If you’d like a reading recommendation of any kind, WWAC has your back. Here at WWAC, our recent voracious reading has been varied. Lots of us have been cozying up with recent celebrated speculative fiction, WWAC Boss Publisher Wendy Browne has been delving into nonfiction, and I recently read an exciting Young Adult novel that comes out later this year. For all kinds of reading, read on!
Kayleigh Hearn: It’s a rare and special thing when you read a book that is so good that after finishing it, you immediately go back to page one and read it again. For me, that book was Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, which probably needs no introduction here, but the pull quote on the cover (“Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!”) should do quite well, thank you. Gideon the Ninth gripped me by the neck with its bony little fingers, and after returning my library copy, I bought my own so I could re-absorb the text as fast as I could. Haunting and hilarious, referential and utterly original, Gideon stitches seemingly incompatible genres together to make a beautiful literary Frankenstein. Not only is it a gothic tale of space-age body horror, but the series as a whole could be quite reasonably described as a gay harem anime for a prickly little goth girl. (To say nothing of the cute little notebook hearts I want to draw around Gideon herself.) The sequel Harrow the Ninth also deserves mention for being a thrilling and experimental continuation; I can only hope I’m not a pile of bones when Muir’s third book in the Locked Tomb Trilogy, Alecto the Ninth, finally hits the stands.
Wendy Browne: This past year has been eye opening for many reasons and there has been a reckoning when it comes to the history we’ve long been taught to believe in North America and beyond. In my journey towards cultural competency, I am learning more about Black history and Indigenous history, particularly in Canada where I am from. I went to a middle school named after Sir John A. MacDonald, and, while the curriculum always taught me that residential schools were bad, I never learned that he was responsible for them. As part of the Indian Act, Indigenous peoples of Canada have been subjected to insidious policies like residential schools which were intended to enact cultural genocide. I had no idea of the depth to which Indigenous peoples have been buried under laws of oppression, but learned a lot in reading 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality by Bob Joseph.
Rosie Knight: I’ve been reading a lot recently after a weird bout of illness and deactivating my Twitter. Basically it was hard for me to choose one book to highlight here, but ultimately I went for the one I can’t stop thinking about: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. The cover was so gorgeous that the first time I saw it pop up on a friend’s insta I added it to my library holds list. It was a long wait but I ended up reading it in around 24 hours as it’s just so lovely and engrossing. The story follows Linus who works for the Dep’t in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s a “by the book” sort of fellow who cares about the children he is charged with but never does more than his higher ups deem necessary. When he’s assigned to a new orphanage led by an unconventional and handsome man named Arthur his life is turned upside down. This is a cozy, sweet, and melancholy read that ends on an uplifting note of hope. It sits somewhere between an X-Men Charles and Eric fan fic and 1984. I can’t wait to own a physical copy and read it all over again! I love this book!!!
Emily Lauer: I was thrilled to get an advance reader copy of The Box in the Woods, by Maureen Johnson, forthcoming from HarperCollins, June 15, 2021. The Box in the Woods is a standalone YA mystery novel that follows Johnson’s Truly Devious trilogy. No spoilers here, but I’ll say The Box in the Woods is extremely satisfying. It was great to see all those characters I loved in the original trilogy again, being their well-written selves, and the mystery itself was engrossing. I stayed up way too late finishing it, and I look forward to rereading it when it comes out.
Masha Zhdanova: I just got This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019) from my library after two full months on the waitlist for it, and I finished it in a day. It’s a gorgeous, wonderfully evocative novel with incredible imagery that makes you really believe in the passion between two agents on opposite sides of the mysterious Time War, hiding letters to each other in feathers and berries and tea leaves across centuries and countries, and slowly falling in love. The depth and clarity of the emotions in the letters Red and Blue leave for each other reminded me of my favorite epistolary fanfiction (which I also just reread last week). Anyway, this highly-recommended short novel did in fact live up to all of the hype!