March 2018 Reading Recap

Whew I read a lot this month! And most of it was really amazing. My favorites were Martha Wells’ Books of the Raksura series (this was just nominated for a Hugo award, too!), and The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski (my review here). My favorite comics were Joyride, which I’m pumped to read more of, and the Library Wars manga series, which is hilarious but also really resonant. Yikes.

What were your favorite reads this month?

Comics/Graphic Novels

Fruits Basket 16-23 by Natsuki Takaya (5/5 stars)

Library Wars 1-15 by Kiiro Yumi (5/5 stars)

Heart and Brain by Nick Seluk (5/5 stars)

March: Book Three by John Lewis (5/5 stars)

Garbage Night by Jen Lee (2/5 stars)

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown (4/5 stars)

M.F.K. Book One by Nilah Magruder (4/5 stars)

Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates (3/5 stars)

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Who Is Oracle? by Julie Benson (3/5 stars)

Joyride Volume 1 by Jackson Lanzer (5/5 stars)

The Force Awakens by Chuck Wendig (2/5 stars)

Lumberjanes: A Bird’s-Eye View by Shannon Watters (4/5 stars)

The Wicked and The Divine: Imperial Phase 2 by Kieron Gillen (4/5 stars)

Afar by Leila del Duca (4/5 stars)

Poetry

How We Became Human by Joy Harjo (4/5 stars)

Fiction

Opal by Maggie Stiefvater (5/5 stars)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (4/5 stars)

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

The Siren Depths by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip (4/5 stars)

Harriet the Invincible (Hamster Princess) by Ursula Vernon (5/5 stars)

Lost Things by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham (5/5 stars)

Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia McKillip (5/5 stars)

The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (5/5 stars)

Nonfiction

Castles by Alan Lee (3/5 stars)

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski (5/5 stars)

 

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February 2018 Reading Recap

Comics/Graphic Novels

Fruits Basket volumes 1-15 by Natsuki Takaya (5/5 stars): I’m rereading this series and it turns out that it’s still one of my top 3 manga of all time.

Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer (4/5 stars): Funny! Adventurous! Romantic! And it’s groovy, too!

The Backstagers: Volume 2 by James Tynion IV (5/5 stars): It’s about highschool stagecrew who explore the magical land of the backstage. I love it.

Nonfiction

Myths and Legends of Japan by F. Hadland Davis (3/5 stars): This was first published in 1913 by British authors and YOU CAN TELL. The narration really annoyed me at times. That being said, this was a pretty comprehensive volume of legends, myths, ghost stories, etc. so it’s a good starting point for newbies like me.

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker (3/5 stars): I love Jen Hatmaker but most of this was aimed exclusively at moms, despite being marketed at all women.

Bitch Magazine #77 (4/5 stars): I finally gave in this year and subscribed. So far, so good!

Fiction

Thief’s War by Hilari Bell (4/5 stars): Hilari Bell is always a good time.

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim (4/5 stars): Sim’s writing/plotting/characterization has improved by leaps and bounds since her first book, Timekeeper (which I also enjoyed). WHEN CAN I GET BOOK 3???

Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells (5/5 stars): THE LEIA NOVEL WE ALL DESERVE.

Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith (3/5 stars): It was okay? But I might be too old for it, as it’s aimed at middle-grade readers.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Sumelis (4/5 stars): This is one of the best fictional treatments of family abuse that I have ever read. Judging by the author’s note it’s at least partially autobiographical. I dropped a star for some rough debut-novel edges, but I will be keeping an eye on this author!

The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang (4/5 stars): Magic, love, and raptors.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (5/5 stars): It’s a classic.

January Recap: Goodreads

I didn’t read very much this month so I decided to give you mini-reviews for everything. This will be in two posts: Rereads and Goodreads. This one will cover the books I read for the first time this month.

By the way if anyone finds my blogging brain please return it. I miss it and I need it.

Meet Me In St. Louis by Sarah Benson

This was a light and enjoyable read for the most part. The book is divided into the months between June 1903 and May 1904. The “chapter” months are very episodic, almost like a series of short stories, as there aren’t any strong arcs to speak of. The characters are consistent but a little shallow; Esther and Rose, especially, don’t ever move past their boy-crazed silliness; but at least they keep us entertained. Grandpa Prophater was my favorite, as he is the most “aware” of the hilarity of this family. One of the scenes I found most interesting was when Mrs. Smith said she could understand why someone would want only one child, creating an ABSOLUTE UPROAR in the house from her five kids. Mr. Smith explains she’s upset because she can’t care for all five kids the way she wishes she could, but there’s a subtext of real frustration in Mrs. Smith’s pronouncement, as well. No matter how hard she tries, life is always uncertain and keeps her anxious about taking care of everyone.

So. Light and enjoyable read, but with some darker undertones that kept it interesting.

 

Rey’s Survival Guide by Jason Fry

This Middle Grade book is a delight. It’s a fictional nonfiction book, written by Rey about the planet of Jakku and the people, places, and things you will find on it. There are lots of pictures: Rey’s drawings and schematics, manuals, documents that she has picked up in her wanderings. I have never cared about Jakku much, either as a fictional setting that I wanted to know more about, or a place I wanted more stories set on. However, author Jason Fry make Jakku really fascinating through Rey. Part of it is all the plants and animals she describes, which make Jakku feel more like a real place with an actual ecosystem. The geography was even more fascinating: some of the locations Rey draws and describes we see in The Force Awakens, but some of them we don’t, like The Sitter on his rock and Old Meru’s shack. Rey mentions lots of stories and legends floating around Jakku as well, such as a secret imperial base that someone is still guarding, buried beneath the sand.

If you’re looking for a “story,” though, you won’t find much of one here. It’s almost entirely exposition, with anecdotes from Rey’s childhood, her scavenging adventures, or about other scavengers that she knows or has known (she knows a lot of dead scavengers who weren’t careful enough to avoid sinking sand or live wires or leaking fuel lines. Yikes.). The end of the book tries to tie this book into TFA more, but it was the only part of the book I didn’t like. If she takes her “survival guide” with her off-planet it becomes more of a diary with a lot of useless tips about how to survive a place she no longer lives in. I like the idea of Rey leaving her journal behind, so someone on Jakku exploring can find it in her AT-AT house, and use the information to survive.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

What a heartbreaking book! Each of the characters from the protagonist Sethe, her boyfriend Paul D, her lost husband Halle, her MIL Baby, to her daughters Denver and Beloved have their own personal scars and brutal histories. In multiple ways this book is a horror story: the horror story of American slaves and their owners; the horror story of Sethe’s murdered daughter and the family she is haunting; the horror story of Paul D’s life history.

However, there is such a strong hope throughout the book, even in the very worst moments, that redeemed the story from a bleak resolution. Sethe begins to realize that maybe she can hope for more than just getting by, or living in the horrible choices of the past. She learns how to want things for herself, and since she’s got her freedom legally, all she needs to do is seize it psychologically. The way the different members of the family persevere and support each other, and the way their community forms around them to help at different stages, is amazing.

Even if every happy bit in this book was gone, it would still be worth reading to remind us of how horrific American slavery was and how we should never ever ever forget or gloss over it. It happened, to real people, by real people, in a country that prides itself on liberty and justice for all.  Beloved doesn’t shy away from this or completely excuses the choices that anyone makes, whether they’re slaves, ex-slaves, slaveowners or employers.

The ending of Beloved, with the emphasis on community, and the importance of asking for help, concluded the psychologically-messy story very well. I would have liked to see Paul D take some responsibility for his actions re: Beloved and being so rude to Sethe but it is implied that he’s going to make up for past behavior.

2017 Reading Wrap-up

Here’s a quick run-down of my 2017 reading goals and whether or not I accomplished them.

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Readalongs

I aimed to keep doing readalongs, and succeeded! Here at Bahnreads we did 5 readalongs of public domain novels, listed below with links to the blog posts:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Silas Marner by George Eliot

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James 

Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge

Modern Mrs. Darcy had a couple of 2017 reading challenges, and I aimed to complete one of them: “Reading for Growth.” Below I’ve listed the categories and a book I read (or didn’t read) for each one. I definitely read more than one applicable book for some of these categories, so I listed one that I particularly loved.

  • A Newbery Award winner or Honor book: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
  • A book in translation: The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartín Fenollera
  • A book over 600 pages: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection: The Oresteian Trilogy by Aeschylus
  • A book of any genre that addresses current events: Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • An immigrant story: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • A book published before you were born: Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • Three books by the same author: Ilona Andrews
  • A book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author: So You Want To Be A Robot by Merc Rustad
  • A book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending: The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu
  • A book nominated for an award in 2017: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (Goodreads Choice Awards)
  • A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner: I think I was planning to read Beloved by Toni Morrison for this category but I forgot! Soooo put that on the top of my stack for 2018.

Mythology

I challenged myself to re-read some of Rick Riordan’s books and do Myth Monday posts for them: SUCCESS!

Other excellent mythology-related books that I read this year were:

Bull by David Elliott

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Myths From Mesopotamia ed. by Stephanie Dalley

Onward to 2018!

 

 

November Reading Wrap-up

Last month was National Novel Writing Month, so I read a lot less than usual. Whoopsies. However, having less reading time made me choose much more carefully, so most of what I read this month was stellar. My favorites were the Innkeeper Chronicles series by Ilona Andrews (urban scifantasy???), and the recent volume of Ms Marvel comics by G. Willow Wilson.

Fiction:

Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (4/5 stars)

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews (5/5 stars)

One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews (5/5 stars)

White Hot by Ilona Andrews (4/5 stars)

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (5/5 stars)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (4/5 stars) – this was a reread

Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland (2/5 stars)

Drama:

Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone by Sophocles (4/5 stars)

Graphic Novels/Comics:

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates (4/5 stars)

Princeless: Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley (4/5 stars)

Princeless: The Pirate Princess by Jeremy Whitley (4/5 stars)

Ms. Marvel: Damage Per Second by G. Willow Wilson (4/5 stars)

 

October Reading Wrap-up

Whoopsies I keep forgetting to post this. I’m still struggling to read anything besides fiction. I had more rereads than usual this month, too! Top reads from this month were The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang and and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. I’m really looking forward to reading more Skip Beat!

 

Rereads are Good Reads

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (5/5 stars)

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roerig (5/5 stars)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (4/5 stars)

All Hallows Eve by Charles Williams (4/5 stars)

Nonfiction

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (4/5 stars)

Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. Leguin (3/5 stars)

Fiction

The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (4/5 stars)

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (3/5 stars)

Stealing Fire by Jo Graham (4/5 stars)

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan (4/5 stars)

The Tiger’s Watch  by Julia Ember (3/5 stars)

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View anthology (4/5 stars)

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang (5/5 stars)

The Savage Dawn by Melissa Grey (3/5 stars)

27 Hours by Tristina Wright (2/5 stars)

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan (5/5 stars)

Poetry

The Complete Works of Horace (3/5 stars)

Comics/Graphic Novels

Poe Dameron: The Gathering Storm by Soule/Noto (4/5 stars)

Skip Beat volumes 1-4 by Yoshiki Nakamura (4/5 stars)

Black Butler volumes 21-23 by Yana Toboso (3-4/5 stars)

 

September Reading Wrap-up

My personal favorites from each section are: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry, Release by Patrick Ness, All Systems Red by Martha Wells, March: Book 2 by John Lewis, and Inuit Mythology by Evelyn Wolfson.

So-called Kids Fiction:

Princess Adventure Stories by the Walt Disney Company (4/5 stars)

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny: Volume 1 by Emma Carlson Berne (3/5 stars)

Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka (4/5 stars)

The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry (5/5 stars)

Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci (2/5 stars)

The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (4/5 stars)

So-called Young Adult Fiction:

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (5/5 stars)

Release by Patrick Ness (5/5 stars)

So-called Adult Fiction:

Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis (5/5 stars)

 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (5/5 stars)

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey (4/5 stars)

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell (4/5 stars)

The American by Henry James (4/5 stars)

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (no rating)

So-called Comic Books:

The Wicked and The Divine: Imperial Phase I by Kieron Gillen (4/5 stars)

Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda by Chelsea Cain (4/5 stars)

Like I’m the Only Squirrel in the World by Ryan North (4/5 stars)

Black Butler volume 19 by Yana Toboso (4/5 stars)

Black Butler volume 20 by Yana Toboso (4/5 stars)

Batgirl: Beyond Burnside by Hope Larson (3/5 stars)

March: Book 2 by John Lewis (5/5 stars)

Buso Renkin volume 1 by Nobuhiro Watsuki (3/5 stars)

Buso Renkin volume 2 by Nobuhiro Watsuki (2/5 stars)

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop: Volume 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson (4/5 stars)

So-called Nonfiction:

Inuit Mythology by Evelyn Wolfson (4/5 stars)

 

The History of Alexander by Quintus Curtius Rufus (3/5 stars)