I’m still on a big YA kick, and went ahead through the first volume of Smith’s Night World collection. Again, Smith’s prose is gorgeously lucid, and the plots are quite fun. My one hesitation is that Smith’s got an on-going motif re: female archetypes that’s kinda making me twitch. The whole DID YOU NOTICE XXX IS SO WILD MAGIK IT MAKES YOUR TEETH HURT? THIS IS WHY THEY’RE IEXPLICABLY SEXY!!! as a means of characterization is making me a leeeeeeeetle annoyed. However, Smith’s still delivering nuanced characters, and the slow development of the series’ over-arching plot has been incredibly well-handled.
After that, I took a break from YA fantasy and read Peter Walsh‘s It’s All Too Much. Walsh is the organizing guru from TLC’s Clean Sweep. The book is meant to offer some concrete advice for organizing your life. Walsh describes the ways in which you can de-clutter your space, offering charts, room-by-room game plans, and more. Walsh’s enthusiasm is infectious, but since I live in a studio, I found it kinda depressing. My boyfriend got hold of it, however, and has gone on a cleaning frenzy. I’ve been protectively gaurding the clutter of my dissertation, but he’s been eyeing it ambitiously. He, uh, doesn’t know my filing system includes both the alphabet and a big green box under the sink. No, I don’t know what’s in it. SHUT UP, VOICE OF PETER WALSH!
Finally, I went back to YA fantasy. That was a scary foray into the world of advice books!! Anyways, I got really into Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu’s Shadow Speaker. This amazing book is set post-nuclear war. The war’s disasters were averted because of Peace Bombs. These Peace Bombs released Earth’s magic into the world, and now people are popping up with meta-human abilities. Okorafor is an amazingly lyrical writer, with a fine eye for characterization and nuance. What’s also really fun is that she writes FROM theory (like Frantz Fanon!) ABOUT theory (like when she uses Eiji’s experiences as a meta-human girl to talk about sexism, colonialism, and caste-systems) without making it so inaccessible that YA readers would struggle with it. Her sheer inventiveness made this great fun, and I’ve been recommending it to kids all day today.