semperfiona: (maple)
Total books attempted: 187
Total books finished: 177

Fiction: 163 completed, 9 abandoned
Non-fiction: 12 completed, 1 abandoned
Poetry: 2 completed

Audio: 19
Paper: 24
Electronic: 144

Unique authors: 102

Named books from Tempest Challenge spreadsheet: 52
Unique authors from spreadsheet: 58
The second number is higher because some of the spreadsheet items do not include titles, and because in some cases I could not find the named book so got a different one by the same author.
Total books from authors on spreadsheet: 94

Demographics
Wow it's hard to figure out people's sexual preferences. For purposes of this exercise, I assumed straight if I could find any reference to an opposite-gender partner, and gay/lesbian if I could find any reference to a same-gender partner. I've used bi for two people I actually know personally and have been told their identification, although both of them have opposite-gender partners. Bisexual invisibility, yay. But unless someone puts it in their official bio or it's on their wikipedia page, I don't know it. If I'd found anyone with references to partners past or present of both/many genders, then they'd be tagged bi.

I am somewhat disappointed to discover that my spreadsheet has betrayed me. At least one of the authors on it is a straight white man. (English, not American, but that's hardly a big step into diversity.) It's true that his books--the ones I read--feature a Black protagonist, so that's something, but I'm still a bit bummed.

I made appearance judgments on race, unless it was explicitly mentioned in an author bio/wikipedia. That is, after all, how people tend to do it in real life.

(finished books, demographics - 177 books)
68 M, 109 F (includes 1 trans* woman)
2 unknown, 2 Arab, 21 Asian, 16 Black, 7 Hispanic, 2 Indian (subcontinent), 2 Native American, 124 white
54 unknown, 3 bi, 2 gay, 7 lesbian, 111 straight
3 unknown, 1 Australia, 2 Barbados, 23 Canada, 1 Chile, 2 China, 21 England, 1 Germany, 1 India, 1 South Africa, 127 USA, 3 Wales

(finished books, demographics - 96 authors)
33 M, 62 F (includes 1 trans* woman)
1 unknown, 2 Arab, 7 Asian, 10 Black, 5 Hispanic, 2 Indian (subcontinent), 2 Native American, 65 white
34 unknown, 2 bi, 2 gay, 4 lesbian, 54 straight
3 unknown, 1 Australia, 1 Barbados, 5 Canada, 1 Chile, 2 China, 8 England, 1 Germany, 1 India, 1 South Africa, 69 USA, 1 Wales

(abandoned books, demographics - 10 books)
5 M, 5 F
1 Hispanic, 6 white, 1 Black, 2 Asian
2 lesbian, 4 straight, 4 unknown
5 USA, 1 Japan, 1 Canada, 1 Czechoslovakia, 1 France, 1 England
5 from spreadsheet

(abandoned books, demographics - 9 authors)
5 M, 4 F
1 Hispanic, 5 white, 1 Black, 2 Asian
1 lesbian, 4 straight, 4 unknown
4 USA, 1 Japan, 1 Canada, 1 Czechoslovakia, 1 France, 1 England
6 from spreadsheet
semperfiona: Books on a table superimposed with "There is no frigate like a book" (books)
  1. Heartless, Gail Carriger (audio)

  2. The God Engines, John Scalzi (audio)

  3. Planetfall, Emma Newman

  4. The Fall of the Kings, *Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman (paper)

  5. *The Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler (paper)

  6. Timeless, Gail Carriger (audio)

  7. *Stories of Your Life and Others, Ted Chiang (paper)

  8. The Privilege of the Sword, *Ellen Kushner

  9. Prodigal Summer, *Barbara Kingsolver (audio)

  10. *The Steerswoman, Rosemary Kirstein

  11. Hidden History of Eureka Springs, Joyce Zeller

  12. Hounded, Kevin Hearne (audio)

  13. Silver on the Road, Laura Anne Gilman

  14. *Acacia: The War with the Mein, David Anthony Durham

  15. Hexed, Kevin Hearne (audio)

  16. Prudence, Gail Carriger (audio)

  17. *Unexpected Stories, Octavia Butler

  18. *The Black Rose, Tananarive Due

  19. *A Woman of the Iron People, Eleanor Arnason
semperfiona: (maple)
  1. Thor, Goddess of Thunder (vol 1, graphic novel)

  2. Ms Marvel (vol 1, graphic novel)

  3. *Sorceror to the Crown, Zen Cho
    Expired before I finished. May go back to it but may not.

  4. *The Eterna Files, Leanna Renee Hieber

  5. Sita's Ramayana, *Samhita Arni

  6. Kingdom of Gods, *N.K. Jemisin

  7. The Fifth Season, *N. K. Jemisin

  8. Soulless, Gail Carriger (audio)

  9. Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie

  10. Changeless, Gail Carriger (audio)

  11. Swordspoint, *Ellen Kushner (paper)
semperfiona: (ampersand)
  1. The Aeronaut's Windlass, Jim Butcher

  2. Broken Homes, *Ben Aaronovitch

  3. Foxglove Summer, *Ben Aaronovitch

  4. *The Girl in the Road, Monica Byrne
    This book stars a bisexual female POC protagonist with a trans* girlfriend, and while she's not entirely a hero, her bad behavior is not blamed on her sexuality or ethnicity. It's also set in India and Africa (and the Arabian Sea). I was sure while reading that the author, despite her name, was Indian or African, and come to find out, she's a white American. From my own admittedly-low-knowledge white American perspective, her characters are convincingly not white Americans.

  5. *Outline, Rachel Cusk
    Abandoned 19%. Didn't seem to be going anywhere and I didn't really like the characters.

  6. First Lord's Fury, Jim Butcher (audio)

  7. *The Vicious Deep, Zoraida Córdova

  8. *Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (paper)

  9. The Savage Blue, *Zoraida Córdova

  10. The Vast and Brutal Sea, *Zoraida Córdova

  11. Broken Kingdoms, *N. K. Jemisin

  12. *Our Black Year, Maggie Anderson

  13. More Than Two, Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert
semperfiona: (ampersand)
Falling down the Internet Rabbit Hole, as you do, I ran across this poem today. As I've just devoured all of the extant books in Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London" series, it seemed particularly apropos. And thus I share it with you.


Rising Damp by UA Fanthorpe.



‘A river can sometimes be diverted but is a very hard thing to lose altogether.’
(Paper to the Auctioneers’ Institute, 1907)

At our feet they lie low,
The little fervent underground
Rivers of London

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet


Whose names are disfigured,
Frayed, effaced.

There are the Magogs that chewed the clay
To the basin that London nestles in.
These are the currents that chiselled the city,
That washed the clothes and turned the mills,
Where children drank and salmon swam
And wells were holy.

They have gone under.
Boxed, like the magician’s assistant.
Buried alive in earth.
Forgotten, like the dead.

They return spectrally after heavy rain,
Confounding suburban gardens. They inflitrate
Chronic bronchitis statistics. A silken
Slur haunts dwellings by shrouded
Watercourses, and is taken
For the footing of the dead.

Being of our world, they will return
(Westbourne, caged at Sloane Square,
Will jack from his box),
Will deluge cellars, detonate manholes,
Plant effluent on our faces,
Sink the city.

Effra, Graveney, Falcon, Quaggy,
Wandle, Walbrook, Tyburn, Fleet


It is the other rivers that lie
Lower, that touch us only in dreams
That never surface. We feel their tug
As a dowser’s rod bends to the surface below

Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, Styx.
semperfiona: Books on a table superimposed with "There is no frigate like a book" (books)
  1. A Red-Rose Chain, Seanan McGuire

  2. The Shepherd's Crown, Terry Pratchett

  3. The Martian, Andy Weir
    Loved this. Recommended it to [livejournal.com profile] ohari, who also loved it.

  4. Rolling in the Deep, Mira Grant

  5. Captain's Fury, Jim Butcher (audio)

  6. The Dinosaur Lords, Vic Milan
    Abandoned about 1/3 of the way through. Too much battle and gore for my taste at the time.

  7. *The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N. K. Jemisin (reread)
    I thought so before I borrowed this, and yes, I had read it before.

  8. Princeps' Fury, Jim Butcher (audio)

  9. *Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch
    The UK title, _Rivers of London_, fits this book far better. Oh well, who can account for the vagaries of publishers.

  10. The Den of Shadows Quartet, *Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
    Abandoned 6% (about a quarter of the first book). This was written when the author was fourteen or something like that, and it shows.

  11. Give It to Me, *Ana Castillo
    Abandoned 4%. Dreary depressing characters in a dreary world, and the narrative voice is ungrammatical and annoying.

  12. *Wolfcry, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
    Abandoned before chapter one. Same author as the Den of Shadows, written later in her career, but too pretentious for me.

  13. Moon Over Soho, *Ben Aaronovitch
    On the other hand I am loving these!

  14. Whispers Under Ground, *Ben Aaronovitch

  15. Coming of Age at the End of Days, Alice LaPlante (paper)

  16. *Santa Olivia, Jacqueline Carey (paper)
semperfiona: (ampersand)
  1. The Iron King, *Julie Kagawa

  2. Cast in Moonlight, *Michelle Sagara (novella)

  3. *Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill
    I didn't much care for this. It was a dysfunctional-family novel written in tiny vignettes which changed from first person to third person to first person plural. None of the characters except one ever got a name. I don't know why that one character was named while all others were either initials or 'the wife', 'the husband', 'the baby'.

  4. *The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
    I didn't much like this one either. Almost abandoned it several times. Bleak, depressing tour of rural Southern poverty in the early part of the 20th century, and nothing much actually happens.

  5. Bring Up the Bodies, *Hilary Mantel
    The sequel to last month's _Wolf Hall_, and the author has done better with clarifying her pronoun antecedents, if only by phrases like "he, Thomas Cromwell,..." Still, it helps. In this installment, Henry VIII is tired of Anne Boleyn and TC has to find a way to get rid of her to make way for Jane Seymour.

  6. The Iron Daughter, *Julie Kagawa

  7. The End of All Things, John Scalzi
    On paper, OMG!

  8. Uprooted, Naomi Novik
    Paper again...that's the first time since at least March I've read two books on paper in a row. Also, this book is very very good. The magic of receiving what the universe is offering...something I need to learn.

  9. *Ripper, Isabel Allende

  10. *Open City, Teju Cole
    Abandoned at 14%. The old-fashioned writing style and the modern day setting didn't gel for me, not much was happening, and I was just bored. I did set it to renew and may give it another try before its next due date.

  11. Cursor's Fury, Jim Butcher (audio)

  12. Cast in Peril, *Michelle Sagara

  13. The Iron Queen, *Julie Kagawa

  14. *Station Eleven, Emily St.John Mandel

  15. The Hum and the Shiver, Alex Bledsoe

  16. A Wisp of a Thing, Alex Bledsoe

  17. Long Black Curl, Alex Bledsoe

  18. The Iron Knight, *Julie Kagawa

  19. Cast in Sorrow, *Michelle Sagara

  20. Cast in Flame, *Michelle Sagara

  21. Working for Bigfoot, Jim Butcher

July books

Jul. 31st, 2015 11:59 pm
semperfiona: (ampersand)
Omitted from June list: Furies of Calderon, Jim Butcher (audio) (see below for general comments about the series)

Also, if you haven't noticed by now, I generally only make negative commentary about books. If I don't say anything, I liked it!

Also also, I finally put my compiled diversity book list on Google Drive, so you can see it too. None of the authors are straight white American men; they might be anything at all else.

  1. *Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
    About the reign of Henry VIII and his courtship and marriage of Anne Boleyn. Wolf Hall itself, the home of the Seymours, doesn't even appear in the book, nor are the Seymours a very big presence, so I'm really not sure why it's called that. Good book, generally, and appears very well researched, but it's written in third person and the viewpoint character is almost never named in the course of the text, while there is a huge assortment of other named characters. She'll name one man and then a moment later in the same paragraph say 'he' but now she's talking about the POV character and not the one whose name was just mentioned. Pronoun antecedents are a thing, Dear Author. Still, I put a hold on the sequel.

  2. Academ's Fury, Jim Butcher (audio)
    I'm listening to this series (Codex Alera; this is the second book), which I have previously read and enjoyed, and while it hasn't quite reached a point of making me stop, the Suck Fairy has definitely visited, especially in contrast with the intentional diversity of my other reading. I am noticing just how often female characters are described in terms of their sexual attractiveness, how many rapes or rapes-just-barely-escaped there are, and how the classism of the society is validated by the higher class people being objectively better than the lower class at their world's most valued abilities. Sigh. I'm not sure I can continue to recommend these to people.

  3. The Philosopher Kings, *Jo Walton

  4. Cast in Silence, *Michelle Sagara

  5. Cast in Chaos, *Michelle Sagara

  6. *The Cooked Seed, Anchee Min

  7. *Redefining Realness, Janet Mock
    Two memoirs in a row, VERY DIFFERENT from each other.

  8. *Code Talker, Joseph Bruchac

  9. The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse, Alan Bradley (short story/novelette)

  10. Cast in Ruin, *Michelle Sagara

  11. *Trade Me, Courtney Milan

  12. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, Alan Bradley

  13. *Futureland, Walter Mosley

  14. How to Build a Girl, *Caitlin Moran

  15. *The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez

June Books

Jun. 30th, 2015 11:59 pm
semperfiona: (ampersand)

  1. *The Best of All Possible Worlds, Karen Lord

  2. *The Lost Girl, Sangu Mandanna

  3. The Galaxy Game, *Karen Lord

  4. *The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes

  5. Speaking from Among the Bones, Alan Bradley

  6. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, Alan Bradley

  7. Cast in Fury, *Michelle Sagara

May books

May. 31st, 2015 11:59 pm
semperfiona: (ampersand)
I didn't end up reading many books in April. It was kind of a busy month and the emotional upheaval that is ongoing as of when I'm writing this has made reading more difficult. Can't seem to concentrate, don't want to miss a moment of possible connection time with my loves, all sorts of reasons. Wouldn't be surprised if May's list is pretty short as well.

Here's May's list.

  1. Cast in Courtlight, *Michelle Sagara

  2. *Kindred, Octavia Butler

  3. *Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
    Abandoned at 81% or so. The book expired and my renewal has already been used, and I can't muster much enthusiasm for re-checking it out to finish it. I also think I have read it before. In any case, it's creepy and surreal and doesn't really seem to go anywhere, and I'm not fond of the protagonist or the other main characters either.

  4. The Will of the Empress, Tamora Pierce

  5. *Hild, Nicola Griffith

  6. *We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler

  7. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, Alan Bradley

  8. Cast in Secret, *Michelle Sagara

  9. A Red Herring Without Mustard, Alan Bradley

  10. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Alan Bradley

  11. *The Antelope Wife, Louise Erdrich

  12. *A Free Man of Color, Barbara Hambly

semperfiona: Books on a table superimposed with "There is no frigate like a book" (books)
Still using the star system referenced last month.

  1. *Honor's Knight, Rachel Bach

  2. *Heaven's Queen, Rachel Bach

  3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley (reread)

  4. Cast in Shadow, *Michelle Sagara

  5. *Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    Actual paper book, oh my.

  6. Burndive, *Karin Lowachee
    This was one of the worst ebook conversions I've seen in a long time. Chock full of OCR errors like something from bit-torrent or worse. And I got it from the library. Grrrr.
    The story itself was good--like Eponine said, not as good as the first one but definitely enjoyable and carried the tale forward. But god was it excruciating to read with all the errors.


  7. City of Heavenly Fire, Cassandra Clare

  8. *The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin
    This book is highly acclaimed, but it didn't really grab me.

  9. *Huntress, Malinda Lo

  10. Acceptance, Jeff VanderMeer
    Another acclaimed book that didn't really work for me. I read all three of this trilogy, but they really never seemed to go anywhere. It was a Southern Gothic Environmental Horror book but never revealed what the horror actually was. That's probably the point, but I found it disappointing.

  11. *Half-Resurrection Blues, Daniel Jose Older
semperfiona: Books on a table superimposed with "There is no frigate like a book" (books)
There's apparently been some internet kerfuffle about an article by K T Bradford, responded to by lots of people, Scalzi among them.

Since I had in fact been tracking my reading so far this year, I did some googling and ran some numbers on my January and February books. Reading whatever crosses my path or continuing series I had been following has so far resulted in my reading a much less diverse group of authors than I had thought. In January and February I read 44 books by 27 authors. All 27 authors are white. To the best I can tell, all but 4 are straight. There are 16 men and 11 women. 20 Americans, 7 other countries (3 UK, 1 Australian, 1 Czech, 1 German, 1 French).

I feel slightly shamed, because I do value diversity in my reading. So I have made a list of all the books and authors recommended on various lists and comments reachable from those links, and borrowed several of the books from the library. I'm going to continue some of the series I was reading previously, but I'll add more variety from the lists. Diving in now...

Starring the items from my compiled book list. (If the star is on the author name not the book title, then either my list contained a different book by that author which I was unable to find (yet), or it contains only the author's name without a specific book recommendation.)


  1. Darker Still, *Leanna Renee Hieber

  2. *A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar

  3. *Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson

  4. The Circle Opens: Shatterglass, Tamora Pierce

  5. *The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine

  6. Trumps of Doom, Roger Zelazny (audio, reread)

  7. *Warchild, Karin Lowachee
    Almost gave up on this in the first section, which is written in second-person. I understand why she did it; I did the same thing with some short bits of my abortive attempt at fanfic (well, it might get added to one day). But it went on for a long time and I was getting kind of tired of it. However I kept with it and in the end I found the book complex and engrossing, although I was a bit disappointed by the ambiguous open ending.

  8. Specials, Scott Westerfeld

  9. *Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier

  10. *The Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka
    This book is unique in my experience, in that it is written in the first person plural. It's the story of a population rather than an individual, the young women who immigrated to America from Japan in the early 1900's.

  11. *The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson
    This might actually be a reread. Parts of it felt very familiar. Either I read a reasonably large portion of it but didn't finish--might be one I picked up in the bookstore or library but didn't take home because reasons--or I've read it before and didn't entirely remember the plot. Probably the former.

  12. Great Sky Woman, *Steven Barnes

  13. Extras, Scott Westerfeld

  14. *Fortune's Pawn, Rachel Bach

  15. *Ash, Malinda Lo

  16. Shakespeare Saved My Life, Laura Bates
    Big Library Read

  17. The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, Sam Kean

  18. City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare

semperfiona: (ampersand)

  1. Circle of Magic: Daja's Book, Tamora Pierce

  2. City of Glass, Cassandra Clare

  3. Circle of Magic: Briar's Book, Tamora Pierce

  4. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer

  5. Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear

  6. The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an IKEA Wardrobe, Romain Puertolas. Abandoned 44%
    This was billed as a humorous novel--I was expecting something picaresque--and I can see that it's meant to be farcical and absurd, but the humor seems to be mostly made of caricature representations of various ethnicities and cultures. Ugh.

  7. One Nation Under Gods, Peter Manseau

  8. Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
    I couldn't help contrasting this book of humorous essays with the novel I abandoned...Sedaris makes fun of people all through it, but most of the people are himself, and all of the poking of fun is for the foibles of individuals rather than ethnic stereotypes. And the title, for the record, is his attempt to reproduce in English his own early attempts at French, not making fun of 'foreigners speaking English'. Makes all the difference.

  9. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

  10. Hallucinations, Oliver Sacks

  11. City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare

  12. Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks, Keith Houston

  13. Pretties, Scott Westerfeld

  14. A Few Figs from Thistles, Edna St. Vincent Millay

  15. Flame and Shadow, Sara Teasdale

  16. The Circle Opens: Magic Steps, Tamora Pierce

  17. Lock In, John Scalzi

  18. The Just City, Jo Walton

  19. Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard

  20. Authority, Jeff VanderMeer

  21. The Circle Opens: Street Magic, Tamora Pierce

  22. A Talent for War, Jack McDevitt

  23. The Circle Opens: Cold Fire, Tamora Pierce

semperfiona: Books on a table superimposed with "There is no frigate like a book" (books)
I decided to try keeping track of my reading this year, partly because this month I've been reading books like a fiend. And I'm not even counting fanfic.

Library e-books are Teh Bomb.


  1. Grim Tuesday, Garth Nix

  2. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare

  3. Lemonade Mouth, Mark Peter Hughes

  4. Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up, Mark Peter Hughes

  5. All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park

  6. Valour and Vanity, Mary Robinette Kowal

  7. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (audio, reread)

  8. The Guns of Avalon, Roger Zelazny (audio, reread)

  9. The Courts of Chaos, Roger Zelazny (audio, reread)

  10. Drowned Wednesday, Garth Nix

  11. To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party, Heather Cox Richardson

  12. My Real Children, Jo Walton

  13. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson

  14. Sir Thursday, Garth Nix

  15. Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America, David Neiwert

  16. Lady Friday, Garth Nix

  17. Circle of Magic: Sandry's Book, Tamora Pierce

  18. Unbound, Jim Hines

  19. The History of Pi, Petr Beckmann (abandoned @ 72%)
    The history and math were fascinating; the random insertions of political propaganda, less so. I got tired of him going off on militarism and communism every other chapter, and insulting everyone whose ideas or politics he disliked as idiots and thugs. It got worse and worse as the history approached the modern day.

  20. Superior Saturday, Garth Nix

  21. Lord Sunday, Garth Nix

  22. The Ice Queen, Nele Neuhaus

  23. Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

  24. Circle of Magic: Tris's Book, Tamora Pierce

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