Provenance by Ann Leckie
Confession time—Provenance, which (as I’ve found out) takes place in the same universe as her Ancillary Justice trilogy, is the first I’ve read of Ann Leckie’s novels. I’m hooked! Provenance is fast-paced, with enough details about this universe to keep me reading without feeling lost. Leckie does a great job of making her reader feel at home. The story follows protagonist Ingray Aughskold, who is a daughter of one of the prominent families of the planet Hwae; she’s spent all her funds in a mad scheme to impress her mother and make her brother look bad—sibling rivalry at its best without the melodrama of a soap opera. There’s a murder mystery, into which she gets entangled, and I love seeing how Ingray, who’s naïve yet savvy, negotiates all that’s going on. Provenance is a great space opera, a refreshing read for me after having spent the early part of the year with heavy-duty SF such as Kim Stanley Robinson and others. I’m looking forward to going back to read her first three, and will be putting her on my “when’s her next due out?” list. You can find copies of Provenance on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
After buying this book on a whim a few months back, Uprooted started to haunt me. I saw it in coffee shops, on Bookstagrams, on all of our staff recommendation cards, and I knew I had to read it. Uprooted sounds like your typical damsel in distress fantasy, but it is anything but. Centered around an innovative witch, a mysterious wizard called “The Dragon,” and a sinister forest, this book had me shirking ALL RESPONSIBILITIES to find out the fates of my beloved characters. Buy this book, but only if you have a couple of free days ahead of you. You can find copies of Uprooted on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Top This and Other Parables of Design by Phil Patton
I like most of my books in pristine condition – I rarely dog-ear a page and, once a book is read, I find a safe, clean home for it on my bookshelf. In contrast, my copy of Top This, a collection of writing from design journalist and curator Phil Patton, is perhaps the most beleaguered book in my collection. It’s accompanied me on many a coffee date, through long visits in medical waiting rooms and even once on a swimming trip. I filled every spare moment with Patton’s work. Patton, who died in 2015, covered diverse topics with a unique point of view: from the first essay, titled “In Praise of Possums” (which, yes, is an awesome story about a possum competition in the South) to a discussion about the biggest changes in design from the 1950s to the 2000s, Patton’s writing is accessible, informative, and, most importantly, funny. A great read for anyone interested in design or possums. You can find copies of Top This and Other Parables of Design on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.