it turns out fantasy doesn’t suck when it’s not the same old shit all over again

I’m not into high fantasy. Like, at all. Or nearly not at all. My goodreads account has only 20 books marked “high fantasy,” out of a total 1316 “read,” and I guess there’s an additional 54 that I’ve marked as “fantasy,” but that’s different, y’know? Anyway. I have a hard time caring about dragons and knights and stuff. I much prefer when magic occurs in the real world. So it takes a great-looking book (or having a friend who is an author) for me to willingly read something that is definitely high fantasy.

Someone I trust is Cindy Pon, so of course when my library got it, I checked out Serpentine [IndieBound], her latest.

Isn’t it pretty? It’s also really good. It turns out that when fantasy books aren’t the same old England-Europe medieval+Renaissance amalgamation shit over and over again, it’s actually really cool to read. This book has so much going for it. Continue reading


chart illustrating how the computer programming field is male-centric, overwhelmingly white, and completely lacking in basic liberal arts education



Can you say microaggression? This list comprises just some of the words I’ve had to teach my phone and which my computer also red-underlines. No, of course a programmer or a program cannot possibly know all words ever and of course, language evolves all the time. But just as Pacemakers are designed for men’s bodies and work less effectively on women, just as women are cold in office buildings because average a/c temps are based on calculations of average male bodies, just as hair products come in “curly” and “normal,” just as “normal” is one thing and “other” is a bazillion other things, the lack of sociological and social justice terms, as well as the lack of ethnically specific (BUT STILL ENGLISH, mind you, none of those “but it’s an English dictionary” arguments here) absolutely normal and everyday words says A LOT.

the moon and more

I read Sarah Dessen’s novels during my adolescence until one day I was fed up.

I am really good at quitting things cold turkey. One day when I was young I was reading and then thought, Wow, Nancy Drew books are fantastically racist and full of stereotypes. That’s bullshit. So I put the book down and never picked one up again until grad school, maybe. Maybe not even then. Can’t remember.

So basically that happened with Sarah Dessen, where I looked up and was like, Wow. Dreamland aside, these books are all about teenage girls who, even with little life experience, are convinced that love is stupid because their loser dad and self-employed, small business owner mother didn’t stay together. And they know this to be true despite the fact that they have never had to work hard for a second to get a date. But don’t worry, because a quirky boy will come along and change her mind with an over-exuberance for movies or music or something else that stands in stark contrast to the formal, rigid, conventional, reserved, or blue-color professional sphere of the self-employed mom. But with all boys, you will exhibit no sexual or lusty desire at all, and if the boyfriend brings it up you will maybe have sex but just because it’s a thing you do, not because you are actually excited or curious about it.

The last book of hers I read was either The Truth About Forever [IndieBound] or Just Listen [IndieBound]. So that means I stopped reading her in 2005 or earlier, until in 2012 or 2013 I was required to read Someone Like You [IndieBound] for class. That vaguely appealed to me because it was half the inspiration for the Mandy Moore film How To Deal, and I’m all about Mandy Moore, but I found that the book was just infuriating for me because I can’t stand when girls with boyfriends whine about how hard love is. I fully admit that 50% of that is based on my own personal angst and says nothing about her books, but I think the other 50% of the frustration is warranted, because it’s just so tired to have perfect girls with fake problems and real boyfriends with no personality in every. Single. One. Of. Your. Books.

But someone told me that The Moon and More [IndieBound] would be different and that I may like it more than I had liked her previous books. Continue reading