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Space Opera
Catherynne M. Valente
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente has galaxies competing for glory in a universe-wide...

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Comment from [Reddit user] with 8 upvotes on /r/books/

House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

I picked this up to get in the Halloween mindset and it's different. I'm not terrified or unsettled like so many people are, but I'm enjoying the unique reading experience. (For those unfamiliar) a man finds a collection of papers analyzing a documentary on a haunted house. Only, the documentary never existed. Dun dun dun!!! While arranging the documents for print, the collector adds his own footnotes explaining the strange events occurring in his life and details his deteriorating psyche as he arranges the documents he's found. So, you get two stories in parallel, the story (and analysis) of the haunted house documentary and the collectors experience investigating the claims and his own life experiences. It's an interesting layering of narratives. Danielewski also plays with fonts, text colors, and page layouts in interesting ways to enhance the reading experience. When the narrative feels lost or trapped or suspenseful, he rearranges the pages to further emphasize that feeling. I don't know that I want every book I read to do this, but it's definitely a fun experience.

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente

This is my current (and phenomenal) audiobook. There was an intergalactic war to determine which sapients capable of FTL travel were actually sentient. It was a mess. Now, they created a singing competition to remember that terrible time and make sure it never happens again. Anytime a new species arises to the galactic stage and the other species aren't sure they're sentient, they are forced to send a representative to the competition and allowed to live if their representative places second to last or better. If not, well, non-sentient beings can't be trusted with nukes, so the species will be exterminated. And, now, it's humans turn! I haven't got to the actual competition part yet, just had humanity's savior selected. I'm so excited. The writing style is amazing and surprisingly different from Radiance by the same author (which is also great) I'm really impressed with Valente's ability to write in two such distinct styles and pull them off splendidly.

Comment from [Reddit user] with 7 upvotes on /r/books/

I finished Fragments of Horror and Uzumaki, by Junji Ito along with The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah and plan on starting either Space Opera, by Catherynne Valente or The Last Jedi, by Jason Fry tonight

Comment from [Reddit user] with 6 upvotes on /r/books/

The Library on Mount Char by Scott Hawkins It had been on my list forever and I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't pick it up sooner. So strange, messed up at times, but thoroughly enjoyable

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente She is one of my favorite authors but so far it is just too much. She has always been a ostentatiously descriptive writer and I loved her other works, especially Deathless and the Fairyland series, but I'm honestly not quite sure how I feel about this one yet. It just....a lot...

On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony On deck. Can't wait

Comment from [Reddit user] with 6 upvotes on /r/books/

Just started a reread of Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury with my book club. It's still my favorite October book. Perfect atmosphere, sense of mild danger, otherworldly mystique, good ol' fun, and flowing, descriptive writing style

Nearing the end of the audiobook for Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente. Premise: peace reigns throughout the galaxy after a brutal war over which species are actually sentient, but now whenever a new borderline sentient species is discovered they must compete in a singing competition. If they place second to last or better, they are allowed to join the galactic stage, if they get last, they're exterminated. Humans have just been discovered and are clearly borderline sentient. The hilarity and exploration of human nature is perfect. The aliens are diverse and ridiculous. The narrative style is amazing. The characters are great. It's just all great. What impresses me the most though is how different in style this is to her other book I've read (Radiance). Valente executes both beautifully and I find it so impressive that she's able to create two completely unique galaxies and deliver each to us with distinct literary styles.

Comment from [Reddit user] with 4 upvotes on /r/books/

Doing a reread of The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkein for my book club. It has some dry history moments, but they generally help shape the world. Tolkein does go a little crazy in named side characters that may or may not be important. Mostly, I forgot how many songs and poems are in the book.

I finished listening to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman over the weekend. Loved it. It's the story of a women coming to grips with her traumatic past, becoming irrationally fixed on the singer of a band, and making an unexpected friend. Eleanor is a hilarious and relateable character while still having suffered more than most people. Her new found friendship with Raymond develops naturally (awkwardly for them). Just an all around great read.

Not sure what my next audiobook will be. Possibly Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente.

Comment from [Reddit user] with 4 upvotes on /r/books/

Finished Washington Black by Esi Eduygan, ahead of an author talk this week. Excited for that.

Slipping back into Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente for my Hugo reading.

Comment from [Reddit user] with 3 upvotes on /r/books/

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente

I just started Space Opera for my book club. I didn't get to vote on this month's book because I had to leave early for a conference call, but I had been wanting to read this book for a while, so things worked out perfectly.

Comment from [Reddit user] with 2 upvotes on /r/books/

Last week I finished:

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

I rushed through this and I have to go back now and reread. This is like if Douglas Adams collaborated with Thomas Pynchon… witty AF and just an all-around enjoyable read. I want to forget everything about it so I can experience it again.

Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Work of art.

Short things:

  • “Last Day on Earth” by Eric Puchner (Best American Short Stories 2017)
  • “Jon” by George Saunders (In Persuasion Nation)
  • “Victory” by William Faulkner (Collected Stories)
  • “Excess Light” by Rahul Kanakia (Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling)
  • “What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick?” by Annie Proulx (Bad Dirt)
  • “The Origin of Terror” by Sunil Patel (Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling)
  • “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction” by Jo Walton (Starlings)
  • “The Tangled Web” by Ferrett Steinmetz (Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling)
  • “Crevasse” by William Faulkner (Collected Stories)
  • “My Amendment” by George Saunders (In Persuasion Nation)

Working on:

  • Metamorphoses by Ovid (Charles Martin translation)
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith
  • Wolves in the Land of Salmon by David Moskowitz
  • Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Comment from [Reddit user] with 2 upvotes on /r/books/

Space Opera, by Catherynne Valente

Halfway through. At first the writing style was distracting, but I started enjoying it once I was able to sit with it for more than five minutes at a time. Very funny and the connections and comparisons her mind makes sometimes had me literally laughing out loud, which is very rare for me.

Comment from [Reddit user] with 1 upvotes on /r/books/

Finished It Devours!, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Not a great book but better than the first one. It seems to have a voice of its own while existing in the Night Vale universe as opposed to the first book which just seemed to want to replicate the podcast in prose form.

Started Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente. Time will tell on this one. I'm about 50 pages in and have enjoyed about half that. It tries too hard to be like Hitchhiker's in the beginning but is starting to deviate from that desire. I'll give it a chance in the hopes that it stands on its own at the end.

Started As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner. I debated on whether to start this as I am currently 25% of the way through The Brothers Karamazov. My copy of Dying is only 182 pages so I figure I can handle it. We'll see...