Random Anniversary 6: My Brain

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These random anniversaries have a way of slapping me in the face with the extremely twisty road that is my life, and this anniversary is perhaps slappier than most. Over the course of this particular journal–a smart spring-green affair that was a gift from one of my favourite people–I went from running through the streets of London to buying extremely mislabelled “vegan” food in the night markets of Taipei to a narrow escape from a burgeoning plague in Tokyo to an actual pandemic in Toronto, where I have now been locked up in my apartment for the last three months using my sewing skills to craft masks for all my friends and family, only scurrying out for groceries and beer. It is honestly overwhelming to step back and take a real look at how life used to be and how it is now, especially because my science brain is only too well aware that the normalcy of the Before Times is probably never coming back.

And that’s a good thing in a lot of ways! The plague is certainly laying bare all the ways capitalism has failed us, and so many people suddenly have nothing to do but reassess the way we live in this world and discover the need to burn it all to the ground and rebuild a society that supports all of us, especially the most vulnerable among us, instead of a bunch of venture capitalists and tech bros and the general class of rich white people. Plus, we’re all expert handwashers now! And we have a new fashion possibility in the face mask.

My brain managed to battle a lot more books over the course of this journal, despite the fact that this one was written over a shorter period (fifteen months versus the sixteen of the last journal), and that’s really because I instituted a strict reading policy for myself. I used to do a lot of my reading in bits and pieces, over meals or on a quick break from work, and I found myself really missing the days when I was younger and less imposed upon by deadlines, when I would just read for hours on end. It’s a different, more satisfying experience to really sit with a book, and I felt like I needed to get back to that, especially given how my focus has been shattered by the internet and endless scrolling like I expect Twitter to have the key to eternal life if I just scroll long enough.

Now I sit myself down on my yellow sofa and read for at least an hour straight every day, regardless of how impending my deadlines are. And my mental health is so much better for it! When I come up again for air, I feel like myself, reinvigorated by the story I just injected into my veins. Losing myself in a story is the reason I fell in love with books in the first place, after all. When the world is constantly on fire, a book is a good place to get your head back on straight. So as is the custom in these pages, I present to you the list of books that have gotten my head on straight over the period of this latest journal. Take a look. Maybe the book that’s going to save you is right here.    

The Raven Tower: Ann Leckie

The Wicked + the Divine V5-9: Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie

Ai to Noroi V2-3: Fumi Fumiko

Karasu ni Hitoe wa Niawanai: Abe Chisato

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O: Neal Stephenson/Nicole Galland

Amazoness Kiss V1: Ishitsuyo Natsuko

Bikacho Shinshi Kaikoroku V1&2: Anno Moyoco

The Song of Achilles: Madeline MIller

The Black Monday Murders V2: Jonathan Hickman/Tomm Coker

Sensei no Shiroi Uso V5-8: Torikai Akane

Giovanni’s Room: James Baldwin

Kuragehime V16-17: Higashimura Akiko

Ingasei no Beze V2: Aniya Yuiji

Yuria-sensei no Aki Ito V3: Irie Kiwa

Tomie: Junji Ito, trans. Naomi Kokubo

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary-Yon & Mu: Junji Ito

Yukoku no Rasputin V1: Junji Ito/Nagasaki Takashi

This Little Art: Kate Briggs

Yokai Kyoshitsu: Junji Ito

Tasogare Takako V1-5: Irie Kiwa

Ii ne! Hikari Genji-kun V2-3: est em

Uzumaki: Junji Ito, trans. Yuji Oniki

The Death Stench Creeps-Gryo V1-2: Junji Ito, trans. Yuji Oniki

Fragments of Horror: Junji Ito, trans. Jocelyne Allen

Shiver: Junji Ito, trans. Jocelyne Allen

Frankenstein: Junji Ito, trans. Jocelyne Allen

Smashed: Junji Ito, trans. Jocelyne Allen

Tomie V1-2: Ito Junji

The Drifting Classroom V1-2: Kazuo Umezu, trans. Yuji Oniki

The Bird King: G. Willow Wilson

P.E.O.W.: Jane Mai

Cat-eyed Boy V1: Kazuo Umezu, trans. JN Productions

Stay Home-The Ugly Truth About Space Travel: Don Moyer

Neko Shoten: Sasakumako

Fundari Kettari: Fumi Fumiko

Sanju Mariko V9-11: Ozawa Yuki

Tongari Boshi no Atelier V5-6: Shirahama Kamome

Nagi no Oitoma V1-6: Konari Misato

Double V1: Noda Ayako

Karasu wa Aruji o Erabanai: Abe Chisato

Kageki Shojo! Season 0: Saiki Kumiko

Uchi no Inu ga Koneko Hiroimashita V1: Tatsuyama Sayuri

Ashita Shinu ni wa V1: Kari Sumiko

1122 V5-6: Watanabe Peko

Veranda wa Nankofuraku no La France: Erisawa Seiko

Yobidashi Hajime V1: Nakamura Asumiko

Hitori de Nomerumon!: Kanari Misato

Saturn Return V1-2: Torikai Akane

Tonari Ni: basso

Kin no Karasu: Abe Chisato

Isola V1: Brenden Fletcher/Karl Kerschl

Chlorine Gardens: Keiler Roberts

Black Leopard, Red Wolf: Marlon James

The Invisible Library: Genevieve Cogman

Total Eclipse of the Eternal Heart: Syundei, trans. Amber Tamosaitis

Colorful: Mori Eto

Hitori Hitoneko V1: Uozumi Ami

Absolute Power-Tales of Queer Villainy!: Ed. Erica Friedman

The Black Tides of Heaven: JY Yang

Picnic in the Storm: Yukiko Motoya, trans. Asa Yoneda

Kageki Shojo! V7-9: Saiki Kumiko

Metamorphose no Engawa V3: Kaori Tsurutani

Last Winter, We Parted: Fuminori Nakamura, trans. Allison Markin Powell

Paper Girls V5-6: Brian K. Vaughn/Cliff Chiang

The Tiger Flu: Larissa Lai

Manga: Ed. Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere/Matsuba Ryoko

Yamashita Tomoko no Ohanashibon: Yamashita Tomoko

Kukan no Karasu: Abe Chisato

Grass: Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, trans. Janet Hong

Understanding Comics: Scott McCloud

Velocity Weapon: Megan E. O’Keefe

Shinzo: Okuda Akiko

The City of Brass: S.A. Chakraborty

The Kingdom of Copper: S.A. Chakraborty

The Little House: Kyoko Nakajima, trans. Ginny Tapley Takemori

The Translation of Love: Lynne Kutsukake

Tamayorihime: Abe Chisato

Zenryaku Zenshin no Kimi: Torikai Akane

Yume Miru Teikoku Toshokan: Nakajima Kyoko

Circe: Madeline Miller

Seri: Moriizumi Takehito

The Solid Form of Language: Robert Bringhurst

The Red Threads of Fortune: JY Yang

Watashi no Uchu V1-2: Noda Ayako

A Man Called Ove: Fredrik Backman, trans. Henning Koch

Ijuin Hayato-shi no Fuon Naranu Nichijo V1-3: est em

Tokyo Ueno Station: Yu Miri, trans. Morgan Giles

Osaka Kanjo Kekkai Toshi V2: Shirai Yumiko

Iyasaka no Karasu: Abe Chisato

The Descent of Monsters: JY Yang

The Ascent to Godhood: JY Yang

Ippai no Kohi Kara: Yamakawa Naoto

Clean Room V1: Gail Simone/Jon Davis-Hunt

The Beauty: Aliya Whiteley

Chikyu Seijin: Murata Sayaka

Mejirobana no Saku V1: Nakamura Asumiko

Otona ni Natte mo: Shimura Takako

Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun V11: Tsubaki Izumi

Veil V1-2: Kotteri

Hatsugen: Abe Chisato

In the Dream House: Carmen Maria Machado

Taianbutsumetsu V1: Ishikawa Chika

Creepy Cat-Watashi to Neko no Kimyona Seikatsu: Cotton Valent

Kaguyaden V1-4: Saito Chiho

Beastars V1: Itagaki Paru

Karasuhyakka: Abe Chisato

Amedama: Tanabe Seia

Karasu ni Hitoe wa Niawanai V1-3: Abe Chisato/Matsuzaki Natsumi

One Room Angel: Harada

Lala no Kekkon V1-2: Tamekou

Ruki-san: Takano Fumiko

Akachan Honbucho V3: Takeuchi Sachiko

Our Dining Table: Mita Ori, trans. Amber Tamosaitis

Kowloon Generic Romance V1: Mayuzuki Jun

Tedaremonra V1: Nakano Shizuka

The Three-Body Problem: Cixin Liu, trans. Ken Liu

The Dark Forest: Cixin Liu, trans. Joel Martinsen

LP Life Partner V1: Ozawa Yuki

Death’s End: Cixin Liu, trans. Ken Liu

Lullaby For Girl: Matsuzaki Natsumi

Monstress V4: Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda

I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up: Kodama Naoko, trans. Amber Tamosaitis

Uchi no Shisho wa Shippo ga nai V1-2: TNSK

Sorairo Magatama: Ogiwara Noriko

Sempai wa Joshikosei: Arai Niboshiko

Dragon Sword and Wind Child: Noriko Ogiwara, trans. Cathy Hirano

Tsukumogami Ponpon: Nakada Ikumi

Record of a Night Too Brief: Hiromi Kawakami, trans. Lucy North

Women & Power: Mary Beard

Blank Canvas-My so-called Artist’s Journey: Akiko Higashimura, trans. Jenny McKeon

Spring Garden: Tomoka Shibasaki, trans. Polly Barton

Upgrade Soul: Ezra Clayton Daniels

Ms Ice Sandwich: Mieko Kawakami, trans. Lousie Heal Kawai

Gideon the Ninth: Tamsyn Muir

On Writing: Stephen King

Everywhere I went, My Sketchbook Was Sure to Go: Drewscape

Elle qui se laissait dévorer: 61chi, trans. Alice Touch

Sometimes in the City: 61chi

Omajinai: Nishi Kanako

An Excess Male: Maggie Shen King

Vaesen: Johan Egerkrans, trans. Susan Beard

Fall or, Dodge in Hell: Neal Stephenson

The High School Life of a Fudanshi V1: Atami Michinoku, trans. Ryan Peterson

Onna Tomodachi V1-3: Ichijo Yukari

Jusai Made ni Yonda Hon: Various

Hey, Amateur!: Ed. Shelly Bond

Hosekidori: Tokizawa Akiko

Kiriko ni Tsuite: Nishi Kanako

An Unkindness of Ghosts: Rivers Solomon

When I Arrived at the Castle: Emily Carroll

Shinjuku Lucky Hole V1-2: Kumota Haruko

Girl Town: Carolyn Nowak

All Systems Red: Martha Wells

Artificial Condition: Martha Wells

Year of the Rabbit: Tian Veasna

Watashi wa Neko Stalker: Asao Harumin

Docile: K.M. Szpara

The City We Became: N.K. Jemisin

Totsukuni no Shojo V7-9: Nagabe

Uncomfortably Happily: Yeon-Sik Hong, trans. Hellen Jo

Nymph: Kyo Machiko

A-ko-san no Koibioto V6: Kondoh Akino

Romance Bofuiki V1: Torikai Akane

   

   

10 thoughts on “Random Anniversary 6: My Brain

  1. If you enjoy Martha Wells now, maybe the Raksura books will also be up your alley? Although Murderbot is her only scifi series, really. My favourite book of hers is Wheel of the Infinite, with a lead of an over 40 year old incredible sorceress, who has been made a scapegoat for all the ills of her country and how she finds out what the truth is. And also gets a younger love interest who appreciates her for who she is. Hee.

    1. Thanks for the recs! These sound like the kind of fantasy books I like. I’ll put them on the list for my next order from the SFF book shop!

      1. Wohoo. I think it was you whose post introduced me to est em years ago, so if you should chance to enjoy a rec of mine that would be serendipity ^^.
        The Raksura books feel fantasy to me, but they could just as well be true alien scifi from the worldbuilding (one of Martha Well’s great strengths), I love them for the characters and their interaction, however.
        A homegrown Canadian fantasy author I love is Michelle Sagara aka Michelle West. She lives in Toronto ^^.

      2. Yay to trading recs and finding new books! Thanks for the homegrown author, too! I love seeing the talent closer to home. And she works at the bookstore where I get my scifi and fantasy!

  2. 2nd post attempt in case it did not just get shoved into moderation because of the links:

    MSW is GREAT for found and built families, she always has a network of people/beings working towards turning off the big bad. The Essalieyan series has multiple viewpoints (and is epic and often female-centered fantasy saga on a scope of Wheel of Time or LotR, I so wish someone would animate or create a truthful series of movies from it). I discovered those books because of the beautiful Jody Lee covers for DAW (she was used for a lot of female written fantasy at DAW at the time, and so I often had a look at those books because of that – led me to Mercedes Lackey and Jo Clayton as well, for example)
    It’s a huge saga, the first duology are her oldest books, The Sun Sword arc is probably best known.
    Goodreads=>/series/130836-essalieyan
    The Elantra series (those two are my favourite of hers) has a chosen one (literally) who can see no advantage at all in that and actually had some horrible things happen to her, and grew up in the equivalent of slums.
    When we meet her, tho, she has grown up and made a turn for the better as the equivalent of a beat cop in her metropolis fantasy city populated by all kinds of magical races. And then her past comes to call and she starts to unravel the mystery and her feelings about her role. And accumulating friends and frenemies to help her deal with the outcome.
    This started more recently, but has also gone epic, what Jo Walton would call a ‘chunk series’.
    https://www.goodreads.com/series/40454-chronicles-of-elantra

    1. Your first attempt did get lost somewhere (I didn’t see it in moderation though?), so thanks for reposting! This is all great info, and I really need to order some books and do a whole lot of reading. Thanks for opening up a whole new world of fantasy for me!

  3. Oh and MSW works part time at Bakka Phoenix in Toronto, so you could possibly eventually when public contact is doable again have a conversation with her ^^. I believe Tanya Huff works or used to work there, too – lots of DAW authors in that bookshop XD.

    If you do see her, tell her Hello from me, I was fortunate enough to meet her at Loncon3 in 2014 ^^

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