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.

View all my reviews

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book thoughts: The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

Usually I wait until the end of the next month to post the books I have read but this book…this book needs it’s own entry.

I had already had it on hold because BEATLES and then it won the Eisner Award for best non-fiction graphic novel. And let me tell you, it DESERVED IT.

First of all, the story. I’m a HUGE Beatles fan, I know who Brian Epstein was. But this story, which was both well researched but then also elaborated on in ways that the author admits are fiction since he has no way of knowing what the exact conversations were like between Brian and other people. This isn’t The Beatles story, this is Brian’s story, with the Beatles as a backdrop. It’s the story of a young man, trying to find his place in the world. But it’s not just as simple as being successful. Brian Epstein was gay and in the 1960s, being gay in the UK was ILLEGAL. So here is a man who is in charge of the band that becomes the symbol of “All You Need is Love” and he feels like he can never be loved. It’s heartbreaking.

And then the artwork. Oh my god, it is just beautiful. There is nothing more to say, it is just so gorgeous, so well laid out. The colors are perfect. The imagery…

This book has so much to offer. Even if your knowledge of the Beatles is just a few songs, the basic history, this book is worth looking at to see the social and cultural issues that are the same and that have changed (or have they?). It’s a look into that world, a peek behind the curtain of the man behind Beatlemania. Of the naive and innocent man who tried so hard to dive into a business he knew nothing about, and how it pulled him under.

Go get this book now. You can read it in an afternoon. But it will stay with you long after.

book thoughts: October

I read a lot of books this month though most of them were graphic novels so this list will look more impressive than usual. My “librarian shame” is that I am a very slow, distracted reader and I tend to only read during my lunch break or right before bed…if I go to bed at a decent hour which depends on how much time I’ve spent goofing off online or watching TV.

Anyway, here is a rundown of the books I managed to get through this month:

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book (Origami Yoda #4)The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this book was a big improvement over Darth Paper Strikes Back and slightly better than The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee. You can tell that Angleberger lives in the MD/DC/VA area because the students of McQuarrie Middle are being “punished” for the low score on the previous year’s standardized tests.

I like this book a lot more because it got the entire student body involved and there was just as much story and plot as there was silly Star Wars references. It does end on a cliffhanger, so be warned! I am very curious to see how Angleberger wraps up this story, since the tests that the students are rebelling against are nationally mandated now. Can he write a conclusion that is satisfying to readers?

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: CartoonsYou’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons by Tom Gauld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hilarious collection of one page comics with lots of literary and geeky humor.

Adventure Time Vol. 1Adventure Time Vol. 1 by Ryan North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These comics are hilarious. I do recommend watching the TV series first, at least a few episodes, so you know what the characters sound like. The dialogue is written just like they talk and if you know how they sound, it makes it that much more enjoyable. Also, make sure you don’t miss the little author notes at the bottom of each page, many of which had me laughing out loud. I also read Volume 2 which was good (though not quite as good as Volume 1)

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner PartyNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party by Nathan Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love non-fiction graphic novels. LOVE THEM. They are the gateway books into finding out about all kinds of random history. Nathan Hale’s series is fantastic since it is written for middle school age readers, the age when most kids start the “history is boring” mantra. Get these books into their hands (especially if they are boys) and you will see students who learn to love history.

Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper (Amulet, #1)Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the first few pages of intense action, what feels like the opening scenes to a movie, Amulet pulls you in. Being that this is the first book in the series, the majority of the pages are setting up the rest of the series, but what a set up it was.

This series is perfect for those older elementary/middle school readers who are fans of adventure movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars – where the plot-driven story moves fast and furiously in all directions. I’m on the fourth book now and the action has not stopped, and now you can include elements of Lord of the Rings and survival stories like Hunger Games in the mix.

Forgive Me, Leonard PeacockForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Tried too hard to be cool and funny, lost me about halfway through, by the end I was disappointed, even more so when the final page was not a list of ways for readers to seek help if they were faced with similar feelings or problems.

How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette GuideHow Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide by Meghan Doherty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. Not at all what I expected. What looks like it’s going to be a totally ridiculous book on the cover, inside is just a simple guide to etiquette, albeit with more mentions of “dick” and “dickishness” than most Emily Post titles. The advice is great and if someone did bother to read it, they would learn some very good behaviors.