Book review: Witchmark, by C.L. Polk

Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, #1)Witchmark by C.L. Polk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this one relatively slowly because I wanted to savor it. This is going to be discussed as “gaslight fantasy” because it’s secondary-world with a vague post WWI-ish(?) setting, including bicycles as a main means of transportation and a bicycle chase sequence that is far more gripping than one would expect it to be.

It’s got a murder-mysteryesque plot tied to some deeply reflexive contemplation on power (both magical and political), privilege, who wields it, how they do so, whom is victimized in that process, and how these things intersect in unexpected ways, particularly in relation to war and its aftermath. There’s a deeply satisfying sweet gay romance that bubbles alongside the murder mystery plot.

This was a warm hug of a book for me. Strongly recommended.

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Ep 179 – Arachnids in the UK Time Zone

New Verity! In which I am terrified of spiders.

Arachnophobes beware! This ep was full of creepy-crawlies. Join Deb, Erika, Lizbeth, and  Lynne as we talk about our reactions to spiders, companion balance, visions of dead wives, and more.

How did this one land for you? Let us know in the comments!


Happy things:

Children of Time and Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Support Verity! on Patreon!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:25:26) 

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Ep 177 – The Ghost Monument Valley Girls

New Verity!

The second episode of a new Doctor is, in some ways, more meaty and discussable than the first! Join Erika, Lynne, and Tansy as we mourn for Deb’s leaky basement and dig deep into all kinds of important aspects of this new era of Doctor Who.

What do you think of the opening credits, music, Doctor, companions, writing, TARDIS, and anything else so far? Let us know in the comments!


Happy things:

Riley Silverman (one of the fab writers of the Honest Trailers!)
Radio Free Skaro (a source for stats!)
Support Verity! on Patreon!

Download or listen now (runtime 1:32:09) 

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Ep 176 – The Women Who Fell to Earth

:klaxons: IT IS TIME

IT’S FINALLY HERE! NEW DOCTOR WHO! Join Deb, Erika, Katrina, and Lynne as we gush over the new Doctor and pick apart this first episode. We’re quite pleased overall, but as always, there are some serious issues worth discussing, and discuss them we do!

How are you feeling about the new Doctor, the new “fam”, the new showrunner, the questionable narrative choice(s), the secret pigeon, the term “comfrienion”, and everything else? Let us know in the comments!


Happy Things:

Chicks Dig Time Lords

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Book review: The Unlikely Lady, by Valerie Bowman

The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides, #3)The Unlikely Lady by Valerie Bowman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lovely fluffy romance I got as an audiobook from my public library. Jane is a bluestocking. Garrett is supposedly a man-about-town.

They hate each other. They snipe. They banter. They fall in love.

Yes, it’s got Much Ado About Nothing as a theme, along with Mary Wollestonecraft. :gold star:

There is Another Lady who Causes Trouble, and Dear Friends who try to Sort It Out with all manner of Shenanigans.

Plus dogs and libraries.

Thoroughly enjoyable in part because of the reader, who was an absolute DELIGHT.

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Book review: Heroine’s Journey by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine's Journey (Heroine Complex, #3)Heroine’s Journey by Sarah Kuhn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this on the plane ride back from WorldCon.

I love, love, LOVE this series. It is the cognitive equivalent of a warm hug, a blanket, a kitty, and the best pajama pants I own. It’s an auto-buy for me, and I’m very, very pleased to hear that another 3 books are in the works.

If you love good food, found family and best friends, superheroes trying to fix shit, and a collection of possessed unicorn figurines, this is yet another book for you.

This is Bea’s book. Bea is younger than Evie and Aveda, and she is struggling with trying to figure out what being a grownup means for :her: especially in the context of Evie’s struggle to give Bea as many opportunities as possible… whether Bea wants them or not. Meanwhile, she is trying to cope with a serious infatuation, the return of her dad, and the manifestation of some superpowers that she wasn’t quite expecting.

Scenes set in a bookstore that looks suspiciously like The Ripped Bodice. Not that I’m complaining.

This is, thematically, a book about choosing hope, even when everything else feels like that’s the wrong choice.

Which was exactly the book I needed. :chef’s kiss:

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Rare Books in NON-ARL Libraries: THE SURVEY


Do you work with rare books at a library that is NOT a member of the Association for Research Libraries? Please consider completing this survey about your experiences!

CONTEXT: Remember that Crowdsourced List of libraries that work with rare books that are not members of the Association of Research Libraries? It’s time to turn that list into action! If you added your library to the list, please consider completing the survey. Get counted!

Thank you.


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Book review: Hunger by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) BodyHunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings for rape and body issues, both of which are presented in a straightforward but not euphemistic manner from the point of view of the person going through them.

This was a difficult book to get through because it is not comfortable (see content warnings above) but if you are ready to be uncomfortable, this is a book that can crack you open emotionally. How the reader fills in the cracks is up to them; part of the goal of this text is to force us literarily through that same process that Gay went through herself. This was a deeply visceral experience, both in the smooth, straightforward writing, and the reading of the text by the author in the audiobook edition.

I’ve enjoyed Roxane Gay’s other work, and I follow her on Twitter, so I had some notion of what I was in for. This volume is much less tongue-in-cheek and much more personal than Bad Feminist was. It is a great example of deeply affective writing that is deceptive in its perceived simplicity. It’s NOT simple in any way, shape, or form. This kind of writing comes from deep familiarity with both the form and function of language, and Roxane Gay is a master of it.

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Where to find me at WorldCon

WorldCon Approaches! Here is my panel schedule.

Friday August 17, 2018


Saturday August 18, 2018


Sunday August 19, 2018

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Book review: Reading, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and SlowThinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting book about psychological processes and how they work, specifically how we think, and the difference between “instinct” and “gut reaction” and “actual thinky thinking involving things like stopping to focus on math” (these are my terms–the author referred to them as systems 1 and 2 respectively).

One of the big issues I had with this book was that it emphasized, over and over, that more often than not, algorithms made objectively better choices in the aggregate than individual humans did in most choice-based scenarios. This was especially interesting to me because I had just finished Algorithms of Oppression, which talks about how systemic racism gets baked into algorithms as they are built. This book more or less ignores that, other than pointing out in passing (really handwaving) that many of the examples they use are predicated on dealing with people who are not socially or economically disadvantaged in some way.

Interesting book, I can see why it was popular with the evidence-based-decisionmaking folks, and I mostly finished it so that I’d have a better understanding of where they were coming from, and so that I’d build better algorithms/ assessment methods/arguments when decisionmaking that better account for systemic biases.

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