March 2023 books

This is the latest post in a series I started in late 2019, anticipating the twentieth anniversary of my bookblogging at the end of October 2023. Every six-ish days, I’ve been revisiting a month from my recent past, noting work and family developments as well as the books I read in that month. I’ve found it a pleasantly cathartic process, especially in recent circumstances. If you want to look back at previous entries, they are all tagged under bookblog nostalgia.

I had two nights away from Belgium that month, a Clarke meeting in London and a work meeting in The Hague. I also enjoyed a massive St Patrick’s Day whammy of Irish Embassy Reception on the evening of the 16th, Northern Ireland representation breakfast on the 17th and the Irish College in Leuven, where it all started, on the evening of the 17th. A couple of days later I attended the screening of a film about Lyra McKee.

Here are two journalists, both with the same first name, at the Irish embassy reception.

With the Clarke deadline closing in, I read 37 books that month, though again I did not finish those that seemed insufficiently science fictional (or insufficiently good) to have a chance of winning.

Non-fiction 9 (YTD 22)
Madam Secretary, by Madeleine Albright
Management Lessons from Game of Thrones: Organization Theory and Strategy in Westeros, by Fiona Moore
Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes, by Rob Wilkins
Wordsworth’s French Daughter, by George McLean Harper
Kerblam!, by Naomi Jacobs and Thomas L. Rodebaugh
William Wordsworth and Annette Vallon, by Émile Legouis
The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords, by James Mortimer
The Kosova Liberation Army, by James Pettifer
The Face of Britain, by Simon Schama

Non-genre 1 (YTD 4)
Ratlines, by Stuart Neville

SF 23 (YTD 64)
The Key to Fury, by Kristin Cast (did not finish)
Lost In Time, by A.G. Riddle (did not finish)
The Visitors, by Owen W Knight (did not finish)
Thrust, by Lidia Yuknavitch
Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel
Neom, by Lavie Tidhar
The Cartographers, by Peng Shepherd (did not finish)
Luca, by Or Luca
Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances, by Aliette de Bodard
Sea of Tranquility, by Emily St. John Mandel
Ogres, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Pod by Laline Paull
The Best of Ian McDonald
Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue, eds. Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan and Troy L. Wiggins
The Anomaly, by Hervé le Tellier
Glitterati, by Oliver K. Langmead
The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan
Off-Target, by Eve Smith
Children of Memory, by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Venomous Lumpsucker, by Ned Beauman
Last Exit, by Max Gladstone (did not finish)
Speaking Bones, by Ken Liu (did not finish)
Ricky’s Hand, by David Quantick
The Moonday Letters, by Emmi Itäranta

Doctor Who 2 (YTD 10)
Warring States, by Mags Halliday
The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome, ed ???

Comics 2 (YTD 7)
Revolutions of Terror, by Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande and Arianna Florean
The Secret to Superhuman Strength, by Alison Bechdel

10,100 pages (YTD 26,200)
17/37 (YTD 46/110) by non-male writers (Albright, Moore, Jacobs, Cast, Yuknavitch, St. John Mandel, Shepherd, Luca, de Bodard, Paull, Thomas/Morigan, Egan, Smith, Itäranta, Halliday, Casagrande/Florean, Bechdel)
7/37 (YTD 21/110) by a non-white writer (Cast, Shepherd, Luca, de Bodard, Paull, Thomas/Wiggins, Liu)

Some really good books this month. From the Clarke submissions, Venomous Lumpsucker (get it here), The Anomaly (get it here), Off Target (get it here) and Children of Memory (get it here) were all excellent. Several good biographies too: Rob Wilkins on Terry Pratchett (get it here), Madeleine Albright on herself (get it here), Alison Bechdel on herself in graphic format (get it here). See also Simon Schama on British portraits (get it here) and the Best of Ian McDonald‘s short fiction (get it here). I don’t need to cover the less good ones, I think.

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