Friday, August 28, 2015

Back to Blogging — Things I've Read

A follow-up to my last post where I talked about what I had been watching, here are the comics and books, I've read in the past few months.

Comics
  1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I caved. I finally read Saga, and I now see why everybody only has the best things to say about it. The plot is a star-crossed lovers space opera, but while it does contain elements that I've seen before, it combines them in a way that's still unique and interesting. Fiona Staples' art makes every page simply incredible (even when the contents are graphic or super far out there), and I can't wait to see what she and Brian K. Vaughan have in store for the story.
  2. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The Wicked + The Divine is a series that I love, but I feel like I'm constantly five steps behind. When I think I've caught up, it always ends up throwing me for a loop. I'm interested in the ways it continues to delve into fan culture and reactions to celebrity and fame, and I love how it combines deities from a wide range of mythologies.
  3. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. One of the things that really interested me as an English major was different narration styles, and what really stood out to be through this graphic novel was the oral history feel of it. It wasn't so much an "encyclopedia" as we know it, in neat columns and arranged alphabetically, but a passing on of an oral tradition, the tradition of storytelling that composes a living encyclopedia of a culture. Overall, it was a great read!
  4.  Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Oh, man, who doesn't love Noelle Stevenson? I love her writing for Lumberjanes and I've been following her artwork on Tumblr for awhile, so I definitely had to pick up Nimona. I loved everything about it. It gave me feels. That's it. That's all I have to say. Go read it.
  5. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley. I started Seconds as soon as I put down Nimona, and I really enjoyed it as well. The plot and crux of the story were extremely relatable, including the twists and turns along the way. Bryan Lee O'Malley's art style is extremely adorable
Books
  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Ready Player One is one of those super hyped books I heard about on BookTube but just finally got around to reading. Overall, I am happy I read the book, if only to see what all the hype was about. One of the strong points that many people praise is Cline's references to 80s nerd culture, but, even as a lover of some of the things mentioned, some parts of the narrative seemed way too "I'm going to name drop all these references just so you know how much of a nerd I actually am." There were also so many parts that seemed way too contrived and deus ex machina-y for my liking. Wade's growth as a character was extremely limited, and so much of his victory seemed like it was handed to him.
  2. Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour. I absolutely adored Everything Leads to You. So much of YA LGBTQ books I've read center around a character coming out, and, while those stories are definitely helpful and important, it's nice to see a story where a the sexuality of a LGBTQ character isn't questioned but is taken as an absolute fact. Furthermore, I love how it's a story of friendship and of solving a mystery, at its heart. It makes the romance plotline feel more realistic and natural, love blossoming among day-to-day life, not some all-consuming magical insta-love that sometimes seems to take over the plot of most contemporary YA books.
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I had really high hopes for this book because I am an absolute sucker for anything Beauty and the Beast related. For me, the pacing in this was a bit slow and weird. There was a lot of exposition that seemed really forced, and Freya really got to me at times. This was a really slow read for me, even when the action was picking up with the plot. I'll probably read the next book in the series, since the setup of the exposition seems interesting, but I'm not sure I'll be running to get it as soon as it comes out.
  4. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. I'm a big fan of Jenny Han's contemporary books, but this one feel a little short for me. I enjoyed most of the book, but my final disappointment mainly stemmed from the fact that I thought Lara Jean should have chosen the other guy.
  5. The Jewel by Amy Ewing. When I heard that The Jewel was a YA version of The Handmaid's Tale, I was super intrigued. While it doesn't exactly live up to The Handmaid's Tale, it was still a pretty decent story, and I liked the fantasy elements that were introduced. However, the book seemed like it ended right just as the action was starting to pick up, which was really disappointing. I'll continue to read the series because I'm interested, but it was a bit frustrating to be dropped out of the story when things were really beginning to happen.
  6. The Martian by Andy Weir. So here's the thing: I love science fiction, but I rarely ever read it. I don't know why, it's just not something I really grab for even though I want to read more. Anyway, I loved The Martian. How surprising. Mark's narration was amazing, and I really enjoyed the glimpses into NASA and JPL. I'm looking forward to the movie now — I absolutely love space movies!
These weren't all the books I've read in the last few months, but they're the ones that stood out to me the most. I'm particularly fond of the short review format, so I think I'm going to continue short monthly wrap-ups, probably starting next month, but from now on, I'm hoping to update this blog at least once a week!

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