3 book recommendations for June, 2022
Reap3r came out a month ago and already has 115 Amazon reviews! Thank you, thank you, thank you. If you love a book, posting reviews and telling your friends makes a BIG difference. We all find our next favorite book because someone we trust recommends it.
And now, books I love that you might too:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is a compelling and insightful novel following Thomas Cromwell’s improbable rise to power in the court of Henry VIII. Mantel brings the psychology of ambition, intrigue, and high politics to vivid life, leaving you with a deeper understanding of the invisible forces at work behind the headlines.
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin reverses the classic hero’s journey by telling the tale of a quest from the perspective of the priestess charged with protecting a great treasure rather than the wizard braving the labyrinth to claim it. Of course, Le Guin is such a master storyteller that this narrative subversion yields an adventure all its own, complete with secrets, danger, courage, and growth.
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman is a collection of poems that will take you into the dark and lead you out the other side. Observant and profound, Gorman plays with language in order to play our heartstrings, finding chords simultaneously timely and timeless.
Bonus recommendation: YouTube maestro Kurzgesagt made a beautiful animated adaptation of Andy Weir’s mind-bending short story, “The Egg.”
Things worth sharing:
I surfed with a whale last week—plumes of spray catching slanting morning light, a dark mass breaching in the troughs between waves, the visceral reminder that all life on Earth is kin.
Noted investor Jim O’Shaughnessy shared passages from Veil and Breach in his Infinite Loops newsletter.
I went on the Lit Visions podcast to talk about my idiosyncratic journey into publishing, the story behind Reap3r, building an audience from scratch, and the power of speculative fiction.
Speaking of, this is how I approach doing podcast interviews.
For readers who appreciated the Discworld references in Reap3r, Geoff's beloved paperback absolutely featured Kirby cover art.
Y’all are saying such nice things about Reap3r on the interwebz!
Line from my work-in-progress: “Nobody sets out to build a dystopia. Instead, people set out to build a utopia, and those who adhere strictly to the utopian plan unintentionally succeed in building a dystopia. The key word is ‘strictly’: every plan shatters on contact with reality, so if you stick to the plan instead of adapting to reality, you end up with a broken system.”
Writing a novel is like exploring Golden Gate Park in summer. You might have an idea of where you want to go, but everything is shrouded in fog, the familiar becomes strange, paths branch unexpectedly, and mysterious shapes emerge out of the mist, demanding investigation.
What’s even better than a cute dog video? A cute (and moving) dog poem!
Brian Merchant is resurrecting VICE’s dormant speculative-fiction publication, Terraform. I’ve discovered so many thought-provoking short stories there, and will be contributing one of my own alongside pieces from authors you might recognize from this newsletter, like Omar El Akkad, Ellen Ullman, and Jeff VanderMeer. More soon.
Friendly reminder that “for fun” is a perfectly good reason to do things, no need to qualify with “just.”
Thanks for reading. If you enjoy my writing and want to support it, invest in my creative process so I can do more of it. Oh, and tell your friends. We all find our next favorite book because someone we trust recommends it. Culture is a collective project in which we all have a stake and a voice.
Eliot Peper is the author of Reap3r, Veil, Breach, Borderless, Bandwidth, Neon Fever Dream, Cumulus, Exit Strategy, Power Play, and Version 1.0. He publishes a blog, tweetsmore than he probably should, and lives in Oakland, CA.
“Classic Peper. Fast-moving, thoughtful science fiction. Ripped from the (very) near future, this is a rollicking and sometimes poignant thrill ride. Definitely a one-sitting book, so make sure you don’t have work the next day.”
-Seth Godin, author of Tribes, Linchpin, and The Practice, on Reap3r