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!

March 2021 TBR

I met my goal of reading ten books in February but - whew - it was a hustle! So for March, I've decided to dial it back down to only six books, especially since I have some longer reads I'd like to get in. I'm excited for this slate of books, and have a good feeling about them! Here they are...

Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic—the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience—have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

This is a book I've noticed while browsing on several occasions, mostly due to its eye-catching cover. I'm always a little leery of fantasy (something that STILL astounds me), but this sounds like it has a science fiction angle that I might enjoy. It was a limited deal for the Kindle, so I decided to snap it up and give it a try!

City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass. It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

For someone who doesn't particularly enjoy Fantasy, or at least has a complicated relationship with it, it's strange that I should have two epic Fantasy books on my TBR this month. But here we are. I'd intended to read this in February, but life - and a sudden onrush of released library holds - had other plans. So back to it we go!

The Yiddish Policeman's Union - Michael Chabon

For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end. Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.

I have to admit, I'm the least excited about this one. Mostly because I was one of the few who didn't enjoy Chabon's previous novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. But this is a book club selection, and one of the cool things about bookclubs is that it forces you to read outside of your comfort zone. And who knows, maybe I'll love this one!

The Feather Thief - Kirk W. Johnson

On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. 

I'd heard about this one through the grapevine (maybe a podcast?), and when I saw it was available through the library, I decided to give it a go. I like that it's completely different from anything else I'm reading this month.

Hamnet - Maggie O'Farrell

In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.

I don't have much to say about this one, since I'm mostly reading it due to the rave reviews. This is/was a very buzzy book, and though the subject matter isn't something I know a lot about, I'm excited to learn more. I'd put it on my hold list at the library, and it looks like it will become available in time to read as part of my March plans.

Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh

It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home. Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin's bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? The interests of a particular faction? Or the consequence of one human's fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?

How about that cover, huh? This was another one of those books that just kinda drifted into my world from who knows where. Cherryh is one of those SF authors I've been meaning to check out, as she's been writing in the genre forever, even when it was more difficult to find women authors. The other thing  that convinced me to try it was hearing that it was a large influence on Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire, and we all know how much I adored that book! So far I haven't found a long-running SF series that's really pulled me in, and I have hopes that this might be the one.  

And that's all for me! Let me know in the comments what you're reading this month!