Round-Up: My Summer 2018 TBR

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for June 19th was “books on my summer TBR,” and I pledged to read the following:

So, what did I actually read?

On the list…

Not on the list…

What I missed…

Did any of you have a summer TBR? Did you stick to it? Let me know!

Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Rating: ★½
Summary: Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself — and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.


Artemis was disappointing, to say the least. The Martian was a 5-star read for me, so I went into this book with high expectations. Unfortunately, there were just too many hang-ups and eye-rolling to make the novel more than a bleh for me.

The protagonist, Jazz, felt like a cardboard cutout of a female character, stripped of a multi-faceted personality and, instead, given what Weir thinks a female ought to possess in order to fit her surroundings. (Or perhaps he just transplanted his thirty-something, white, cis, heterosexual fictional stand-in, Mark Watney, into the body of a twenty-something Arab. Who knows.) Her understanding of the world has stalled at puberty, and she comes off completely self-centered, her actions and motivations before we meet her cringy to read. (Her main impetus for taking over the heist is to repay her father for an accident she caused; Jazz has apparently completely ignored him for seven years among of a population of only a few thousand  and is certain his wants and needs have stayed static in the intervening half-decade. Hey Jazz, why don’t you just, I don’t know, talk to him??)

The plot itself is a jumble of a heist but also a murder mystery, with spots of romance thrown in for good measure. Except it’s also a science fiction novel… I guess? Weir has Jazz sarcastically overexplain her actions, but it’s not as quirky as Mark running through how he’s going to survive on an inhospitable planet; it’s just grating. I suppose that Weir wanted all of his science to be accurate, but I was already on board with humans living on the moon: I didn’t also need Weir to treat his lunar base as potential science fact. (As if, in the future, scientists would read this book and go, “ooh good idea”?) In the end, he never quite found a balance between underexplaining the economic, cultural, and social facets of Artemis’s social construction and then overexplaining the physical.

Artemis had a good outline but needed too many changes for me to actually enjoy it. Maybe if Jazz had been appropriately aged to match her personality, or she’d been explicitly written as a white male instead of a brown female. Maybe if there’d been one solid plot instead of two and a half meh ones, or if the book didn’t come off as a half-assed attempt to replicate The Martian‘s success without understanding why it succeeded in the first place. (Um, The Hangover 2??) Maybe if every character didn’t come off as a checkbox next to a diversity hire so that no one could fault Weir for only writing about able-bodied white people in space.

Or maybe it was all the welding.

New to the Queue #9

Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner started this and I love it so I’m (politely) stealing it!

I add a lot of stuff to my TBR list, my Netflix queue, and my library holds list. Here’s stuff I want to actually seek out and consume right now.

Stuff to Read

Artemis by Andy Weir // Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults by Laurie Penny // Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life by Chelsea Martin // The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death by John Bateson // Paradox Bound by Peter Clines

The People Are Going to Rise like the Waters Upon Your Shore: A Story of American Rage by Jared Yates Sexton // Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom by Marcelo d’Salete // Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt // They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera // The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

Stuff to Watch

Deadpool 2 // The Greatest Showman // Hostiles // Jane // Legion season two

Maze Runner: The Death Cure // A Quiet Place // RBG // Solo: A Star Wars Story // Westworld season two

Stuff to Listen To

Invasion of Privacy by Cardi B // PTX Presents: Top Pop Vol. 1 by Pentatonix

Have you also added some of these? Have you already consumed them?? Let me know!