July 2021 Books

Books Reread

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Book Hangover Alert** (Gaiman’s books always give me a book hangover)
CW: suicidal ideation, violence, stalking, child death
As I’ve mentioned before Neil Gaiman is one of my favorites. I love this book. It makes me miss London a lot. But it’s also nice to read it whenever I move somewhere new because it’s about knowing and loving a place, learning its secrets, and finding belonging. This time I read the version illustrated by Chris Riddell who has to be one of my favorite illustrators. I loved see his interpretations of characters I know so well.
5/5 gap monsters

How the Marquis Got his Coat Back by Neil Gaiman
Companion novella to Neverwhere
I’d read this when it first came out and I hadn’t read Neverwhere recently when that happened. This time I read them back to back, and while I still enjoyed it, I did notice that Dunnikin, the Sewer Folk man, speaks in this story. In Neverwhere he uses a kind of sign language when he talks to Old Bailey and it’s implied that the Sewer Folk don’t speak. Aside from that I like the story. I love the Marquis de Carabas so it’s nice to get to spend more time with him, and I enjoy his brother very much.
3.5/5 fabulous coats

New Books Read

Tom Doherty Associates

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
Wayward Children book 5 of 5
CW: body dysmorphia , child abuse (mentioned), grooming
The last Wayward Children book! I enjoyed all of these, though I still think book 4 was my favorite. It was nice to visit Jack and Jill again who featured in books 1 and 2. There’s just something so magical about a door into another world. I didn’t list the books in this series as Books for a Social Consciousness books, but I would like to applaud the inclusion of trans, gay, and neurodivergent characters.
3.5/5 skeleton horses

Bloomsbury Publishing

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon***
CW: Alcoholism, death (including parental and loved ones), depression, grief, infertility, miscarriage, plague, suicide (mentioned), suicidal ideation, war (some based on religion)
Dragons, witches, magic, pirates, it seems like it’s a combination that can’t fail. This book was hyped a lot and I felt bad that I wasn’t crazy about it. The world building was really intricate and we love to see diversity in fantasy. But I thought the characters were kinda boring and I felt like every time Shannon killed one of them off she was trying to make me feel something, which didn’t work because I did not care about them. Tané was my favorite character but it seemed like she had less page time than other characters like Niclays Roos, who I literally could not have cared less about. Also this book was supposedly about dragons and there weren’t nearly enough dragons. And it was too long.
3/5 magical oranges

Do All Indians Live in Tipis? by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian***
CW: racism, alcoholism, gambling, genocide
The short answer is “No.” I worked as an intern at NMAI in college and this book was a gift given to me at the end of my internship. It’s a really great primer for those looking to learn more about Native Americans and their culture. It has answers to many of the questions you’ve probably had about Native Americans, but didn’t want to ask a Native person to spend emotional labor educating you. The one downfall of the book is probably the same one the museum has, which is that it tries to cover the native peoples of the entire American continent and Hawaii, which is a tall order. Many of the questions have some variation of “different tribes do different things.”
3.5/5 tipis

Disney Hyperion

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan***
Book Hangover Alert**
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3 of 3
The thrilling conclusion! I really enjoyed this series. Specifically in this book I was glad we got to learn more about Magnus’s floor 19 hall-mates because although they’ve been in all 3 books, we haven’t had much backstory for them. I say this every time, but I love the representation in this series. Loved the ending, but I won’t say more about that.
4/5 pottery to the death classes

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston***
Book Hangover Alert**
CW from the author’s website: On-page: Drinking, light drug use (weed), semi-public sex, exploration of depression and anxiety, memory loss and cognitive issues, familial estrangement, familial death, grief, missing persons, implied PTSD. Off-page, past, and alluded to: Homophobic violence and hate speech, police violence, the AIDS crisis, racism, childhood neglect, arson, historic hate crime resulting in loss of life
This might be the best book I’ve read this year. I read McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue in January, and it was fabulous. This one might be better. It has all the swoony LGBTQ+ romance of Red, White & Royal Blue but with mystery, magic, LGBTQ+ history, and a unique New Yorkness. I love McQuiston’s writing style. Their characters are so interesting and well developed. I also loved that every relationship in the book was queer. We love to see it.
7/5 subway trains

**Book Hangover Alert indicates the kind of book that will leave you full up on love. Satisfied, but wishing the book never had to end. You’ll be laying on the floor with no idea what to do with yourself (other friends have called this feeling Good Book Depression or say that certain books necessitate Floor Time). This is the kind of book that gets its teeth in you and won’t let go easily. After the last page you’ll be thinking about this book for a long time. You’ll bother all your friends trying to get them to read it so that you won’t be alone in your Hangover. Every book in this post is a Book Hangover Book.

***This book is part of my Books for a Social Conscience series! Read Do All Indians Live in Tipis? To answer many of your questions about Native Americans. Read The Ship of the Dead to see positive disability and gender fluid representation in fantasy. Read The Priory of the Orange Tree to see more BIPOC and LGBTQ+ representation in fantasy. Read One Last stop for LGBTQ+ representation and history.
Reads marked as part of the Books for a Social Conscience series will regularly address topics like race and racism, colonialism and post-colonialism, LGBTQ+ experience, feminism, BIPOC experience, social and political issues, history, identity, class, disability experience, immigration, gun violence, poverty, colorism, environmentalism, and more! The goal of these books is to diversify the stories we’re reading, grow our empathy for those who are different from us, and amplify voices who are often silenced.

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