what I read in September

what I read in September

This was a pretty great month with lots of really good books, some that I had been meaning to read for awhile and others that I stumbled upon (the dangers of helping with the new materials delivery is that I see all the shiny new graphic novels that I’ve never heard of before but sound awesome. Also the same danger of working with people who read a wide variety of books themselves and then you want to read what they say is good).

Citizen: An American LyricCitizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never really read a book of freeform poetry before. Luckily, Rankine eased me into it by starting with more of a prose style and then slowly moving into more of a poetry rhythm. A short little book with lots of powerful moments. These feelings and images will stick with me for awhile.

Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t expecting much from yet another Batman comic but WOW! I loved the reimagining of Gotham and the Wayne family, and, of course, Alfred. This was not at all what I was expecting and really hard to put down – which I didn’t! Read it all in one sitting.

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I didn’t feel this one was quite as good as Batman. I don’t know why it is so hard to write a good Wonder Woman story. Maybe it is because that she, like Thor, is just born awesome. She doesn’t have the whole “death of her family” like Superman and Batman, nothing to really overcome so her origin story isn’t quite as engaging. They tried to give her some mother issues but she came off more as a spoiled brat than a struggling hero.

Also, the art was just so typical…all the girls have their mouths hanging half open and they were supposed to be shocked when Diana came home wearing makeup but…um, she didn’t look that much different from when she left.

I love that in a world that is devoid of men and no influence from men, everyone likes to imagine women would still wear skimpy clothing and bustiers. Be real – it would be a land of sweatpants and t-shirts, maybe jean shorts when it is cold.

Dark Night: A True Batman StoryDark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book and the idea of using your superhero figures to help you cope with life. Dini really took a chance, bearing his soul like this, but he did it right and this is a great book, a great story, inspiring and affirming but not in a cliche kind of way? He’s not perfect but that is what made it such a great read – I could identify with his insecurities even if I wasn’t exactly like him.

Nobody Likes a GoblinNobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cute story, great illustrations, perfect for the older picture book reader who likes a silly fantasy tale. Pair this with The Princess and the Pony for a quirky family read-together.

Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of TimeLumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better! What could have just been a goofy, one-note story about a group of goofy girl scouts has turned into an epic, layered tale of hardcore lady-types. Keep it coming Team Lumberjanes!

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby by William Ritter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this book! I would suggest it for fans that lik “Monstrumologist” or “The X Files” – anything with a supernatural twist. I love that all the monsters are not “bad” and that it pulls from a variety of myths and stories to create the creature world.

I definitely plan on picking up the second book soon!

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super FamousMs. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This might be my favorite Ms. Marvel arc yet! It is a lesson that all of us need to be reminded of from time to time – teens and adults. Just loved it.

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Books Read in August

Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through FilmFilmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film by Edward Ross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic graphic non-fiction exploration of the power of movies. I would compare it to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art in how it helps break down things that we sort of know in our gut, but putting those feelings into words. At first I was like “Why is this a book? It should be a documentary!” but making that film would be impossible because getting the rights to all the movies references would cost millions! This graphic novel is an amazing introduction to film studies and remind you that those images on the big screen are more than just eye candy.

French MilkFrench Milk by Lucy Knisley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

About what I expected for an early book. It really is just Knisley’s journal from her trip to Paris, nothing amazing, no real self discovery like in ‘Relish’. But you can see all the potential in the pages for her books to come.

Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South BronxBecoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t think of anyway else to describe this but a first-person limited memoir. Sonia Manzano tells her own story of growing up in the South Bronx and channels her childhood, writing the book from her point of view as a girl growing up in the 1950s New York City. She does not make any reference to her life today, she does not talk about the things that happened to her as a child in the context of how we view things today. She and her mother are both beaten, they live in the ghetto, she talks about being felt up by strangers, but she tells it as if it is just happening, never stepping out of that moment.

This is definitely a young adult/adult biography, if only because of the abuse that takes place and the occasional f-bomb that gets dropped.

To me, this felt like an honest and revealing look at growing up as a child of Puerto Rican immigrants in the United States and also growing up a girl and also growing up ethnic but in a way that is both invisible and visible when it comes to the United States.

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at WarGrunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another fun bit of pop science reading, though this is perhaps more terrifying the the rest of her books because it connects to war. But still a very good read.

Orange: The Complete Collection 1Orange: The Complete Collection 1 by Ichigo Takano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picked this up because everyone who read it raved about it and I can see why! Not at all what I expected. Just a dash of sci-fi in this otherwise slice of life story, with a melancholy edge. I don’t want to say any more because I read this spoiler free and so should you. Just have volume 2 ready to go because what a cliffhanger!

The World According to Star WarsThe World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so much fun to read! A great way of thinking about Star Wars and stories and how they reflect and effect our society. Even a casual fan can enjoy Sunstein’s thoughts about this movie series.

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Telgemeier’s first foray into supernatural stories. I enjoyed it, but the bar was set really high by her previous three books. I just didn’t feel like this one packed the emotional punch that Smile, Sisters, and Drama did. I’d say this is a 3.5 star book where Smile is a 5 star book. (which means it is still a really great book! She has just spoiled me!)

Buffy: The High School Years - Freaks & Geeks (Buffy: The High School Years, #1)Buffy: The High School Years – Freaks & Geeks by Faith Erin Hicks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Within the first few pages of this book, I knew Faith Erin Hicks was a Buffy fan. She had the tone just right – the Scooby Gang had all the same wit and snark of the show. This comic book takes place early in Season 1. It feels like a lost episode. It was really fun to read this, especially since I just finished rewatching the first season of the show recently!

We Stand On GuardWe Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! This has all the makings of the next epic BKV series, lots of in common with Y The Last Man and Saga when it comes to using science fiction to examine issues happening today. I loved this so much and the final section left me in shock. I need the next volume now!

Saga, Volume 6Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great entry in the series, I really love little-kid Hazel, glad she is growing up now and part of the adventure rather than a prop. Her voice is a great mix of her father and mother.

The Ballad of Black TomThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never read any Lovecraft and I haven’t read any real adult horror stories in a long time. This made me want to pick up both! It had all the flavor of a classic scary story, LaValle’s book could have been published in the early 1900s, his prose felt both new and classic. And CREEPY!!!!!!! Made the mistake of trying to finish the book late one night and gave myself the heebie-jeebies!

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What I Read In July

Been awhile since I did one of these! Sorry for abandoning this poor blog! I’m going to try to get back into the habit of posting here. Lots of good books, movies and television I’ve been enjoying.

GrootGroot by Jeff Loveness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who would have thought that a comic book with Groot as the main character would have so many feels?? Great story, fantastic art, and some touching moments. ❤

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The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television SeriesThe Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series by Jesse McLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love and adore this show SO MUCH. If you are a fan of the ‘Hannibal’ series and always wanted a closer look at the “death tableau” left behind by the season one and two killers, you will probably enjoy this book a little more than I did. I had to use my hand to cover up the images while I read the text as I am a total wuss and easily grossed out.

That being said, the book is a nice addition to your collection if you are a Fannibal BUT if you are a Fannibal, you have probably watched all the special features on your blu-rays and you know pretty much everything that is written in the book. I didn’t find many surprises in here and since it only covers the first two seasons, I found myself wondering what the actors and writers would say about where Season 3 went and thoughts on a (hopefully) fourth season arc.

It’s a nice coffee table book, though you wouldn’t want to leave it out for anyone uninitiated to flip through, because of the graphic images and spoilers.

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Highly Illogical BehaviorHighly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I almost want to give this book an extra star for all the pop culture references, but at the same time I want to subtract that star for that very reason – I’m wondering how many 17 year olds out there would identify with the ST:TNG obsessed kids in this book. And with the throw away lines about ‘Community’ and ‘Adventure Time’, I worry that it is already dated only a few months after being released.

I did enjoy the book though, I liked the story a lot. I actually think it would make a good discussion title for a high school book club – talk about all the different issues each of the kids faces and how they are handling them etc.

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Relish: My Life in the KitchenRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love books like this – snippets of memories, totally fun, it’s pretty much like reading a personal blog. It made me hungry and I’m definitely going to try a few of the recipes she included!

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Camp MidnightCamp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great read for the older elementary and early middle school set, all about fitting in and finding your place but not in a heavy handed eye-rolling kind of way.

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What did you read this month?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

I will say upfront that, as a librarian and a slow reader, I don’t typically request books for Christmas. If you give me a book, it doesn’t have a due date, and therefore tends to fall to the bottom of the to-read pile. Seriously, doesn’t matter HOW much I want to read the book, owning it means I will never read it.

The kinds of books I have on my wishlist are ones that I want for my collection, so they are usually very pretty, sometimes pricey, and a bit more for perusing rather than reading. So if Santa must stop by the bookstore, these are the titles I would love for him to search for:

I collect non-fiction titles about Joss Whedon and his works and there were a few published this year I would like to have:


Joss Whedon: The Biography


Joss Whedon: A Creative Portrait by David Lavery


Reading Joss Whedon by Rhonda Wilcox

If I really like a graphic novel, I tend to want it in hardcover to keep forever:


Sisters by Raina Telgemeier


Saga Deluxe Hardcover Edition by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, Volume 4

And I have a soft spot for collector’s editions in any of my major fandoms:


Jim Henson’s The Storyteller (Jim Henson Archives Series)


Adventure Time Totally Math Poster Collection

Books that teach me to make stuff:


Tequila Mockingbird

Technically not a book, but based on a book!


BBC Radio: Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

books read in September

September was a month of children’s fiction. My reading was firmly planted in the land of late elementary and middle school. It was not planned, it just happened. I did listen to one adult fiction title and it was a pleasant surprise. And I picked up the latest graphic novel by Bryan Lee O’Malley, which is definitely for adults. I have already started an adult book that I’m hoping to finish for the October list because I really should read something from that side of the library!

Then again, the new Scott Westerfeld just showed up on my desk today and Undivided comes out in two weeks…**Sigh** at least those are YA!

SistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another strong story from Raina Telgemeier’s childhood that will still strike a chord with tween today because siblings, especially little sisters, will always have a very unique dynamic. And growing up will never be easy. Plus a family road trip and reunion? Always traumatizing, no matter when it happened. Smile is still my favorite but Sisters is really good too.

SecondsSeconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know what it was about “Seconds” but I just loved it. I think I loved how you don’t exactly love the main character, she has some major flaws (which is apparently O’Malley’s speciality – crafting characters I am both frustrated by but identify with too?)

Honestly, I didn’t know anything about this book except that it was the new Bryan Lee O’Malley and I loved going into it totally unaware and being surprised by the twists and turns.

Moldylocks and the Three Beards (Princess Pink and the Land of Fake Believe, #1)Moldylocks and the Three Beards by Noah Z. Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was sold on this from page one, mostly because Princess Pink has a Darth Vader drawing on her wall. But also because this clever book will find its way into the hands of little girls obsessed with Princesses only to turn the story around on theme, with this adventurous girl who has no problem getting dressing up as a hairy caveman dinosaur hunter and splashing in cold chili.

I think kids will really enjoy the fractured fairy tales and the play on a story they are probably very familiar with.

Cute, funny, and perfect for kids who are ready to move from easy readers into very basic chapter books.

Bandette, Volume 1: Presto!Bandette, Volume 1: Presto! by Colleen Coover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really cute, I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Bandette is so adorable, her town so French, everyone so charming. It was a lot of fun to read and I will pick up the sequel.

One More Thing: Stories and Other StoriesOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of short stories, read aloud by the author and some of his famous friends, was a real treat. I feel like I need to star each story separately as some I really enjoyed, others were cute, and a few were sorta…ok.

…actually, there are too many stories to do that! Some of the stories are 5 stars in my book, great to read, even room for discussion afterwards, some are just hilarious one-offs that exist only for the punchline, and others are more shaggy dog stories that kind of go on for awhile but the pay off isn’t that great.

I HIGHLY recommend listening to this because of Novak & Co.s readings. Rainn Wilson, Mindy Kaling, Jason Schwartzman and more make this a treat to hear. (though looking at the table of contents, it appears the audio is in a different order than the physical book? WEIRD.)

Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils ChroniclePhoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first, I didn’t think this bright pink book with a unicorn on the cover was for me. Then I saw the unicorn’s name “Marigold Heavenly Nostrils” and started to flip through the book. And THEN I saw the introduction by Peter Beagle and KNEW I had to give this a read. I’m so glad I did! This book is cute and clever and a fun collection of comic strips about a little girl who befriends a unicorn after hitting it in the head with a rock. I was giggling the whole time I read this. Great for kids and young at heart.

OH! Apparently this is a syndicated comic strip and this book is the first collection. If you need more (like I did) you can find them here:
http://www.gocomics.com/heavenly-nost…

Little Red Quacking Hood (Princess Pink and the Land of Fake Believe #2)Little Red Quacking Hood by Noah Z. Jones

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not quite as adorkable as the first one, but still a fun read and perfect for a new-to-chapter books reader. I do love Princess Pink and her aversion to all things pink LOL. I hope to see a few kids dressed as Moldylocks when Halloween rolls around in a few weeks.

LootLoot by Jude Watson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Loot: How to steal a fortune” is a great read for middle school age kids who are into mystery, suspense, and thrillers. The story opens with the death of March’s master thief father and we follow March as he tries to unravel the events that lead up to that night.

This was my first Jude Watson book (I’ve read both of her the Judy Blundell young adult titles). She does a good job of writing for a younger age group without talking down. The short chapters make this book a really easy read (each chapter is 2-4 pages) so even reluctant readers will find this hard to put down.

The title leaves something to be desired, as does the cover. It doesn’t quite capture the intrigue and dark moments hidden in these pages.

What did you read this month?

Books read in February

Oops LOL, I did not get a lot of reading done this month. I blame the snow (which meant I could stay up too late instead of going to bed and reading) plus our Veronica Mars marathon. And the fact that, after Unsouled, I was having a heck of a time finding a book that grabbed me!!!

UnSouled (Unwind, #3)UnSouled by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The thing that makes me LOVE the “Unwind” series is how Shusterman takes what could have been a one-note songs and turns it into a symphony. Even though this takes place in a not-so-distant future, everyone who reads this book will be forced to think about a variety of issues we are facing right now, every day.

While the seed of Unwind is the “what if the abortion war ended with people being allowed to get rid of their teenagers” as the story has progressed the theme has gone on to question science, war, leaders, government, terrorism and so much more. It’s what makes this series so disturbing yet so fantastic.

Of course, being that this is book 3, there was a lot of things being set up for the grand finale that will be book 4. Right now, this book gets a tentative 4 stars out of 5 because Book 4 will decide if this was all worth my while.

March (Book One)March by John Robert Lewis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 1 in the autobiographical non-fiction graphic novel about Congressman John Lewis’ activities in the 1960s Civil Rights movement. A fantastic introduction to this time in history and the issues that African-Americans were faced with and the men and women behind the sit-in movement.

Beautifully illustrated with black and white drawings, very easy to follow, even for those new to this format. I can’t wait to read part 2!

Aimless Love: New and Selected PoemsAimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins

This is less of a cover-to-cover book and more of a flip through and read a random poem, so I technically have not “read” the entire book yet. But I have several favorites so far — “Hippo Holidays”, “Marco Polo” and “More Than a Woman”. If they taught Billy Collins in school, I think I would have enjoyed poetry more.

 

 

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 by Zack Whedon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a start to the series. So many feels in just a few pages. I cannot wait to see where this is headed.

 

 

I'm a Frog! (Elephant and Piggie, #20)I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another fantastic addition to this series. Piggie teaches Gerald about playing pretend. My favorite moment was this one:


Wisdom of Elephant and Piggie #books #truth
You can just go out and pretend to be something you're not?? #books

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Books read in January

The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain, #2)The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, Disney really did butcher this series, didn’t they? I’m glad that Tim made me read them and I am looking forward to the next 3 in the Pyrdain Chronicles. I was surprised by how INTENSE the last few chapters were, with actual threats to our heroes lives and one character going off the deep end in a big way. Wow. Great for fans of the LotR movies who might not be ready to read those books, but want a good fantasy series.

Star Wars: Jedi AcademyStar Wars: Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a cute idea but it never quite pulled me in the way that “Origami Yoda” did. Both of them want to be a Star Wars Wimpy Kid but Roan’s story was missing…something. I’m wondering if it is because this was the first in the series and so many introductions had to happen and setting up the whole Jedi Academy plot line. I might pick up book 2 and see if it has a little more to it.

I did REALLY like that Brown has, as the final page in the book, instructions for how readers can start their own journal like Roan’s. He encourages them to draw and paste in newspaper articles etc.

I would recommend this to late elementary school aged Star Wars fans. I think anyone older would probably enjoy the The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series more, but this could tide them over while waiting for Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue: An Origami Yoda Book to be released.

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic NovelA Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve never read the original book but I thought this graphic novel was very accessible and it did make me want to read the other books in the series. I have been a fan of Hope Larson’s art style since I happened to pick up ‘Mercury’ randomly one day. I really like the whole feel of it. The blue-gray-black color scheme worked well too.

I think reading this as a graphic worked best when it came to explaining all the mathematical theories behind the tesseract and time travel.

Would definitely recommend this to someone who is a fan of Doctor Who and other science fiction/fantasy stories with lots of weird but also lots of heart.

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Boxers (Boxers & Saints, #1)Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know absolutely nothing about the Boxer Rebellion so Yang’s “Boxers & Saints” is really the introduction to this part of history for me. I haven’t read “Saints” yet though, so I’m not quite sure how fair it is to review this book alone. But I loved “Boxers”. Beautifully drawn and easy to understand. I will post more once I have read “Saints”.

Saints (Boxers & Saints, #2)Saints by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this in one sitting. It really is the companion to “Boxers”, you shouldn’t try to read it on it’s own because there will be several parts that don’t quite make sense. The ending, particularly, won’t pack as much punch if you haven’t read “Boxers”.

This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I still enjoyed it. While “Boxers” focused on one boy but ultimately gave you a view on why a group of Chinese wanted to rebel against the “foreign devils” and their religion, “Saints” is all about Four-Girl/Vibiana and I don’t know if it really explains why so many other Chinese converted to Christianity during this time, which by the end of “Boxers” I was really curious about.

I liked the story though and it was an interesting look at the other side of this conflict.

Year of the JungleYear of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I’m not sure what to do about this book. I’m not sure who to give it to. But it was an interesting peek into Collins’ childhood. I really liked the art style too. It would be a good conversation starter for kids who are becoming aware of the news going on around them.

…but I’m still not sure who I would actually give this book to…

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