October was a pretty sad reading month for me! I was extremely busy, which was part of it, and I seem to be in a bit of a fiction slump as well. The only fiction I finished was 1) a sequel and 2) a book for anonymous review, but I did finish a nonfiction book I’d been working on for months.
I started, but did not finish, The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, an author recommended to me by Gardner Dozois way back before this novel even came out. It seems to be a space opera caper novel with inventive worldbuilding, only more complicated, but I just wasn’t in the mood. Later, perhaps?
I also started Opening Act by Suleikha Snyder, a romance featuring a Gujarati-American heroine who is a music reporter and her unrequited crush-since-college, a white guy who’s in a band and feels he doesn’t deserve her because he’s working class (I think, he also keeps her on a pedestal because she’s really smart). I was not in the mood for their early-twenties angst. They had an interesting range of friends as well, so I am guessing there might be more books about their circle. Again, maybe later?
I did finish Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch, so I am now up-to-date on the Rivers of London series. I enjoyed the book; I liked the police procedural aspect, and the continuing plot elements that grow more complex rather than less, but I feel the next book is probably going to be more momentous; a lot of future stuff felt like it was being set up in this one.
No Yesterdays On the Road by pocky_slash is an X-Men: First Class AU which features a Magneto/CIA!Moira road trip and brief appearances by a six-year-old Ororo Munroe. The setup includes Erik staying with Charles after the movie ends, rather than splitting off from him, but that’s only incidental to the plot. Road! Trip!
In And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II by Evelyn Monahan and Rosemary Neidel-Greenlee is what it says on the tin. Overall, it’s terrific, except I wish the occasional anecdotes were a little less like well-worn sepia photographs tucked in amongst the facts. I am sure there is more life and significant detail in those stories than is appearing on the page. Or maybe there was, once, and it was lost through repetition. I think some anecdotes came from letters, others from stories told to family, both of which would have been self-censored. Sometimes there’s a bit too much detail for smooth reading – giving people’s full names and home towns and dates things happened tends to slow down the narrative.
The section about the invasion of Italy and the harrowing experiences of the medical personnel on the Anzio beachhead was the most breathtaking part for me, though the horrifying events of the bombed hospital ship came close. The last section on the invasion of Germany felt, to me, more rushed than the previous. I’d also been expecting to hear more about the POW nurses in the Pacific, who began the book, but Victory in Europe was pretty much the end. Overall, I’d recommend it. I haven’t yet seen another like it.