Review: Defending Black Faith

Defending Black Faith
Defending Black Faith by Craig S. Keener
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good book. I wish I read the previous book “Black Man’s Religion” as the book refers to it several times, and I think it would discuss more in detail about the experience of being black and Christian. Reading the history of Christianity in Africa was illuminating–it was the first time I read such a thing, and it showed me how seriously lacking I am in my knowledge of black church history.

This book makes for a good information source…half the book is footnotes, which is just as interesting as the text, but made for a slower reading.

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Review: The Sandman: Endless Nights

The Sandman: Endless Nights
The Sandman: Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As someone who just recently (re)discovered the Sandman books, this was a wonderful coda to the series. The artwork for all the stories was gorgeous; and that says a lot, considering there were many Sandman books that I felt were drawn horribly. What stood out to me the most was the Desire and Despair stories. The other siblings have been explored so many times, I didn’t get anything new (well, maybe Dream, but I’ll get to that in a bit).

In Desire’s story, I love how the main character breaks the fourth wall by constantly looking at the reader as she narrates the story. It gave an intimate feel the story, which in itself is erotic in nature, and the ending is beautifully poignant. Out of the stories, I was surprised that this one became my favorite.

Despair’s story is more of a character study told in prose and portrait, but I really liked it. I it had more depth than Destiny’s character study, mainly because it showed Despair doing different things that seemed absurd (fishing in a church, sitting on a grave reading a newspaper) juxapositioned with people experiencing despair.

Death’s story would be my third favorite. The sight of the two virgins nervously clasping hands before going to their “unorthandox demise” was cute. The end surprised me, gave it a darker touch.

Dream’s story was okay. I was bored of the whole Dream/Desire rivalry. But it was awesome to see the siblings so young. I wish there was more shown of a gloomy Death, a kid Delight, and the first Despair (which didn’t seem all that different from the second one).

Delirium’s was…weird. No surprise there. Destruction’s was nice. And Destiny’s was…meh…but even that is in the general sense. The artwork was still beautiful, and let’s face it, he’s too busy reading to do anything else.

So this gets four elephants out of five waiting to crush you during your final throes…an absurd, but memorable, way to die.

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Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010 Edition

The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010 Edition
The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2010 Edition by Rich Horton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s neat that I’ve met (and talked face to face) with 7 authors in this collection. I’ve also already heard half the stories on Escapepod or Podcastle. It was nice to read these stories and linger over the prose (such as Eros, Phillipe, Agape–read it on Tor, heard it on EscapePod, but reading it in print helped me catch nuances i missed. Same thing with Catherynne M. Valente’s The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew).

Stories that stuck with me:

The Persistence of Memory by Paul Park: normally I hate meta fiction, but this finally elevated it to an art form. Read it several times and something else revealed itself to me each time.

Technicolor by John Langan: very spooky retelling of Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death. Never realized colors could be so deadly. Or lectures for that matter.

Wife-stealing Time by R. Garcia y Robertson: wry tale that combines friskyn females and hunting beasts

The Death of Sugar Daddy by Toiya Kristen Finley: invoked memories of my childhood

Mongoose by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette: Heard this one on Drabblecast. A delight to read in print.

Secret Identity: if I was to ever get audio equipment, I would beg Podcastle to let me read this. Also, Kelly Link, Kelly Link.

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