wishfulclicking: books flying with pale blue background (books: flying)
[personal profile] wishfulclicking
Another year, another failure to fill my desired challenge, but there’s always this year (she said, as she looks at the list of the past 3 years she also fell short)

My top rated books this year: (all the fives on my goodreads account, which you should totally follow so we could be friends on the site)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic - this book, and the author, were widely recced on lists as things that ‘everyone’ had read, a kind of assumed experience in a lot of corners from where I got book recs. So, going in reading it, I was hesitant that I wouldn’t like it as much. No worries though, it is a really good piece of art. Bechdel shows so many shades of her family--the mirroring but not quite--of her and her father; the way the event is presented first, then approached and peeled at different angles. A true partnership of story and medium. Where every part of Fun Home came together, the followup, which I had to try out, did not flow as well for me, but was still a pleasure and an important counterpart to read.

Yes, Fun Home was rated higher, but I do want to speak on Are You My Mother? for a moment. While not as cohesive, I did appreciate it for its focus on the mother and her relationship with her daughter. Centering that relationship makes the death of the father in Fun Home still seismic but also not the main event. AYMM presents another angle on Bechdel’s life.

The Bees by Laline Paul.

Apocalyptic dystopia set in violent matriarchal, heavily stratified, society. A lone worker rising above her intended status as a sect does everything in its power to suppress her and anyone else in its way. Heavily violent matings where there is no man left standing. Oh, and they are bees.

I don’t have a lot to say about this besides ‘READ IT’, but it was so fun to read, and surprising. The description of honey alone was almost worth it.

Prelude to a Bruise by Saeed Jones

I failed in my desire to read more poetry but that which I did read was powerful. Prelude to a Bruise has some great poems in it. I hate to use the word searing, but there it is, reading some of the poems that thread themselves with the intersection of masculinity, racism in America, homosexuality and gender expression, was an experience. Sometimes I see a list of topics and it can seem like a work is destined to be heavy, but this collection of poetry is not something that ought to be read because of important topics, it should be read because the words sing, and create such vivid moments.

If I started with the words He made me— not like He created me, not like
With my clothes off, you can still see his thumbprints in the clay that became my skin.

--from ‘Apologia’


That’s just one of my favorite lines from this short collection of poems.

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why takes all the good things in Vol. 1 running and sticks the landing in what has come to be the best volume of the series so far. Kamala, still growing with her new abilities, is awesome working with Wolverine (they bounce off each other so well that I’d love to see this kind of dynamic in the films if those films had room for such but that’s another post). The Inventor is just the right tone of villain--menacing, yet comedic, not galaxy threatening but still a threat--for this comic.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach is an enlightening, fun read on what could be a gross out subject. Roach has a talent for distributing information that is easy to read while not making it so light that it’s useless. She seems like she’s approachable.

Now for WOMP * WOMP Negativity

I actually don’t have a lot of low rated books, because if I don’t like it enough I have gotten to the point where I will stop. But some books did manage to get through and still leave me questioning ‘WHY? HOW?’ but mostly ‘SUCH FLIMSY CREATIONS’

Are We There Yet? by David Levithan. First, I have to say that I have read and enjoyed Levithan’s later works; second, I will also say that I honestly believe some of his better stuff is written paired with another author. This being one of his earlier works shows some of the faults that have been sanded down in his later material. Neither of the brothers felt especially real, the older brother even less so, the girl felt not so much of a girl but a device, someone the brothers would react against; and while that is always annoying, hardly anyone in this felt like a fully fleshed out person, so they all floated on colliding, while uttering nonsensical things at each other.

Sleeping Giants is especially frustrating because it has such an interesting, if not unique premise--mysterious structures not of this world being unearthed by a secret organization--that actually starts off kind of strong only to fall down towards the end. I don’t like to suggest too much of an author, so my complaint will stay with the book and how the characters, the linguist and the shady government dude, overtook the story and flattened it out. The added on love story did not make things better, and the twist ending only left me shaking my head. I am not looking forward to the rest of the series.

Not highest rated but wanted to talk about:

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - Harry potter fanfic homage that can stand on its own as well. Really fun to read. Also, when it actually brought two characters together that I didn’t expect even with all the signs pointing towards it being a possibility (yes, YA is definitely better when it comes to certain representation than other book genres; but a trend is a trend for a reason); but not only that, the side characters were allowed to exist and came across as rounded characters in their own story.

Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee - long, maybe could have been shorter but full of high drama, somehow manages to convey the thrill of the opera in the text. The lead here is so vivid; and I desperately wanted this to be translated into visual form, not because it doesn’t stand on its own, but imagining the costumes and certain scenes is wonderful.

For 2017 I want to read more nonfiction, international authors not from Britain, poetry, plays.

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wishfulclicking: man in black and white pulling back a curtain to show moving sky (Default)
needs to up my sock game

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