reading goal: 30 books - at least 5 non-fiction books - no more than 5 re-reads.
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake
a carryover from 2020. thanks to a particular fungiform dome, I got rather interested in fungi last fall. then I happened to come across this book and its gorgeous cover. (plants, and mushrooms especially, were my favourite subjects when I was learning to sketch.)
since I hardly ever read non-fiction, I thought I'd give this a try. the language on a purely aesthetic level is gorgeous. as for the content, it was surprisingly compelling. then again, perhaps it isn't so surprising—I am fascinated by community, connection, and communication, which are all ideas central to the world of fungi.
Vi by Kim Thúy translated by Sheila Fischman
a short book I chose because it is this year's One eRead Canada pick. definitely not something I would have picked up on my own and gosh I'm glad I found my way to it. this is a book about Vietnam, about being an immigrant, about family, about growing up.
it's broken up into vignettes, some as short as a page, which I vibed with—my brain can focus for long periods of time, but it's easier to do so if I have an off-ramp every five minutes. I don't know why I'm like this, but these bite-sized "chapters" were perfect. I devoured this thing.
here's a metaphor: there's this fancy crepe place downtown. my favourite thing to get is a simple, sweet crepe with strawberries and banana. the ingredients are fresh, the crepe is warm, and they serve it to you elegantly wrapped in a napkin. that was this book. warm and sweet and precious. brief, but utterly lovely.
Paingod and Other Delusions by Harlan Ellison
a stretch read for me; outside my usual genres. never read any Harlan Ellison before (except maybe "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"? can't remember) and not sure I will again. "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" was excellent. perhaps it appealed to me as a chronic procrastinator. reading experience in general has been at least educational when not entertaining. a nice grip on dialects. bold style choices.
Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski
a friend was reading this and thought it might appeal. certainly there's a lot of "yes, I know," but just as soon as I feel like I can walk down the street without looking, I bang into a lamp post. oof. that's how the revelations hit, like walking into a post and having two kind strangers rush up to help.
I think the "compassionate older sister" vibe the authors were going for comes through in the book. it's a handy guidebook, sprinkled with stories and science. the first couple chapters felt the most revelatory—but then, I've been writing about cycles for the past ten years. they come up again and again in my fiction, characters feeling stuck in some cycle...and the solution is not, perhaps, to break out of that cycle, but to complete it. hmm.
A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
back into the world of Tiffany Aching and witches and the Wee Free Men.