Record of a Spaceborn Few
Becky Chambers

science fiction

The third installment in the Wayfarers series, Chamber’s new book is a treat. Establishing her popularity with The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and the following A Closed and Common Orbit, the books were initially crowdfunded and self-published before being picked up by publishers soon after release. They have been nominated and shortlisted for a number of prizes and awarded the Prix Julia Verlanger twice. They’re also a crowd-pleasing combo of speculative fiction with a heavy helping of optimistic diversity, where human beings have left earth far behind and interact with a bewildering host of other sapient cultures far more advanced than they.

Record of a Spaceborn Few is set on one of the so-called Homesteader ships, vast machine cities which long ago ferried humanity to new solar systems and now orbit foreign suns while they slowly fall apart. What does it mean to have a cultural identity without a home planet? In the Wayfarers universe, the archivist’s role is essential, and everyone cooperates so their make-do-and-mend environment continues to support life and nourish souls.  Some characters are related to ones you’ll recognize from previous books, but the books can be read alone. You’ll wish each character you meet the best. Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is still my favourite of the series, but Record of a Spaceborn Few is more of the enjoyable, personality driven fiction I’ve come to expect of Becky Chambers.

 

How to Fall in Love with Anyone
Mandy Len Catron

biography

A fresh and approachable read, Mandy Len Catron’s series of essays present love as an idea, a problem to be solved, and a story which changes for every person.
Catron’s starting point was the conclusion of both her parent’s 28 year marriage and the subsequent end of her own long-term relationship, which spanned her twenties. Was it that love itself is finite, even when both people are good and kind? How did you know what made you compatible? What could you do to sustain the happily ever after?
With a long involvement in collecting love stories, the tales of how people met and fell in love have interested Catron for a long time, and it is through these experiences and her own family history that she investigates what it might mean to project these myths onto our own relationships.
In 2015 Catron’s short essay ‘To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This’ was published in the New York Times Modern Love column, describing what it was like to take a test with an acquaintance designed by a psychologist to create the perfect conditions for falling in love. Arthur Aron’s study originally asked pairs of heterosexual strangers to ask each other, and answer, 36 questions of increasing intimacy and record the results.
The book includes these questions, so you can take the test yourself with a willing partner. I enjoyed reflecting on my own experiences, prompted by the book’s considerate questions. We all experience love and attachments differently, but the idea of the love story endures.

No two persons ever read the same book.
Edmund Wilson

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