books read in February…

 

 

  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. I enjoyed this book, as I enjoyed Red Dragon when I read it last year. The stories are well told and compelling and suspenseful. At times I found myself caught off guard by a the beautiful way Harris would write something. Surprised because I don’t really expect beautiful writing in a suspense/thriller/serial killer type of book. All that said, I have a big problem with these stories–between the two books, there have been three different serial killers. And two of them had some sort of deformity. This is just NOT okay. This linking of “bad/evil/etc.” with deformity or disfigurement or disability needs to effing stop. So yeah, I enjoyed these books, but they are also extremely problematic. (I used this for the serial killers category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Volume 1: BFF, Volume 2: Cosmic Cooties, and Volume 3: The Smartest There Is by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos. Oh my gosh–I can’t believe I haven’t heard more about this comic. I found it positively delightful! Lunella Lafayette is a brilliant nine-year-old girl with spunk and determination…and a major worry. She knows she carries the Inhuman gene and wants nothing more than to find a way to avoid being turned into Inhuman. She finds a device that she thinks could possibly stop it, but when it is accidentally activated I time portal is opened and her new best friend arrives. Though it is not clear at all to Lunella (tauntingly called Moon Girl by her classmates) at first that Devil Dinosaur is anything but a terrifying trouble-maker. This comic has pretty much completely charmed me, and I cannot wait to see what adventures these new best friends will encounter.
  • Saga Volume Eight by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Not sure what else to say about this series, other than I think it just gets better and better. My only complaint is that I have to wait for the next volume…
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. This book floored me. The breadth of my ignorance about how completely fucked up our criminal justice system and the War on Drugs is astounded me. Of all those books we tend to label “should be required reading,” this book should be at the top of that list. I honestly believe every person in the United States, if they care even one iota about justice, should make this book a priority. (Yay–first book knocked off my Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge list. Also used this as my book for #14–a book of social science–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and for the prison category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This book was the perfect companion to The New Jim Crow. In a personal letter written to his son, we get a glimpse of what it is like to be a black man in a country that refuses to see black men as human. I know that I cannot truly know what it is like to live in skin that isn’t “white,” and that makes it all the more important for me to listen to as many black and brown voices that I can. (Used this for the racism category of my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Tender Points by Amy Berkowitz. This is a painful book. And a book about pain. Chronic physical pain. And emotional traumatic pain. Fibromyalgia, rape, patriarchy. Prose poetry. Small vignettes. Her story is my story, but her story is very different from my story. A reminder of the importance of many stories. (Using this for the indigo spine in my reading the rainbow challenge, for the chronic/invisible illness sufferer category in my identities reading challenge, and for the invisible illnesses category in my dig deeper reading challenge.)
  • Blackout by Mira Grant. The final in the Newsflesh trilogy. While I am glad to have finished the series, I can’t claim to have loved this volume as much as the first. Though I did enjoy it more than the second. The excessive repetition that got to me in the second book continued to annoy me in Blackout, but I found myself more drawn into the story again. Grant definitely writes a unique, compelling story, but as with the Parasitology trilogy, I think she drags them out too much. But that is very likely just me–while there are definitely series I adore (hello, Chaos Walking trilogy), I generally tend to prefer stand-alone books…and my feelings about both these trilogies may well be a consequence of that preference.
  • Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart. Okay, so if I’m not a fan of series, why the hell did I go and start another one? lol. But this is not the trilogy sort of series that tells one bigger story, but is more of an episodic mystery type series. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more. I love Jane Lawless, our amateur lesbian sleuth. And her best friend Cordelia is the sort of person who would completely intimidate me in real life, but I found her sort of fun despite her grouchiness. Not without its problematic moments, however: selling humps to be worn at a Richard III party and some fat stereotyping. Also, Trigger Warning for rape. I *truly* wish someone would have spoken up a bit more vehemently when it came to the aftermath of this rape (don’t want to say more for fear of spoilers). So yeah, it definitely wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed it and am hopeful that some of these types of problems will disappear in later books. *fingers crossed* (Used this for #21–a mystery by a person of color or an lgbtq+ author–of Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge.)
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Oh my god–I loved this book! I don’t tend to read a lot of general/realistic/literary fiction, but this book might just change that. I certainly want to pick up every book Jones has written! It’s a story of injustice and a story of love and a story of heartache and a story of family and a story of people trying so hard not to hurt people they love but finding no way around it and a story of trying to hold onto the past and a story of looking ahead to the future and a story of maybe just maybe learning to live in the present. (Used for the “nationality” category in the What’s in a Name? challenge, for #13–an Oprah Book Club selection–of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, and for the prison category of my dig deeper challenge.)
  • Orange: The Complete Collection, Volumes 1 and 2 by Ichigo Takano. This was such a sweet, sweet manga. I seriously just wanted to hug these books. The group of six friends in this story were just so easy to love, so kind and caring of one another. It was not a story without sadness, however. Trigger warning for suicide. (Used for the “fruit or vegetable” category of the What’s in a Name? challenge and the “orange” title in my reading the rainbow challenge.)
  • Vital Lies by Ellen Hart. The second in the Jane Lawless series. Again, I very much enjoyed. In this episode, Jane and Cordelia are spending the week of the winter solstice and Christmas at an old restored Victorian style inn owned by an old friend of Jane’s. Odd, frightening events have been occurring at the inn for the last two months, and her friend Leigh is hoping that Jane can help her get to the bottom of things.
  • Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. I can’t be the only person silly enough to hoard away books they’re sure they will love until that “perfect moment.” Or maybe I am. Who knows. Anyway, the reasonable portion of my brain tries to tell me that this is downright ridiculous, that I should read those books that I’m sure I’ll love now instead of saving them for some mythical perfect time. This book gave that reasonable brain portion more ammunition…but in a totally unexpected way. Turns out that I haven’t been denying myself the pleasure of this book for all those years it sat on my shelves–instead I found that I’ve been letting it take up valuable real estate for no good reason. It may be that I just had this book so built up in my mind, but damn, talk about disappointed! I was completely underwhelmed. Oh well, you win some-you love lose some, right?

Fifteen books. That’s a pretty high number for me. Granted almost half were comics as it was #comicsfebruary. Two months in a row with much higher than usual number of books read. And again, the thing that really matters–quality–was definitely not lacking. The New Jim Crow is possibly the most important book I’ve ever read; it’s definitely in the very top few. I discovered Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, a comic series that totally makes my heart happy. And also discovered, thanks to Memory, a fun new mystery series featuring lesbian sleuth Jane Lawless. I became an instant fan of Tayari Jones with An American Marriage. So yeah, I’m feeling good about February’s reading.

Sort of random notes:

  • Marginalized voices made up far more than half of my reading, so hooray for that! (8 books by authors or artists of color, 3 by lqbtq+ authors, 1 disabled+ author)
  • Three of the books I read were nonfiction. I’m a terribly slow reader, and tend to read nonfiction even slower, so I’m okay with this ratio. Honestly I guess I don’t care how much nonfiction I read, as long as I’m reading some.
  • I listened to one audiobook and read four ebooks (which includes the three Dino Girl comic collections)–I will probably always lean more towards the physical book.
  • Only six of the books I read were from my own shelves–I would really like that percentage to be higher. I did at least give away two of the books from my shelves after reading them so that’s something.
  • Seven comics, one book of prose-poetry, one book a letter from a father to his son.
  • I sort of suck at assigning genre, but of the fiction–mystery, sci-fi, dystopia, and general fiction were all represented. Nonfiction was largely social justice.
  • Seven new-to-me authors.

 

4 thoughts on “books read in February…

  1. This looks like an awesome reading month! I really want to read THE NEW JIM CROW, soon. Have you read Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY? I also liked BETWEEN THE WORLD & ME. (And I loooove the SAGA series)

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    1. I haven’t read Just Mercy, but I really must! I can’t imagine that you won’t be happy to have read The New Jim Crow. Well, happy isn’t the right word–you will not be made happy by this book. But I think we all deserve to know about the way our criminal justice system really works. And thank you for hosting your TBR pile challenge again–I credit you enormously for my finally having gotten that book read!

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  2. Wow! You put me to shame this month. I am definitely adding The New Jim Crow now to my wish list. I am finding books like Tayari Jones’ novel so eye opening and upsetting which means I need to read more of them and find ways to get my family members to read them as well.

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    1. I missed your review of An American Marriage, so I just went and read it–it was fabulous, as all your reviews are! You won’t be sorry if you read The New Jim Crow, but you will be flabbergasted and infuriated and very, very sad. I learned so much.

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