The week in books! Reading has taken a bit of a back-burner lately as I make my way through the creation of my new tarot deck and the details of the upcoming Kickstarter campaign, but I’ve made it through a few more on this stack, finally, plus a couple of poetry collections.
1. Coconut by Nisha Patel. This was an interesting and diverse collection from Canadian poet Nisha Patel. There were a few standouts, my favourite being the piece written for Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love. “It must be nice that you saw a country with over a billion people and still only thought about yourself” OOF give some aloe to Gilbert because that’s a savage burn. Check out Nisha’s performance of this piece right here, it is most excellent. Great collection.
2. Honeybee by Trista Mateer. Honeybee is the nickname Trista gave to her ex girlfriend, the one that inspired this entire collection. I thought many of the individual poems were lovely, but after a while they became very samey as they were all about said ex and how Trista was processing the breakup. In my honest opinion (and it’s just my opinion) releasing an entire collection of poetry about one person and the breakup was pretty bold… and maybe a little sad? Perhaps I don’t understand the real grief of losing a relationship that was super important to me because I’ve been the breaker-upperer in all of my relationships and honestly most times couldn’t wait to get the hell out of dodge. I don’t know what it’s like to really miss someone to the point where you spend a year in a deep funk because of it and write hundreds of poems about your ex. And it’s probably because I don’t know what it’s like that I just wanted to yell at Trista to get over it already. I wonder what her ex thinks of there being an entire book of poetry out there written about her. If I had to choose a favourite between Honeybee and Coconut it would be Coconut because it was about a more interesting series of topics that included other people and not just a personal breakup. If you’ve been through a rough breakup, however, there may be lots for you to relate to in Honeybee. Also the cover art is beautiful.
3. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. This is a cool memoir from scientist Hope Jahren who shares her experiences of getting into the sciences and starting her own lab. There’s not a lot of actual science apart from alternating micro chapters about plant life and trees. The rest is about her life; her first job prepping narcotic bags for patients needing IV painkillers, her friendship with the eccentric lab employee that follows her everywhere (he’s hilarious), and later her pregnancy and birth experience while enduring some pretty intense mental health issues (which she semi-touches on). An interesting memoir for sure, though I almost wish it included more about trees. In one section she explains the way willow trees developed a way to kill off the insects that had infested them in previous seasons and communicated that information to other willow trees long distances away that hadn’t experienced the same infestations the original trees had but would have sustained the same damage if they hadn’t gotten the heads up. Trees are magical.
4. LIGHTSPEED People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue guest edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Kristine Ong Muslim. This is a cool collection of sci-fi stories written by, you guessed it, people of colour. I love this concept! And that Nalo Hopkinson was editor! There are 10 short fiction pieces, 10 flash fiction pieces, and some reprints including Octavia Butler’s story The Evening and the Morning and the Night which was included in Bloodchild and Other Stories as well as some other collections. I read it again and loved it, naturally. I also enjoyed the variety of stories in the two fiction sections. The rest of the magazine (actually a pretty thick book) includes author spotlights, essays and other non-fiction which admittedly I didn’t read at this time, but will likely return to at some point! Solid collection.
Book haul! One small one this week, just five titles from VV. Native Son by Richard Wright, Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee, The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning, My Heart is Not My Own by Michael Wuitchik, and The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez by Aaron Bobrow-Strain. I also preordered Mona Awad’s new book which has arrived!
I’m on to the final book on this stack at last, and already looking forward to the next one.