A Year of Reading Diversely: Sister Mine

Previously on A Year of Reading Diversely.

sister-mineSister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson

Check it out if you enjoy: Someplace to Be Flying, Anansi Boys, urban fantasy that’s not about vampires

Buy it here!

Guys, I really like audiobooks. I got on the bandwagon kind of late, but since I’ve been doing most of my commuting on foot this summer, I’ve found they’re a great way to consume fiction on-the-go. (And considerably safer than my usual method of gluing my eyes to my phone while navigating Denny Way. Nothing has really changed since I was a kid, when my mom constantly told me to stop reading while I’m walking — only the medium.) But they do present a couple of challenge when it comes to reviewing. It’s harder to go back and reference stuff, for one thing; I don’t have spellings of names and places easily available, for another. Most of all, though, listening to someone read the book adds another layer of interpretation between me and the author’s words, and I have to take that into account when talking about my impressions of the book. So reviewing a novel I consumed on audiobook is a little more like reviewing a play or a movie: there are the author’s words, and there’s the performance and interpretation of the reader.

And but so anyway. Sister Mine is a 2013 urban fantasy novel by Jamaican author Nalo Hopkinson. The story centers around Makeda Joli and her sister, Abby. Abby and Makeda are formerly-conjoined twins with a fraught relationship, and they’re biracial — in that they’re half human and half god. Their father, Boysie, is Papa Bois, the Trinidadian god of living things; their mother, Cora, is a human woman. Well, was a human woman. She’s a lake monster now. It’s complicated. You know how gods are.

Continue reading

Review: “Chalice,” Robin McKinley

Cover of The truth of the matter is, these days I reread a lot more than I read. I was thinking back over the books I’d read recently and almost all of them were ones I’d read before, that I was (or am) rereading for various reasons: Red DragonThe Hunger GamesRose Madder, dribs and drabs of Mairelon the Magician and A Wizard Alone. There’s nothing wrong with rereading; when I packed up to move to Seattle, the box of books contained the ones I knew I’d always be able to come back to.

But I’ve also been writing more lately, and as comfortable as my old favorites are, I needed some new grist in my mill, so this morning (is today still Monday?) I grabbed Chalice off my shelf — and read the entire thing in a day.

When I’m listing my favorite authors I don’t usually list Robin McKinley, although I’m not sure why. Spindle’s End is one of my all-time favorite books, and Deerskin and Beauty and her short-story collection A Knot In the Grain are books that are lodged in my heart like words on the tip of your tongue. And Chalice has absolutely wormed its way in there too. My copy clocks in at 263 pages, but it didn’t feel like it at all: I zoomed through about two-thirds of it on my (ungodly long) commute to and from Tukwila, and actually ignored Tumblr for several hours to finish it. Continue reading