Whatcha Reading, Gretchen McCulloch?

Every week we ask an interesting figure what they're digging into. Have ideas who we should reach out to? Let it fly: info@seattlereviewofbooks.com. Want to read more? Check out the archives.

Gretchen McCulloch is an internet linguist, resident linguist at Wired, co-creator of the podcast Lingthusiasm, and author of the New York Times bestselling Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language. McCulloch is appearing this Tuesday, September 10th, at the offices of Textio in downtown Seattle. This is a free event, co-hosted by the Elliott Bay Book Company. McCulloch will be joined in conversation with Textio CEO Kieran Snyder, and our own Paul Constant. Space is limited, so please RSVP on the event's Eventbrite page, where you will find additional details.

What are you reading now?

I'm currently reading This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, which is about duelling time-travellers who start up a correspondence. I got my hands on an advance copy and I read it twice in a couple days because I just couldn't leave it after a single reading. But I had to give the advance copy back so I bought it myself and I'm re-reading it a third time now that it's out so I can tweet my way through it. I don't even know how to describe it to do it justice....the writing is so beautiful and rich and sharp that I recall the book more as a series of flickering, highly saturated images than as words on a page. I've been recommending it incessantly.

What did you read last?

I last read an advance copy of You Look Like A Thing And I Love You by Janelle Shane, which is about AI and all the things that can possibly (and often hilariously) go wrong with it. I'm a big fan of Janelle's blog where she posts experiments in AI humour, so I figured I'd enjoy the book, but I was expecting it to be a little more dense, you know, just because it's a book. But it's highly, highly readable and very funny — I picked it up one evening expecting to just start with 50 pages or so and before I knew it I was over halfway through already. It's coming out in November and like Time War, I've been recommending it to everyone.

What are you reading next?

Next I'm planning on reading The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, which pretty much sold me as soon as it said "lady astronauts" but for some reason I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Now that it's won the Hugo, I really have no excuse!