Christina Vasilevski

Toronto Writer/Editor for Content Strategy, Content Design & UX.

Book Review: The Bone Spindle by Anne Sheldon

Title: The Bone Spindle
Author: Anne Sheldon
Publisher: Aqueduct Press
Format: eBook
Rating: 3 out of 5

I first heard about The Bone Spindle through this review from Strange Horizons, which I also talked about here. At the time I read the review, I was writing a short story about the Arachne myth, and thought that a book that examined the art of weaving throughout mythology would be intriguing. I’ve put the Arachne story aside for now – unsurprisingly, writing a story from the perspective of a spider isn’t a smart idea if you’re arachnophobic. Also, I added this book to the Goodreads database.

About the book: The Bone Spindle is a collection of short stories and poetry that examines and comments upon the role that weaving has played throughout stories from various cultures, from the spindle-wielding fairy of Sleeping Beauty to the crafty metaphorical yarns of Anansi, the trickster-spider.

What I liked: I appreciated most the stories that played with the myths and fairy tales I knew the best – Arachne, Sleeping Beauty, the silent princess who had to sew shirts for her twelve brothers who had transformed into birds.

What I disliked: I’m not a huge fan of poetry, so some of the impact this book had on the reviewer at Strange Horizons is lost on me. In addition, despite the presence of several poems and at least one decently-sized short story, the book was over far too quickly. Both my Kobo and my copy of Adobe Digital Editions listed this book’s page-count as just over 50 pages. The longest piece in the collection, “Dream from My Mother’s House,” was vivid, but a bit too wistful – like Ray Bradbury at his most nostalgic.

The verdict: This was the book that introduced me to Aqueduct Press, which specializes in publishing feminist science fiction. Considering that I majored in Women’s Studies in university, finding out about this publisher was a delight. As a result, I think I ended up appreciating the book more for what it represented – an offering by a publishing house whose philosophy I am sympathetic towards – than what it actually was – a short collection of poetry.

Up next: Half Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan