I decided to make a stack of books for this winter. Since winter means being at home these days I thought it would be fun to have a big stack to work my way through.

So far I’m making great progress!

I decided on a mix of non-fiction, fun books, old favorites, poems, entirely new ones, project ideas and serious things to think about. This way I can pick depending on what I feel like and by the time it’s spring I will have learned a lot, had fun and have cool new ideas.

Also having a happy stack to look at reminds me that there are happy and interesting and important things to learn about, which for the season of being home, helps. It’s like a bookstore that just happens to have all of my favorites right there in front. I love home and it’s great not to have to go anywhere. And hey, being safe is a major plus in my situation! But wow, I miss going places sometimes and seeing people and new things. So, awesome pile of books! And as the kids get bigger and I work harder pushing the RA into remission (and hopefully there are fewer things setting it off all the time, darn climate change) there can be winter hikes too.

Anyway, I’ve read a bunch of my books and thought it be fun to write down what I thought as I’ve gone through them.

Good Bones
This was a book of poems, mostly themed around being a parent with themes on nature and babies and things but from the perspective of the present world, not in a soft focus pretty way. It’s very good. The author puts a lot of the feelings of determination, fear, desperate love and frustration into words. It makes some of these experiences less lonely. It’s an awesome book of poems.

The Water Will Come & The Heat Will Kill You First
Yeah, this one. It was written in 2017. It’s terrifying but also has hope. The first chapter captures one of my greatest fears from my professional life, the interview on the plane in a later chapter covers one of the great frustrations of my professional life. (Why didn’t they push harder?!) It’s very good, and very important. I agree that this is what’s coming.

The second one was written this year, 2023. It’s terrifying and there’s a lot less hope. There’s a vibe, of “thankfully I’m aged and won’t be here to see this, at least I’ve had a good life” to me. That’s how it feels at least. This time I had to skip the first chapter after a couple of paragraphs. I read about that when it happened, and it’s one of my greatest personal fears. Not the exact circumstances, but having the rules change and not realizing and that putting my family and kids in danger and me not realizing or being able to save them. The rest is like The Water Will Come but with less hope, just the danger on the horizon, waiting. And oh wow is the lack of action so hard and angry making.

A City on Mars
I got this one because I like SMBC and Soonish was great. The book was great in terms of the science. The parts speaking to the community around space colonization were hard though. The same people who seem to inhabit that community based on those sections are the same reasons I’ve left a whole bunch of online communities in the last 5-ish years. Also, re-reading Soonish to try and forget the reminder of frustration and anger that provoked didn’t help either. Because Soonish was also written in 2017 and man, the last 5 years and especially the last 6-12 months have really shown how things can degrade fast. Especially after the books above. It’s hard to look at these and say, “Yes, those awesome future things will come and be cool for everyone!” Sigh.

Heartbreaker Series & With a Golden Sword
Dragons, magic, awesomeness. These are so fun to re-read again. This time in hard copy. Yay for these. 🙂

System Collapse
This was a great read while struggling with the sadness and frustration looking at potential future scenarios for personal and professional reasons. For me the Murderbot series has always been about seeing a character with a non-standard look at the world (popular words: non-neuro-typical) and seeing that character find acceptance as they are even as they struggle there is friendship, partnership and even casual relationships with their core relationships accepting them as they are, offering ways and ideas to interface with the world as they are but not to change them except helping when healing is needed.

Not a common thing in the usual day to day. Or in literature.

So being reminded that that can exist in the face of everything-else-that’s-going-on is good.

Also it’s a cool story about robots and space colonies and adventures and it picks up right after the last one and they all read like my absolute favorite sci-fi movies from the 80s, 90s and 00s.

So yay!

I really like Mary Oliver. This is my other book of poems. While Good Bones was like finding a voice about that matches my feelings, Mary Oliver is like remembering to take a breath. Which also helps with everything-else-that’s-going-on. I’m reading through it a bit at a time. I have a number of her books of poems but this new compilation puts together poems from all through her life really well.

Yuletide Gems
It’s a romance, there are cats and libraries and books. Yep, it’s fun. I like historical romances sometimes, it’s like a fantasy novel that way since it’s in a different world than the one I live in. And books, cats and libraries are nice.

And those are my thoughts so far. More reading to go!