Monday Book Musings

After a busy week last week—including a fantastic visit to a teen creative writing class at The Storyteller Bookstore in Lafayette, CA–I find myself energized about reading and writing but lacking the wherewithal (read: energy) to write up a formal book review. So I thought today would be a good day to catch up on some of what I’ve read in recent weeks and maybe ask YOU all what’s been on your reading pile lately.

In my currently-being-read pile is the outstanding and hilarious Redshirts by John Scalzi, which I was luckily able to borrow from a friend. However, I’m probably going to have to get my own copy. If you’ve ever at any time been a fan of Star Trek, this one’s a must read. It essentially addresses the question of what would happen if all those sad, doomed, redshirted Star Trek ensigns actually noticed how egregious their fatality rate was and decided to try to do something about it. It is a great, quick, light read and I highly recommend it.

The book I just finished reading prior to Redshirts was another book for grownups: The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt. Her writing’s very intellectual and not for everyone, but if you liked her novel Possession and/or if you’re a fan of convoluted Victorian/Edwardian social drama, you might enjoy this one. Beyond its exhaustive look at the repressed and dysfunctional social and romantic relationships of Victorian England, this book is about purpose, about art, about the sweeping, dynamic societal and philosophical changes that were the backdrop of an era that we often think of as far more staid than it actually was. Although I had occasional trouble keeping track of who was sleeping with whom and who was whose sibling and so forth, I found this one a fascinating read for its window into an era in which not only women but men were highly subject to increasingly irrelevant social strictures. It also provides an interesting mirror into our own time, which still retains a surprising amount of Victorian characteristics.

Another book that I read a little while ago, that I meant to write up a review of but now I’ve waited too long and my memory fails me, is Replay by Robin Brande. I was tipped off to a free Kindle copy of this book, and I’m so glad I read it. Without giving away too many spoilers, in Replay we follow the story of Cara Campbell, whose life irrevocably changes after she recovers from a near-death experience during surgery. During the less than a minute she was clinically dead, she experienced some things she can’t explain away, especially when she starts seeing eerie echoes and coincidences in her waking life. Though it might sound creepy, this isn’t a scary Lois-Duncan-style suspense novel. It’s no less gripping, but rather than being a thriller, it asks thoughtful questions about why we’re here on earth and what we would do if we were given another chance at life and at mending the relationships with the people important to us.

I’ll leave it there for today. If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear what you think. Or, if something great has crossed your desk lately, I’d love to hear about that, too!

About the author

Sarah Jamila Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor, graphic designer, professor of humanities, and localization QA tester, so she wears a teetering pile of hats. On any given day, she is very tired. She is the author of the middle grade graphic novel Alexis vs. Summer Vacation, and three YA novels, including the award-winning The Latte Rebellion.


  1. Redshirts is definitely a fun read! I finished it and it was very enjoyable, despite a few logistical questions I had.

    The Children's Book was good–hard to put down, despite the fact that it's riddled with tragic Victorian occurrences throughout…by the time World War I rolled around, I wasn't sure I could take much more tragedy. (Anything WWI is just insanely depressing to me.)

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