owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
[personal profile] owlmoose posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Like everything else this year, my media consumption has fallen a bit by the wayside with the all-consuming nature of world events. Still, reading and watching does continue, so here are some of my favorites of the first half of 2017.


1. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: I loved this book even more than its predecessor. The characters, their relationships, and Blue's backstory were gripping and appealing. Possibly my favorite active series right now.
2. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi: Although I could have done with less of a cliffhanger, this story launched a fun and exciting new series, and I'm excited to see where it goes.
3. Infomocracy by Malka Older: A great near-future political thriller, with an intriguing world set-up and some fantastic characters.
4. Runtime by S.B. Divya: My favorite of the novellas I read in the run-up to selecting my Hugo nominations.
5. Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan: A highly-satisfying end to one of my favorite series of all time.

Other Media:

1. Agents of SHIELD: The second half of this season stumbled a bit at toward the end, but overall it was fantastic. To explain exactly what I loved about it involves more spoilers than I want to share here -- it deserves its own discussion post, which I hope to write shortly -- but the sharp commentary on not just current events but the Secret Empire arc in Marvel Comics alone was worth the price of admission.
2. The Good Place: We binged this show at the beginning of the year, and it was excellent. It was fun, it was cute, and it had a brilliant twist that has me dying to see what comes next. The season finale is an easy choice for my Hugo Ballot next year, in Dramatic Presentation-Short Form. The cast, mostly unknowns plus Kristen Bell (of Veronica Mars fame) and a pitch-perfect Ted Danson, is spectacular, with excellent chemistry. Really recommended.
3. Hamilton: I've now seen this on the stage twice, and loved it more each time. At my first show, the San Francisco cast had only been performing together for about three weeks; when I saw it again in late June, the ensemble had gelled better, and most of the performers seemed more comfortable in their roles. One thing I noticed was the cast leaning into the humor more, in a very effective way. I also saw the alternate Angelica and Laurens/Philip actors, and liked them both better than the ones I saw before.
4. Hidden Figures: A fine telling of a piece of our history far too long under-recognized. The three core actresses are amazing.
5. Wonder Woman: I would have been happy for this movie to be merely competent; instead, it was one of the best superhero films of the modern age. I'm so glad to have seen it and to have loved it, and to see it doing well at the box office. May this just be the next step down the road toward better and more inclusive Hollywood blockbusters.

While I'm here, I also wanted to check in on my reading goals for the year. In the first six months of 2017, I have read 18 books, a fair bit off pace to hit my goal of 50 (revised from 40 when I decided to include novellas). Of these, 5 are by authors of color, even further short of my 50% goal, although it's a little better if I count by by unique authors (5 out of 12). But now that I'm essentially done with Hugo reading for the year, I can concentrate a bit more on catching up.

My goals also including reading more novellas and shorter fiction (successful), graphic novels (dismal fail -- I haven't finished even one new one this year as of yet), nonfiction (none yet, but that was always going to be a stretch), and books off my TBR shelf. I've done a little better on that last one (3 toward a goal of 10), because I polished off the three books in Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series, which have been hanging around for awhile.

Since I'm new to the process of setting reading goals, I had no idea what might be realistic. If it turns out I was too ambitious this year, so be it; I'll know what to dial back in the future, and where to push myself a little. All useful data.

So friends, how's your reading been going so far this year? Any great successes or wonderful finds? Share them here!

Date: 2017-07-06 02:20 am (UTC)
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
From: [personal profile] transcendancing
I love your update post! I'm due to do one too, but with an exam in a week I should *make it wait until this time next week*.

Date: 2017-07-07 04:15 am (UTC)
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
From: [personal profile] transcendancing
In particular, 'Closed and Common Orbit' was a favourite, I'm looking forward to reading Marie Brennan a whole lot and I'm also looking forward to the Scalzi (although I might leave it till the second one comes out given mention of cliffhanger)

I also really want to read Infomocracy but may struggle before I finish my degree to read something that's I've heard is a little like 1984 for the now.

I loved with all my heart Wonder Woman, I'm so glad it did so well on all the levels it did, and hope that it keeps improving on the other things that can be better in the follow up. I'm so glad there WILL BE a follow up!

I really need to watch Hidden Figures still.

Date: 2017-07-06 06:24 am (UTC)
novin_ha: Destruction Girl Hotaru ([sailor] destruction girl)
From: [personal profile] novin_ha
Reading this year has been simply amazing. I've read 77 (items?) so far, mostly novels with some novellas, stories, graphic novels and non-fiction thrown in. I gave four of those five stars (a possible record, as I hardly ever five-star a book): three to favourite volumes of the Vorkosigan saga, which I read in its (almost) entirety for the first time this year and a 5-star rating also felt earned by Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, a memoir about being an adopted child and a lesbian raised by very religious working class parents, and about struggling with mental health and belonging, by Jeanette Winterson, whose explorations of gender and desire were so influential for me when I was learning about those things in myself.

In addition, I read several new authors for the first time whose work made a huge impression on me. I loved Carmen Machado's "Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU" which is sort of between a loving ff exploration of the show and a piece of (post?)postmodern fiction, I was swept by the amazing storytelling and even better character work in Yoon Ha Lee's The Machineries of Empire series, I was pleasantly creeped out by Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach #1, Annihilation, which I read in Polish translation - which comes with great illustrations.

I also loved A Taste of Honey and liked A Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson, was really quite impressed by the beauty and awfulness of the world written by Sebastian Barry in Days Without End.

And I really enjoyed Tessa Dare's humourous romances I read this year, particularly Do You Want to Start a Scandal.

I could probably go on, but this comment is long enough as it is...

Date: 2017-07-06 07:38 pm (UTC)
novin_ha: DW Martha ([dw] martha)
From: [personal profile] novin_ha
Memory *5*, Mountains of Mourning and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen which some hated but to me it was a cathartic experience, with its treatment of grief and closetedness.

The amount of crying screamed for five stars ;)

Date: 2017-07-06 01:47 pm (UTC)
oracne: turtle (Default)
From: [personal profile] oracne
I am well under the number of books/comics I would like to have read, because I've been reading tons of fanfic and magazines instead. But I've been happy with the books I did read.

Date: 2017-07-06 10:14 pm (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
A Closed & Common Orbit is so lovely! And Hidden Figures & Wonder Woman were probably my fav films this year. It hasn't been a great mainstream film year for me but these would have stood out even in a more packed year.

So far for SFF I've really enjoyed After Atlas, House of Binding Thorns & Everfair but it's been a bit of a mixed reading year overall. I've been trying to read more outside SFF which is going quite well but not always delivering the emotional hit I want.

Date: 2017-07-12 06:33 am (UTC)
calissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] calissa
It's amazing how much the Hugos can hijack reading goals (or boost them, depending on what they are).

I love your exploratory approach to your goals. I think it's important to get a feel for where you are before trying to push in certain directions. I've been tracking my reading for a few years now and I think it gets easier to set goals, once you've established a baseline.

So many awesome books and pieces of media here! I loved A Closed and Common Orbit and am delighted it made the Hugo ballot. And how lucky to see Hamilton twice!

My reading has been going very well this year. I've come across so many good books it's hard to remember them all. I really enjoyed Alison Goodman's The Dark Days Pact. And there was a contemporary YA romance called Queens of Geek that was just adorable.
Edited (Formatting fail) Date: 2017-07-12 06:33 am (UTC)


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