“Book…” reviews and recommendations roundup

My Birdverse novelette “The Book of How to Live” has been getting attention from readers and reviewers, for which I am very grateful.

“Book…” is on the Tangent Recommended Reading list – two stars.

Fran Wilde posted “Things to Read While Rebooting: An awards Post of Sorts” in which she recommends “The Book of How to Live” in the Novelette category.

Jason Sanford included it in his “2016 novel and short fiction recommended reading list.”

Ada Hoffmann, Autistic Book Party:

Rose Lemberg, “The Book of How to Live” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #209, September 2016)

[Autistic author] A story about a magicless autistic artificer in a magical world, and the beginnings of a revolution. Efronia’s autism is downplayed but recognizeable, particularly in her confusion over people’s motivations and in a period of sensory overwhelm she has towards the end of the story. She is a patient, steadfast person, which is a nice thing I don’t see often enough. The story overall is political in a very good way. [Recommended]

The SFF that’s helped me through 2016 (Book Smugglers; Charles Payseur):

“The Book of How to Live” by Rose Lemberg, out from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. This story, maybe more than any other this year, has been important for keeping going. For finding ways to make the work worth doing. Focusing on what’s important. Pushing forward.

Charles Payseur also discussed this story at length on Cabbages and Kings.

And Charles also awarded it a Sippy in the I’d Ship That category (!!!)

While looking around for reviews I keep running into new reviews of my Birdverse novelette “Geometries of Belonging.” This story was overshadowed by “Cloth…” last year, but people keep finding it. It’s a story that keeps on resurfacing.

Here’s a review from JC Hoskins; their blog is Strangely Charmless. Thank you.

Parét is a healer who works their craft by using deepnames, the Birdverse magic system. In the course of their work, they meet a young neurodivergent, trans person: Dedéi. And, while Dedéi’s situation cries out for help, they are also close to the heart of a dangerous political problem that could bring down Parét’s lord and lover as well as drag the nation into war.

Dealing explicitly with emotional and physical abuse and the sickness that always lies behind it, this story also talks about the trouble with attempting to do good in the world—i.e. the harm that is often inadvertently caused. As a result of loss, Parét has sworn to move through the world without affecting it, for good or ill. But their drive to heal often lures them into action against their better judgement.

I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that you shouldn’t be afraid to read this: there is no tragedy here for you. Instead, this is a story for survival, for resistance, for overcoming. This story is what you need right now.

Going at my own pace: The Impact of Rose Lemberg’s “Geometries of Belonging” is a beautiful and needed essay by Xan West about how “Geometries…” influenced their writing on disability.

I cannot explain how deeply affirming my reading experience of Geometries has been. The pacing alone…the way this story moves just flat out works for me. It begins slowly, builds in spirals. When I am in it, I am fully immersed and held, supported. I get to attend to the things that are important to Parét, follow the way he thinks, connect with how he feels, and this gets to be so much deeper because I am not using such a big part of my brain trying to match pace with the story. I found myself breathing slow and even as I read, almost like I was meditating. It was as soothing as letting myself stim feels.

Many of my stories are in Xan’s End of Year Book Survey 2016 with some very kind words about my work. Thank you very much.

My novel The Upholding features Parét twenty years before the events of “Geometries…”, so if you appreciated “Geometries…”, this book might be for you.

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About

Rose Lemberg is a queer, bigender immigrant from Eastern Europe and Israel. Their work has appeared in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Uncanny, and other venues, and has been a finalist for the Nebula, Tiptree, Elgin, Rhysling, and Crawford awards.

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