Reviews and Comments

Tilde Lowengrimm Locked account

Joined 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm a nonbinary 🏳️‍⚧️ trans 🌈 queer 🧠 disabled 🕍 Jewish 🌹 socialist 🏴🚩 anti-fascist 🌃 urbanist on unceded Ohlone land in Berkeley, CA.

I enjoy reading fiction and I put in the effort to read non-fiction to expand my horizons and improve my abilities. Science fiction is where I'm most comfortable, but I can dive into almost any story depicting smart but flawed people trying to manage complex and uncertain situations.

I cannot recommend Voice Dream enough. Not every book has an audio edition — especially obscure material and non-fiction. Having a robot in my phone which can read me any PDF or ePub is magical. Custom voices and pronunciation, fully offline reading, it's really the best.

When someone has gone to the effort of recording an audiobook, I prefer to buy them from They're a social purpose corporation, care about DEI, and let you support your local book store when you shop there. Most importantly, all your audiobooks can be downloaded as DRM-free mp3 files so you can archive them on your own, and use any audiobook player you like.

My current audiobook app of choice is BookPlayer ( which works great, and has a ton of flexibility and convenience. I'm thinking of migrating my book library to Plex and switching to Prologue (, but like any tech migration, who knows how long that'll take if there's no forcing function.

🍵 While I read, I like to enjoy limitless (green) tea, and (lukewarm) coffee in moderation. 🥟 Dumplings and soup are my favorite food groups, which makes xiao long bao humanity's greatest achievement besides audiobooks. ☔ As well as lying in bed on a rainy day, reading with a warm mug in my hand, I also like to listen to books while sailing, hiking, camping, or really any other activity which lets me look at trees or find a cool bird or pretty flower. 🏕

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Ann Leckie: Translation State (2023, Orbit) 5 stars

The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will …

There is a character in this novel named Cheris. They don't have a lot of air time, but it brings me so much joy that Adjoa Andoh has decided that Cheris should have a Southern drawl. I feel like this is a perfect little easter egg for people like me who enjoy sci-fi about weird factional wars and ~~✨gender✨~~.

Sam Hughes: Ra (EBook) 3 stars

Overhyped and self indulgent, flecked with fun elements, but ultimately hollow

2 stars

I’ve received so many strong specific and utterly conflicting recommendations to read Ra. People have described this story so many different ways to me, and most of them are right because this narrative is all over the place.

I love that we start out with “Imagine magic, but like in a society.”. Great premise; you love to see it, definitely go run with that. I could navel-gaze all day about the rules of magic and how civilization can build on it the same way we use other technologies.

But the right turn into space war just feels bland, and a let down. It’s like someone trying to teach you how a magic trick is performed by explaining an unnecessarily difficult method which they can’t quite get right, when a simpler approach is right there, and you’d rather just watch the rest of the magic show anyway.

The meta-narrative is …

reviewed The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, #1)

Natasha Pulley: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street 4 stars

Excellent gay pining (could use more pining)

5 stars

Delightful book. Could have been gayer. Lovely writing, fun premise, gorgeous execution. The only problem is that they spend too much time being distracted by bombs and mysteries and wives and such, and not enough time yearning and having feelings and making oblique gestures that obviously the other one should understand.

Cotton candy for the soul

3 stars

There are some books which are heavy and take time to digest, some which are rich and nourishing, and some which you really need to get your teeth into. The Penric and Desdemona are none of those things — they're like the lightest cotton candy which just melts deliciously in your mouth. These dozen svelte novellas took no time at all to rush through. These are the pulpiest of pulp stories I've paid attention to in a long while, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. These books demand nothing of the reader, despite a genuinely interesting and novel system of magic and theology. They're just fun smoothly-plotted fast-talking adventure stories where our heroes get into and out of deadly messes with equal aplomb. Could be queerer, could be longer or meatier. But I'd absolutely reread these in an instant — and that's all the time it would take.

David Graeber: Debt (EBook, 2011, Melville House) 4 stars

The author shows that before there was money, there was debt. For 5,000 years humans …

How we got here and why we're stuck

5 stars

I read Debt right after The Dawn of Everything (also by Graeber), and my opinion of these two books is closely interlinked. The combination is an extensive unwinding of the sort of economic and social history I learned in school. I've had to re-imagine the ways that humanity developed our relationship with agriculture, with technology, and with the interplay of social obligations which we now categorize as money and economics.

The core insight and question isn't any of those individual revelations. What Graeber is trying to get you to think about is the stickiness of contemporary social relationships & structures, and the ways that we have lost the ability to imagine the possibility of change. No economic or political system has ever been as committed as ours is to narrowing the realms of the possible and foreclosing the ability to imagine other ways of organizing society. Historically, social dynamics have …