2017 wasn’t my best reading year ever; I blame that whole planning-a-wedding thing. Still, I managed to read a total of 65 books (okay, books AND comics), including 31 with queer characters or content and 42 by non-male authors. Also, I read Atlas Shrugged, which I think should be counted as a feat unto itself (it’s good! but also hella looooong).
Wilde Stories 2016: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction – ed. Steve Berman
Bedtime Stories for Cats – Leigh Anne Jasheway
Catfantastic Vol. 2 – Andre Norton and Martin Harry Greenburg
Catfantastic Vol. 3 – Andre Norton and Martin Harry Greenburg
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics – Jason Porath
Your Magickal Cat: Feline Magic, Lore, and Worship – Gerina Dunwich
Great Speeches on Gay Rights – Ed. James Daley
Catfantastic Vol. 4 – Andre Norton and Martin Harry Greenburg
Catfantastic Vol. 5 – Andre Norton and Martin Harry Greenburg
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction – Ed. A M Dellamonica and Steve Berman
The King of the Cats and Other Feline Fairy Tales – ed. John Richard Stephens
The Tribe of Tiger – Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Summer in Orcus – T. Kingfisher
Mystery Cats – ed. Lilian Jackson Braun & Patricia Highsmith
Toad Words and Other Stories – T. Kingfisher
The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry – ed. Rose Lemberg
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
A Song of War: A Novel of Troy – Stephanie Thornton et. al.
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories – Susanna Clarke
Keeper of the Dawn – Dianna Gunn
Arcane Perfection – ed. Pat Mosley, et. al.
An Alphabet of Embers: An Anthology of Unclassifiables – ed. Rose Lemberg
Tailchaser’s Song – Tad Williams
A Year of Ravens: A Novel of Boudica’s Rebellion – E. Knight et. al.
Watership Down – Richard Adams
Jackalope Wives and Other Stories – T. Kingfisher
Paradise Lost – John Milton
The Wicked and the Divine, Book 5: Imperial Phase I – Kieron Gillen
Summerwode (The Wode Book 4) – J Tullos Hennig
The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M Danforth
The First Time She Drowned – Kerry Kletter
Iron Peter: A Year in the Mythopoetic Life of New York City – Charles Ortleb
Lumberjanes Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy – Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Dreadnought: Nemesis Book 1 – April Daniels
The Price of Salt – Patricia Highsmith
Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan
Scourge of the Righteous Haddock – Ashley Schwellenbach
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 1 – Irene Koh et. al.
The Wheel Diver – Ashley Schwellenbach
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel – Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Lumberjanes Vol 2: Friendship to the Max! – Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Lumberjanes Vol 3: A Terrible Plan – Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Lumberjanes Vol 4: Out of Time – Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sun God – Linda Tucker
Lumberjanes Vol 5: Band Together – Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Lumberjanes Vol 6: Sink or Swim – Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
The Steel Remains (A Land Fit for Heroes) – Richard K. Morgan
A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat – Gwen Cooper
Journey from Yesterday – Roma Niles Burke
Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami – Gretel Erhlich
The Cold Commands (A Land Fit for Heroes) – Richard K. Morgan
The Dark Defiles (A Land Fit for Heroes) – Richard K. Morgan
Psychic Abilities for Beginners: Awaken Your Intuitive Senses – Melanie Barnum
How To Meet & Work with Spirit Guides – Ted Andrews
Mostly Void, Partially Stars: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 1 – Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Master and Commander – Patrick O’Brian
The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 2 – Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Intuition: Knowing Beyond Logic – Osho
Post Captain – Patrick O’Brian
H.M.S Surprise – Patrick O’Brian
Yeshua’s Loom: A Tapestry of Cats (Yeshua’s Cats Book 5) – C L Francisco
So I was digging around my old Tumblr posts and stumbled across something of which I inexplicably have no memory. It was tagged #dreams, so I suppose it was inspired by a dream I had, but even that is drawing a huge blank. Anyway, I was clearly amused by the idea of Mage as Haytham Kenway’s (Grand Master of the Templar Order’s Colonial Rite, duh) daughter and I can’t believe I didn’t do anything more with it. This doesn’t really count as writing, but it needs to be immortalized somewhere.
[Mild Assassins Creed spoilers below]
Mage as Haytham Kenway’s legitimate daughter, which would basically make her Templar royalty.
Mage wrecking shit up during the Revolutionary War.
Mage killing Assassins for Fun and Profit.
Mage being the child Haytham is super proud of, though even the Templars are a little scared of her.
Mage saying “May the Mother of Understanding guide us” just to piss off the crusty old Templar dudes.
Mage with a British accent??
Mage breaking like every lady’s etiquette rule of the time, much to the offense of almost everyone except for Haytham.
Mage being on the side of the Templars during the Seven Years’ War, yet also highly amused whenever the Assassins accidentally destroy another city.
Mage as captain of the Jolly Roger, fighting alongside Shay on the open sea.
Mage and Shay not really getting along, but playing nice around Dad.
Mage defeating Connor in battle to avenge her father’s death.
Mage becoming Grand Master in Haytham’s place because the other colonial Templars are all useless or dead.
Mage and Haytham father/daughter bonding time: interrogating people and then killing them when they’ve given you all the useful information they know.
Mage in Georgian/Industrial Revolution era clothing, but all black and piratey. Possibly even some sort of hook hand that doubles as a hidden blade?
Mage in Haytham’s kickass cape.
Mage hearing about Haytham shooting Achilles in the knee and being like “my dad is such a softy :)”.
Mage being such a daddy’s girl, but it’s totally understandable because her dad is HAYTHAM MOTHERFUCKING KENYWAY.
[ I read a lot of fantastic books this year, especially in the realms of non-fiction (29 books), queer fiction (15 books – rather low for me), and just about anything featuring cats (19 books). I challenged myself with Guns, Germs, and Steel near the end of the year, and will be picking up Atlas Shrugged on January 1st. Then maybe I’ll just read comic books for the rest of the year… (joking!)]
The Outlaw Varjak Paw – S.F Said
Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo – Lawrence Anthony
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia – Jean Sasson
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
The Good Man of Nanking: The Diaries of John Rabe – John E. Woods
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War – Karen Abbott
Ten Days in a Mad-House – Nellie Bly
The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story – Richard Preston
The Wicked and the Divine Vol. One: The Faust Act – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women – Sylvia Brinton Perera
The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony – Will Tuttle
In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth – Tikva Frymer-Kensky
Unit 731 Testimony – Hal Gold
Outsider in the White House – Bernie Sanders and John Nichols
Survivor – Chuck Palahniuk
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers – Mary Roach
Ashes and Snow – Gregory Colbert
The Wicked and the Divine Vol. Two: Fandemonium – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodie Picoult
In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom – Yeonmi Park
Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America – Jon Mooallem
Prisoner of Tehran: One Woman’s Story of Survival Inside an Iranian Prison – Marina Nemat
The Art of Forgetting: Rider – Joanne Hall
The Wicked and the Divine Vol. Three: Commercial Suicide – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Geisha: A Life – Mineko Iwasaki
The Art of Forgetting: Nomad – Joanne Hall
The Wild Road – Gabriel King
Vestal – Ashley Schwellenbach
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
The Raven and the Reindeer – T. Kingfisher
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling
You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir – Felicia Day
Sharp Ends: Stories from the World of the First Law – Joe Abercrombie
Catfantastic: Nine Lives and Fifteen Tales – ed. Andre Norton and Martin H. Greenberg
Beast of Never, Cat of God: The Search for the Eastern Puma – Bob Butz
The Golden Cat – Gabriel King
Shadow Cat: Encountering the American Mountain Lion – ed. Susan Ewing and Elizabeth Grossman
North of Hope: A Daughter’s Arctic Journey – Shannon Huffman Polson
Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart: Poems of the Sumerian High Priestess – Betty De Shong Meador and Judy Grahn
The Scourge of the Righteous Haddock – Ashley Schwellenbach
Swallow You Whole – Jasper Black
The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
Delphi Complete Works of Sappho – Sappho of Lesbos
The Sign of the Cat – Lynne Jonell
Suicide Watch – Kelley York
Sinful Cinderella (Dark Fairy Tale Queen Series Book 1) – Anita Valle
Part of the Pride: My Life Among the Big Cats of Africa – Kevin Richardson and Tony Park
Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper – JL Bryan
Tarot: Plain and Simple – Anthony Louis
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – JK Rowling
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books – Azar Nafisi
The Ghatti’s Tale, Book One: Finders-Seekers – Gayle Greeno
Heiresses of Russ 2015: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction – ed. Steve Berman and Jean Roberta
The Ghatti’s Tale, Book Two: Mindspeaker’s Call – Gayle Greeno
The Tygrine Cat – Inbali Iserles
The Ghatti’s Tale, Book Three: Exile’s Return – Gayle Greeno
The Wicked and the Divine Vol. Four: Rising Action – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories – ed. D. Alexander Ward and Doug Murano
Egyptian Paganism for Beginners: Bring the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt Into Daily Life – Jocelyn Almond
The Gayer-Anderson Cat (British Museum Objects in Focus) – Neal Spencer
Cat Born to the Purple: A Sequel to Yeshua’s Cat (Yeshua’s Cats Book 4) – C. L. Francisco
This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death – ed. Ryan North, et. al.
The Girls of No Return – Erin Saldin
BaneWreaker: Volume 1 of The Sundering – Jacqueline Carey
Godslayer: Volume 2 of The Sundering – Jacqueline Carey
The Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
Moth – S.E. Diemer
Julie of the Wolves – Jean Craighead George
The Book of Lost Things – John Connolly
To Reign in Hell: A Novel – Steven Brust
The Call of the Wild – Jack London
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
Do you think the Oracle at Delphi ever wanted to just say Fuck, man, I don’t know or maybe You know, I’m just not really feeling it today, can you come back tomorrow? Think she ever got so overwhelmed she almost yelled Shut up! or Go away! or I do not fucking care about your shitty prophecies but bit her lip until it bled just to keep the air of mystery until the last travelers left? How hard it must have been, maintaining that mask of aloof omniscience when the incense was giving her a headache and the gods weren’t being forthcoming. How tired she must have become by the end of the day, sitting straight and tall for hours on end when all the world’s futures weighed on her shoulders. I’m sure at the end of the day there were temple attendants to help her to her chambers, to serve her wine and cheese and massage her feet, but did any of them ask about her day? Did any of them tell her stories or jokes to take her mind off being the axis of destiny? To that end, did anyone even bother to ask her what she saw in her own future, and if she was afraid?
Sometimes history’s repetitions are comforting, the knowledge that others have come before to fight this fight, to suffer this suffering, to stand with arms linked until the tanks or the tear gas or the water cannons mow them down. Sometimes it is enough to know this moment’s horrors aren’t unique, that we will never be the first to want these things and can never be the last to die before they are won. Sometimes being able to stand back and watch the great wheel turn, turn, turn through all of humanity’s existence offers the necessary perspective, the needed distance to see the wisdom of the larger picture.
And sometimes the wheel’s inevitable turning crushes us beneath its rim, presses us into the mud to join the bodies of those who came before. Sometimes knowing the wheel spins in place, ever turning and yet going nowhere, is a cruelty we cannot bear. Sometimes fighting the same old fights, suffering the same old sufferings, facing the same old tanks and bigots and bullets is just too much, and we wonder if there’s any point when those who come after us will face these things as well. Maybe we haven’t figured out how to learn from history yet – or maybe as long as the wheel spins in place, we can’t help but repeat the past.
four millennia stretch between us
you with your reed stylus
I with my ink and keyboard
four millennia ago, the goddess whispered in your ear
four millennia later, the dark gods whisper in mine
we are not so different, you and I
we are not so different, you and I
with our poetry and our pleading
our devotion and determination
your words reverberate in my chest
your heartbeats echo through the ages
I pray mine stand the test of time