I don’t know why I wait so long to write these round-up posts. No; sometimes that’s a lie, actually. I know exactly why it’s taken me so long this month, and it mostly boils down to “I’m doing other things and these take more brain than I want to expend right now.” What can I say? April’s been busy. But at any rate, here’s what I read last month:
- A Wizard’s Dilemma (Diane Duane)
- A Wizard Alone (Diane Duane)
- Wizard’s Holiday (Diane Duane)
- Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Kate Beaton)
- Wizards at War (Diane Duane)
- Uncanny Valley (Anna Wiener)
- A Wizard of Mars (Diane Duane)
- The Blue Castle (L. M. Montgomery)
- Games Wizards Play (Diane Duane)
- Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (Mary Norris)
- Rattle #79 — Tribute to Irish Poets
- Millionaire Teacher (2nd ed.) (Andrew Hallam)
These five Diane Duane novels took me to the end of her Young Wizards series (until/unless she writes more of them). I’ve been reading library copies the whole way through, but for some reason my local system doesn’t have Games Wizards Play — which is too old for me to suggest as a recommended title. Since ILL seems to take a thousand years — long enough that, on more than one occasion, I’ve had no memory of having ordered a book when it finally shows up — I just bought my own copy. It was a very satisfying cap on the series; I also particularly enjoyed A Wizard of Mars. I’ll read these again one day, when I’ve forgotten about all of the weird chronology issues.
Also on the fiction end of things, I greatly enjoyed my reread of The Blue Castle, which is probably one of my favourites of all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novels. I first read it in 2017 as part of my LMM reading project, and I’ll let my post from that time serve to sum it up.
March was another memoir-heavy month. I posted briefly about Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley, which was… moderately interesting, but not a standout to me.
Kate Beaton’s Ducks, a memoir of the years she spent working to pay off her student loans in Canada’s oil fields, on the other hand, was engrossing, beautiful, and agonizing. It’s a monster tome of a graphic… memoir (I wanted to day graphic novel, but of course it’s not fiction; it’s told in comics, however we might label that in terms of genre), beautifully written and illustrated. Beaton doesn’t shy away from the complexities of the oil fields: tensions between homegrown Albertans and the economic migrants who come to work there from both inside and outside of Canada, the frigid beauty of the north, the perils of being a woman in work camps where well over 90% of the population is male, the tensions between economic necessities and environmental impacts, the way we sometimes find family when and where we least expect to. Even before I finished Ducks I found myself paging back to read some sections over again. (NB: Sensitive readers should be aware that her narrative deals with multiple sexual assaults.)
Last of the March memoirs, I devoured Mary Norris’s Between You & Me. Norris is a copyeditor for The New Yorker: she’s a style and grammar wizard as may be expected and also, it turns out, hilarious. This one’s great fun, and not just for language nerds. (Bonus: her wonderful Comma Queen video series.)
This quarter’s issue of Rattle featured Irish poets in its latter half — some really lovely poems in the there.
And last but not least, I read Andrew Hallam’s Millionaire Teacher. This is one I constantly see recommended on personal finance-orientrd social media and I wish I had read it when I was eighteen. (Admittedly this would have been quite a trick given that it wasn’t published until 2017.) While I was already broadly familiar with a lot of the concepts he covered, there were some new ideas in there for me, and I found the book extremely informative and digestible without ever being dry. Also I know how to rebalance a portfolio now, so that’s something. Highly recommended.