07 March 2015

The Challenge, Week 1: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love walnuts with teeth

So: it’s been a week since I agreed to take up K. Tempest Bradford’s challenge to spend a year reading books by people other than white cis males. So far I have read one book, and now cats and dogs are living together, two headed calves are being born to three headed chickens, hands are writing MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN on the walls wherever I go and no, none of that is really happening. Actually, I’ve been a little gassy but that’s about it, and I’m pretty sure that has more to do with my calorie count than with someone else’s word count. 

Though to hear some people tell it, I am worse than a Nazi for reading a book outside the normal white male hetero milieu. Tempest tweeted Thursday morning that someone had accused her of running an Inquisition. Which, aside from being fucking hilarious, is further evidence that Some People Are Ignorant And Do Not Know What Words Mean. Tempest is, I assure you, not running any sort of Inquisition. I know this because neither I nor anyone else has been issued one of those sweet-ass red uniforms. And even if I had, I wouldn’t have anywhere to wear the damn thing.

Our chief weapon is surprise, surprise and fear!
Plus an almost fanatical devotion to the fire hydrant!

But I digress. Onward:

So: last week into this I read Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon. Ursula is someone I've been aware of for years, via her art and her comic Digger. I knew she was writing prose now, but hadn't had a chance to read any of it because I am a) lazy, b) lazy, and c) lazy. But by a delightful coincidence my wife acquired a review copy of Vernon's upcoming kid-lit book, and I jumped at the chance to read something by someone I've always wanted to read. 

Without divulging too much since it is still an upcoming novel, Castle Hangnail is a delightful confection of a novel about a young witch who wants to take possession of an ancient castle. It is fun, funny, wastes neither a moment nor a breath on extraneous business not related to the story, and has just enough darkness to keep things interesting and add real stakes, without it being too scary for the kiddos. The characters are a delight--including a goldfish you may recognize if you are at all familiar with Ursula's art--and I blasted through the book with a grin on my face. So. Much. Fun. 

Next up are Sherri Tepper's True Game trilogy, followed by some Walter Mosely and Octavia Butler. After that, I have some more ideas. So much to read, so little time!

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