Recent Finds

I like doing these periodic “things I’m loving” posts. It gives me a chance to reflect on what has touched me, and that’s always useful. Plus, it’s a way to track what I’ve been up to. And I hope it gives my blog readers a lighter post to read from time to time.

I just finished reading The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. Yes, I’m a bit late to that party since it was published in 2015, but my to-be-read stack is actually a few bookshelves. So sue me.

Anyway, Mr. Liu has won multiple awards for his short fiction, and he brings that same skill to this novel. The book is described as “silkpunk,” and Mr. Liu grounds his worldbuilding in the history of East Asia. His worldbuilding gives geographies and cultures that don’t typically get the “epic fantasy” treatment a chance to take center stage. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book in this series.

Jen and I blew through Gentefied on Netflix. When I read a book, I judge how well the author did by how much I want to live in the world they’ve created on the page. The folks behind Gentefied made me want to take a trip to the Boyle Heights area and get some tacos at Mama Fina’s. I dearly hope we’ll get more episodes of Gentefied from Netflix. I really need to know what happens to Cosimiro, Chris, Ana, Erik, and the rest of the characters.

And speaking of fictional places I’d like to visit, I’m ready to browse the selections at Championship Vinyl, which is the name of the record shop in Hulu’s High Fidelity.

I never saw the movie, which I admit is odd since I like John Cusack. I also haven’t read the novel that the film and TV show are based on. We’re only halfway through the episodes, but I’m loving Zoë Kravitz as Rob. She brings a dry delivery to her character’s lines that I find appealing. And Da’Vine Joy Randolph is fantastic as Cherise.

I’m late to the game on this, but I’m reading Elizabeth Bear’s Whiskey and Water, which is the second book in her Promethean Age series. It’s well-written and blends an intriguing variety of myths, legends, and figures from poetry into something new.

March will see two releases that I’m anxiously awaiting. The first is The City We Became, which is the first book in N. K. Jemisin’s new series The Great Cities. I haven’t read a bad book by Ms. Jemisin yet, and any book that brings New York City to life—literally—is one that I must read.

The other March title I’m awaiting is Postcolonial Love Poem, the second book by Natalie Diaz. Ms. Diaz is probably my favorite poet right now, and it’s sometimes astonishing to realize that this will only be her second published collection.

That the good folks at the MacArthur Foundation have already rewarded her with one of their fellowships (known as the “Genius Grant”) says a lot about her work as a writer, but it also points to the importance of her efforts to save the Mojave language.

What are you watching, reading, or listening to that is a must-share? Please drop me a note in the comments and let me know.

(Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash)

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