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swynn

swynn

Joined March 2018

Librarian - sf/fantasy addict - runner - germanophile - he/him or they/them
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swynn
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Bones were all he could see.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

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swynn
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Mehso-so

"The Fall of the Star-Dictator" (1965)

Undercover Terran agents lead a rebellion against the authoritian leader of Plophos. Lots of sneaking and fighting and narrow escapes. It does what it needs to, I guess, but it also kinda feels like marking time til episode 200.

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swynn
Queen of Teeth | Hailey Piper
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Pickpick

(2021) This one won the Stoker Award for best debut novel. It has several things going on: alternate history, dystopia, queer romance, but mostly body horror about a woman with something growing from her reproductive organs. Something with teeth. And tentacles. It's feminist and fun and yeah, also kind of squicky.

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swynn
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Pickpick

(2021) Brilliant idea, brilliant execution. It's a collection of essays based on visits to sites that commemorate slavery: Monticello, Whitney Plantation, Angola Prison, and others. Smith contemplates how history is represented and interpreted by visitors, how the representations compare to historical documents, and how the stories we tell continue to affect our lives. The audiobook is narrated by the author, in this case an excellent choice.

ChaoticMissAdventures Brilliant is the perfect word for this one. Clint Smith is outstanding. 5d
30 likes1 stack add1 comment
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swynn
The World Asunder | Ian Wallace
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Mehso-so

(1976) What a perplexing book. The plot is a grab bag of science fiction tropes and pop-psychology weirdness: time travel, Jungian psychology, psychic powers, et cetera. At its best the story is exuberantly bonkers; but its creepy 1970s sensibilities also give us attempted rapes and a villain whose intersexuality is played for freakishness. Sometimes fun, sometimes ick, it's a hot mess

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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "The Secret Invasion"

As the Terran-Arkonide Empire falls apart, Perry hopes to keep Earth and its colony worlds unified. Complicating that goal is the government of Plophos, who see themselves as Earth's successors. In this episode, a Terran team goes undercover on Plophos to create an underground rebellion ... Or at least, the appearance of one.

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swynn
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... And my #BookSpinBingo card for August, with a head start for the book I finished last night. Feeling good about this month.

Thanks, @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3w
30 likes1 comment
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swynn
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#BookSpin and #DoubleSpin reads for August: an academic work on the American evangelical movement; and a decidedly unacademic mystery involving my favorite detectives ever.

Thanks @TheAromaofBooks !

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3w
mamareading This combo makes me laugh! Enjoy August!! 2w
tyoung2058 Lol...I still think I have the green ghost one somewhere, probably near the Hardy Boys. 19h
26 likes3 comments
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swynn
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In preparation for #BookSpinBingo day tomorrow, here's my July card. Four scores, which is better than most months.

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! Fabulous month!!! 3w
27 likes1 comment
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swynn
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My stopwatch was reset during a phone update (because of course it was), so I don't know my finals hours-minutes-seconds. But I'm confident that I came close enough to #20in4 that I'm calling it success. The main thing is, I moved five titles from "to be read" to "done read that", and made progress on two others.

Thanks for hosting again, @Andrew65 !

Andrew65 Brilliant 👏👏👏🙌🥳🍾🥂😍 2w
24 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Mehso-so

(1720) Kidnapped as a child, raised as sailor, marooned on a remote island with a band of failed mutineers, the hero escapes the island, crosses Africa, and eventually becomes a pirate captain. The frequent episodes involving enslaved people and human trafficking make it difficult to enjoy today. But it has interesting points, especially a Quaker pirate who becomes such a close friend that he & Capt. Singleton set up house together in retirement.

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swynn
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Now that July is done I know exactly what titles to carry over to my August list for #BookSpin #DoubleSpin #BookSpinBingo . Here it is!

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3w
25 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Day 3 of #20in4: 4 books down, progress on three more, and the 20 hour goal is still achievable

@Andrew65

Andrew65 Fantastic time 👏👏👏 3w
22 likes1 comment
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swynn
Read dangerously | Azar Nafisi
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Pickpick

(2022) The author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran" presents a series of essays on reading as a tool for resisting authoritarianism, with the background of the Iranian revolution and Trump-era American politics, in the form of letters to her book-loving father. It's pensive and personal, and expanded my TBR list. Recommended.

34 likes1 stack add
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "Panic in the Solar System"

Perry and his missing team return to Earth, but have no time for R&R: the parliament of Terran colony worlds has met to discuss dissolving the Terran Empire, and a terrorist organization has launched a destructive campaign of bombings on Mars, the Moon, and Earth.

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swynn
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Day 2 of #20in4 and on track for success -- completed two books, and made progress on three others, one of them on audiobook. Hope others are enjoying it as much as I am.

@Andrew65

Andrew65 Doing brilliantly! 👏👏👏 3w
24 likes1 comment
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swynn
The The Angels of L19 | Jonathan Walker
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Pickpick

(2021) Liverpool, 1984. Robert is a recent convert in an evangelical congregation; he's also a sensitive young man dealing with the death of his mother and a father damaged by war. Then he starts having visions of supernatural beings who might be angels. It's a coming of age story, a period mood piece, a surrealist horror tale, and a big slice of what the what did I just read. I'm calling it a pick, but really I'm still making up my mind.

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swynn
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Pickpick

(2021) It's a compact discussion of the work of civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer to promote the rights of black, women, and poor people (and especially on the rights of poor black women). It's especially useful in making connections to work yet undone. Enlightening, inspiring, recommended.

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swynn
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Day 1 of #20in4 gets me off to a modest start: I've made pretty good progress on "Until I Am Free" (Y'all, Fannie Lou Hamer was *fire*); and made a small start on a couple of others.

@Andrew65

Andrew65 A good start 👏👏👏 3w
27 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) Third in the Three Investigators Series, which is without exaggeration the greatest juvenile mystery series of all time, past present and future. So of course it's a pick.

kwmg40 This was certainly my favourite mystery series when I was young. I can't disagree with your statement! 3w
swynn @kwmg40 Yay for Three Investigators love! 3w
30 likes2 comments
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swynn
The Rubber Band | Rex Stout
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Pickpick

(1936) Third in Stout's mystery series featuring eccentric orchidist Nero Wolfe and his two-fisted assistant Archie Goodwin. In this one, Wolfe agrees to help a young woman recover an old debt owed to her late father. But Wolfe and Goodwin are soon protecting their client from charges of larceny and suspicion of murder. The plot is twisty, and the snappy narrative is entertaining. It's fun, and I'll soon read the next.

Leftcoastzen This one is up next for me! 3w
swynn @Leftcoastzen Hope you like it! 3w
25 likes2 comments
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swynn
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I'm in for July #20in4 , and will be going for 20 hours. Likely reading list in the PicCollage.

@Andrew65

Andrew65 Best of luck 😊 3w
24 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "The Akon's Strategem"

Having fought of the Blues to rescue Perry Rhodan, a small fleet of battle-damaged Terran ships carries him back home. But en route they meet a lone Akonish convoy smuggling illegal weapons to the Blues. Such an easy target, the Terrans commit what ships they can to apprehending it. But the convoy turns out to be bait for an ambush ...

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swynn
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Well, I hoped for a couple of BookSpin bingos and only got one, but I logged all the predicted titles, so I'm calling #JubilantJuly a success. Thanks for doing this again, @Andrew65 !

Andrew65 Fantastic 👏👏👏🥳🍾🥂😍 4w
26 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Mehso-so

(2000) It's been a couple of years since my last Stephanie Plum, so I picked this on audiobook for a long drive. In this one, the body is a mob boss's son, Ranger is a prime suspect, and Grandma Mazur moves in with Stephanie. It's a little wincey due to some ethnic humor based on a Pakistani character, which I hope the series gets past quickly. Other than that it passed the time as expected

This was my #BookSpin for July
@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 4w
25 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Pickpick

(2021) Memoir of a queer black guy who experienced abuse, homelessness, addiction, and an unexpected call to Christian ministry. Multiple feelings about this, among which: (1) I love the many ways this subverts the genre of Christian memoir; (2) I'm puzzled and also delighted that evangelicalism has space for this perspective; but most of all (3) I love the message of inclusion and hope -- this is Whitman territory, and I am 100% here for it.

23 likes1 stack add
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swynn
Chesapeake | James A. Michener
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Mehso-so

(1978) This was the bestselling book of 1978, not so much a novel as a series of interlinked stories set on the Chesapeake Bay, from the 15th to the 20th centuries. The nature writing is pretty good, but the characters are mostly unpleasant, with ideas about race that are doubtless historically accurate but also not something I want to spend 850 pages with. Which is a me thing, really: Michener accomplishes what he sets out to do.

Tove_Reads He really does, but for sure his books are in some way about dated for our times. I am reading The Covenant now, it‘s similar style, good, but too long 4w
swynn @Tove_Reads Ooh, I'll be reading The Covenant in September, since it's the bestseller of 1980. I'm a little apprehensive, since I know it's about South Africa and worry it'll be more of the same: pretty good writing, but way too much of characters it's too hard to like. 4w
Tove_Reads So you have lots of John Grisham books coming up. 4w
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swynn @Tove_Reads Yep, also Stephen King. 4w
Tove_Reads How was Centennial? Haven‘t read that one. 4w
swynn Long. But I liked it; I first read it 'way back in grade school when the tv miniseries aired, and loved it then. WhenI reread it for this project, I was surprised by how many scenes made a lasting impression on me. 4w
32 likes6 comments
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swynn
At Swords' Points | Andre Norton
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(1954) Third and last in Norton's series of thrillers featuring Dutch gem merchant Lorens van Norreys, though in this one Norreys has only a small part. Instead, we follow Quinn Anders, a reserved historian whose brother is killed while searching for a treasure that went missing in WWII. Anders picks up where his brother left off, and adventure ensues. It's great fun, and reminds me of Eric Ambler's everyman-in-over-his-head thrillers.

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swynn
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Pickpick

(2021)

Seventeen-year old Marty goes to London, escaping his religiously homophobic home life. His parents think he has a music scholarship but that's not exactly true -- still, with hard work and support from some new friends he just might make it anyway. That's the plan, until he falls in love. It's not my usual thing, but I found it sweet and affirming.

Texas rep Matt Krause wants it removed from school libraries.

Read #BannedBooks !

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swynn
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Sure I'm in! I hope to finish Michener's book-brick "Chesapeake", finish my #Bookspin book and score at least a couple of Bingos for #BookspinBingo. Other likely reads are collage'd above.

Thanks @Andrew65 !
#JubilantJuly

Andrew65 Great to have you with us, good luck 😊👍 Michener brings back good memories. 1mo
29 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "Tschato the Lion"

"Admiral" Gecko and his crew of mouse-beavers have located Perry Rhodan, but in a system swarming with Blues battleships. They make a desperate play to call more Terran ships for help, but mostly just attract more Blues. Fortunately their call is also received by the Terran ship LION, helmed by Nome Tschato, master tactician and scourge of arms smugglers. The ensuing action is fun, and leaves me wanting more Nome Tschato

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swynn
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1. Fiction very rarely makes me cry -- just a heartless grump I guess -- but accounts of true tragedies sometimes can. The tagged book was so overwhelming I sometimes just had to stop.

2. Speculative fiction, especially on the blurry border between fantasy and sf. I love the ideas.

3. Just one? Perdido Street Station

#Wondrouswednesday
@eggs
Thanks for the tag @TheAromaofBooks !

Eggs #1 Sounds like a tough but important read 😓. Thanks for joining in 💗 1mo
Jari-chan #1 Same here. It takes a lot to make me crying while reading - this one did. #3 Absolutely love this book ❤️ 1mo
24 likes2 comments
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swynn
Forced Perspectives | Tim Powers
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Pickpick

(2021)

Second in Powers's urban fantasy series, "Vickery & Castine." This one involves ancient Egyptian sorcery, Hollywood occultists, a supernatural groupmind, and lots of ghosts. It's a bit sprawling, and could have been tightened in a few places, but still much fun.

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swynn
Redeeming Love: A Novel | Francine Rivers
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Panpan

(1991)

I'm not the audience for this (I think "inspirational romance" is publishing-industry jargon for "leave it on the shelf, swynn") but it was recommended to me in a way that made me feel obliged to read it. I (audio-)read the whole thing so that I could talk about it in an informed way, and now there is exactly one thing I want to say about it, and that one thing is:

No.

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swynn
Bad Witch Burning | Jessica Lewis
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Pickpick

(2021) It's horror-ish YA about a girl with a difficult home life and a talent for talking to the dead, who discovers that she can actually raise the dead. Then learns that short-term solutions are sometimes really bad ideas ... This was fun: good cast, good pacing, and one badass dog.

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swynn
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Mehso-so

(2021) This is a collection of true-crime poetry: each poem is based on a different actual case of a missing or murdered woman or girl. I have very mixed feelings about this: for me it often felt simplistic and monothematic. But then I don't read much poetry and even less true crime, so I'm probably missing nuances. I do admire author Pelayo's talent for imagery, though, so if the description sounds like your thing, do check it out.

vivastory I've heard Pelayo read a couple of poems & wasn't terribly impressed, but I'm curious about 1mo
swynn I think I'll stack that one too: I think the premise & form of this one just didn't work for me. I'd definitely try her fiction 1mo
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) Introduced last episode, "Admiral" Gecko is the leader of a crew of Ilts ("mouse-beavers"), searching for the missing Perry Rhodan. In this episode they receive a distress call from Rhodan's team. Rushing to the message's source, the Ilts discover that they are the only Terran vessel to respond to the call. But the area is swarming with Blues battleships, and the Blues have very different plans for Perry, should they find him.

RamsFan1963 Are the Perry Rhodan stories available in English? It sounds like an amazing series, but I can't read/speak German. 1mo
swynn @RamsFan1963 There have been some translations. Back in the 1970s, Ace published translations of most of the first 126 episodes, and you can sometimes find those old Ace paperbacks in used bookstores. There is also a 2004 paperback series “Lemuria“ which you can find in English, beginning with “Ark of the Stars“. 1mo
swynn @RamsFan1963 Finally, there is a reboot series, “Perry Rhodan NEO“, which updates the series timeline and smooths its rough edges. The manga publisher, J-Novel club, started publishing English translations of NEO in 2021. I haven't tried NEO yet -- either in English or auf Deutsch -- but that might be a good place to start for English readers. 1mo
31 likes3 comments
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swynn
Hawk of the Wilderness | William L. Chester
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Mehso-so

(1935) It's a pulp adventure story imitating Tarzan, where Africa is replaced by a lost Native American homeland above the Arctic Circle; and the foster family of apes is replaced (in part) by bears. As an adventure story it's pretty good, though also very much of its time.

This was my #DoubleSpin read for July.

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swynn
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And here's my #BookSpinBingo card for this month. I failed to complete any bingos in June, but feel pretty good about July.

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! Looks great!! 2mo
29 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Oh wow so I didn't finish my #BookSpin read in June, so the BookSpin fates selected it for my #DoubleSpin for July.

I hear and obey, and shudder to think of the consequences of failing to complete it again ....

@TheAromaofBooks

HeyT RNGesus will not be denied apparently. 2mo
TheAromaofBooks I thought the guy riding the bear looked familiar! 😂 Don't deny the #BookSpin fates!!! 😆 2mo
jimfields3 I like your creative use of the original post in creating this picture! 2mo
30 likes3 comments
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swynn
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Mehso-so

"The Mouse-Beaver Expedition" (1965)

Way back in Episode 98, Gucky rescued a group of fellow Ilts (i.e., "mouse-beavers") from his doomed home planet. The survivors have since established a colony on Mars. Now, with the Terran Empire disintegrating and Perry Rhodan missing, the Ilts embark on a mission to find him, and stumble into danger themselves. The story does what it tries to do, but I'm not a fan of the broad humor in mouse-beaver stories.

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swynn
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Pickpick

(2021) Expanding on a BBC podcast, this tells the story of a group of students in 1962 who escaped from East Germany, then built a tunnel under the Berlin Wall to help others escape. Its roots as a podcast show in its vivid scene-setting and sharp pacing. It's the sort of nonfic that "reads like a thriller," so if that's your thing ... yeah, mine too.

This was my #DoubleSpin read for June, just under the wire.

charl08 Great podcast! 2mo
26 likes1 comment
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swynn
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Here's my #BookSpin #DoubleSpin #BookSpinBingo list for July.

Several reads in June took longer than expected, and life interfered, so this list has a lot of holdovers from last month. Disappointingly, I won't even finish my #BookSpin read until sometime this weekend. But July is another month, and I'm feeling good about this list.

@TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks What is it with life always interfering with reading!? 😂 2mo
18 likes1 comment
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swynn
The Silmarillion | J.R.R. Tolkien
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Mehso-so

This was the bestselling book in the U.S. in 1977. It's a collection of chronicles telling stories of Tolkien's Middle-Earth, from the beginning up to the events of the Lord of the Rings. It's not an easy book, and it's more interested in atmosphere than in keeping the readers attention. I bounced off it forty years ago, so was pleased on this attempt to find it challenging but not awful. I even enjoyed it, but had to consume it in small chunks.

vivastory I wonder if the upcoming LOTR show is based on this? 2mo
swynn @vivastory My understanding is, the new series is supposed to tell stories that are consistent with the Silmarillion, but not necessarily drawn from it. But really, I'm curious too. (edited) 2mo
vivastory Yeah, it looks interesting. I've been meaning to read this since finishing LOTR a few years ago. 2mo
31 likes3 comments
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swynn
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Pickpick

(2021) It's a collection of personal essays about the author's experiences as an HBCU-educated black woman, cultural critic, and writer of the Internet age. For me it was sometimes TMI, but I admire her advocacy for owning one's own body, own pleasure, and own story. And to this father of a young man with developmental disabilities, her words about her brother with autism reach my soul. For that alone it's a pick.

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swynn
The Silmarillion | J.R.R. Tolkien
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There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

26 likes1 stack add
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swynn
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Pickpick

(1965) "The Living Dead"

In gratitude for services rendered last episode, the Kahals send Perry & friends back to Earth on a self-driving spaceship. Only it doesn't go to Earth but rather in the opposite direction, to a backwoods planet occupied by warring factions descended from stranded Springers and stuck at medieval-level technology. Then there's the mysterious beings hiding in a stand of radioactive pyramids. *Those* jokers have atom bombs.

ChaoticMissAdventures That is a fantastic cover. 2mo
swynn @ChaoticMissAdventures Isn't it great? I would not mess with that bird for anything. 2mo
32 likes2 comments
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swynn
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Mehso-so

(2021) Sixth in McGuire's series of novellas about refugees from portal fantasy worlds. This one introduces a new character, Regan, an intersex teen who goes to a world of unicorns and centaurs where she is supposed to perform some world-saving destiny, and she'd just prefer not. It's fine, though it felt a bit didactic in parts. Also, I listened to this on audiobook, and disliked the narrator, so that probably didn't help.

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swynn
Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation | Robyn Henderson-Espinoza
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Mehso-so

(2022) Oh wow this one is heavy. It's about embodiment, community, and building democracy, from the perspective of a queer, trans, Latinx, PhD, public theologian. To the extent I grasp them, I'm sympathetic to the author's points, but the text is heavy with abstract jargon and very light on definitions and concrete examples. The "so-so" rating has everything to do with my response to it, but to be fair I am clearly not its intended audience.

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swynn
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(1965) "Soldiers for Kahalo"

Perry and friends learn that last episode's events were a sort of selection process to become defenders of the Kahals, large-headed aliens with highly advanced technology but no weapons, facing an invasion of Flooths, intelligent insectoids with lots of weapons and and no scruples about using them.