The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This book is comforting like a handmade quilt, and kind like a good friend. It paints a picture of a sprawling and diverse universe, populated by aliens of different body plans and cultures and sexual norms, some kind, some violent, all of them strange to one another, but all of them trying (and sometimes failing, but always trying) to find ways to live together in something like peace, or at least neutrality.

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Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

When this book was recommended to me, it was described as 'grown up Wall-E, plus all of humanity is dead,' and the book itself delivered on the promise. This book was a fun read, and covered a lot of ground in the subjects of what it means to be intelligent, what it means to have a soul, and where you find meaning in life after you've killed the people you were built to serve.

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Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey

Well, that was an interesting installment of The Expanse. It wasn't quite what I expected, and not exactly what I've been going to this series for, but it was still good. Cibola Burn accelerates humanity out of the solar system and onto the worlds that the Gate has made available to them. Or at least, onto the first world that they find outside of the solar system that is habitable without terraforming.

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

My first reaction upon finishing this book was sheer relief that I had finally finished it. Not because I felt like I'd wasted my time, or because it wasn't a good book; it's a worthwhile and interesting read. It's also enormous. If you're looking for a commitment of a book, this book is for you. If you're the type that reads a couple of pages a day, this book may take you a couple of years to read.

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Miranda and Caliban by Jaqueline Carey

I've never read The Tempest, and maybe I should have before reading this book. I might have appreciated it more. Carey, as always, delivers beautiful prose, and that's the reason that I will keep reading Carey's books for as long as she keeps publishing them. Unfortunately, this one was a bit of a miss for me when it comes to the romance and the story, mostly because of the narrative's treatment of Caliban, which made me increasingly uncomfortable.

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The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

This book. THIS BOOK. This book, you guys. It kept me up for three nights in a row, vacation days where I had other things I needed to be doing during the day, old friends that I had promised to meet with, family that I wanted to spend time with. But every night, back at my hotel, I would pick up this book and read until I realized that it was way too late, much, much later than I had planned on staying up.

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American Street by Ibi Zoboi

This book was definitely unlike anything I've read before - and that's exactly why it's so good. It's #ownvoices, about Haitian immigrants in Detroit, and while it's closer to magical realism than the fantasy that I was expecting, I still enjoyed the fact that the magic was from a different cultural background than the fantasy that I usually read.

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Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

Like Annihilation before it, Borne is a slow book, a rich book. It's intense, it demands that you take your time with it, because every word has been painstakingly chosen and put together to create not only meaning, but feeling that runs deep, and an intuitive understanding that runs even deeper. Every instant that you spend reading it is worth it and more, though.

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Hey, did you guys know that I really like weird fiction? Like, really really like it. Give me your straight fantasy, yes. Give me your hard sci-fi, your space opera, your military sci-fi. But also, also-the weird ideas. The strange worlds. Your trucks powered by bugs, your aliens that can only speak the truth and only through two mouths, your strange creeping invasion, your hippo plantations in the Mississippi; I want them all. I make the grabby hands at them.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Oh man did I ever luck into a run of good books last week. First The Steerswoman, then Exit West, and now The Bear and the Nightingale. It's weeks like last week that make me thankful beyond belief that I'm alive and have so many new, exciting, and surprising books to read. I went into The Bear and the Nightingale with zero expectations, and couldn't have been more pleased with the Russian-flavored fantasy that I found.

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The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein

I've learned not to skip over books in my to-read queue because the books that don't draw my attention, the books that I'm tempted to skip, that I put off because they're not well known and no one I know personally is talking about them, are often the books that take me by surprise and present me with something unique and wonderful that I never knew that I wanted until I opened the book. The Steerswoman is one of those books.

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Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

A friend of mine observed that I don't do things by halves after watching me add every single piece of fiction in the Expanse universe to by To-Read list after finishing both seasons of the TV show and getting about 70% of the way through Leviathan Wakes. The truth is, I do some thing by halves; there are series of books that I enjoy, but that I've been dragging my heels on for years for one reason or another. I let goals go half-completed, and even more often I abandon TV shows mid-season if they haven't sufficiently hooked me. But The Expanse is not one of those things.

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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

You would think that, given my ambivalance for all things religious, and for Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Friend just a couple of weeks ago, that I would have similarly ambivalent feelings about The Red Tent. It is, after all, another fictionalized retelling of a bible story. However, I am pleased to say that that was not the case. The Red Tent is about as different as if can possibly be from Lamb while still also being a retelling of a religious story. While Lamb falls firmly into the category of 'comedy,' The Red Tent is more of a serious coming-of-age story from the point of view of a female character that only gets a couple of sentences in the original story that she appears in: Dinah.

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