Books Read in June

Here are the books I read in the month of June!

Gwendolyn Kiste — And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe
Chana Porter — The Seep
Sam Weller — The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury
Iain Reid — Foe
Brain Evenson — Immobility
Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman — Good Omens
Ray Bradbury — Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles

Gwendolyn Kiste — And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe

And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe is Kiste’s debut collection, containing a variety of stories ranging from the surreal to the weird, covering aspects of love, loss, acceptance, awkwardness and being the “outsider.”

Her prose is something a lot of writers aspire to: haunting, flowing, alluring. Every story was as great as the last, and each one could’ve easily been the title story of this collection or any other. I enjoyed them all, and I can’t choose one or s few that are my favorite. Although, I’d like to note “The Tower Princesses” reminded me quite a bit of The Rust Maidens on a smaller scale.

To summarize: if you want to read a fantastic collection from a wonderful author, buy this book and any other work from Kiste.

Chana Porter — The Seep

The Seep is about aliens who come to earth and “seep” into the world through every avenue, and brings about a utopian world where everyone can be anything they want to be, and everything around them can form to whatever a person may want. The protagonist tries her best to remain in the past, while the world itself is becoming something unfamiliar and unwanted.

Porter’s writing is welcoming and I easily could’ve finished this book is one sitting. It flowed easily from one page to the next, never a hiccup. The story itself was good, but I thought it felt flat in some parts, and not a whole lot — given the premise — truly happened, besides the protagonist’s venture of love, loss, and acceptance.

Really, I wanted more from this book. There’s so much more potential with the Seep, and what the readers got was only a piece of the whole puzzle. I hope Porter returns to the world of the Seep in future books, or maybe a short story collection would serve better.

Overall, it’s a good, quick read and if you like the Weird, you’ll enjoy this.

Sam Weller — The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury

The Bradbury Chronicles is a biography of world renowned, master of science fiction and fantasy, Ray Bradbury. He, like many other writers of the Weird and similar genres, is one my favorite authors.

This has been one of the biographies I’ve been meaning to read for a while (the next being a biography on PKD), and I wish I hadn’t waited to read it. I really enjoyed it, despite it’s being very in-depth of Bradbury’s life, from birth to 2005. There were some parts I wish Weller had given more information on, like Bradbury’s affairs or his wife asking for a divorce. Both are covered in a few paragraphs, but they’re private and personal situations, so I can’t blame Weller for focusing more of Bradbury’s life and publication accomplishments (And, it might just be my dark curiosity to learn of all the nitty-gritty details of his life).

It’s a great biography, but I would only recommend it to those Bradbury fans who really want to know the ins-and-outs of his life and work, since I can easily see some finding it quite dense.

Iain Reid — Foe

Foe is a fast-paced novel about a not-so-fast-paced story about a husband who wins a random prize to go live on an installation in space, and the affects of that on him, his marriage, and dealing with it all for the few years until he’s sent off.

I know that’s very vague, but it has to be. There’s a good amount of twists in the book and spoiling any one of them would likely ruin reading it for you. If you have read Reid’s other novel I’m Thinking of Ending Things, you’ll understand why.

I enjoyed it, but the big twist was obvious about midway through, though Reid’s able to layer the story with other interesting things that make it still satisfying when it’s revealed, especially the story’s conclusion. If you read I’m Thinking of Ending Things, you should read; if you haven’t, then you should still probably give this a go.

Brain Evenson — Immobility

Immobility is a dystopian, sci-fi novel about a paraplegic whose woken thirty years into the future after the end of the world, whose given the task to be carried by two “mules” to a place in the mountains to retrieve an mysterious item for those who woke him. The protagonist doesn’t remember his past life, his past self, or really anything at all, and without any other options, he agrees.

To be blunt, nothing happens in this book, but in the way nothing really happens in McCarthy’s The Road. That’s not to say Immobility is as heartbreaking and emotional as The Road, but it’s about the same plot-wise. A lot of traveling, learning the world and characters as you read, etc. However, Evenson’s book touches on a lot more philosophical ideals (life, death, humanity’s choices and purposes, religion, etc) than McCarthy’s.

I liked it, though I liked Evenson’s collection Song For the Unraveling of the World much more. I still plan on pick up more Evenson works in the future.

Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman — Good Omens

Good Omens is a novel co-written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, about an angel and a devil who enjoys Earth so much they go through great lengths to ensure Armageddon, which is coming upon the world fast, doesn’t happen.

I wanted to like this book more than I do, but through the hodgepodge of minor and major characters thrown in, hard-to-follow story in the beginning, the slow pacing at the end, and the seemingly never-ending exposition, I couldn’t become engrossed into the world of Good Omens and was forced to skip some pages throughout so I could get to the end.

I feel like if it was edited down to a novella or short novel, this book would’ve been more enjoyable. In the end, it’s just one of those cases that the book’s just not for me, because there’s a ton of fans who love Good Omens.

Ray Bradbury — Fahrenheit 451

After reading The Bradbury Chronicles earlier this month, I itched for the nostalgia, the wonderment, the ruby-tinted world of Bradbury. So, I re-read Fahrenheit 451. Since this book is the foundation of so many readers and authors, and so much has already been said about it — I’ll make this short and sweet: It’s great. I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. Will read again in a couple years, that’s certain.

Ray Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles

I still wanted to be living in Bradbury’s world, so I re-read The Martian Chronicles after Fahrenheit 451. I don’t believe I can say anything that hasn’t already been said about this book, so I’ll just copy and paste what I said about Fahrenheit 451: It’s great. I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. Will read again in a couple years, that’s certain.

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