Title: Short Soup
Author: Coleen Kwan
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ || 2.0
The concept of this novella was reeled me in long before one of my friends recommended that I read this book, and while in theory I enjoyed this novel, practice is a beast of different nature.
Short Soup is a novella that follows two childhood friends, Dion Chan and Toni Lau, as they reconnect following Toni’s divorce from a cheating husband. Dion’s been in love with Toni for years and never found a good way to tell her, but now that she’s back and he’s taking over their parents’ jointly owned restaurant, he’s determined not to let her go, especially now that scumbag Nick is out of the picture. But there are things more pressing than opportunity and timing keeping them apart––Toni’s life is in Sydney now, Dion’s father is hard to please, while Toni’s baba is terrified that Toni will distract Dion and leave him heartbroken again. Together, they must navigate not only their attraction for each other, but also food, their futures, and family expectations.
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Title: Half Resurrection Blues
Author: Daniel José Older
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆ || 3.0
This is the first novel of the Bone Street Rumba series and you guys, I’m in love. It has everything I like. Urban fantasy? Yes. The main character as an agent of death? I’ve been working with a similar concept. Half resurrection as a conceit for diaspora??? I am here 👏 for 👏 that 👏!
Half-Resurrection Blues follows Carlos (may or may not be his real name), a disabled Puerto Rican (may or may not be his real ethnicity) resident of the boonies (just kidding, it’s only Brooklyn). He is also dead. Well, only half-dead, but also half-alive. He works for the New York Council of Death, hunting down renegade ghosts and sundry other supernatural creatures. And he’s good at it, too, until New Year’s Eve, when he is commissioned to kill someone he’s never seen the like of before––he is commissioned to kill someone like him. And this opens up a series of events that may add up to be a cataclysm.
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Look, I’m not here to argue with you that yes there were Moors in medieval Spain, that yes even though we didn’t have the words to describe them or frame them in modern ways there were people who did not fall into heteronormative ways of expressing their sexualities, and that neurodivergent people existed long before modern medicine. I’m not here to argue with you because it doesn’t fucking matter.
We’re all very impressed by films and TV and literature that touts itself as being historically accurate, as if its accuracy is some badge of merit or proof of value or worth but, really, what’s the point of it all anyway?
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Title: The Paper Menagerie
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: Speculative Fiction, SFF
Rating: ★★★☆☆ || 2.5
This was such a mixed bag for me, more than most short story collections, which are I think necessarily a mixed bag. This is due in part to the fact that Ken Liu is a prolific science fiction writer, and I don’t like science fiction. Don’t get me wrong; his writing is solid and his concepts are interesting. I just didn’t find what he did with a lot of those concepts interesting, because they’re very steeped in sci-fi language, and I hate science fiction.
Out of the fifteen short stories, I really enjoyed State Change, Good Hunting, The Literomancer, The Paper Menagerie, All the Flavours, and The Litigation Master and the Monkey King. I enjoyed the concept but not the execution of The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species, The Perfect Match, and The Man Who Ended History. I was indifferent to or skipped Simulacrum, The Regular, An Advanced Readers Picture Book of Comparative Cognition, The Waves, Mono No Aware, and A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel. I’ll be talking a little bit about the ones I liked and talking a little bit about the problems I had with the ones I didn’t love.
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Title: Grace & Frankie
Starring: Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Comedy
Rating: ★★★★☆ || 3.5
In lieu of doing my final essays (10 page paper, here I come!) I’ve opted for marathoning the second season of Grace and Frankie, and imo? #Worthit. I’d watched the first season last year and had considered reviewing it for this blog, but kept putting it off because it felt hard to justify––a story that centres itself around two upper class white ladies? So #diverse. But you know what, fuck it. We’re doing this.
Grace and Frankie follows two women, Grace Hanson and Frankie Bergstein, who have their lives blown to pieces by the news that their husbands are divorcing them to marry each other. Unceremoniously kicked out of their lives and told that their marriages were a lie these past 20 years while watching all of their friends congratulate their husbands (Robert and Sol, respectively), Grace and Frankie, who have never gotten along, find themselves moving into their shared beach house, and learning how to deal with heartbreak––and each other.
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