As a joke about my reading habits, my husband coined the railway that passes behind our home Reading Railroad, the trains bringing me ever more books to satiate my bookish needs (if that’s even possible). So I’ve decided to name my monthly reading roundup after the railroad. I’ll post a Reading Railroad thread at the beginning of each month with brief reviews and/or links to fuller reviews for everything I’ve read in the previous month; that is, almost everything. I’m not posting the individual essays and poems (outside of collections) I’ve read because I don’t keep track of these, but maybe, eventually, I will.
In June, I read 3 novels, 1 memoir, 1 fairy tale collection, 1 magazine collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and 2 short stories. My average rating for the month is a 4/5.
Bear Daughter by Judith Berman. Published in 2005. A fantasy inspired by Native American mythology and Western quest myths, about the daughter of a bear god and a human who has to learn to embrace both her inner and outer bear in order to complete her quest. My full review is on Goodreads. 3.5/5
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. Published in 1979. Time travel and historical fiction. My full review is right here on this blog. 4/5
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed. Published in 2012. A Middle-Eastern folklore and fantasy romp that feels very much like a D&D game. My full review is on Goodreads. 2/5
Nonfiction and Other
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Published in 2015. Memoir examining race relations. My full review is here on this blog. 5/5
Beauty and the Beast Tales from Around the World edited by Heidi Anne Heiner. Published in 2013. Fairy tale collection. I’m posting an extended review on this blog next week. Until then, here’s my abbreviated Goodreads review. 5/5
Uncanny Magazine Issue 10. Published in May 2016. 4 short stories, 2 novelettes, 4 essays, 3 poems, 2 interviews. All speculative fiction with a body horror emphasis. My full review is on Goodreads. You can read the entire issue free on their website. My favorites were: “The Sound of Salt and Sea” by Kat Howard (short story); “The Plague Givers” by Kameron Hurley (novelette); and “Diversity: More Than White Women” by Foz Meadows (essay). 4/5
“Red as Blood and White as Bone” by Theodora Goss published by Tor.com in May 2016. Fantasy, fairy tale inspired. During Pre-WWII, Eastern Europe, a kitchen maid dreams of being in a fairy tale, and when one night a woman collapses at the kitchen door, the maid knows she’s a princess come in disguise to attend the ball. But there’s something much darker going on. Superior story. You can read it for free online. 5/5
“Blessed are the Hungry” by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo published by Apex Magazine in July 2014. Science fiction. On a spaceship fleeing an apocalyptic Earth to colonize a new planet centuries away, a girl and her family are starving. Robot priests have taken over the spaceship and are rationing food. This felt like it needed to be a novel. You can read it for free online. 3.5/5