodes this year: Ex Libris, Gil From London, Final Exit.

Nerdist — this is already a super popular podcast, ha ha, that I came to super late. They interview a lot of men, but they sometimes meet with women and some of their host-only episodes are hilarious. They also don't engage in too much gross sexism like some other dude-only podcasts I listen to, which is why I've managed to stick with them so long. My favorite episodes this year: Gillian Anderson, Grace Helbig, Allison Janney, Super Relatable, Overruled! (I'll Allow It).

Mystery Show — this is my newest podcast and I adore it. It's so funny and heartwarming. I've been pressing Belt Buckle on everyone because I sobbed like a baby, but Source Code is also excellent.

Podcast Pillowfort — This might seem excessive. A podcast about podcasts? But no, wait! It's actually fascinating. How do podcasts fit into the other media available for us to read/watch? How are podcasts impacting popular culture? How are podcasts changing the conversation around various topics? Where will podcasts go as medium in the future? What type of podcasts are out there? This podcast covers all those topics! It's really great. The hosts are charming and have great chemistry and I'm so happy I found this. <3 Favorite episodes so far: The Dream of the 90’s, Beer, Glorious Beer, Welcome to our Cephalopod Overlords

the memory palace — This is historical storytelling. It's pretty quality and makes the history buff who used to want to hang out with her professors and let them share stuff even outside of class super happy. The 7th Story andEvery Night Ever are great.

Date: 2015-07-07 01:52 am (UTC)
litomnivore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] litomnivore
I used to listen to the Nerdist obsessively, but now I only drop in for celebrities I care about and Hostfuls. It is really nice to be able to hear them evolve over time.

Oh, Podcast Pillowfort sounds fun. I WILL INVESTIGATE.

Date: 2015-07-07 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanhatedliterature.net
I've listened to the first 3 of Mystery Show, I'm getting into podcasts again. I listen while I do the ironing, which is a good thing cause it gives me something to pay attention to while ironing, but a bad thing because I put off the ironing because, you know, ironing, and then I don't listen to any podcasts for ages.

I haven't read a single of your favourite books, so I'll take the top book and add it to Mount TBR, I also want to read Uprooted, but am reluctant to start it for some reason. Not quite sure why.

Date: 2015-07-07 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
Yay for Courtney Milan! I liked her previous historical series maybe even a teeny bit better? than the Brothers Sinister series? Maybe? But all her books are a lot of fun, and explicitly feminist, which I love.

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