The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: books (page 1 of 3)

BookCon 2018 Recap

Left to right: Marie Lu, Nicola Yoon, Nic Stone, Kiersten White, M.J. Franklin

Sad you missed BookCon? Here are some more highlights! Check out more of our coverage here.

Fierce and Fabulous

“#1 asking for permission and #2 apologizing for taking up space. I’m not apologizing for taking up space anymore. My main fear for writing the two girls in this book is that I would make them too soft. I don’t want them to apologize for taking up space, I don’t want to subconsciously write female characters who are shy, who are soft, just because I’ve been taught that’s what women are supposed to be.” Nic Stone

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#Fearlesswomen in Science Fiction and Fantasy at Book Con 2018

Sci fi/fantasy authors S.L. Huang, V.E. Schwab, Charlie Jane Anders and Seth Dickinson joined in conversation with Kaila Stern of the Mary Sue at Book Con 2018. They talked about strong female characters, odious sexist tropes, and what’s needed to change the power dynamic in the entertainment world. Read highlights from their conversation below:

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Famous married funny people Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman have a new book coming out: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

Megan Mullally (currently starring in Will & Grace again) and Nick Offerman (former Parks and Recreation star) may joke about just being people with funny social media accounts but they’re actually that and also married actors who wrote a book together. Continue reading

Book Review: Heads of the Colored People, by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Review by Tess Tabak

 

In Heads of the Colored People, Nafissa Thompson-Spires weaves a tapestry of loosely connected stories about African-American people. She explores the complex relationships African-Americans have towards their racial identity in 21st century America.

 

The characters in Heads often feel like outsiders in their own world. In the first story, a simple misunderstanding sparks into a fight when one black man, dressed in anime garb, his hair dyed blonde and wearing purple contacts, inadvertently ignores another black man on the street.

 

Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always sharp, these stories bring us into a world of diverse voices. In a meta, meta move, a character in the first story is working on a piece called Heads of the Colored People, a collection of sketches that will reflect the lives of black people, a modern update on a project of the same name by Dr. James McCune Smith in 1854. She compares her own sketch to the police-drawn chalk outline of a man killed by police brutality. “I couldn’t draw the bodies while the heads talked over me, and the mosaic formed in blood, and what is a sketch but a chalk outline done in pencil or words?” Continue reading

Book Review (spoiler-free): Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Review by E. Kirshe

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is already on a bunch of lists of books to watch out for and there’s a good reason for that.

 

Set in Reconstruction-era America, history has taken a turn thanks to the undead plague that arises during the Civil War. The North and South agree to stop fighting each other in order to put down zombies (called shamblers here). The story is told through the first-person narration of Jane Mckeene. Jane is finishing her training to become an Attendant, a person trained in both weaponry and etiquette in order to protect wealthy white women. Thanks to the Negro and Native Reeducation Act this career path is not a choice. Even being the daughter of a very wealthy white woman does not prevent Jane from being required to train at Miss Preston’s school of combat in Baltimore.

 

Ireland creates a richly drawn brave new America- the worldbuilding in this book is extensive and expertly sprinkled across the pages. Even with the first person narration it never feels like an info-dump. Lots of true history is blended into Ireland’s version- history buffs will recognize some key phrases and inspiration. Continue reading

Book Review: Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst

Review by Tess Tabak

Searching for Someday is like a lollipop. You unwrap it, excited. I shouldn’t be reading this, you think. It has no real sustenance. But then you do read it, and you think, ugh, this is too sweet. And the prose is horrible. Did I ever use to like these? But it goes down quick before you really have a chance to think about it.

As a bodice-ripper, this book sort of succeeds. I’m saying “sort of” because it was page-turning and somewhat engrossing, which is really the only thing one asks for in books like this. I finished it in about three days. But the cringe factor is very high. I’ll leave aside the ridiculous nature of the premise – Kate runs a matchmaking agency called Kinnections, where she uses a combination of her supernatural ability to detect compatibility and real world dating advice to create lasting connections for her clients. She is also cursed to find one true soul mate in life. No one else will do it for her. OK, that part is fine.

Where the book starts to fall apart is when Slade enters the picture. A no-nonsense, super hot divorce lawyer, he becomes Kate’s client as a way of keeping tabs on his sister, who’s recently signed up for Kinnections. No. No no no no. Kate and her friends frequently cite Slade’s “protectiveness about his family” as a plus, but really? His behavior toward his sister is controlling, obsessive, unhealthy. Continue reading

Holiday Gifts For Book Lovers

You love books. They’re the perfect present, obviously. We’ve put together a selection to help you find the perfect gift for every person on your list this holiday season.

We aimed for a wide range, and to choose books a little bit off the beaten path. If you pick a book from this list, the odds are pretty good they don’t already have it – either because it just came out so they haven’t gotten a chance, or because it’s not on their radar.

Most of the books on our list are available on Amazon Prime – so no matter what holiday you celebrate, there’s a perfect last-minute gift for you in here somewhere.

 

Literary fiction:

New: Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (2017)

The Visit from the Goon Squad author is back with a gripping thriller about a woman who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II.

 

Middle-ish: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (2013)

As far as we’re concerned not enough people have read this book. This novel is narrated by two fully realized characters– a teenaged Japanese-American girl (Nao) keeping a diary while living in Tokyo, and a Japanese-American writer (Ruth) living on an island off the coast of British Columbia who finds that diary sometime after the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan. This book goes to some dark places. 16-year-old Nao wants to commit suicide but not before she finishes writing about the life of her 100+-year-old old Buddhist nun grandmother. In doing so she captures much of her own story. Ruth, who finds the diary well after it was written, forms a connection with Nao even while her ultimate fate is unknown. The novel deals with everything from time, spirituality, physics, and placemaking. Fun fact: Ozeki became the first practicing Zen Buddhist priest to be shortlisted for the Man Booker with this book.

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Book Review: “After you say what’s true…” by Dan Tarnowski

Dan TarnowskiReview by E. Kirshe

 

Dan Tarnowski’s collection of eight poems After you say what’s true… presents a handful of highly narrative memories filled with quiet contemplation.

Tarnowski offers simplicity and intimacy in each work. Self-reflection runs through the pages, Tarnowski is open about who he is, what bothers him about himself, what he thinks about, and what makes him hopeful. Using beautiful structure- often weaving in and out of recent and past memories— and convincing imagery Tarnowski is a refreshing as well as inviting poet. He’ll often start somewhere simple then make an intriguing about face.

“i often fell to observing/small nuances that others were not interested in,/the construction of table legs where they met the tables with screws/sometimes even hurting myself on purpose, sticking pins in my finger,/twisting and folding my limbs…”

For those looking to connect with a new artist Tarnowski’s most recent chapbook presents very honest work and well worth the one sitting it will take you to complete.

This chapbook and Tarnowski’s other works are available here: http://dtarnowski.com/all/

You can read one of these 8 poems, “Interview”, right here http://thefuriousgazelle.com/2017/04/18/interview/

Fantasy Fandoms Unite at Bookcon

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Left to right Garth Nix, Kendare Blake, Renée Ahdieh

This past weekend during New York Comic Con, Bookcon was busy taking over Hudson Mercantile with various panels and signings. At the Fantasy Fandoms Unite panel, Garth Nix (Abhorsen Trilogy), Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns), and Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn), sat down to answer fan questions. Continue reading

Q&A with artist Sydney Padua on the Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

Q: Your drawings in the Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage are very kinetic. How do you think your work as an animator informs your 2D drawing style?


Sydney Padua:
Thanks! I work in 3D on a computer now, but I started out old-school animating on paper back in the Good Ol’ Days. Animation is a great teacher for drawing expressive characters— it comes from the same tradition as Vaudeville and pantomime, a language of archetypes that works well for comics. You learn a lot about conveying energy and character in a pose, because in a sense you are part of theatrical troupe, you’re always thinking in terms of supporting the story and the scene. And of course there is simply the training aspect of producing enormous volumes of drawings at speed— drawing all day every day for a few years, you’re bound to learn something!

 

Conversely, I think I took as long getting the ‘animation’ back out of my drawing— after many years as an industrial drawer I’d lost a feeling for my own line, my own way of relating to drawing. The nice thing about working on a computer is I felt I had my drawing to myself again; I didn’t have draw ‘correctly’ any more.

 

Q: Parts of L&B reminded me of Alan Moore’s LoEG, in the best way possible. Can you tell us about some authors and artists who influence your work in general, and this work in particular?

 

Sydney Padua: One of my clearest memories is being six years old and touring the Louvre, surrounded on every side by the greatest masterpieces of civilisation from antiquity to the present day. I didn’t see any of them because my nose was buried in an Asterix comic, which I as far as I was concerned eclipsed all previous human accomplishments. I still sort of think that, and instinctively feel that awful puns, extravagant sound effects, and a lot of running around and shouting are the mark of Quality Historical Literature.

 

Alongside Asterix, the late, great Martin Gardner’s The Annotated Alice. It’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, but marching along under and beside and around the text are a friendly crowd of footnotes. They might have the original poem Lewis Carroll was mocking, or a tidbit of biography, or an explanation of relevant 19th century mathematics. Mostly the footnotes were little short snippets but sometimes they’d take over half the page when they got unruly. I used to spend hours and hours poring over that book when I was twelve or thirteen and still perk up every time I see a footnote in a book.

 

Q: L&B is littered with great tidbits from history that you found through research. What’s one of your favourite facts about the pair?

 

Sydney Padua: Only one fact!? Can I have two? One for each? My favourite Lovelace find is a single sentence from the “News Miscellany” in the New York Mirror of 1835, when Ada was 20. It reports, in full: “It is said that Ada Byron, the sole daughter of the “noble bard,” is the most coarse and vulgar woman in England!” Ada was given to swearing a surprising amount in her letters (don’t get too shocked, by swearing I just mean things like “damned”), but that’s a tantalising and very rare peek into what impression she must have given in person. She was not a very good Victorian lady!

 

My favourite Babbage anecdote is from a little memoir called Sunny Memories, by a lady who knew Babbage in his old age. She tells a story about how he forgot his calling-­cards once when visiting, so he pulled a gear out of his pocket, scratched his name on it, and left that instead! I couldn’t have made up something so irresistibly Babbagey in a million years. If that gear ever turned up on the Antiques Roadshow it would be worth a fortune!

 

Q: In the book you touch on computer science scholars who don’t believe AL original work developing the worlds first complete computer program is really her own. Why do you think that is?

 

Sydney Padua: That’s actually a really complicated question. It’s tempting to say it’s just just straight up sexism because, I mean, a lot of it is just straight up sexism. The critics tend to use pretty blatant language– she was a “lusty coquette”, a “hysteric”, “mad as a hatter”, they go on about her love life and her personality and her wanting attention– as though Babbage wasn’t weird, arrogant, and wanted attention! There’s a sort of “fake geek girl” narrative that sounds awfully familiar. Some of it is a genuine question mark— for sure Babbage sketched out some work for the program, it was a collaborative process, I think that’s pretty clear from their letters. To me it’s also evident from the letters that the final program was Lovelace’s. I do think some of the ‘Team Babbage’ people resent how much attention Lovelace gets when poor old Babbage already had such a hard time getting recognition in his own lifetime, and as a Babbage fan I get where they’re coming from– I want Babbage to be celebrated and adored too! But I’m Team Lovelace and Babbage, which is the best team, and also fights crime.

 

Q: Right now, is there anything going on in your life, or in the world, that makes you furious?

 

Sydney Padua: Hmmm, I’m not a very furious person! I’m piqued.. nettled? that so many women are persuaded to feel that computers aren’t their “territory”. Women were there from the very beginning!

 

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