Welcome to Books, not People, where I discuss what I’m reading and celebrate the superiority of literary companionship. Learn slightly more here, or mosey on down this page for some delightfully subjective book reviews.

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Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu

 yishunlai_cover

Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu

Yi Shun Lai

2016

We are Here:  Done! (Just in time for Mother’s Day.)

Spoilers?     Vaguely

Reflections

The debut novel of author Yi Shun Lai chronicles a few months in the life of a floundering young woman named Marty. A late-20-something mess in spiraling free-fall, Marty reluctantly allows her mother’s acerbic net to catch and redeposit her in Taiwan for a summer of familial intrigue, pseudo-redemption, and TEOSL.
Continue reading Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu

Reality and Me all Capeless

Reality and Me all Capeless book cover

Reality and Me all Capeless

Fennel Steuert

2016

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     A few plot points

Reflections

This novel explores the complex ramifications that even tangential fame can have on our relationships through a teenager named Finbar (Fin), who finds himself the star of a reality show about personal fitness. It’s not often that a novel centers the perspective of a low-income character of color who has a learning disability. We need diverse books, and Steuert delivers.
Continue reading Reality and Me all Capeless

Oryx and Crake

"Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood book cover

Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood

2003

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     Yes; grumpy ones.

Reflections

As a deep admirer of Atwood’s work, burgeoning fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, and binge-watcher of medical sci-fi shows like Orphan Black, I thought I would enjoy this book much more than I did.
Continue reading Oryx and Crake

Rain

Rain book cover

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

Cynthia Barnett

2015

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     No

Reflections

I began reading this book last summer, tackling it first in chapters, then in 2-3 page snippets. (What can I say, fiction is hard to resist.) As I waited out the epic California drought, this book became a type of wistful talisman on which to hang my ill-defined superstitions. Throughout the long months, I would credit it with bringing the lightest smattering of precipitation to the dusty San Gabriel Valley. And last week, just a month after I’d finally finished reading it, the deluge appeared.

Much to my delight, this book was long-listed for the National Book Award.
Continue reading Rain

A Darkling Sea

A Darkling Sea book cover

A Darkling Sea

James L. Cambias

2014

We are Here:  Done!

Spoilers?     A few

Reflections

I’ve been waiting nearly two years to read this book, ever since Annalee Newitz reviewed it for NPR. But I prefer to wait for a book’s paperback release. Unfortunately, even after this was out in paperback, I couldn’t find it at my local bookstores. For all its accolades, it had been relegated to Obscure Title status. I had to enlist my brother to patronize @m@z0n for my birthday.

Worth the wait? Eh…
Continue reading A Darkling Sea