Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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still free for kindle

Messages: A National Poetry Day - Gaby Morgan

This free collection contains work by poets as well as a favorite poem they share. The original work is hit or miss depending on taste. I enjoyed Michaela Morgan's "Notes to Self" and Deborah Alma's "What You Might Write". To be fair, I could just like Alma's because she prescribes poetry to people.

This was good -might work for bingo

Nimona -  Noelle Stevenson
Whose chubby and kicks ass? Nimona!

Who can shape shift into awesome things? Nimona!

This comic is a look at what good and evil actually are. This is something that many comics do not do well but also on why certain plots are needed.

I enjoyed the fact that the scientist who invents an important device is a black woman.

The story is sad at points, but it does showcase important points about friendship and love.

True Crime that would work for bingo

The Forest City Killer - Vanessa Brown

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

If you are American (and maybe if you are not), Brown’s book is going to remind you on some level of the Golden State Killer. Which is strange because the only thing that the two books have in common.

Brown’s book details the unsolved killings of young people, mostly girls, in Kingston Ontario that occurred in a period starting the 1960s. While Brown does work as a bookseller, she is also a knowledge local historian. She brings a local’s knowledge to the story, and this is invaluable when she is discussing not only the geography and public transit but also the family and society structures and norms that existed.

Brown may not be a formal reporter, but she is aware of her inexperience and in many ways, her curiosity lends itself to the reader, and her sympathy in particular for the families, does not feel intrusion. The information was gathered not only from newspaper articles and reports, but also from interviews and private papers. While at times she does use the pronoun “I”, the personal intrusions are kept to a minimum and, for the most part only there to indict an inability to contact a person, find information, or to provide an local’s insight on a place or a bus route (considering how many people fail to realize buses don’t always run 24/7 this is important).

I do wish that Brown had a little more context or criticism about the judgment that occurred to some of victims, in particular those women who were not virgins. There is a bit, so she does take it into account. It’s just more a personal preference issue.

A good read.

pre-order or reserve. Would work for Bingo.

The Deep - Rivers Solomon

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.  Also, Rivers Solomon’s preferred pronoun is they/them.


                I pre-ordered this novella in July, and at the time a group of people were upset that Halle Bailey was cast as Ariel in the live-action Disney remake of the Little Mermaid.  While people kept claiming that it was because her hair wasn’t red, the “backlash” basically bullied down to Bailey being black because some stupid/racist people thought black mermaids weren’t a thing.  I was finding books about black mermaids to mention and this showed up.  So, I pre-ordered.  Then I got approval via Netgalley. 


                Look, the book is good enough that my pre-order is still in.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I cancelled the kindle pre-order and pre-ordered the hardcover (from an Indie bookstore, so the fact that I am paying 20 bucks for a book that isn’t even 200 pages should tell you everything you need to know about this book).


It’s not the little mermaid.  It isn’t.


                Solomon’s book is inspired by Clipping’s song of the same name (the song appeared on an episode of This American Life) and the group has written the afterword.  The story is about Yetu a member of a group of undersea creatures who are the descendants of women who were throwed overboard from slave ships.


                But the book is in large part about the power – both good and bad – of memory.  An while the timing is undoubtedly a fluke, it is important to note the response to the 1619 Project.  If you have not read the NY Times Magazine, please do so.  What it does challenge, in fact, is how we view the past and how we need to face and acknowledge that past as well as its effects if we are to move forward.  Tetu is caught in the past and her response to gain her freedom details why knowledge of the past is so important.


                The novella is in many ways a more interior story than an exterior story.  It is to Rivers Solomon’s credit that their writing keeps the reader, and this is down, in part, though the use of two different types of storytelling.  But the two styles are blended by Rivers Solomon’s skilled use of craft making the story not only strong and engrossing but also engaging the reader, almost bringing the reader into the time and place.

Thank LA!

Read for real life book club

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights - Salman Rushdie

It's Rushdie so the writing is wonderful. And quite frankly, the ending is stunning.

However, there seems to be a tad too much joy in the descriptions of older men having sex with younger women who are so overwhelmed by the handsomeness of said older men.

And no, the whole backstory does not make the incest any less icky. Sorry, guess I'm a prude

Audio book

Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found - Gilbert King, Kimberly Farr

This is not a bad book. It just isn't as good as Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America. Sun follows the story of a young disabled boy who is imprisoned for a rape he did not commit because the "scandal" of a well known, respected wife of a man of power by a black man would be too scandalous.

Never fear, King condemns the racism at work in the town as well, and in many ways the story is also the story of the young black men who were also attacked by the sheriff because of their race. Perhaps this is why the story feels a bit too disjointed. It almost seems like there is too many focuses - the main focus is on Mabel Reese.

While Kimberly Farr is an excellent reader, I had gotten so use to Peter Francis James from the previous book that it was a little disappointing. Though the choice of Farr does make sense.

I really do hope that King continues to focus in on this era of history because it needs to be more recognized - in part because of the comments Trump has made about mental illness, but also because knowledge of the abuses of power by the law in the Jim Crow era is not widely known in the general, white, population. Considering the distrust that many communities have towards police, it is important to know history like this.

NYRB for Aug

Heaven's Breath: A Natural History of the Wind - Lyall Watson

I'm rounding up, in part because half way into this book I really wanted to read another one.

Watson's book is strange. You are either going to love it or hate it. The best way to look at it is as mediations on the wind. It isn't so much a natural history (or any type of history) but a collection of knowledge and musings.

The writing is beautifu

Marvel is in the news

and its not for the movies. 


They wanted to Art Spiegelman (Maus) to change a reference to Trump in an essay, an introduction to a folio collection.  Spiegelman used the term Orange Skull.  The Marvel Entertainment chairman is a friend to Trump.


Read it here

Over on twitter

An author tweeted:


"The #WritingCommunity and #ReadingCommunity have a major disconnect when it comes to #reviews. Writers need them for promotion but readers tend to hate writing them. Its often worst when it comes to 1

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Just looking at what's up on Netgalley.  New Le Carre  and Ken Follett's new one is non-fiction - Notre Dame.  Both are wish for.

Bingo Comment and Snack Prompt

The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead

I really don't have special snacks because that will lead to bad eating habits, so:






Those pretzel shortbread cookies the baker at the farmer market sells.


I also just want to point out as I know a few of the gang have Whitehead's new book that it would count as Grave or Graveyard at the very least (I think it would also count as American Horror but I think we need a ref call on that).

Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions - Alberto Manguel

Manguel is never better than when he is writing about books. In packing his library, he looks at why books and libraries are important - moving from his personal library to his work on a national library. If you read for escape or peace, if you are more at home with a book in your hand, Manguel is your type of man and author.

The digressions are interesting for he looks at how reading can bring you into a community (the example of a lack of reading is Trump). He also discusses why we keep books and how books are simply more than words

Do you remember Cockygate?

Cocky Quickies - Nicole Morgan

There are three short stories in this collection designed to fundraise during Cockygate. They are pretty good. Mostly sex, but they are varied enough. The one about the lawyers is my favorite but they are all fun

Gotten as a kindle freebie

Fifty Bales of Hay - Rachael Treasure

This collection of short stories is, as most collections are, a bit of mixed bag. All of the stories take place either on a ranch or a farm of some type. The woman are usually take charge and know what they want. The men aren't bad.

The couples are nicely varied - so you have people who just met but you also have a married couple for instance, and I though the different types of relationships highlighted in each story was a nice touch.


The title is because there are sly digs at 50 Shades.  But this is a far, far, far better book.  (Look, I know pretty much anything except for stuff by dictators and orange is better than 50 Shades, but Treasure's book is pretty good without needing the comparison.

At least I didn't pay for it

The Nymph’s Labyrinth - Danica Winters

I wanted to like this but I had to put it down. The opening is good, though I am wondering why a nymph sleeps like a stereotypical vampire, but that's me. The problem occurs with the introduction of the hero. He admits that he hasn't seen his son in a long time, since the divorce, but when he was married to his ex he tried to make up for her lack of parenting but making sure the son got the footballs the ex promised the kid.  However, when I say he hasn't seen his kid for a while, it really has been a while.  The kid calls him by the his first name and his far, far taller than he remembered.  The hero  seems really proud that he has working sperm but that's about the extent of his parenting after the divorce. (It's clear that this is not the fault of the ex, though she is evil for not letting the hero whisk his son off to Crete when the hero remembered he had a son).


And then we have the ex dumping the kid off when she goes off on her sudden honeymoon after her sudden wedding.  So the reader is supposed to see the ex as less than responsible.


(I think the kid should just leave)


But then we have the heroine thinking that the hero is so kind and caring (which most be why he hasn't seen his kid in ages).

And I'm out.