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atla

atla

Joined July 2017

She/her. social worker; collector of stories; maker; mender; animal cuddler; backpacker; inclusive feminist - fueled by coffee and nature.
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100 Years of The Best American Short Stories by Lorrie Moore, Heidi Pitlor
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The Mythic Dream by Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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atla
Sarabella's Thinking Cap | Judy Schachner
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Pickpick

This is a gorgeously and vividly illustrated story about a highly imaginative young girl who always seems to be off in her own world. I love that it encourages the dreamers amongst us to embrace and share our imaginings.

rather_be_reading love this illustration! 13mo
19 likes1 comment
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atla
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Pickpick

All I‘ve been reading in 2021 is children‘s picture books. I don‘t have kids; it‘s just such a fun and low stress way to indulge my love of stories and children‘s illustration. The tagged book is a retelling of a classic, but the illustrations take it to a whole new level. The t-rex is portrayed in many a splendid outfit. The attention to detail is just amazing.

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atla
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“Perfectionism is fear in a fancy dress.”

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atla
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I haven‘t been reading much lately, but I have been browsing a lot of published sketchbooks & the like. This is the work of Hannah Hinchman. If you‘re suffering from a bit of nature withdrawal, I highly recommend these as a soothing balm 🌞

15 likes1 stack add
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atla
The New Wilderness | Diane Cook
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The library re-opened for walk-in service today (with time restrictions and limited capacity), and even though I just had a few minutes to visit on my lunch break, I couldn‘t resist swinging by. It felt amazing to be surrounded by available books again.

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atla
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I‘ve got several books to return to the library, so I made these watercolor bookmarks to slip into them. Perhaps one will find the right person at the right time.

Have you ever found a bookmark or note left behind by another reader?

BarbaraBB They are lovely. How kind of you 🤍 1y
marleed Oh sweet! 1y
19 likes2 comments
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atla
This post contains spoilers
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Bailedbailed

I really wanted to like this, but it just wasn‘t for me. The characters behaviors seem inconsistent with the world-building. Like, it made no sense to me that the university folks would just brush it off that hundreds of new students and staff were slaughtered en route to the planet..? And, though I read the entire first novella and half of the second story, I still don‘t understand what Binti is doing with mathematics?

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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

Just finished this for the second time in as many weeks. What a powerful novel.

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atla
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I‘ve been enjoying the Clarkesworld Podcast lately. They provide an audio recording of each piece of short fiction that they publish.

This story featured a centenarian woman as she faced the end of her life w/ her Artificially Intelligent caregiver by her side, who all the while is learning from her. The formatting is interesting, & for this one it was helpful to view the story in written language online to get a feel for it when I listened.

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atla
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So excited! Even though I‘ll probably just walk in and out quickly to pick up my holds, it‘s going to feel like such a luxury to be able to just swing by to pick up books without it scheduling an appointment first. 🥳🥳🥳

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atla
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There‘s a cat in my TBR 🐈

Soubhiville As there should be! 1y
24 likes3 comments
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atla
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“A divorcée fleeing an abusive relationship befriends a Jewish refugee who has escaped a concentration camp in Germany.” This story examines trauma - how it divides us, and how it unites us. I loved that this story was able to accomplish its aim without graphic depictions of traumatic events. Strong writing. I hope to read more by this author.

10 likes1 stack add
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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Perhaps I could call my boss and say “Sorry, boss, I can‘t come in this week. I finished reading Beloved and then just turned straight back to page 1 and started it all over again. My husband also started reading it, so we need some time; besides that, I‘ve got to go to the library to pick up my holds of Jazz and Paradise.” And my boss would say, “oh yes. Only a week? Take two and I‘ll see you once you‘ve put yourself back together again.” #dream

LiteraryinLawrence What a great world that would be!! 1y
24 likes1 comment
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atla
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atla

“Listening helps you see that we are all dealing with similar issues — wanting to be loved, looking for purpose, and fearing the end. You learn you are not alone.”

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atla
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“In one study of children at a device-free outdoor camp, researchers found that after just 5 days without phones or tablets & interacting w/ peers, the kids were able to accurately read facial expressions & identify the emotions of people in photographs and videotaped scenes significantly better than controls who had not attended the camp & continued using their devices.”

PerksOfBeingABookworm I‘ve never considered how lots of screen time would make reading facial expressions more difficult. That‘s so wild. 1y
21 likes1 stack add1 comment
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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Pickpick

This is a book to be read deeply, slowly, really seeing each sentence, each moment - because Morrison can convey more about a character with a couple of sentences than many skilled authors can do with a couple of pages. ⤵️⤵️

atla A master of her craft, every word in every sentence on every page holds weight; each word carries the burden of taking us to deep recesses in the minds of resilient but horrifically traumatized people; we hear their traumas, but also their hopes, their sorrows, their joy and love and compassion, their decision each day to survive - all of that wound into mere words on a page that somehow evoked.. everything, all of it at once, vividly. 1y
Reggie There is a passage about a sofa in The Bluest Eye and how it is tied to a family that I will never forget. She really is/was amazing! 1y
29 likes1 stack add2 comments
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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison

“Sad as it was that she did not know where her children were buried or what they looked like if alive, fact was she knew more about them than she knew about herself, having never had the map to discover what she was like.

Could she sing? (Was it nice to hear when she did?) Was she pretty? Was she a good friend? Could she have been a loving mother? A faithful wife? Have I got a sister and does she favor me? If my mother knew me would she like me?”

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atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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Told as a “over a couple of beers” story between colleagues, this is a tale of the adventure described in the title. It was a fun read, but if you really don‘t like the “C word” in reference to genitalia (not used as a slur), skip it. It shows up several times.

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atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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Callen must travel through miles of dangerous desert plains - losing bits of herself in the process - to find a witch on the top of a mountain, who she‘s been told will help save the woman she loves from where she is imprisoned. This fantasy story, set in the future, is a retelling of an ancient Chinese tale. Atmospherically bleak but highly compelling.

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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Both of my afternoon clients canceled last minute; normally I‘d be a bit annoyed but I just got the messages while I‘m in my bed with a cat, a dog, a book, several handmade quilts, and a chocolate chip cookie from the batch I made to celebrate the inauguration. Sooo... my bit of annoyance has been replaced by a bit of giddiness! Off to read!

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atla
The Freedom to Read | American Library Association
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Have ya‘ll seen the StoryGraph app yet? It was mentioned on bookriot today. It can be a goodreads alternative, but it‘s strength is in recommendations - even for me, a hard to please mood reader. I completed a profile & clicked on some of the random recommendations they‘ve given me - and I‘ve found 3 under-the-radar books that I‘ve never heard of, and I sampled them and want to read them RIGHT NOW. It‘s amazing. Found at: app.thestorygraph.com

Megabooks I‘m obsessed with it! I love all the graphs. I‘m a sucker for graphs. 1y
atla @Megabooks ahhh! I‘m waiting for my goodreads import to go through so I can have graphs too 😍😍 1y
readordierachel I'm liking it too. Who doesn't love a good graph? 1y
9 likes3 comments
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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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Usually it‘s hard for me to focus on reading fiction at work - even on my lunch break. But this one, I‘m having to resist picking it up in the 5-10 minutes between clients. Morrison is so good at plopping you down inside characters heads and in slowly revealing them layer by layer. Just one more page!

CuriousG This is a tough, yet fantastic read! 1y
23 likes1 comment
blurb
atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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In this futurist retelling of a classic Native American story, Mr. Hunter, a rising celebrity, is deeply entrenched in grief for his recently deceased girlfriend, Cherie. When offered a vial of her engram (memory-holding DNA material), he can‘t help but inject it straight into his own brain, but the result is less comforting and more horrifying than he had hoped.

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atla
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“Charles Reagan Wilson, an emeritus professor of history and Southern studies at the University of Mississippi, recalled asking the short-story writer and novelist Eudora Welty why the south produced so many great writers. ‘Honey,‘ she said, ‘we didn‘t have anything else to do but sit on the porch and talk, and some of us wrote it down.‘”

16 likes2 stack adds
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atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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This is the story of how Fisher-bird (presumably a belted kingfisher) got her red belt - and it involves meeting a man with god-blood (“the kind that clogs up your veins and makes you a hero even if you‘d rather just be an ordinary soul”) & arms that are “tree-trunk thick.” This was a fun, light-hearted re-telling of a particular Greek myth (but it feels like a spoiler to reveal which one). Enjoyable read :)

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atla
Tail of the Blue Bird | Nii Ayikwei Parkes
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Pickpick

This short novel was super interesting on an intellectual level, and I loved reading the perspective and the storytelling of a traditional Ghanaian hunter. It didn‘t toy with my emotions which was greatly appreciated given how emotionally challenging the past couple of weeks have already been. Right book, right time! Actual review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3411063466?book_show_action=false

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atla
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In this 1st contact story, a ship‘s captain has gotten impatient after 2 years of trying to negotiate with an alien species to mine their moon, and he gives an unconscionable order. Commander Gray isn‘t ready to repeat mistakes that humanity made time and again on Earth, but what will she sacrifice to protect a species that she can barely even communicate with? ⤵️⤵️⤵️

atla It took me a minute to get into this one, but I really enjoyed it once I did - and it was a nice balm for the times. 1y
11 likes1 comment
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atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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This is a story inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology (in particular, Sekhmet, warrior goddess and goddess of healing) but set far, far into the future. Het is summoned by the immortal world ruler to destroy any threat of insurrection - but summoning one known for destruction to do one‘s bidding may have unintended consequences. ⤵️⤵️⤵️

atla Ironically (given the times), this is one of 2 stories I read yesterday about not senselessly murdering those you perceive to be less powerful simply because a narcissistic ruler tells you to. I really enjoyed this (somewhat gruesome) tale. 1y
10 likes1 comment
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atla
Beloved | Toni Morrison
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There‘s a Toni Morrison read-a-long on Instagram (see @ creemyles), and I‘ve wanted to read this forever ... but I‘m also scared that it‘s going to rip my heart out and chew it to bits.

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atla
Tail of the Blue Bird | Nii Ayikwei Parkes
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“Those who have lived know that darkness is only temporary; morning brings its own light.”

(Let‘s hope he‘s right.)

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atla
Tail of the Blue Bird | Nii Ayikwei Parkes
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I‘ve been in a book slump for ~3 weeks (and it‘s been driving me bonkers), but I picked up this short mystery/literary fiction novel by a Ghanaian poet last night and am really enjoying it. It started from the perspective of a hunter in a rural village (with appropriate dialect) which gave my brain something to do, but it has now switched perspectives to one of a forensic pathologist; still, I‘m really interested to see where this goes.

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atla
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While en route to Alpha Centauri, a ship‘s AI wakens a psychotherapist to help a crew member who believes she is being stalked by a monster. The psychotherapist believes she is delusional.. until he begins to experience a similar phenomena. A story about guilt and about figuring out what matters. Honestly, I was unimpressed with the plot, character development, and writing. Just not for me.

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atla
The Switch | BETH. O'LEARY
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Pickpick

This was such a cozy and gently hilarious romantic-comedy. I love well-written escapism about women (re-)discovering their awesomeness - and bonus points if it includes older women and a lovely countryside.

lynneamch Agreed! I listened to the audio and found it charming and a good palate-cleanser after heavier topics. 1y
BookishMarginalia I loved this one! 1y
readordierachel I really liked her first one, Flatshare. Will have to read this one soon. 1y
atla @readordierachel I liked The Flatshare too! I think I enjoyed this one a little more actually, though it was a bit slow to get started. 1y
22 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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atla
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I brought this fascinating book with me for my retreat to the forest, and I‘ve been so inspired to pick it up by the astounding variety of mosses I‘ve noticed here. I‘ve been amazed by mosses since reading The Signature of All Things (Elizabeth Gilbert). They‘re like a tiny forest themselves.

Soubhiville What a great photo! I love moss too, lots of it in Vermont and North Carolina, my previous homes. Not so much here in dry Texas. This book sounds really interesting! 1y
16 likes1 stack add1 comment
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atla
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I‘m packing for an Airbnb stay in a national forest & my overpacking demons are having it out. I‘m trying to NOT pack these books. I‘m bringing a kindle but won‘t have WiFi. I‘m such a mood reader - what if I don‘t have a book for whatever mood I find myself in? Agghh

BehindthePages I'm the same way when I travel 😅 1y
atla @BehindthePages haha, glad I‘m not alone! I just had a realization that if a client was having such a struggle with this, I‘d be like “you‘re going for a relaxation trip.. why are you trying to strictly limit your access to enjoyable reading (when there‘s plenty of space) because you hate that you‘re an overpacker? Sometimes we have to work with what IS versus what we want to be.” So now I‘m bringing books and leaving my “cosmetics” at home 🤣 1y
18 likes2 comments
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atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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17 y/o Aracely has never left the carnival, never having been allowed outside by her mom (the carnival owner), but while setting up in a midwestern farm field, she does the unthinkable, leaving the bounds of the carnival to explore a nearby estate, and meets the most striking girl - with hair like coal and eyes like embers, and burn scars on one side of her face - who she is drawn to in a way she‘s never experienced before. ⤵️⤵️⤵️

atla When she speaks of the girl to someone in the carnival, she learns something that begins to cast doubt on everything she thinks she knows. Wow, ya‘ll, I‘ve never had a short story put me in a book slump before, but this one achieved it. It was all a bit magical & enchanting in the way of The Night Circus, and I loved every word of it. Highly recommended. (I‘ve started re-listening to The Night Circus to break this book slump & it‘s still amazing.) 2y
9 likes1 comment
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atla
The Mythic Dream | Naomi Novik, Stephen Graham Jones, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, Leah Cypess, Kat Howard, Jeffrey Ford, Carlos Hernandez, T. Kingfisher, Alyssa Wong, Amal El-Mohtar, John Chu, Indrapramit Das, Carmen Maria Machado, Sarah Gailey, Rebecca Roanhorse, Arkady Martine, J.Y. Yang
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I‘ve started listening to this anthology of 18 stories that “explores retelling a of myths across culture and civilizations.” It‘s narrated by Samantha Desz, who I had never heard perform previously - and wow, if the first story is any indication, she‘s an amazing narrator. Excited to listen more!

11 likes2 stack adds
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atla
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Mehso-so

There are some amazing stories here - some that will be on my favorites of 2020 list (The Long Walk by Kate Elliot; The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang). There are a couple that aren't “best of..“ but keep tugging at my heart (We Continue; Where the River Turns to Concrete; Matriculation). And there are also some that just irritated me (Hikayat Sri Bujang/The Tale of the Naga Sage; The Last Hunt; Except on Saturdays). Still, glad to have read it.

8 likes1 stack add
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atla
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When our story starts, WWII has just ended, and Emery has been recently discharged from the Marines due to an injury. He hasn‘t quite figured out what to do with himself with suddenly - dragons show up in the world, mostly keeping to themselves except when they snacked on local livestock or a couple of unlucky residents. Emery is recruited by the local Sheriff to protect the county from the dragons. ⤵️⤵️⤵️

atla But bureaucracy has a way of making everything harder - even if your job is to be a dragon-fighting deputy. This story shines a light on many of the glaring failures of the US government, and it was an interesting read too.. even if it did run on a bit long. 2y
5 likes1 comment
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atla
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Just finished listening to the audio of The Book of Dragons (more on that tomorrow), and I was able to finish sewing up a dragon, a purple mermaid, and a castle for a quilt I‘m working on while listening. Always enjoy a good thematic book/quilt match :) Fun book, fun pattern! Excuse the rest of the mess on my design wall.

Beatlefan129 That is so cool! 2y
atla @Beatlefan129 Thank you! 😊 2y
13 likes2 comments
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atla
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There is a dragon in the barn, but Cecily knows she's not to talk about it - especially not to outsiders, but not even with her parents or brothers. It quickly became clear that this story is a metaphor for domestic abuse, for surviving/healing from trauma, & for the bravery it takes Cecily to live life on her own terms - once the immediate danger has passed. The metaphor was a bit tangled up (as is living with trauma) & it worked. Recommended!

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atla
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It‘s time for Will to take the final exam in his History of Ancient Sorcery class, and his professor sends him to another time and another place - a place with dragons and an ancient battle brewing. Another fun adventure story about finding and embracing one‘s own strengths . 3 stars.

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atla
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Olav (a wandering adventurer) and Nahal (his child servant) are approached by a mage and given an unusual job, which is all well and good until they must confront a dragon. A fun adventure story with a bit of time travel, but nothing special.

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atla
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This is printed in poem format, but as I listened to the audio version, it read just like prose. A bit of flash fiction, really. A woman arrives home to find a litter of 7 baby dragons hanging out in her back yard. She can‘t quite figure out what else to do with them, so she brings them inside and adopts them. What follows is an 8 minute read with almost no conflict, but just a bit of seratonin-inducing joy. A fun and happy read :)

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atla
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Jing-Wei (a young girl) is on a quest to find the cave of miracles; she wants to save her village which has been beset by demons. On the way, she meets a lion and an elephant who are also demons (sort of, maybe), but they don‘t seem to want to eat her yet. There are some things about this one that are confusing, but overall it was an interesting read.

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atla
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Jacq (aka Child) knows something is wrong. He lives in a dragon hive, having been found by a dragon (Collector aka Auntie) as a child & taken into her care. But she's beginning to act a bit strangely, seems to be physically declining, & Jacq is becoming very concerned. An interesting story - I liked that it shifted perspectives from Child to Auntie and back, turning some of our human ideas around to reveal their absurdity. A recommended read!

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atla
Untitled | Anonymous
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I was dubious about this story at first but I ended up loving it & it won a Nebula Award. An anthropologist turned astronaut travels alone to an alien planet to visit a library, hoping to find answers to save Earth. There were a couple of minor things I didn't like, but overall - it was touching and it helped me process a bit of my grief for what we've done (and continue to do) to this beautiful planet we call home. Free to read/listen online.

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atla
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Okay, what? Just.. what? Evidently this story is a prequel to a novel by the author- but it seems to assume that you‘re familiar w/ that novel or that you don‘t care to understand the story. I don‘t get this story & honestly the whole experience (okay, the audio narrator was also exceptionally bad) was so annoying that I don‘t care to get it anymore. I don‘t understand why Jonathan Strahan (anthology editor) allowed this story to stand alone.

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atla
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Only a few pages long. Our main character has a hoard - but it‘s not gold or jewels .. it‘s human children. The story itself was obvious (given the anthology and the story title) and there wasn‘t significant plot or character development. I think the author is trying to speak to the issues present in our foster care system and also assumptions that folks make, but there just wasn‘t really enough story to do this effectively.