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

Advertisements

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!

View all my reviews

Neverending Story memories

If you were on the Internet today, you probably saw the the Google Doodle was a celebration of the anniversary of the publication of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.

For many children of the 80s, this book and the movie adaptation conjure up fond memories. I am no different.

I remember my Mom reading this book aloud to me as a bedtime story. The thing that fascinated me the most was that the hardcover edition she had checked out from the library had text in two different colors – one for our world, and one for Fantasia. It was the first “adult” book I had seen with any kind of color inside beyond black and white. It just felt magical seeing the words in green and red. I remember a certain excitement once I was old enough to read it, to be able to read those colorful words on my own and enter Fantasia, but at the same time it was kind of sad because I really liked going there with my Mom.

If you’ve never read the book, I suggest finding a hardcover copy so you can experience the magic too. The movie is only half the story.

WWW Wednesdays – August 3 2016

WWW Wednesdays – August 3 2016

A weekly meme revived by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I’m about halfway through two non-fiction books right now – Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano a.k.a. Maria from Sesame Street. It is her autobiography and I am listening to it on my drive to work, which means it is lasting a long time since my commute is all of 15 minutes. She reads the book and I think that adds a lot more since she is telling the story. It is not quite what I expected, a very different kind of autobiography, she is telling it from her point of view as a child/teen so you don’t get any nostalgia or side notes about how life in the 1960s New York City compares to life today. It is all very matter of fact, the way a kid would tell their story.

The other is the latest by Mary Roach – Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. She tries to keep it as light as she can, but when it comes down to it, even though she is avoiding talking about weapons and the actual act of fighting, so much of the science around war is about survival and even discussions about sweating eventually lead to a conversation about horrible ways to die while in the line of duty. It is still fascinating, and I think she tries her best to inject some humor where she can, but it is hard to separate the reality of what happens to these soldiers after she talk with them about diarrhea while on a sniper mission.

Recently Finished:

Filmish: a graphic journey through film by Edward Ross was a fantastic primer on film and film history and film studies. When I first picked up this book, I wondered why Ross didn’t just make a documentary, but then as I read through, I realized it would have been impossible for him to get the rights to all the films he cites in the book. If you love movies, if you love that art of movies and love to sit and think about a film long after the screen has gone dark, this quick read is one you won’t want to miss.

Up Next:

I have SO MANY BOOKS on my desk at work and my temptation is to always reach for the graphic novels first because they take less time to read. I never factor into this equation that I have EVEN MORE graphics on request so by the time I finish these, a new one will be on my desk, pushing the prose novels down the line yet again.
Last month I read Relish by Lucy Knisley and I really enjoyed it so I requested French Milk, one of her earlier publications. It appearedon my desk today, on special loan from another library system so it gets bumped to the top of the pile.

I have been a big BKV fan since I read Y: The Last Man so many years ago and I was so thrilled to see We Stand On Guard on the new book cart at the library, so I immediately snatched it up.

So what are you reading?

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. ❤

View all my reviews
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.

View all my reviews
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.

View all my reviews
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!

View all my reviews
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.

View all my reviews

What did you read this month?

What I Read in April

What I Read in April

Not too shabby this month, all things considered (especially since the first week of the month I was out of town and not as much reading happened as I had hoped)

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book though I think having just seen the movie made it a bit easier to digest the “science speak” that happens a lot. Andy Weir’s writing reminded me of Michael Crichton, blending science fact with a little bit of science fiction. I feel like I learned a bit about surviving in a desolate Martian wasteland and had fun too!

View all my reviews
Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall!Rocket and Groot: Stranded on Planet Strip Mall! by Tom Angleberger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great book to suggest to fans of ‘Captain Underpants’. I mean, there are killer toilets so half of the book are the evil robots trying to convince Rocket to use the bathroom.

So, yeah, if that is your thing. Or your kid’s thing, there ya go.

Not Angleberger’s greatest, but perfect for the target audience.

View all my reviews

PaxPax by Sara Pennypacker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was beautiful and I’m not even referring to Jon Klassen’s illustrations (which were nice touches, scattered through-out). It was the language of this story, it flowed in such a way that it felt like an old story even though it was brand new. It is a story you will want to read twice, once for the surface tale of Peter and Pax looking for each other and then again for the story within the story, about growing up, moving on, and that we are all looking for something.

The ending is bittersweet but not as sad as it could have been (I know about halfway through I was getting concerned).

This book is for elementary and middle school readers who want a story with emotional depth.

Is it just me or are we entering the age of the great Middle Grade novel?

View all my reviews
To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path AdventureTo Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is ridiculous and I love it!

Whether you know everything there is to know about Hamlet or you maybe read it once when you were in high school, there is plenty to love about this silly retelling.

North does give you little *clues* as to which choices match the original story, though that doesn’t necessarily guarantee this book will take the same paths.

I was laughing out loud as I read this during my lunch break (note: this is a hard book to read during lunch break because you’re flipping back and forth between all of the 700+ pages) and even though I am marking it as “done” I have barely scratched the surface of the endings and paths that I can take. But I think i will return this copy to the library and purchase it for myself later on down the road because this is a keeper!

Can’t wait for the next book, Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

View all my reviews
Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-StarsNathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Alamo All-Stars by Nathan Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: Nathan Hale books are DEAR to me, as in I Drop Everything And Read them as soon as they land on my desk. They satisfy the history nerd in me in a way that no other series has. I am in my mid 30s and I have learned more history than I have ever forgotten reading these books.

I grew up on the east coast of the US so my knowledge of Texas history is that Texas exists. The end. I’m sure someone who grew up in Texas might have a different view of this book, but for me it was all knew and fascinating, if a bit insane.

Get this into the hands of any kid who wants to learn about history. Sneak it into the hands of those kids that say they want a war book or a book with fighting (there’s plenty of it but it’s history so it’s good for them). Slip it into the pile of graphic novels that your comic book readers ask for.

View all my reviews
Amulet: Firelight (Amulet, #7)Amulet: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OH MY GOSH THE FEELS!
(completely different feels than Pax, but still, FEELS)
I read this book in a single sitting and now I have to endure the long wait for volume 8…UGH! NO!

Part of me wants the series to end so I can know what is happening. But another part is enjoying the adventure so much, I want it to go forever.

I need to start from the beginning though, it has been so long since I read the first few books.

View all my reviews

I also read Lafcadio Hearn’s “The Faceless Ghost” and Other Macabre Tales from Japan: A Graphic Novel but the GoodReads review wasn’t pasting right.

WWW Wednesday, April 27 2016

WWW Wednesday, April 27 2016

HEY! Bet you’d thought I had forgotten about this poor blog? I haven’t posted in awhile, even though I have still been reading, watching, and blogging in my spare time.

And there’s nothing like a weekly meme to encourage you to update, yeah? Just stumbled upon this one while browsing my GoodReads. I’ve seen other weekly reading memes, but they seemed to be for people who read must faster than I do and who think about what they will read next in a much more organized fashion. As a librarian, I tend to have a giant stack of books next to me at all times, ranging from children’s literature to teen comic books to adult non-fiction. And just when I think I know what I’m going to read next, that other book I have been waiting for shows up on my desk and I have to drop everything because I must read it right now.

This meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words if you wish to join in the fun!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading: I have a bookmark about halfway through The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller which, while technically a children’s non-fiction book, I am really enjoying and is just as long as any of the adult books about the Bordens. I really like how Miller is presenting the case, I don’t know which side she is on but I don’t feel like she is 100% convinced that Lizzie is behind it.

I also just started To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee because I somehow never read it in high school and I feel like I should. I’m only one chapter in though.

What did you recently finish reading?: Firelight (Amulet #7) by Kazu Kibuishi and oh my gosh, this series just keeps getting better! I did not see that twist coming. This is one of the best fantasy/sci-fi graphic series out there for kids, I’m always recommending it. I just wish it didn’t take so long for the books to come out! UGH!

What do you think you’ll read next?:
Just had a copy of To Be or Not To Be: A chooseable path adventures by Ryan North, William Shakespeare and YOU! and started flipping through it and I am laughing out loud so this might end up jumping to the top of my To-Be-Read pile.

So, what are you reading?