Jan. 2nd, 2016

maribou: (book)
God's War, by Kameron Hurley
This sf-fantasy is extremely intense. SO intense. (War stuff, torture stuff, boxing stuff, other stuff.) Lots of great world-building, excellent plot, interesting characters, all so much so that I read it despite not really clicking with the narrative voice (and narrative voice is normally my primary criterion) - definitely curious to keep reading her, will resist later books till I have read the earlier ones in the hopes that she keeps being progressively more my cup of tea. (I love it when that happens.)

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
A heartbreaking and funny graphic memoir of her parents' getting older and needing more help. Really well-done. Grief, loss, but restorative rather than emptying.

Interstellar Cinderella, by Deborah Underwood
Kid's picture book that was charming but fluffy. Wanted more from it than I got.

The Green Musician, by Mahvash Shahegh, illustrated by Claire Ewart
Really cool to read a story from the Shahnameh presented in typical picture book fashion. Also the illustrations were lovely. Made an excellent present for my Farsi uncle (to read to his grand-nieces).
(235, O47)

Listful Thinking, by Paula Rizzo
Meh. I really thought this might turn out to be useful for someone who already makes tons of lists, to be more effective with them, but instead it was more trying to TURN you into someone who makes tons of lists. Which I really don't need. Plus there was magical thinking a la The Secret, which is my least favorite kind of magical thinking.

In and How to Be a Cat, by Nikki McClure
Both of these were perfectly perfectly illustrated; How to Be a Cat was prettier but more straightforward; In was slightly less lovely but much more playful. I'd read more of her books, but have not swamped myself with her backlist (in case it turns out to be less wonderful).
(237, 249)
maribou: (book)
Wild Boars Cook, by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Still fun, and chaotic, but not as sly and rumptious as the original book. The authors make a good team, I'll probably pick up anything else they make.

Prudence, by Gail Carriger
The thing about Gail Carriger books is that I immerse myself in them SO wholly that I end up not remembering them very well. I know that sounds contradictory, but it stems from running out of books a lot when I was a little kid - I learned to let go of the story the minute it was over, so I could better enjoy rereading it. Even now, certain books trigger that old habit, and then all I can remember of them is that I really enjoyed them, but not what they were about. This is one of those. I feel confident recommending it, given the circumstances, but obviously as the author's umpteenth book, possibly not where you want to start. I do have a ghost of a memory of saying "YES MORE LORD AKELDAMA ALL THE LORD AKELDAMA PLEASE" with enthusiasm to my office mate - so if you don't like him maybe this isn't the book for you;).

The Death of Archie by Paul Kupperberg et al and Afterlife with Archie, Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa et al
I'm rather delighted by how these modern Archie comics manage to sate my deep-rooted desire for more Archie comics but ALSO be different and weird enough that I don't get irritated with my inner 9-year-old for demanding them in the first place. Good job, modern Archie workers.
(240, 241)

Prairie Fire, by E. K. Johnston
Well, the plot of this book almost had to disappoint me due to the constraints placed on it by its chosen context. And it did. But I really don't see any other way things could have worked out; I was just mindlessly hoping the author was cleverer and more insightful than I am, and would thus pull a miracle out of a hat while still making it believable, which is a lot to ask really. Probably it was better for her to be true to what had to happen. And it's just as well-written, and has just as compelling an authorial voice, and as many clever touches as the first book, and I'm glad I read it, and when I reread the first book I will probably reread this one too... but it just didn't ... I wasn't IN LOVE like I was last time. Or maybe I was, but this time had to go and inevitably break my heart where the last time didn't, and that has to sting a bit. These things happen. Me, not her. Etc. She's still on my must read always list.

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
This was really hard to read because of how much like my dad Steve Jobs was. Very well constructed, lots of interesting info about Apple. Glad I bailed on it a couple years ago when I was going to do a school project, and did Emerson instead, because that would've been disastrous. This time around it was worth reading, even if I had to take some breaks.
(243, O48)

Seconds, by Bryan Lee O'Malley
On the one hand I really loved this story - great illustrations, compelling main character, fun plot, etc etc. On the other hand there is just ... something... about how O'Malley writes women that keeps him from being in my top tier of writers. It's not horrid - he's comfortably in the 2nd tier - but ... just ... some unreality or the other that creeps in. Maybe after I read all the Scott Pilgrims I'll figure it out.

Royal Wedding and Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess, by Meg Cabot
I have such a soft spot for Cabot's Princess books. I cannot even tell you if they are good or not because I am too busy having a soft spot for them. If you have a soft spot for this sort of book (or for this series), they will no doubt do very nicely for you too.
(245, 246)
maribou: (book)
Dragon's Breath: and Other True Stories, by MariNaomi
I grabbed this at random from the new books shelf at the library and I'm so glad I did. Even though it was a collection of graphic stories, it all cohered marvelously. Funny and raw and delicate and goofy.

Benny and Penny in Just Pretend, by Geoffrey Hayes
This was adorable, and totally relatable for anyone who has had a loved-but-irritating younger sibling, no matter how old they are now. (Also, TOON books? the whole line of comics for kids, leveled a-la-easy-readers? SUCH a good idea. I just have to point that out every so often. Because it keeps being brilliant.)

The Grenadillo Box, by Janet Gleeson
Ennnnnh. I did like this historical mystery with lots of glorious detail about 18th century England, quite a bit, but not nearly as much as I would've expected given that plausible fiction about 18th century England is almost a surefire home run as far as I'm concerned.. The voice just wasn't a good match for me. It was a well-constructed voice, but not one I cottoned to. I'm so fussy about feeling an emotional pull to my narrators. (yes, even the almost-not-there ones. yes, ESPECIALLY the first-person or close-third ones. yes, even when it creeps me out to feel the emotional pull, because it's not like said narrator is AT ALL a likable person. yes, even when the character themself is almost emotionless. there's just gotta be chemistry, man.)
(249B - whoops :D)

Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (ARC)
I loved this book so much and it made me think so much. And feel so much for that matter. We ended up buying THREE copies of it at my tiny academic library where we almost never buy 3 copies of anything, just to keep up with the demand. (Seriously, I could count the number of things we have more than 2 copies of without running out of fingers and toes!) It has flaws, but the flaws feel like an inextricable part of the whole package. Love. Love love love.
(251, O49, A5)

A Siege of Bitterns, by Steve Burrows
This was a very neat mystery with tons of birding stuff. I am not a birder but I like a lot of the same things birders do (eg counting obsessively, categorizing, wetlands, fresh air) so that part was fun. And all the other parts were handled with satisfying competence. Will keep track of this author.

Wishful Thinking, by Frederick Buechner
Very short essays about different theological things. I'm pretty sure this at least partially inspired Kathleen Norris' similar book, which I love, but unfortunately it suffered by comparison. I suspect partly just because it's much older (early 70s). I still love Buechner's voice and will read more books by him.

Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 1: 1970s-1981, by Ed Piskor
This was cool. I was expecting more of a through-narrative? Instead it was more a bunch of disconnected but quasi-related parts. Strips, not GN. I would've preferred GN. I dug it, though.


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