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JamesChatham

JamesChatham

Joined March 2017

Bookish music fanatic that does booktube here: youtube.com/c/jameschatham33
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Mage's Blood by David Hair
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4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
review
JamesChatham
The Changeling | Victor LaValle
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Pickpick

The Changeling is a twisting, dark modern fairytale centered around a young family who are settling into life as parents after recently having a baby. LaValle confronts timely issues like racism in America, the downside of modern technology, and the struggle of being a good father - all of which fit with the narrative. This is a difficult one to concisely review, but in essence it‘s a fantastic novel that‘s well worth the praise it‘s been given!

Aimeesue That was a good one. Every summer, I pick a reading theme - apocalypse, teen coming of age, zombie - and read variations thereof. Last summer was fairy tales, and this one fit right in. Great read. 2y
30 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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JamesChatham
The Good People | Hannah Kent
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Haven‘t finished a book in a good while so it felt good to finally wrap up The Good People! This is a stunning sophomore novel from the author of the fantastic Burial Rites. The Good People is a haunting portrait of one woman‘s grief and the superstition of nineteenth century Ireland, and the lengths superstition takes people to try to “cure” a disabled child.

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JamesChatham
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Bailedbailed

Another bail! the writing and the obvious parallels between spice and oil and the flat characters and everything else doesn‘t work for me, so no thanks

shawnmooney 👏👏😛😛 2y
20 likes1 comment
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JamesChatham
Slade House | David Mitchell
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Pickpick

the good:
-spooky as fuck
-more about that cool Bone Clocks fantasy conflict
-CONNECTIONS
-as usual, great narrative voices

the bad:
-pacing was a bit weird
-the first few sections feel sort of repetitive

Overall I enjoyed this, though I don‘t think it feels as much of a follow up to The Bone Clocks as I would have wanted.

KathyWheeler I saw it as more of a companion piece than a follow up to Bone Clocks. Interesting cover to your copy. (edited) 2y
17 likes1 comment
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JamesChatham
NOS4A2 | Joe Hill
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Pickpick

the good:
-fascinating concept
-compelling villain
-wonderful characterization
-tight, page-turner pacing
-exploring the effects supernatural events have on those that experience them
-fuckin creepy as hell

the bad:
-nothing

I loved this so much! I‘m glad to finally have fallen in love with one of Hill‘s novels, as neither Horns nor The Fireman particularly impressed me.

vivastory Yes! I loved this one! I enjoyed The Fireman, but I love liked Heart-Shaped Box more. I also highly recommend his graphic novel series Locke & Key 2y
KathyWheeler I have liked all of Hill‘s books but this one is far and away his best one — along with Locke & Key. (edited) 2y
Reggie I don‘t know why, but that last 100 pages of the Fireman gutted me with it‘s cruel joke of humanity. I was seriously bummed for a few days. But I did love this one. And I also love the fact that he‘s not above killing people you thought would make it to the end. 2y
21 likes3 comments
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JamesChatham
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Pickpick

Finished my first book of 2018! It‘s a mashup of cyberpunk and fantasy, with an interesting exploration of consciousness and existentialism, but it suffers from that latent Murakami sexism. The translation by Alfred Birnbaum reads wonderfully, and the pacing is tight, excepting an info-dump-heavy section near the middle. I did find the ending a bit annoying, but overall it was great and I definitely want to pick up more Murakami in the future!

18 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
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Bailedbailed

First bail of the year! I do plan to return to this one eventually - it‘s more a case of bad timing than a bad book. Just really haven‘t been in the mood for this one and haven‘t touched it in weeks.

18 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
The Sparsholt Affair | Alan Hollinghurst
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Alan Hollinghurst‘s new novel, The Sparsholt Affair, is an impressive portrait of the titular character, David Sparsholt, through the eyes of various people surrounding him. Beautifully and sensually written, it follows three generations, showing change in time both in Sparsholt‘s character as well as public perception of gay people in society. This was my first Hollinghurst, and it definitely won‘t be my last.

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JamesChatham
The Sparsholt Affair | Alan Hollinghurst
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Having a nice evening in with a mug of tea, finishing up Alan Hollinghurst‘s wonderful The Sparsholt Affair. Hope everyone‘s been great and reading something fantastic!

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JamesChatham
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Pickpick

I just finished this novel and I think it‘s my favorite book of 2017. It‘s moving, beautiful, and important in the way it tackles love, los, religion, and trying to live in a world that sees you as lesser. From homophobia to violence to the AIDS crisis it tackles so many issues that gay men have faced through the years and it‘s one of those books that after finishing it and having a good cry, all I could think was “wow”.

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JamesChatham
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Hi Litsy! I‘ve been away due to a hectic semester but I‘m happy to be finally reading again, especially this wonderful novel!

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JamesChatham
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Pickpick

Just read this wonderful start to Robin Hobb‘s Rea of the Elderlings! It‘s a beautifully written fantasy novel about the bastard son of a prince and his education as an assassins for his king. It tackles heavy topics like grief and addiction and is definitely a promising start to the series! Very much excited to continue on with Royal Assassin.

TrishB My fav fantasy series ever 💟 2y
20 likes1 stack add1 comment
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JamesChatham
The Vorrh | Brian Catling
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Pickpick

I recently read The Vorrh, which reads like a mosaic of all things strange, with narratives surrounding the dense forest known simply as the Vorrh. It‘s very difficult to review, but put simply it‘s an incredibly unique, dare I say even postmodern, novel with beautiful prose, vivid characters and creatures, and poignant ruminations on vision and art.

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JamesChatham
Arcadia: A novel | Iain Pears
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I can already tell from the first couple paragraphs I‘m going to love this book!

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JamesChatham
Tin Man | Sarah Winman
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Pickpick

This book is breathtaking. It‘s a story of two men that fall in and out of love. It‘s a story of grief and loss. It‘s a story of the line between friends, lovers, and family. It‘s a touching, emotional novel with exquisite writing, and it‘s easily a new favorite.

Jas16 I loved this one too. 2y
Reggie Ugh this book.......😭😭😭so good. 2y
24 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JamesChatham
The Bone Clocks: A Novel | David Mitchell
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Pickpick

This book took me months but it was absolutely worth it! It‘s a work spanning decades and tells of a battle between two sects of immortals, but this large scope doesn‘t detract from the very human stories within. It‘s one of the most impressive novels I‘ve read and a major step up from Cloud Atlas. I‘ll definitely be reading much more Mitchell in the future!

DrexEdit Read slade house next! It has some of the same characters. 2y
JamesChatham @DrexEdit Will do! It‘s on my shelf staring at me so I‘ll have to get to it soon! 2y
29 likes2 comments
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JamesChatham
Hell House | Richard Matheson
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Panpan

Sexist, homophobic, and Matheson couldn‘t even be bothered to drum up some tension and scare the reader. It‘s like The Haunting of Hill House but shitty.

saresmoore Ugh. 2y
19 likes1 comment
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JamesChatham
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Pickpick

I recently read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, a delightful British novel about two young girls who investigate the disappearance of a woman on their street. In talking to their neighbors, a sinister past is unveiled through a number of town secrets that are told. It‘s beautifully written and wonderfully atmospheric, bringing to life the 1970s summer setting excellently. I did feel the ending was slightly underwhelming, but overall I loved it!

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JamesChatham
Burial Rites | Hannah Kent
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Finished my first book for the #autumnreadathon last night! I loved every word of this and it‘s already a new favorite of mine. It‘s haunting and introspective, not to mention beautifully written, and it creates an almost tangible atmosphere in its Icelandic setting. Needless to say, I am firmly on the Hannah Kent train!

KarenUK Soooo good! 💕 2y
MrBook Nice review! 2y
26 likes2 comments
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JamesChatham
Babel-17 | Samuel R. Delany
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I was tagged by @shawnmooney to do the #10AuthorRecommendations! No particular order, but I love everything I‘ve read from each of these authors. Thanks for the tag, Shawn!

ReadingEnvy Catherynne Valente is on my list too, although her last few books have me waivering a bit. 2y
22 likes1 comment
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JamesChatham
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My library had a book sale, so I now have a book haul!

DrexEdit Nice haul! I have a hard time finding any Neal Stephenson in the wild. 👍 2y
JamesChatham @DrexEdit I‘ve been lucky to find quite a few Stephensons used! Though, I do feel guilty because I own six of his books now but haven‘t read a single one... 😂 2y
17 likes2 comments
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JamesChatham
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Pickpick

I could gush for hours about these novellas, but I‘ll keep it brief and say that they‘re beautifully written, the way Yang comments on gender and sexuality through the society they create is nuanced and impactful, and the emotional exploration of family and other relationships is heartfelt. I highly recommend giving these a read!

KathyWheeler Such beautiful covers! 2y
17 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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JamesChatham
Amberlough | Lara Elena Donnelly
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Amberlough is a twisting espionage novel set in a fantasy world reminiscent of the western 1930s - cabarets, absinthe, etc. It is an emotional read full of love and betrayal and I loved every second of it. It‘s definitely one of my top books of the year!

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JamesChatham
Horrorstor: A Novel | Grady Hendrix
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Just read Horrorstör, which is a fun horror novel about a haunted retail store similar to an Ikea. It doesn‘t take itself that seriously but actually delivers a compelling backstory and some solid frightening scenes. Definitely a nice quick read to usher in the Halloween mood!

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JamesChatham
Horrorstor: A Novel | Grady Hendrix
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Good evening, Littens! Hope everybody‘s reading something great! I‘m getting into the spooky mood tonight with this wonderfully creepy book about a haunted store (that‘s similar to Ikea). Accompanied by a nice cup of tea, of course!

Megabooks Love this book! 2y
21 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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JamesChatham
Amberlough | Lara Elena Donnelly
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Good morning Littens! Trying to establish a routine of waking up early and getting in some reading before starting my day. Today I‘m reading the delightful Amberlough. Hope you are all reading something fantastic!

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JamesChatham
A Taste of Honey | Kai Ashante Wilson
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I recently read this pair of novellas from Kai Ashante Wilson and loved them. They‘re both independent stories set in the same fantasy world, and they pulled at my heartstrings in different ways. The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps is a fairly traditional fantasy story, following a group of people hired to protect a caravan as they travel through a dangerous forest, while A Taste of Honey feels like a m/m romance within the framework of a fantasy world.

DrexEdit I read the Sorcerer of Wildeeps and liked it very much! 👍 2y
21 likes1 comment
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JamesChatham
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Waking Gods, the sequel to Sleeping Giants, was pure sci-fi escapism about awesome fighting alien robots, which was exactly what I needed after finishing Giovanni's Room. It's a fun, action-packed page-turner that also finds room to question what it means to be human. I'm very much enjoying this series and can't wait to see how it ends when book 3 releases!

MrBook Nice review! I'm reading that edition of "American Gods" right now ?! 2y
JamesChatham @MrBook Awesome! I‘m actually planning to start it later this week👌 2y
MrBook 🙌🏻🙌🏻 2y
15 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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JamesChatham
Giovanni's Room | James Baldwin
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I finished Giovanni's Room a few days ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. The novel is a striking portrait of gay and bisexual life during the period it was written and confronts issues that are still relevant today, like social alienation, classism, and the prejudices that come with not being heterosexual. Baldwin's writing is impeccable, with every word serving a purpose. This book is one I will return to time and time again for sure.

shawnmooney I'm so glad you found me on here! Nice review! 2y
JamesChatham @shawnmooney Thank you! I rarely see fellow booktubers that are on Litsy so it‘s always great to find them! 2y
shawnmooney They seem to be completely different universes, don't they? Let's wage a campaign to tear down the walls between them, shall we? :-) 2y
20 likes1 stack add3 comments
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JamesChatham
History of Wolves | Emily Fridlund
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Litsy, it's been a hot minute and I apologize! I recently finished Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves, which I didn't think would be for me, but it quickly pulled me under its spell. It's dark and atmospheric, with excellent character development when it comes to the narrator, Linda, and meaningful commentary on what it means to belong. Highly recommend this one!

16 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
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The Broken Earth trilogy by N. K. Jemisin is bar none the best new fantasy series I've read in a long time! It's a poignant commentary on the state of our world, the harms of colonialism/displacement, and major themes of oppression, all in a fantastically written, gripping fantasy story. The final book, The Stone Sky, is my absolute favorite book of the year, and I sure hope it wins the Hugo next year, giving Jemisin a clean sweep for the trilogy.

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JamesChatham
Annihilation | Jeff VanderMeer
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Annihilation follows four women's exploration of the mysterious Area X. There's hints of Lovecraftian horrors, and the creatures within are eldritch and frightening. Vandermeer expertly creates an oppressive atmosphere via his descriptions of Area X and the absence of names. By the end, I felt it was missing something and was left with the feeling of wanting more, but I guess that's what the next books are for!

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JamesChatham
The Circle | Dave Eggers
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The Circle is a haunting look at a society barreling towards dystopia, this movement headed by a mega-corporation known as The Circle. Eggers uses this to comment on aspects of society, from the prevalence of social media to the need to be seen and heard, all while keeping the novel a definite page-turner. It's a striking look at a direction technology and the internet could go, and is relevant considering our current social and political climate.

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JamesChatham
Wolf in White Van | John Darnielle
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Wolf in White Van is a melancholy, introspective novel following a man who, after an injury at the age of 17 that left him disfigured, develops a mail-based role-playing game. Beautifully written, it explores themes of escapism - finding refuge from the "real world" in books, music, and in the narrator's case, creating the world his game takes place in. It's a wonderful read and one I'd highly recommend!

7 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
Sleeping Giants | Sylvain Neuvel
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Sleeping Giants is a novel about what is basically a massive robot that is discovered after being buried underground for centuries, told via interviews and journal excerpts. It's a fascinating premise, but the execution falls a bit flat. There's copious infodumping, and the character development is lackluster. However, it is quite the page turner, and I am invested enough to eagerly want to carry on with the series!

9 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
Imajica | Clive Barker
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Mehso-so

Imajica is a sprawling, dimension-hopping epic, so it sounded right up my alley, but unfortunately the majority of it felt like a slog. There were sections I enjoyed, namely around 200 pages in the middle, but overall it could have used some heavy-handed editing. Barker's writing itself is beautiful and at times poetic, which is one of the few saving graces of the book. I'm glad I read it, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

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JamesChatham
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Just finished Dandelion Wine, an incredible (of course it was, it's Bradbury) novel chronicling the experiences of 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding during one summer in 1928. It's a beautiful and magical story that confronts what it means to be alive and what it means to die, the summer itself representing the cycle of life. If you've not read this, I would highly suggest doing yourself a favor and experience the wonder that is Dandelion Wine.

3 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
The Jewels Of Aptor | Samuel R. Delany
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Mehso-so

This being Delany's first published novel, it's not nearly as polished as his later material, and it's definitely not a book I would deem essential reading. However, it does show that even at the age of 19, his narrative voice was incredible. The plot, while a bit predictable, is solid, especially for a fairly straightforward quest novel. It's not one I'd recommend as your first Delany, but it's definitely worth the read if you're already a fan.

chapter_fifty2017 Great reviews by the way , i have had the amber chronicles on my shelf for sooo long , would you suggest this as a first attempt at delaney ?? 3y
JamesChatham @chapter_fifty2017 The Amber Chronicles are actually by Roger Zelazny! Though, I've yet to read them so I'm not sure how they hold up. (edited) 3y
chapter_fifty2017 Oops !! Hav too many thick tombs on my shelves , wanting to get to. Swan song (liked your review) is there too , if you get too the amber chronicles before me will eagerly look up review . Thanks 😳 3y
5 likes3 comments
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JamesChatham
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Pickpick

Just finished the incredible The Wall of Storms. As a sequel to The Grace of Kings, I was doubtful it would top its predecessor, but I was quite wrong. It's another phenomenal installment in this Chinese-influenced epic fantasy series, with excellent prose, wonderful characters, and sharp, gripping storytelling. Absolutely cannot wait for the sequel next year.

DrexEdit Oh god, I was afraid of that. I really need to concentrate on my challenge lists reading but I just finished the grace of Kings. I'm going to have to make a b&n run tomorrow. 😁 2y
JamesChatham @DrexEdit I hope you love it when you read it!!! 2y
4 likes1 stack add2 comments
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JamesChatham
Swan Song | Robert McCammon
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Swan Song is a true post-apocalyptic masterwork. Filled with rich characters, a gripping plot, and great writing, it packs an emotional punch and left me floored by the end.

3 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
The Dumb House | John Burnside
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Deeply disturbing yet beautifully written, The Dumb House explores grief like no other novel I've read. Simply incredible.

7 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
The Dumb House | John Burnside

An ordered illusion is necessarily preferable to the chaotic truth of the world.

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JamesChatham
The Vorrh | Brian Catling
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She was strong because she was quiet. Not silent, but still. Hers was a beauty of listening and a strength of giving; there was knowing, more than understanding, in the smolder of her gaze. She saw and felt it all; she gave more love than she received, more than she was ever paid for.

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JamesChatham
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While waiting in the wee hours of the morning in a thunderstorm for my record store to open for Record Store Day (I must get my hands on the Coheed and Cambria exclusive), I'm looking forward to starting Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings! It's apparently an epic fantasy with the scope of ASOIAF but with significant Eastern influence, which sounds fantastic.

7 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
Perdido Street Station | China Miville
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This is another one of my favorites from this year. It's an evocative mix of fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, and horror, filed with brilliant yet visceral writing, a wonderfully vibrant world, great characters, and an expansive story that packs an emotional punch.

DrexEdit Been on my #TBR waaaaay too long. 2y
8 likes1 comment
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JamesChatham
Perdido Street Station | China Miville
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Looking forward to a relaxing evening with a great book and great music!

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JamesChatham
China Mountain Zhang | Maureen F. McHugh
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Finally, this may be my favorite book I've read this year. It takes place in a future, China-dominated Earth (with one tangential story on Mars), and tells the story of Zhang, a gay ABC (American Born Chinese) man as he tries to navigate life in a world where homosexuality is illegal. It takes a science fiction and slightly dystopian framework and tells an absolutely beautiful, heart-wrenching story. Highly recommended, even for non-SF fans!

4 likes1 stack add
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JamesChatham
We Are the Ants | Shaun David Hutchinson
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Pickpick

This is an intensely emotional story about a teenage boy given 144 days to decide whether or not he wants to push a button that will save the world. It takes a sci fi concept and tells a very contemporary story of love and loss. I absolutely loved this.

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JamesChatham
A Monster Calls | Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd
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Mehso-so

This one I found slightly disappointing. It's undeniably fantastically written, but the overall story fell flat for me. Maybe I'm jaded and past experiences have left me numb to the cancer topic and thus I didn't have the extreme emotional reaction to it that some have.

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JamesChatham
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Mehso-so

I totally fell behind on my litsy reviews, oops! Sorry for the imminent review spam ??.

Anyway, this one had a decent premise, but was marred by bad pacing, unrealistic character development, and awful sex euphemisms ("Sheathing" being by far the worst.)