I’m back for my first post of 2019, and… It’s books. Of course!
Hello and welcome to my December wrap up! This month, I read a total of 20 books, bringing the grand total of books I read in 2018 to 130. Starting off this month was the Queer Lit Readathon, and I read eight books for that. I’ll link the wrap up for that here, and skip ahead. Since we have a lot of books to get through today, let’s get started!
After the readathon finished, the first book I read was Saga Vol. 1 which is a graphic novel. Two soldiers from opposite sides of warring factions fall in love, and they risk everything to have a child. Fantasy and sci-fi are mixed in this galactic story, there’s a lot of futuristic tech, magic, and supernatural happenings. I loved this, and will continue this series!
The next book I read this month was Lumberjanes Vol. 1, I also read Vol. 2 later on, so I’ll talk about them together. A group of five best pals are at a camp for hard-core lady-types, and things are not what they seem. Three-eyed wolves, magic, secret caves, gods, and a lot of weird happenings. This is a cute story of friendship, teamwork, and just general chaos. I definitely plan to continue reading this series.
This one is going to be long. After reading Vol. 1, I finished Disoriential which was one of the books I was reading for the Queer Lit Readathon, but didn’t finish. In my wrap up for that readathon, I said that I might not consider it a queer book. Well, now I tentatively say yes, it is one. First, let me tell you what the story is about. Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran with her family when she was ten, and ended up in France. Now 25, while waiting in a fertility clinic with the possibility of a child, she’s recalling her memories and stories of her ancestors. It’s a fascinating story that covers a lot of Iranian history along with the stories of Kimiâ’s family, which often intersects with major political events. Her father was a vocal dissenter of a regime, and was in danger because of it. Now for the queer aspect. Kimiâ narrates the story and is a lesbian, but she doesn’t mention this at all until page 206. It says right from the beginning that she’s in a fertility clinic, but she’s very vague about the reason why she’s there until much later. At first, it seems like she wants a child and to be a single mother, but then we learn this isn’t the case near the end of the story. There’s also some gender confusion and questioning throughout the story, but the part that stood out the most was on page 204. There’s a hint that one of Kimiâ’s uncles might be gay on page 151, then confirms it on page 212-213. This is a bit frustrating to me, because when I was looking up translated queer lit, this one came up often. But the queerness is barely there until around page 200, and this book is 320 pages. So can it really be considered queer lit if it isn’t confirmed until nearly two-thirds through the story?
After that fascinating but frustrating read, I read El Deafo, which is a children’s graphic novel and a semi-autobiography. It’s based on Cece Bell’s experience of losing her hearing when she was a child, and how that affected her life with her family, friends, school. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the messages in this story, like showing sign language as something to be avoided, and relying on only hearing aids to get by. BUT this is the experience of the author, and of many other deaf and hard of hearing people. I think this can benefit some children to see that being deaf is alright, and if you prefer to speak and not use sign language, that’s okay too.
Immediately after El Deafo, I jumped into Miles Morales. For some reason, I thought this was a graphic novel, but it is not. It’s a novel, and I really enjoyed this. It’s a middle grade/YA story that follows Miles as he deals with being Spiderman at the same time as being one of the few black and Puerto Rican kids at a prestigious private school, keeping good grades so he doesn’t lose his scholarship, dealing with racism, resisting the pull of the streets when finances are tough, seeing others unable to resist, and so much more. This story showed how the stakes are completely different for a black superhero. This does focus much more on Miles’ personal life rather than his superhero life, so that’s a thing to keep in mind when picking up this book.
Next, I read Lumberjanes Vol. 2. Then I started on a book I intended to read during Queer Lit Readathon, but wasn’t able to, which is This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story. I had high hopes for this, but was ultimately very disappointed by it. I plan on making a full and more in-depth video about this book, so I will link that here when it’s finished.
I decided I wanted to read something light so I got the ebook, The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel, from my library. The Lightning Thief is a book I have re-read several times, because I just love Greek mythology, so it was fun to get back into this story, and in a visual medium.
Next, I finished up Profiles in Gay & Lesbian Courage. This is an older book, first published in 1991, that has profiles on eight openly gay politicians. These include Harvey Milk, Barbara Gittings, and Gilberto Gerald. Most of these are people who did a lot of political activism in the 70s and 80s. It was interesting, and a good refresher on the big gay political figures of that time.
After getting all political, I went on a graphic novel binge. I re-read Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, partly because of the recent announcement of the movie. So far, I’m not impressed with the trailer. I mean, they had all the storyboards already set out in this graphic novel! Anyway, I enjoyed returning to the world of Artemis and Holly for a while, and am considering re-reading the whole series (and finishing it, because I’ve never read the later books).
Then I re-read another graphic novel I own, Alien Hunter, which is set right after The Dangerous Days of Daniel X, a novel. Daniel comes from a long line of alien hunters, people who protect others from the worst of the worst alien criminals. He has the power to create, and he uses that gift to survive after his family was brutally murdered. He takes upon the family’s mission with a side of vengeance. It was nice to re-read this, it has some fond memories.
And lastly, I noticed that I was at 129 books and wanted to round that out before 2018 ended. I was in the middle of reading IBM and the Holocaust, and I knew it was too thick to finish by the end of the year. I decided to go on my library app and see if I could find a graphic novel I wanted to read. I found Wires and Nerve, immediately grabbed it and read it. It’s somewhat a continuation of The Lunar Chronicles, the first book being Cinder. This graphic novel series centers on Iko, the android that used to work for the Linh family and is now her own self. She travels around Earth, hunting down the rogue wolf-hybrid packs. Of course, there’s other things happening, but this is very spoilery for The Lunar Chronicles, so it’s definitely not a stand-alone series. This was alright, it didn’t blow me away, but fans of The Lunar Chronicles will probably enjoy this.
That’s it for the 20 books I read in December! Let me know if you’ve read any of these, and what your thoughts are on them down below. Now let’s see how my reading goes in 2019!
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