Reading wrap-up - September 2021

With a new job starting in September, I wasn't expecting to read as much as in the previous months. In addition to my now-traditional stop in the Realms of the Elderlings for the #OneHobbAMonth challenge, I introduced some shorter formats, including a manga and picture books, to make the best of my local library. Eventually I managed to squeeze in several novels, either books I'd been looking forward to reading, or complete surprises recommended by colleagues.

The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien · 1977

One does not simply do a quick re-read of The Silmarillion.

In preparation for my panel at Oxonmoot, I wanted to read through the book quickly and focus on the parts likely to be discussed - the Years of the Trees and Númenor. That ended up taking nearly a week, but it was worth it. I don't know why I have so much trouble committing The Silmarillion to memory. Is it because of the hundreds of characters and thousands of years of history? Who knows...

a stack of 3 editions of The Silmarillion topped with pinecones and a compass. Behind is a fourth edition opened at the endpapers to show a map, and in the background another map is tacked to the wall.

The Wandering Earth, by Liu Cixin · 2000

This novella tells about an extraordinary and yet rather simple future. Terrified by the prospect of the sun's explosion and its transformation into a red giant, humanity has decided to emigrate... Taking the planet with them. Liu Cixin composes here a few very efficient chapters, told rather coldly, to explore the human, environmental, and technological consequences of this decision. The distance taken from the story and characters would have bothered me in a longer narrative, but here I thought it was relevant.

Ps: since I wrote this review, a colleague warned me about the author's views on the treatment of Uighurs in China, so I'll stop here with my exploration of his bibliography.

the book is set on a wooden table next to a bunch of dried flowers, with a patterned cloth in the background.

Witch Hat Atelier V.1, by Kamome Shirahama · 2017

A super cute manga with an Apprentice witch, mysterious witches & wizards and beautiful drawings? Yes, please! This is a fun, slightly childish manga about a girl learning that everyone can do magic. So why don't everyone know about it? This series seems to be rather popular at my library, where I borrowed it, and I can see why!

a white hand holds a copy of the manga in front of a bookcase.

Assassin's Quest, by Robin Hobb · 1997