Reading Roundup, August 2023

First proper book for August is The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Book cover for The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

This was another friend rec—Kit Kat has good taste in books! This was such a cute, sweet, extremely queer-friendly fantasy. It occupies an interesting cross-section of genre: romance, and a kind of cozy-ish rural fantasy. A lot of found family, and inter-generational trauma, which is why I describe it as cozy-ish. (I have a weird relationship with the term ‘cozy’ since it seems to be targeted largely at middle class neurotypicals who don’t get triggered by things like feeling horribly othered by society, the constant fear of losing everything because you live in an extremely disadvantaged economic bracket, or the fact that a majority of my country’s states are currently trying to criminalize people like me while the seas boil and the weather is actively trying to murder us all to balance things back out. Also, cozy mysteries are 99% about murder, which is the most un-cozy thing imaginable. But whatever.)

I’ve finished my relisten to Boyfriend Material, which I remember being entertained by but finding the ending a bit unsatisfying. I forgot how clever and amusing the dialogue got between Luc and his friends; it made me laugh out loud a few times on this listen. Since the sequel is out, I can forgive the abruptness of the ending.

Husband Material was about as far from what I had imagined it to be as possible. I feel like Alexis Hall was trying to say something about the performance of romance and heteronormativity but perhaps a romance series is  it the best place to do that? I feel like I’d need to listen to it again to formulate a more coherent opinion. I don’t think it was a bad book, per se, but I totally get why there are people in my book groups on FB who don’t like it.

I’ve also reread a bunch of things. The Wes and Finn shirts by KL Noone, plus a lot of other shorter stuff from her backlist—I really needed some comforting fluff. I also finished rereading Jordan L Hawk’s Hexworld series. I have some mixed feelings about cop stories these days, but at least these stories portray police, both regular and magically inclined, as the problematic and imminently corruptible forces they are? It’s not exactly a nuanced portrayal, but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the series. I heard that the second book in the spin-off series is finally in the works, so I might reread the first one soon.

My last real reading entry for august was probably Subtle Bodies by Jordan Castillo Price, the thirteenth installment of her Psycop series. It was interesting to see Jacob’s development! I have trouble keeping interest if series get too long, but I think I’m still interested in these guys’ stories enough to keep on, even if I have trouble relistening to the middle books .

I didn’t get much more reading done, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump since the last week or so of August. Been going back through a lot of old fic I’d saved into my iBooks library. Some of that stuff holds up pretty well, even if She Who Must Not Be Named has totally ruined the Wizard School books for me forever.