Mai Yamani

Wednesday reading — odd beliefs

What I've been reading

I read Gods of Manhattan, the first in a trilogy of children's books involving a spirit world in which famous New Yorkers have a second life as gods of whatever it is that they were known for in life, including Babe Ruth, Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, and also Alexander Hamilton, God of Finance and Mayor to the Gods, which is what made it come up in my catalog search. I thought it would be fun, but it was not particularly fun and also the author apparently hates Hamilton and made him a boring, unrecognizeable straw antagonist. I hate read it to the end but do not have it in me to read the second and third books.

I read Proxy, which is basically a dystopian YA retelling of The Whipping Boy, something so relevant to my interests that once I learned that it existed I picked it up immediately. It wasn't mentioned in the blurb, so I was pleasantly surprised that the titular character, Syd, is gay. However, in spite—or because of?—all the teasing that his patron, Knox, is kind of questioning his sexuality as they get to know each other while they're on the run together, they do not get a The Whipping Boy-style happily ever after and instead Knox ends up sacrificing himself. Maybe this is more in keeping with the tropes of dystopian YA, but it still makes me sad. This pairing was basically made for me to ship, okay?

I read Tales from the Kansas City Royals Dugout, a collection of stories told by Denny Matthews, voice of the Royals since their inception. Although it was issued after the Royals went to the World Series in 2014, the bit they put on the cover saying it covers it is kind of false advertising, since it includes, like, two paragraphs on the subject. But that subject is covered extensively elsewhere, and all Denny's old stories are fun.

I read Writers, a weird collection of loosely-linked stories. I only really enjoyed the one story, "Acknowledgements," which was the silly/meta one, but they weren't uninteresting.

I read How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy. I really liked some bits of it—the way he really digs into the life of the plant worker in rural North Carolina who helped leak approximately one zillion albums and gives him the full biography treatment is pretty great, and there are decent insights into the mp3 codec inventors and record execs too—but a lot of other things about the tech coverage seemed overly breezy if not outright inaccurate to me, and he just doesn't engage with things like perpetual copyright extensions or blank media taxes or whatever, which feels like an oversight.

I read The Spider's War, the final book in the Dagger and the Coin series, which I have been enjoying very much. Although it basically wrapped everything up in a satisfactory way, I felt like there weren't really any big surprises or developments in this book—basically, everything that had been set up to happen, did indeed happen. I would have liked a lot more financial stuff after Cithrin invented money, since that was basically the defining thing that set this series apart from other fantasy series, but that honestly seemed pretty perfunctory in this book. Money is invented, and at first people are a bit skeptical of its value, but inevitably they start accepting it, because (spoilers!) money is useful. But I mean, as an ending, it's basically fine.

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