This is the small stack of books from this week. The Big Stack consists of books I picked up at ConFusion 2019, which is a large enough collection that it warrants its own post.
The books on the ends, Life on Mars and Whereas, are poetry books I purchased on a whim while at Books and Mortar picking up AfroSF and Seven Surrenders. The Anna Karenina Fix arrived from Amazon while I was at ConFusion.
With this week’s exceptionally large haul, I am now over 1,500 books catalogued in LibraryThing. I have shelf space in my house for maybe 100 more books if they are the usual mix of thin and thick. That should be enough to get me through the rest of 2019. We shall see…
In reading news, I finished Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer while at ConFusion on Thursday night. Friday morning I had coffee with Miss Palmer and several other people, where she held forth on various Papal shenanigans from the mid-1400s. To cool my head I read about half of the poems in Life on Mars, which is an absolutely wonderful collection by our current national Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. I am now a little more than halfway through Fix by Ferret Steinmetz, the sequel to Flex and The Flux. Thus far it is just as good as the first two. I expect to be finished by the end of the week and am enjoying every page of it.
The first full week of the year brings four new bound piles of printed pages to the library at Winkelman Abbey. On the left is Kolyma Stories by Varlam Shalamov. I heard of this one when The Paris Review published “Forty-Five Things I Learned in the Gulag“. Finally ordered it. Apparently this is the first of two volumes to be published (the second to be released this year). I will probably dive into it after I complete the current few books on my “currently reading” shelf.
The next one over is the December 2018 issue of Apex Magazine which, if I have my dates correct, is the last to be published in physical format. From now on the magazine will be digital only, which is fine, as it is well worth the cost of subscription in any format.
The last two are The Uploaded and The Fix by the excellent Ferret Steinmetz. I hope to get them signed at ConFusion 2019 next weekend.
In reading news I am still working my way through Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning. I’m in the home stretch and should be through by the time I leave for ConFusion.
Next week I head across the state to attend ConFusion 2019. This year I will be participating in three panels, all on Saturday, January 19. Here they are:
- AI for Better or Worse – There’s no doubt that Artificial Intelligence will play some part in our future, but is it good, bad, or both? Panelists will discuss the future of AI, some of its uses, and some of its dangers.
- Time: Saturday, 19 January, 2019 – 13:00
- Room: Warren
- Panelists: Anthony W. Eichenlaub (M), John Winkelman, Derek Kunsken
- Let’s Talk Season 2: Computer Science! – A lighthearted talk on a hard science topics with smart and funny people. Let’s Talk: Computer Science will chuckle through the collapse of society as we know it. Come hear how silicon makes better decisions than carbon, protons as data, why you don’t need to be Slytherin to study Python, and what we are going to do with the leisure time we will have in 2025.
- Time: Saturday, January 19, 2019 – 16:00
- Room: Warren
- Panelists: Daniel Dugan (M), John Winkelman, Anthony W. Eichenlaub
- If you liked that, try this! – Our well-read panel will give you personalized book recommendations based on things you’ve read and loved.
- Time: Saturday, January 19, 2019 – 18:00
- Room: Dearborn
- Panelists: Merrie Haskell (M), John Winkelman, Andrea Johnson, Karen Osborne, Sarah Hans
Between now and then I am spending my free moments gathering books I hope to have signed by other attendees, and getting everything around home squared away so I can focus on enjoying the experience. Hopefully one year I will be able to sign books of my own.
An excellent start to a year of reading, despite the expression on Chateaureynaud’s face. A couple of weeks ago I subscribed to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, a journal published by the excellent Small Beer Press. They surprised me by sending along a free copy of A Life On Paper, which I have added to my ever-growing to-read stack.
In reading news, I am still working my way through Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning, which I might have done before the start of ConFusion 2019. It is an excellent book, but not one which can be read quickly. After that, I will tackle something lighter. Perhaps Crime and Punishment.
And here we are all of a sudden in calendar year 2019. This is the fifth iteration of my reading material acquisition list, and I plan to keep doing it much the same way as I have in previous years. For my complete catalog of books which I own, please visit LibraryThing. For the list of books I have read, with the occasional rating and review (I know, I know. I need to be better about reviewing things I read), please visit GoodReads.
One change from previous years – instead of linking to their pages on GoodReads, I will from now on be linking book titles directly to the appropriate pages on the websites of their publishers or, where publishers do not sell directly to customers, I will link to resources such as IndieBound and the like. Keep the money in the hands of the writers and publishers.
And now, The List.
- Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #38
- Châteaureynaud, Georges-Olivier – A Life on Paper (Small Beer Press)
- Steinmetz, Ferret – Fix (Angry Robot Books)
- Steinmetz, Ferret – The Uploaded (Angry Robot Books)
- Shalamov, Varlam – Kolyma Stories (New York Review Books)
- Apex Magazine, #115, December 2018
- Palmer, Ada – Seven Surrenders
- Hartmann, Ivor W. (ed.) – AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers (StoryTime)
- Smith, Tracy K. – Life on Mars (Graywolf Press)
- Long Soldier, Layli – Whereas (Graywolf Press)
- Groskop, Viv – The Anna Karenina Fix
- Eveland, Erin – Darkness (Selladore Press)
- Andrade, R.A. – The Field Trip (Selladore Press)
- Greylock, T L – The Blood-Tainted Winter (Grass Crown Press)
- Tucker, Phil – Death March
- Reckoning #1
- Tomlinson, Patrick S. – Gate Crashers
- Flohr, Mackenzie – The Rite of Wands (Indigo)
- Eichenlaub, Anthony W. – Justice in an Age of Metal and Men
- Eichenlaub, Anthony W. – Peace in an Age of Metal and Men
- Filak, Stacey – The Queen Underneath (Page Street Publishing Company)
- Hughes, Keith – Timehunt: Borrowed Time
- Kuppers, Petra – Ice Bar (Spuyten Duyvil)
- Künstein, Derek – The Quantum Magician (Solaris Books)
- Matulich, Josef – Camp Arcanum (Post Mortem Press)
- Matulich, Josef – Power Tools in the Sacred Grove (Post Mortem Press)
- Snyder, Lucy A. – Garden of Eldritch Delights (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
- Snyder, Lucy A. – While the Black Sun Burns (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
- Bán, Zsófia – Night School: A Reader for Grownups (Open Letter Books)
Here we are at the end of 2018, and here are the last additions to the library before we ring in the new year. On the left is the January 2019 issue of Poetry, and on the right is Decals by Oliverio Girondo, the latest from my subscription to the catalog of Open Letter Books.
The holidays have been hectic as always, but I have made good progress in Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning. I hope to have it completed before ConFusion 2019, where Palmer will be the Guest of Honor.
And with that, Happy New Year!
Not a lot new this week for the library at Winkelman Abbey. Here we have the latest issues of Amazing Stories and Apex Magazine. I’m saving my money for the holidays and will probably burn a gift card or two to add to my collection of Russian literature, anarchist literature, and Russian anarchist literature.
Apex Book Company just announced that they will no longer be publishing the print version of their magazine, which makes me sad. It was a year-long experiment on Patreon to see if there was enough interest to keep such an endeavor afloat. According to editor Jason Sizemore, there were just barely enough subscribers to launch the print version for a year, and therefore they are going to return to only publishing electronic versions with possible annual “Best of” collections or the like. If you have not yet experienced Apex Magazine, or the books produced by Apex Book Company, I recommend you hie yourself to their online store post-haste.
In reading news, I completed Flex by Ferret Steinmetz, and immediately started the sequel The Flux, which thus far (two chapters in) is every bit as good as the first. Still about halfway through The Monster Baru Cormorant, and in the spare moments I am reading random entries in Salvage. The most recent was China Mieville’s long essay about social sadism, which is online at Salvage.zone. So it goes.
A few new books with dark and somber covers to match late-autumn Michigan. The first two are the second and third issues of Salvage, which bills itself as “a quarterly of revolutionary arts and letters,” and has the tagline “bleak is the new red.” It is good. Really really good. I first heard about it when researching different *punk literary subgenres, and came across an article about China Miéville wherein he discussed his involvement with Salvage. Miéville has lengthy essays in each of the issues I have so far purchased (2, 3, 5) and likely will have more in the future issues which arrive as part of my subscription. Well, of course I purchased a subscription.
On the right is the latest shipment from Two Lines Press, which continues to surprise me with wonderful books.
On the reading front, I have mostly recovered from the week at the AWS:Reinvent conference in Las Vegas, and am partway through The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson and Flex by Ferret Steinmetz. Both are quite excellent reads and they are absolutely nothing alike. I highly recommend both.
A small update this week, which given the mountain which arrived last week is just fine. This is the latest from my subscription to the excellent Open Letter Books, which was the first publisher to which I subscribed, back in 2014 or 2015.
I spent all of this past week in Las Vegas for the AWS:Reinvent conference, which left me with a decent amount of time for books on the airplane and in airports. I read Mirra Ginsburg‘s wonderful translation of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita from cover to cover, and made significant dents in Sunvault and Volume 5 of The Apex Book of World SF. I also made a little headway in the extraordinary Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez, but reading such a book in the middle of the Las Vegas strip made me want to burn the place to the ground. I will revisit Scarborough over the holidays, when I won’t be surrounded by the monetized fetishizing of the worst of first world indulgences.
Several new additions to the library at Winkelman Abbey. The titles by Yang, Palmer, Jemisin and Dickinson I ordered from Books and Mortar here in Grand Rapids. The Sanchez in the latest from my subscription to Deep Vellum, and Granta and Poetry round out the haul. Subscriptions are the best. So are superb local bookstores.