Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Best Books: August

August was a really wonderful month of reading for me! After months of low totals (some as low, I got my numbers up slightly - to 10 books. It's probably still not enough to catch me up to my reading goals for the year (80 books, with a stretch goal of 100), but it's a much better total than previous months.

I also have to say that August offered me an embarrassment of riches. I read some REALLY fantastic writing, including one that moved me so much that it's now a new favorite that I can't wait to revisit. 

So here are my best books of August...

Artificial Condition - Martha Wells
If you're an SF fan and haven't gotten into the Murderbot Diaries Series, well it's time to get started! I love these novellas, and this one - the second in the series - doesn't disappoint. The first book introduced us to to Murderbot, a cranky robot who hates humans and their feelings. This book continues the fun tone and fast pace of the first, and involves Murderbot being forced to deal once again with silly humans, when all it wants to do is watch soap operas.

Rosewater - Tade Thompson
Rosewater is the first book in a trilogy by Nigerian-British author Tade Thompson. The actual synopsis is hard to describe (the one on Amazon isn't very good), but the gist is that an alien presence suddenly appears in Nigeria. Kaaro, the book's anti-hero, is a secret government agent who is a "sensitive" - he can essentially read the minds of others. Kaaro discovers a troubling link between his gift and the purpose of the alien who have arrived near Lagos.

This is one of those books that sits comfortably between genres. It's about 90% SF, with a dash of mystery/crime thriller, and another dash of fantasy. The world-building is absolutely incredible, the narrative is completely unique, and I loved the complex nature of Kaaro, a man who never asked to be a hero but who's thrown into a wild situation. It's also viciously funny! Highly highly recommended, and I can't wait until the second book is released!

The Measurements of Decay - K.K. Edin
Oh man guys...GUYS. This book absolutely blew me away! I'm hoping that it gets more and more visibility, because it truly is a knockout. I've never read anything quite like it before, and it ticked a bunch of my boxes - incredible plot, musings on the future of tech, philosophical puzzles that force you to reckon with your own biases, flawed heroes, gorgeous prose...I could go on and on. It also has one of the most vile, repugnant villains I've ever witnessed on the page. He's a wonderfully drawn character who's truly horrific, and only gets more so as the book goes on.

It's so hard for me to describe exactly what The Measurements of Decay is about. It's SF, but it's highly philosophical to the point where some may describe it as a philosophy book couched in a SF setting. There are three storylines - one futuristic plot featuring a hero who believes that he needs to save mankind from itself; another storyline (in our contemporary times) is about an armchair philosopher who wonders how can one ever truly know someone else, and what that understanding might lead to; and the final plot revolves around a young woman who can travel through space and time at will.

The way that Edin brings these three stories together is a joy to experience, and you start to notice the common threads underlying all of characters' experiences and motivations. You witness the horror that can come of taking things to their extreme ends, and the dangers that come with placing your values on others. However, these ideas (and this is just the tip of the iceberg) are presented in a such a way that there are no easy answers, and what feels "right" may ultimately force you into uncomfortable corners.

It's certainly not a book for everyone - it's a demanding read and reminded me, in terms of its linguistic density and the requirement of the reader to pay attention - Samuel Delany's SF classic Dhalgren (another all time favorite). It requires active reading, and there were times (in a good way) where I had to re-read certain sections to make sure I was properly absorbing the philosophical musings at hand. TMoD also nearly 600 pages long, so you're in the journey for awhile. Don't get me wrong though - it's still highly readable and fun!

I know I've blabbed on, but this is only the tip of the iceberg - the book deep dives into so much more than that. My natural inclination, after finishing, was to go right back to the beginning and re-read the entire damn thing because it was so stunning. I absolutely loved it, and it's moved its way up to become one of my favorite reads OF ALL TIME! Yes, I enjoyed it that much and I can't wait to see what else Edin offers to readers in the future. Highly HIGHLY recommended!

Other books I read this month: Who Fears Death (Okorafor), My Antonia (Cather), Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (Coates), Parable of the Talents (Butler), The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Thompson), Slade House (Mitchell), Children of Blood and Bone (Adeyemi).