Gender- and genre-bending

There Are Jews in My House

There Are Jews in My House - Lara Vapnyar Maybe I am biased because I am an immigrant myself, but I love her stories.

The Dragonbone Chair (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 1)

The Dragonbone Chair - Tad Williams I am rather sentimental about this book, since this series got me into fantasy/speculative fiction. I suppose it might lose a star if I were to reread it now, but in my head it is a great fantasy read.

The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel

The Book of Madness and Cures - Regina O'Melveny Not too enthused about this one. Something about the prose style is just grinding on my nerves. Perhaps I'll have more luck reading it later.

A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki You know how you can get the right reader the right book at the right time? You then have the perfect book for that person. This is what happened here. I would like to say that your mileage may vary, but I loved it. It had everything to lure me in. Zen Buddhism? Check. Japan? Check. Magical realism? Check. A variety of nerdy tidbits from history and botany and philosophy? Check (I do like footnotes, even in fiction). It's as if Ozeki wrote this book just for me (I know she didn't, but humor me).

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Novel - Karen Lord I normally don't particularly like romance in my sci-fi, but in this case, it was so subtly done, I really enjoyed it. Just two people moving towards inevitable companionship.Occasionally I felt like I was missing some pieces, as if the action was a little jerky. Lord is not big on exposition, so you have to get everything from dialogue and context.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman Let me just say from the start, it's short. It's more like a novella. But. Some time ago I realized that in my opinion, Neil Gaiman is much better at writing shorter fiction. This means that I enjoyed this one quite a bit. There is some great writing in it, and the kind of imagination one expects from Mr. Gaiman. I feel like maybe I will like it even more when I read it again, but I am afraid my coworkers will actually mug me for this ARC in some dark corner of the store if I don't surrender it voluntarily, so re-read will have to wait a bit.

NW: A Novel

NW - Zadie Smith This is the book I was supposed to never finish, abandon halfway through, and not like. Add to that the fact that I simply could not get through White Teeth when it first came out. But. That was 12 years ago. Apparently I am a different person know, or maybe Smith is a different writer, maybe both. I loved this book. Simply put, Smith is just so good with words. Her writing is so fluid, it's easy to just get through a hundred pages at a time and not notice. It is, however, a novel firmly tied to the place where it happens, starting from the very title. Yet even so, this local restriction somehow gives the novel a strange universality -- if you live in a large city, you probably know a similar neighborhood. For me, NW became a novel of a place I was somehow familiar with already.

Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy

Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy - Douglas   Smith You may say 'oh, this is a book about rich idle people who got what they deserved'. Or 'why should I care about what happened to a bunch of rich guys whose estates got burnt to the ground?' Well yes, these were rich people. Specifically, these were people from two branches of aristocracy, Sheremetev and Golitsyns -- two very powerful, very rich families. Yet the book is heartbreaking. You may think they got what was coming, but surely these people did not deserve the fate given to them by the Bolsheviks. Most of them were killed or exiled during the extremely chaotic and bloody years of early 20th-century Russia. The ones were who were not killed or exiled during that time were killed or exiled during Stalinist purges. This is a book about systematic eradication of an entire class of people and also of a way of life. It is honestly surprising that we still have the poetry of Pushkin or novels of Tolstoy, since the Communists seemed to be set on destruction of everything that had to do with nobility and what most of us associate with 'Russian culture'.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern Really really enjoyed this one. It's really visual and atmospheric.

Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man

Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man - Chaz Bono This could have been a fantastic trans memoir, if only Chaz Bono were a better writer. Sadly, his storytelling ability was just not up to the task.

Mockingbird

Mockingbird - Chuck Wendig This book is awesomesauce. My full review is here: http://wp.me/ppwW7-44

Real Man Adventures

Real Man Adventures - T Cooper Great collection of essays and interviews on the subject of gender identity. I don't think the promotional blurb really did it justice -- i.e. 'check out this hilarious book from McSweeney's where the author interviews a guy with a giant penis', so that people expect something funny and outrageous. There are funny moments, there is certainly witty writing, but sometimes it is also heartbreaking. If you have had any issues with gender identity, some of it will hit quite close to home. Definitely worth reading.

Gay Pride and Prejudice

Gay Pride and Prejudice - Kate Christie;Jane Austen I would say 4.5 stars, really. If you ignore various typos and missing commas (expected both of those), it's a great story. I am honestly getting a bit tired of faux-medieval sword-wielding fantasy, which is why I did not just sit down and swallow it in 2 days. My other issue is that all those lords Al Somebody feel the same, can't tell them apart. The author is fond of names with lots of Ls and Rs in them, which just adds to the problem.

Sorry Please Thank You: Stories

Sorry Please Thank You: Stories - Charles Yu Follow me, dear Goodreaders, to my blog, wherein I gush about this book: http://wp.me/ppwW7-2p

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas

Redshirts - John Scalzi Short verdict: Great story, occasionally quite funny, but too long.http://spacetalkers.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/book-review-redshirts-by-john-scalzi/

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury - Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Jacquelyn Mitchard, David Morrell, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Julia Keller, Bayo Ojikutu, Charles Yu, Jay Bonansinga, Lee Martin, John Maclay, Joe Hill, Bonnie Jo Campbell, John McNally, Dan Chaon, Kelly Link, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas F. Mon For reasons I can’t explain, I don’t read many short stories. Occasionally, a book comes along that makes me question my novel-centric reading choices. Shadow Show is one of those books.It is definitely a fantastic (in both senses of this word) collection. First, you have authors like Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Robert McCammon, Kelly Link, and oh, Harlan Ellison, all writing pieces inspired by Ray Bradbury. Second, this is not something hastily put together after Bradbury’s death — no, the anthology was conceived before that, and it even includes the introduction by ‘The Teller of Tales’ himself.See the rest and the list of my favorites here: http://spacetalkers.wordpress.com/2012/07/15/shadow-show-all-new-stories-in-celebration-of-ray-bradbury/

Currently reading

Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
Nick Krieger
La Délicatesse (Folio) (French Edition)
David Foenkinos