Friday, August 30, 2013

Books I Want: The People in the Trees and James Tiptree, Jr.

It's been a while since I blogged about books. Here are a few I've wanted to read recently.

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

A doctor and an anthropologist team up for a trip to a Micronesian island. The doctor discovers the secret of the long-lived inhabitants (turtle meat), and comes back to the US, proving his hypothesis to receive fame and adoration, winning a Nobel Prize. But that comes at a terrible personal price. Written as a memoir, Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review, saying that the doctor's "extraordinary circumstances allow his smothered weaknesses to blossom horribly."

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James Tiptree, Jr. by Julie Phillips

I'm absolutely fascinated by this woman's story. In the 1970s, James Tiptree Jr. burst into the scifi writing scene. Everyone was fascinated by his revolutionary ideas and fascinating way of writing stories about gender. He communicated for years with the likes of Ursela K. LeGuin and Harlan Ellison. Not even Alice Sheldon's husband knew that she was the true mind behind all of Tiptree's work. She struggled for years with her sexuality and eventually committed a murder-suicide in the '80s. The Tiptree Award is now given for a book that is "bold enough to contemplate shifts and changes in gender roles," something that is absent from many popular books. This biography also received a starred review from PW.

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