July 2021, fave media

August wound up being a busy month for me, so this is coming out later than usual.

Books

E.J. Beaton’s The Councillor (The Councillor #1)

Sixthlight’s summary says it best: “This is basically “recovering from imposter syndrome: the epic fantasy novel”, as Lysande learns to make friends, wield power, and stab people, and I liked it a lot. Plus the central – romance is a bit strong – central developing relationship is a bi-for-bi-with-D/s-undertones power struggle between Lysande and city ruler Luca Fontaine, whose thesis is “I murdered a lot of people to get where I am and I apologise for none of it””

The Dom/sub UST vibes was *chefs kiss*. I had to inhale and stare into the distance at multiple points. I need the sequel and resolved sexual tension now!

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June 2021, fave media

I do have a nonfiction piece that’s close to being finished, but I’d like to ask some friends to take a look at it. In the meanwhile, here’s what I recommend from what I’ve read, watched, and listened to this month!


Books

Kiese Laymon’s How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Essay collection. JFC this man’s writing.

Ina Park’s Strange Bedfellows

Funny, easy to read, and informative. Also I never thought I’d say this about a book about STIs, but it has an absolutely adorable cover too.

Rebecca Roanhorse’s Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)

I hate the summary on the book, so I present you chai’s words that convinced me to pick it up: “goth god-vessel/sea captain slash bisexy mermaid”. Also includes a high priestess mired in politics, and a warrior come home upon his mother’s death.

I somehow thought this was sci fic, as in space ships and outer space? The intimacy at the end in the bathouse!! MY HEART. I need book 2 and I need my OTP to happen.

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May 2021, fave media

May was a slow month in terms of loving what I read, but podcasts came through!

Misc.

Comic: Katie the Cat Sitter by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue

Katie takes a summer job caring for her neighbor’s 217 (!) cats, but both her neighbor and the cats have some secrets up their sleeves…

Omg the cats are so good in this. If you’re a cat lover, do not miss this.

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nontraditional questions to ask potential leaders

I come bearing more half-sketched thoughts.

With power comes responsibility, and I was thinking about how we as a community often give power to people because we like them (just as a person) or the work they do. But we don’t often think about (or ask) if this person will use this power well, or how they will use this power.

I’d also love to do a similar checklist or questions for community members to self-reflect on the people we choose to give power to, but IDK anything more beyond that.

In the meanwhile, here are some questions that are on my mind:

  • What does success in this position look like?
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What is your understanding of the compensation and/or benefits you will receive along with this position? (And then some kind of follow-up question getting at the idea if you’re a rich millionaire, you don’t really need this salary, so do something else with it.)
  • What does just and/or effective power look or feel like to you?
  • How will ___ be different by the time you depart?
  • What are your plans after this leadership?
  • How will you strive to share power? Or even give it away when you step back?
  • How do you treat wait/service staff?
    • (I’d love to make this a less leading question; feel free to make suggestions! Thanks Octavia for pointing that out.)
    • Please provide a reference from the restaurant you most recently ate at.
  • Do you have people in your life who will hold you accountable – to yourself, your values, and us – both in public and in private? What allows them to do so? Do you pause and reflect when these people check you?
  • When was the last time you were wrong? How did you realize you were wrong? What did you do after this realization?
  • Have you ever changed your mind or action as a result of someone checking you? Tell us about it.
  • Who can we go to when we have concerns or questions about you? Please select folks who you will listen and heed.
  • How do you react when people tell you “no”? Tell me about a time someone told you “no.”
  • Who are some of the people who’ve helped get you here?

Feb 2021, fave media

Books

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

A queer fantasy novella about learning to choose love that nurtures rather than hurts you. Also lovely fairy tale vibes. My feels! De Bodard’s Patreon here.

Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher (Saint of Steel #2)

Secret cinnamon roll mercenary meets up with a nun. They each have secrets. Hijinks on the road ensues.

I didn’t realize T. Kingfisher had a new book in this universe, and boy did it come out when I needed a laugh-out-loud pick-me-up. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon)’s Patreon here.


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Jan 2021, fave media

Books

Inferno by Catherine Cho

A memoir about the author’s postpartum psychosis. It’s billed as a memoir of motherhood and madness, but what hooked me was the way she discusses myth, family legacy/trauma, and the cycles we repeat. Her writing is excellent, and by the time she goes mad, it’s inevitable and even expected.

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews (Aurelia Ryder #1)

Julie from the Kate Daniels series returns to Atlanta with a new name and face to save her mom.

Y’all know Andrews is an insta-read author for me. They started posting snippets of this on their blog in 2020 and the finished version did not disappoint. I need the sequels ASAP!

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

A historical fantasy romance with a classic set-up: does our heroine choose love and duty, or freedom and magic?

I know everyone loves Polk’s Kingston Cycle, but it left me cold. I did, however, love The Midnight Bargain, Nadi in particular, and the love interest’s grovel. Nadi’s line at the end about winning made me tear up too. (I do echo sixthlight’s review that the book is weirdly heteronormative, with the exception of an aromantic/asexual character)

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