Books Read: Quarter 1, 2014

These aren’t all the books I read over the last three months, just the ones that I found most interesting or thought-provoking. Click the covers for full reviews.

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Into the Forest, Jean Hegland


My review of the apocalyptic novel Into the Forest by Jean Hegland, posted on SF Mistressworks.

Originally posted on SF Mistressworks:

intotheforest Into the Forest, Jean Hegland (1996)
Review by Shannon Turlington

“People have been around for at least 100,000 years. And how long have we had electricity?”
“Well, Edison invented the incandescent lamp in 1879.”
“See? All this,” and she swung her arm to encircle the rooms of the only house I’d ever know, “was only a fugue state.” She pointed to the blackness framed by the open door. “Our real lives are out there.”

Two teenage daughters become stranded in their rural California home at the edge of a large, wild forest after the unexplained collapse of society and the accidental death of their father; gradually, the girls accept the reality of their situation and learn how to survive off the forest, which is the only resource they have in abundance.

This book revealed itself slowly, and it took me quite a while to really understand what it was all…

View original 410 more words

More book reviews! Science fiction by women…

I was pleased to contribute three of my book reviews to SF Mistressworks, a blog devoted to reviewing science fiction written by women and published during the 20th century.

The reviews:

I appreciate what SF Mistressworks is doing to highlight science fiction written by women, a strong interest of mine. Please check out the rest of the reviews while you’re there.

I am a blogging fool

So, I write two other blogs besides this one. I bet you didn’t know that because you never look at the stuff in the sidebar. Nobody ever looks at the stuff in the sidebar, even though I spend so much time on rearranging it and getting it to look just right. Oh well, I don’t look at your sidebars either.

Both of my other blogs are basically  journals of my hobbies (and both get a lot more traffic than this blog). One is a journal of what I’m cooking, gardening and eating; it has recipes! The other is a journal of what I’m reading — mostly science fiction — and it’s where I get to geek out over my favorite books and authors.

I made the mistake (?) of saying I would accept review copies on my books blog, because after all, getting review copies makes me feel like a “real” book reviewer, and who doesn’t like free stuff? (Nobody ever gives me free cooking stuff, by the way, which I would really love, hint hint.) I didn’t realize how desperate publishers’ press agents were to give away free copies of books, though. It took just a couple of crappy books to make me real choosy about what I requested for review (although, to be fair, I’ve gotten a couple of really nice books as review copies too). But what irks me most is that these PR people shoot out offers of review copies like a shotgun, hoping something will stick, without regard to what the potential reviewer is actually interested in reading. So now my email inbox is filled every day with offers of the latest political baseball thriller or chick lit romance.

Here is an actual quote from one of these emails just so you know I’m not exagerrating:

In a departure from his gritty, in-your-face style, the author of God is a Bullet and The Creed of Violence, which are both being made into motion pictures, has written a sensitive dog story destined to rank with Edgar Sawtelle and Where the Red Fern Grows.

Here’s another (just the headline):

New novel examines potential doom of housewife’s selfish desires

Guys, I read science fiction. I do not read sensitive dog or doomed housewife stories of any kind.