Kelly Link - Get in Trouble (short stories)
There's some excellent stuff in here, but after chewing for a bit, I think I have to say this isn't Link's best collection. (That's still Magic for Beginners.)
But I DO still highly recommend it. For one thing, it's got possibly her best story so far, "Valley of the Girls." (I'm serious, this story is mandatory.) For another, even Link's weaker stories are good.
It's also her most unified collection, in a way that's hard to pinpoint. Something about a commitment to characters always making the wrong decision. A persistent turn towards... not evil, but badness. Heroes you feel driven to root against.
Anyway, I'll re-read most of these on some rainy day. Probably starting with The Demon Lover as Halloween gets closer.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - Saga vol. 1 (comics)
Yeah, okay!! This is about as good as everyone says it is. I kind of find myself holding it at arms-length a bit; something about it encourages a bit of emotional distance, signals you to not let the characters get too close. But it's a heck of a ride, it spends twenty-dollar ideas where anyone else would spend a fiver, and the art is really honest-to-god first rate.
Aimee Bender - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
This was great.
I'd forgotten Aimee Bender completely, and then remembered her suddenly when I was trying to figure out what to say about Uptalk. So I checked in at the library, and she'd put out another story collection and this novel while I hadn't been looking.
It's been almost exactly ten years since I read An Invisible Sign of My Own (I found a brief comment in my journal about it: November '06, which was before I started keeping this book log!) and I can only remember so much of it, but the impression I'm digging up is of an intriguing but wildly off-center novel that threatened to fly apart off its axis at any moment. This is more controlled and much improved, but it retains that sweet intensity of dissatisfaction and magic and discomfort and yearning. I'm glad I remembered Aimee Bender.
Carla Speed McNeil — Finder: Third World (comics)
February? January? I forgot to write this down b/c I was at my parents' house or something.
This went some really strange places, and I don't have anything useful to say about it now. Finder's great, you should read Finder!
Bonus level: Severed
This was on sale for its recent iOS release, and I loved Drinkbox's last game (Guacamelee), so I went for it.
The narrative is extremely spare; so spare that I'm kind of reconsidering putting it in the didread list (which I usually only do for story-focused games). But I still find myself thinking about it from time to time, so.
As for gameplay: Housemate saw me playing it for a few minutes and said "So... it's Wizardry meets Fruit Ninja?" Not wrong! It starts really simply, and in the first area I found myself wondering if there was actually a game here. But once the difficulty ramps up and you have to juggle three or four aggressive enemy timers at once, it's kind of a blast.
Not a lot of replay value, but a solid experience the first time through.
Kate Wilhelm - Storyteller
An occasionally interesting memoir of running the Clarion writers' workshop. I needed an undemanding nonfiction read, and this fit the bill.
There're some fragments of useful stuff in here about the practice of writing and workshopping fiction, but most of the focus is on anecdotes and institutional history.