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she/her person, lover of bikes and trees

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commented on The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

The City We Became (2020, Orbit) 4 stars

In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn't remember …

Content warning I'll try to be vague, but this might be spoilery

finished reading Origin by Jennifer Raff

Origin (2021, Grand Central Publishing) No rating

Well, I can't say this was super well edited, I found a number of typos in the last section, which made me think my confusions and struggle to get hooked by this book may have had more to do with the text than I'd assumed. I think it may be an instance of a busy academic trying to write a popular book and doing it in chunks without anyone really looking to see if the sections flow well together, if there's a narrative.

So ...enh? Do I feel smarter about stuff that I really knew very little about to start? I think I gained an appreciation for how groups may have moved across the arctic - and that it's all a LOT more complicated than I might have imagined. That's cool.

I found myself wondering about this same work for Europe - how did populations flow across those land masses? …

@eldang bear with me! This is my first status reply! I take it you mean Origin? (I don't love the layout of this page, so it's not 100% clear to me which book you mean.)

Origin - I've been jumping around a bit (as sometimes happens with nonfiction) trying to find a place that'll grab me. I realized one huge incompatibility with my brain and getting hooked here is that I've never been good at time. Like 200 years feels like 600 years, I can't get the sense of the difference. So big revelations like "they thought it was 12000 years ago but it's really 18000 years ago!" is just... I can't feel it. So my eyes glazed over a lot in the whole first section which was a lot of "here's what white people used to think" and while some of the stories were fascinating, I couldn't really glean …

Scattered All over the Earth (2022, Norton & Company Limited, W. W.) 4 stars

Scattered All Over the Earth Fiction by Yoko Tawada

Translated from the Japanese by Margaret …

Lovely - weird but maybe not in the right way?

4 stars

I enjoyed this but also... I struggled with the racist/transphobic/fatphobic character descriptions. The story is set decades in the future with some intriguingly huge global landmarks and norms shifted. And Tawada writes each character sympathetically, even lovingly, but I struggled with some of her descriptive choices. Those felt like deliberate provocation on the author's part.

So I'm left unsure. I did put another book of hers (The Emissary) on hold at the library, because I really enjoyed the writing (except for these glaring issues.) I'm curious whether its an authorial problem, or whether these were choices unique to this story.