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Recent nonfiction reads

  • Karachi Vice, by Samira Shackle, about contemporary Pakistan. Really good, liked it a lot. It’s frustrating that villages there still don’t have good access to water, and that the rich continue to tread upon the poor.
  • How the Word Is Passed, by Clint Smith, about slavery. Really, really good. Strongly recommended. I haven’t read many books about slavery (yet), but this one very much opened my eyes — not only to what happened in the past but also to what’s still happening even now (like in Angola, the prison in Louisiana). Heartbreaking. This was also the book that woke me up to the fact that several of my ancestors from Virginia and North Carolina were slave owners. I’d been aware of that before (one of them is buried at Blandford Cemetery, which one of the book’s chapters is about), but back then it didn’t hold any emotional meaning for me. Now it does. I’m still coming to terms with it — with knowing some of my ancestors were complicit in an enormous crime against humanity. This’ll take some time to process.

Recent fiction reads

  • Babel, by R. F. Kuang. Liked it a lot! More dark academia, please. The way the book addressed British colonization, too, was direct and pervasive and I really liked it. Also enjoyed the magic system and the linguistics.
  • The Paper Menagerie, by Ken Liu. This paired well with Babel. Lots of tragic Asian history interwoven throughout. Some stories were better than others, as is always the case. There was one story that had a father committing suicide that was a little bit harder to read. (That said, fictional depictions of parents dying don’t seem to affect me nearly as much as film depictions.)
  • Nona the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir. What a bonkers book. I didn’t know what was happening most of the time, but I also didn’t particularly mind because I liked the voice so much. (After finishing the book, I found an explanation on Reddit that made everything make a lot more sense. In hindsight, it would have helped if I’d read summaries of Gideon and Harrow before starting on Nona.) Looking forward to Alecto.