Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties, My Homemade Life, Report from Planet Midnight, Passing, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

I’d call this a week of books that take you somewhere else. Greatly enjoyed visiting most of these locations, not sure I would want to live there.

Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties - I should start a subcategory of LA themed books (Southland, this, The Age of Dreaming). I loved how this book captures so much of a particular subculture (lesbians in LA in the 90s), and how it handles race, history and sexuality all in the entertaining (and sexy) main story. It’s fun to read things that are vastly different from my experience of the world - would recommend if you want to be transported into a not too serious world of crazy hijinks and endless drama.

I loved A Homemade Life. It’s a memoir, centered around food and cooking (much like a longer, non-graphic novel Relish), with recipes and sap and happy stories. The writer, Molly Wizenberg, has a fabulous food blog and she’s fun to read and has a great voice. 

Report from Planet Midnight is a compilations (not a short story collection!) of works by Nalo Hopkinson, including an interview with her, a speech she gave at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Art, and a riff on the Tempest. This was my first time with Nalo Hopkinson, and I loved it - her interview is fun, with great questions and even better answers, and the book ties together into a great meta-work about scifi.

Passing. Wow. It’s from 1929 and it’s an amazing short novel that centers on two women of mixed race who handle society and their lives in vastly different ways, with one of them using her light skin to pass as white. She doesn’t even tell her husband that she is mixed, leading to tension between her and her friends, who don’t attempt to pass. This book is fascinating and complex, but still has a tight plot and manages to come in under 150 pages. I wish I had read this in school at some point, but I didn’t, and therefore I got to read it now!

I’m not quite sure what to say about How To Live… It’s choppy and hard to follow (but I’m sure that’s on purpose), super weird and disjointed (but I’m sure that’s on purpose) and just all around odd (that’s definitely on purpose). I was pretty happy when it was over and I got to stop reading it. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about it.