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Crossroads

This is a collection of essays by Ugandan women, writing about their lives and finding their way in their changing country. The essays are presented directly, with no context or clarification for the reader unfamiliar with Uganda. This may lead you to do the occasional web search in search of context, but that is more than compensated for by the chance to read about these women's lives in their own words, without a mediator trying to tell you what it all means. The essays are wide-ranging and reflect a diverse set of experiences. Some are harrowing and some are light-hearted.

Author/Editor: 

Christopher Conte

Decatur's Wake

Decatur's Wake book cover

This is a well-executed example of a genre I have come to love: the short history. This book covers a bit of US history that I suspect most Americans have forgotten (if they ever learned it): the Barbary Wars of the early 1800s. It frames this history within the context of the rise of the US Navy and a rivalry between two of the leading naval officers of the day, Stephen Decatur and William Bainbridge. It is a fast-paced and well-written book, which cites historical evidence to back its points. My only quibble is that it is very much an American history.

Author: 

Daniel Wattenberg

Your Orisons May Be Recorded

Your Orisons May Be Recorded

What if your prayers were answered by a call center staffed with angels and demons? That is the premise of this charming short story. It is at times funny, at times achingly true about the human condition, and at times both at once. I can't tell you much about the plot without giving away part of the charm of the story, but it is short and just $0.99, so you can just buy it and see for yourself. Note that there is some strong language, sex, and other adult themes. It has a light-hearted tone, but is not really a light-hearted story.

Author: 

Laurie Penny

It's Alive! The Science of B-Movie Monsters

It's Alive! book cover

This is a solid piece of science writing masquerading as movie reviews. It is a lot of fun to read, and you'll learn some biomechanics along the way. However, you may never look at movie monsters in quite the same way again.

Author: 

Michael LaBarbera

The Lilies of Dawn

The Lilies of Dawn book cover

This is the story of a young woman who has to find strength she didn't know she had to save her village and her people. Kai's village relies on the yearly harvest of dawn lilies, but that harvest is being decimated by mysterious cranes. Kai would normally turn to her mother, the Dawn Priestess for advice and leadership, but her mother is in the grips of an illness that only the dawn lily harvest can cure, so Kai must find her way on her own. It is a beautifully written and well-paced novelette that is a true joy to read.

Author: 

Vanessa Fogg

Book Introduction: Riker's Calling

It has been awhile since we've had a Book Introduction guest post. This one has been in my "to do" box for awhile, but had to wait for me to return from vacation and get caught up with things. Today's introduction is of a crime thriller set in Los Angeles.

Riker's Calling book cover

 

Riker's Calling

by Rico Lamoureaux

As Good As New

As Good As New book cover

This is a fun story about a woman who is the sole survivor of an apocalypse. Really! To tell you much more about the plot of this light-hearted short story would ruin some of the fun, so I won't do that. But if you enjoy speculative fiction at all, this short story is worth your time.

Author: 

Charlie Jane Anders

Ghosts in the Forest

Ghosts in the Forest book cover

This is a remarkable story about a group of people who hid in the forest from the Cambodian war for 25 years after it ended. The story itself is amazing, and it is extremely well told. Putrill both captures the extreme circumstances that pushed the group to decide to disappear into the forest for so long and makes the story speak to what is common in us all. It is a page turner that will stay with you for a long time.

Author: 

Corinne Purtill

Underwater Restorations

A fun heist caper... set in a dystopic future in which a lot of the things worth heisting are underwater and the authorities are even less sympathetic than usual. This is a well-executed sci fi story with interesting characters, set in an intriguing world.

Author: 

Jeffery A. Ballard

After the Beauties

After the Beauties book cover

This is a slightly surreal story, set on an island paradise that was "discovered" by the global 'in" crowd... then abandoned when a disease hit. Now, one islander is trying to find the lost dog of one of the rich former guests so that he can collect the reward money and maybe put his life back together, but a hurricane is coming. It is a thoroughly entertaining story that sneaks in a couple of things for you to think about while you're distracted by the action.

Author: 

Julia LoFaso

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