Books Read in December, 2018
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
November, 2018 Locus
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
Hasib and the Queen of Serpents by David B (Graphic Novel)
Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law
The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner
December, 2018 Reader’s Digest
Adventure Comics #247 - Superboy #124 (Legion of Super-Heroes) (Comics) (r)
The Reader by Traci Chee
The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal
Legion of Super-Heroes Volume I by Paul Levitz and Steve Crow (RPG) (r)
Legion of Super-Heroes Volume II: The World Book by The Adventure Architects (RPG) (r)
2995: The Legion of Super-Heroes Sourcebook by Tom and Mary Bierbaum (RPG) (r)
Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns
December, 2018 was a good month in terms of reading, if one counted mostly Legion of Super-Heroes comics from the dim and distant past. I did get in a fair share of books for the month as well all things considered. The month of reading felt very slow for me this past December, but that was mainly due to the various stuff going on in my life health-wise. And the fact that lifting anything with my right hand doesn't work so well. :( (Hence the reading of comics, I guess.) Other than some of the classic Legion stories that I won't go into here, not a lot of great reads this past month to wrap up 2018. The only books for the month that stood out were:
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal - Set in an alternate 1952 in which the US has launched the first space satellite, opening the space race, Washington DC and most of the East Coast of the United States gets obliterated by a meteorite. The climate changes from that impact threaten to render Earth uninhabitable, making getting to Mars a priority. The narrator is Elma York, mathematician and wife of Nathaniel York. She is a computer - aka a human mathematician hired to compute stuff, in this case, space launch trajectories. She's also a former WASP, a group of women hired to ferry military airplanes around in WWII, which comes in handy, as her piloting skills allow her and her husband to survive the impact. She eventually decides that she wants to be an astronaut, and that's where the conflict is. This is the 1950s and women are supposed to be in the kitchen, not in space. Oh, and Elma suffers from anxiety. This set of circumstances makes for an excellent, and fascinating read. The author explorea sexism, racism (blacks were computers, too) and mental health, while providing the reader a gripping and entertaining book. It was quite eye-opening for me in many ways to see the problems faced by people like Elma - people who can and do greatly contribute. The author takes a few liberties with history, aside from Dewey defeating Truman in 1948 and the asteroid thingie, but one thing she was totally true to was that most of the mathematics that got man into orbit was done by hand, and mostly by women. This is an excellent novel, and I highly recommend it.
The Reader by Traci Chee - I'm going to start by saying that I love this book, and am going to provide almost no spoilers for it lest you the reader get spoiled for reading it. This is a world where words, where books, are magic. Sefia, the main protagonist in this one, is a young girl who has had so many terrible things happen to her that her meeting with the boy she calls Archer almost seems like another bad event, but proves to be a lot more positive than the reader first sees. Along the way, the reader meets fascinating and interesting characters, such as Captain Cannek Reed and the crew of the Current of Faith, and get to read about stories told within the story. This book is so complex on many levels, with some good world building, and yet is cleanly written with true magic to it. I highly recommend this book!
Overall, I managed to read 7 novels, 3 RPG and RPG products, 2 magazine, 60 comics, and 1 graphic novel in December. This brings the 2018 year end totals up to the following: 92 books, 40 RPGs and RPG products, 23 magazines, 60 comics, and 4 graphic novels. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't manage to get to 100 books (not including RPGs and other stuff) this year, but part of the reason for that was a couple of dismal months of reading. The reading for the year was equal in books read, so that's not a bad year of reading at all.