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Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Quotes

Autumn Backgrounds with Watercolor Orange, Yellow and Green Leav

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Bionic Bookworm.

This prompt was a struggle for me! I can never remember quotes even if I thought them super profound at the time.  So, basically, I went through some of my favorite books looking for quotes…which is to say that these are not especially comprehensive. They don’t cover the range of every single quote I’ve appreciated because I simply cannot remember and I certainly did not go through all my books on Goodreads. Alas.

Unsurprisingly, N.K. Jemisin features quite a bit.  Also, there’s actually 6-8 quotes here because that’s just how I roll (it was really hard to pick okay).  Oddly enough, a lot of these seem to tie in with the current political situation in some way or another. That was not planned.

 

22817331“Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”

— Kiersten White, Now I Rise


11774295“There was no peace in continuing to do what had already proven unworkable. Sometimes tradition itself disrupted peace, and only newness could smooth the way.”

— N.K. Jemisin, The Shadowed Sun

 


26228034“But if you stay, no part of this comm[unity] gets to decide that any part of this comm[unity] is expendable. No voting on who gets to be people.”

“Everyone shouldn’t have a say in whose life is worth fighting for.”

— N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate


6437061“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”

— N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms


Traitor-Baru1

“Freedom granted by your rulers is just a chain with a little slack.”

— Seth Dickinson, The Traitor Baru Cormorant

 

 


17645“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

— Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad


harper-perennial-edition“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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Short Story Friday

In my attempt to become a writer, I’ve taken to writing short stories.  One of them was published this month.  In an effort to improve my craft, I try to read as many short stories as I can.  I’m…rather picky when it comes to short stories, much pickier than when it comes to novels (which is rather contrary, but what can I say), so it’s not often that I find a short story that truly speaks to me.  I’ve realized that I would like to keep track of those stories that touch me or teach me something, and so that birthed a new idea: Short Story Friday.

On certain Fridays, I will share with you three short stories I have read that engaged me in some way.  This will also be a great way for me to encourage myself to read more short stories! I definitely don’t read enough.  And so, without further ado, I present my choices for this Friday:

51Gw-H6abtLSuddenwall by Sara Saab (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, March 2017): Suddenwall is exactly the high fantasy I like to read.  It chronicles a long war and examines the effects of genocide on the victims and perpetrators, many of whom now live in the sentient city of Vannat.  Somehow, Vannat knows when you’ve done wrong, and when it does, it entraps you within a concrete wall until you leave.  In this short story, Saab introduces a colorful, rich world with intriguing power structures.


Shimmer-21-CoverAnna Saves Them All by Seth Dickinson (Shimmer, September 2014): Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Dickinson’s debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant.  In this short story, Dickinson demonstrates that he is all about the Sophie’s Choice.  A survivor of violence in Kurdistan, the protagonist Anna tries to negotiate with the strange alien aboard her ship.  Nobody on the crew but Anna can stand to talk to it.  The tension builds rapidly in this story, culminating in Anna making a horrific final decision.

 


TheDarkIssue18-220x340And In Our Daughters, We Find a Voice by Cassandra Khaw (The Dark, November 2016): Khaw’s story is a dark, bloody retelling of The Little Mermaid.  It begins with the Prince cooking and devouring the mermaid’s little sisters, babies who had been too young to resemble humans, unlike her.  The Prince “saved” our protagonist, took her into his home, and seeks to have children with her.  This story echoes with the sinister throughout, a deliciously chilling read that culminates in a bloody twist.

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The Greek Gods Book Tag

My friend Rachel @ Paceamorelibri tagged me in this meme, which was created by Zuky @ The Book Bum! I hardly know anyone on here, so I won’t be tagging anyone myself, but feel free to do this if you see it!

ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS – YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK

7821892The Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan: Choosing a single favorite book is really difficult for me. There’s so many different criteria one could go by! In the end, I decided to choose my comfort series, the one that I go to when I just want to sink into a world and not think. Obviously, that’s Harry Potter, but I didn’t want to go with Harry Poter, because, what a formulaic answer! So, I decided to go with my second favorite series: Sweep.

Sweep is a weirdly obscure YA series of fourteen very short books about a teenage girl coming into her powers and heritage as a Wiccan. This isn’t your every day Wicca, obviously – Tiernan really, really embellishes (our heroine shapeshifts at one point) but somehow maintains realism by including many factual elements of Wicca.

Why do I love this series so much? I’m not sure. It probably helps that I started reading it at twelve years old, at the height of my burgeoning obsession with magic and witches and all things supernatural. I mean, I’m still tangentially obsessed with Wicca to this day – I have two books on it on my bookshelf! So, clearly, the Wicca element was definitely a significant factor.

Otherwise…I’m not sure I can put it into words. The books are…cozy, in a way. Most of them take place in the small upstate New York town of Widow’s Vale and revolve around Morgan as she discovers her powers and heritage. There’s teen drama, instalove, a love triangle (of sorts), but there’s also some cool subversion of those tropes. There’s road trips and theological discussions and battles between good and evil…there’s a lot.  I’m not sure I’m doing a great job selling these books, and I don’t even know if I would love them as much if I read them today and not as a kid.  All I know is they’ve been sitting on my shelves for years, and I reach for them whenever I need to sink into something familiar.

HERA: QUEEN OF THE GODS – A BADASS FEMALE CHARACTER

11388429When the Sea is Rising Red & House of Sand and Secrets by Cat Hellisen: Felicita Pelim comes from wealth and privilege – but when her best friend commits suicide to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita decides to trade privilege for freedom. She takes to the streets, joins up with a gang, and gets caught up in a plot to destroy the city. In the first book, Felicita isn’t badass so much as resilient, but in the second book, after her marriage and move to another city, her prowess grows.  She is every bit a lady, with all the selfishness and pride and willfulness that comes with growing up privileged, but she’s also compassionate, sharp, and snarky as hell.  In a city where her family name means little, Felicita fights fiercely to bring justice to members of an oppressed caste who are being murdered and whose human rights are soon to be stripped.

JANUS: GOD OF BEGINNINGS – YOUR FAVOURITE DEBUT(S)

6437061The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin: This was Jemisin’s debut as well as my introduction to her. I remember picking this book up at a time when I was just so, so tired of all the generic white male fantasy being recommended to me. I don’t recall how I stumbled upon Jemisin’s book, but I do remember reading that it was unusual in many ways for a fantasy novel, particularly a debut. I loved it completely – it was a totally original world, and the narrative style – though not everyone’s piece of cake – was fantastic. In this book Jemisin explored Gods and creation myths all though the first-person perspective of a young black woman, and it was mind-blowing.

ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM – YOUR FAVOURITE NON-FICTION BOOK

6792458The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: As a nerd who reads a ton of non-fiction, narrowing this down to one book was tough.  Eventually, though, it came down to The New Jim Crow.  Michelle Alexander’s book is incredible not only because it is written in accessible language and puts forth a resonant thesis, but also because of the sheer amount of eye-opening information it provides. If you think the United States justice system is at all fair to those who aren’t wealthy and white, read The New Jim Crow. This book will completely overturn any false narratives you hold about the United States as a champion of justice.

APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE – A BOOK YOU ADORE AND RECOMMEND EVERYONE READ (OTHER THAN YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK!)

21414439Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Okay, as a YA high fantasy, I don’t know if this book is necessarily for everyone, but I absolutely love it, so I’m including it on here.  Not only is Truthwitch is an absolute achievement in worldbuilding, it features two fully fleshed out female leads who love each other more than anything else in the world.  Their friendship is the thread that binds the plot together, even as they struggle against coups and political machinations.  The magic system is intricate and incredible, and Dennard can write action scenes like nobody’s business.

 

HADES: GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD – AN EVIL BOOK YOU WISH DIDN’T EXIST

Hmm, I don’t think I have a particular book in mind for this! “Evil” is a strong word, and I tend to shy away from books I think I won’t like. I can’t recall anything I’ve read that had a terribly strong effect on me.  I will, however, give a shout out to The Continent and The Black Witch, both unpublished books, both coming out of HarperTeen, which perpetuate some really horrifically racist narratives.  I haven’t actually read either of them, but I’ve read other folks’ very, very detailed reviews (including a chapter-by-chapter readthrough), and that was definitely enough to convince me that I do not want these books anywhere near me.

POSEIDON: GOD OF THE SEA & EARTHQUAKES – A BEAUTIFUL & GROUND-BREAKING BOOK

23444482The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson: I’ve read some of Dickinson’s short stories, and he seems to be fascinated by the concept of extremely difficult choices.  A Sophie’s Choice, if you will.  This whole novel is one big Sophie’s Choice, but you don’t really find out until the very end, in one of the most shocking, heart-breaking twists I’ve ever come across in literature.  The main character, Baru, is an accountant who has had her home colonized by a brutal empire. She grows up with the goal of dismantling said empire and winning her home back, but the choices she has to make to achieve that goal may just break her.  This book is utterly devastating. It’s a truly horrifying portrait of the brutal effects imperialism and colonialism has on people.

APOLLO: GOD OF THE ARTS – A BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER

11774295The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin: I read a lot of YA, Genre of the Beautiful Covers, so of course I come to you with…a non-YA book cover. It’s another Jemisin book (she’s my favorite author, of course she features twice), from her oft-ignored second series. Most people nowadays praise The Fifth Season (rightly so) or her debut, but her middle series tends to be forgotten, which is such a shame. The Shadowed Sun (and its prequel) feature some truly fantastic and hella creative worldbuilding based on North African myth and culture. As a North African myself, you can bet I loved that. But The Shadowed Sun also includes one of my favorite romances ever, because it is real and raw and unexpected.

HYPNOS: GOD OF SLEEP – A BOOK SO BORING YOU ALMOST FELL ASLEEP

18077769Authority by Jeff VanderMeer: I read the first book in this series and liked it well enough. I thought the second book would begin to answer some of the question posed in the first book. How wrong I was. Basically, Authority is a literary rendering of bureaucratic routine with some occasional weirdness thrown in.  Pretty much nothing happens throughout this book; there’s a lot of meandering and asking questions, but nothing is answered or revealed.  By the last third of the book I was truly struggling, and I began to skip significant chunks just to get to the end.

HERMES: MESSENGER OF THE GODS – A BOOK YOU SPED THROUGH

29276588Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia: I finished this book in a day and a half.  I remember very clearly that I did not sleep until nearly four am the day I started reading this book, and probably would not have slept if I didn’t have to get up for work in the morning.  This book is a murder mystery/thriller, told in alternating perspectives and using flashbacks.  It also features one of my favorite tropes, but I won’t say what that is so I don’t spoil the book!