Hello and welcome to my March books wrap up. This month, I read 13 individual things, so let’s just get into it.
I started this month heavy with The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov. He’s a Jew that knows several languages, and when his captors discover that, he’s assigned to become a tattoo artist, the Tätowierer. His job is basically putting the tattoos on all of the Jews who are put in the concentration camps. He’s trapped for more than two and half years. He suffers, seeing a lot of awful things, but he also sees a lot of beauty, bravery. He meets his wife there. He uses his position of privilege, really, to get extra food for the other Jews that don’t have any or are really starving and need more. And he trades for things. This book obviously has many trigger warnings, all of the ones that are associated with the Holocaust are associated with this one too. I thought this was really well-written. It’s written from the perspective of Lale, how he experiences things, because it’s based on his story. And I thought it was really well-done. If you’re interested in learning more about a specific part of Holocaust history, this is a good book to read.
The second book I read this month also touches on sensitive topics. The Astonishing Color of After, written by Emily X.R. Pan. Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely sure about one thing. When her mother died by suicide, her mother turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, goes to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time in Taiwan. While there, she’s trying to figure out how her mom turned into a bird, trying to learn more about her mom’s side of the family, because she doesn’t know anything. As she learns more, she meets ghosts, learns a lot of secrets in her family. She’s developing a new relationship with her grandparents at the same time as grieving for her mother’s death, and also figuring out how she feels about her best friend and long-time crush, because something happened on the same day as her mother’s death. Obviously, this book has trigger warnings for suicide. A lot of talk about death, how a different culture approaches death. That was fascinating. There is heavy use of color in this book. It describes how things sound, feelings, how people look, like an expression will also give you a color. I thought that was a really interesting way of approaching things. Part of the reason why it has heavy color use is because Leigh is an artist, so she has a whole arc about her art expression, frustation with her family not understanding her passion with art, trying to figure out to do art. I thought this book was amazing. I did sometimes feel like the use of color to describe things was a little bit over-the-top, but it was still enjoyable.
The next book I read: Every Heart a Doorway. You know how in many different stories, children will disappear in the right circumstances. Through mirrors. Through shadows. Through a hole in a tree. But magical lands don’t have a need for used-up children. What happens to those children? Well, there’s a home established for them, by someone who understands all too well how they feel, wanting to go back to their magical lands. But that probably won’t happen. Nancy is back, frustrated, trying to figure it out. But with her arrival at the home, things start to change. Things start to happen. I don’t want to say more than that, because I went into this book knowing pretty much that much. Not more than that, and I’m happy I did. It’s pretty small. Not that thick, so it’s a quick read.
Next, I read Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. This book is set in the future, where the water has risen and destroyed a lot of cities. Because of this sudden climate change, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. Gods and heroes of legends walk again. But so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter. She has supernatural gifts. She’s hunting a monster who stole a girl, and as she learns more about the monster, she starts to find things that aren’t good. She knows she can’t do it by herself, so she reluctantly recruits the help of Kai Arviso, a medicine man. This is really fascinating, it includes a lot of Navajo legends. Some of the names were familiar, but I learned a lot from this. It’s really cool. I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it, yes.
Next, the only non-fiction book I read this month, Bunk. I’m not going to say the whole title because it’s much longer. Basically, this book is about the history of hoaxes, humbug, fake news, all of that. It’s really fascinating, a lot of information, wow. It starts–it kind of follows a chronological timeline, kind of. It does jump around a little bit, but mostly chronological. It starts with Barnum. You know, the whole circus, freakshows, all of that. It starts with that then goes on up to today. Different stories of people who made up stories about who they are, and hoaxes like the huge Moon Hoax in the 1800s, where a newspaper actually printed articles saying that you can see people living on the moon. They’re like us, but not really, and there’s creatures too, forests, and whatever. People believed it. It’s really fascinating, a lot of stories. It’s really good. It’s a long read, but thumbs up.
The next book did not play around, and that would be Anger is a Gift. This… Oh boy. Moss Jefferies lost his father six years ago to a police shooting. There’s no accountability, the media vilified his father, all of that led to Moss now having crippling panic attacks. Now entering his sophmore year, Moss and his friends are dealing with their school increasingly treating them like criminals. Random locker searches. More security. Having actual police on their campus. The students are angry, saying no, this is not okay. So they decide to organize. Tensions rise and tragedy strikes. Moss has to make a decision: let fear take over, or realize that anger is a gift. Let me tell you, there are plenty of times in this book where I teared up. This was not… Playing around. No. It’s really good. I will also add that I didn’t realize this until I started reading, then I remembered, right, people mentioned this. This book has quite a few queer characters in it, so thumbs up! That includes the main character, so yes. I would definitely recommend this to everybody. Though, if you have any problems with panic attacks, police shootings, whatever, that is in this book, so be aware of that.
After reading The Hate U Give a while back, I was so excited for the next book, On the Come Up. And let me tell you, yes, it’s worth it. Yes! Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood. Her father was a rapper, and he died when she was young. She’s the daughter of an underground rap legend that died before he hit it big, so she has big shoes to fill. But her mom lost her job, a lot of things coming up, bills, they’re desperate, trying to figure out how to make it by. This book was great, and I’m not even into music. This has a lot of homages to hip-hop, rap. And there is music, well, lyrics in this. I thought this was really well-done. At least, from a deaf, white perspective. I would recommend this, though there is talk about drugs, gang activity, things like that, so just be aware.
Next, I will talk about four things together, and that will be Fence Vol. 1 and 2, Issues #9 and #10. If you like Check, Please!, if you like queer sport (graphic) novels, this. Nicholas Cox wants to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place among the great fencers, including the dad he never knew. But he has to compete against his golden-boy half-brother and fencing champion, Seiji. I don’t want to say any more than that, because I didn’t really know much about this other than that it was queer and included fencing. There is a hate-to-love trope in this, and it’s a slow burn, so be aware of that. Honestly, if you like sports graphic novels, you probably will like this.
The next book I read was…interesting – Freshwater. It’s about Ada, who grew up with a fractured sense of self, because she was born with one foot on the other side. Ada began her life in Nigeria, grew up there for most of her life, eventually moves to America for college. Her family was always concerned about her, she always seemed off. Because of her fractured sense of self. She has many different selves in her growing up, some times one will take over. I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. It’s just… A little strange and… Yeah. I don’t know if I would recommend this to anyone. If you like surreal, bizarre books, you probably will enjoy this at least.
The final book this month, Sea of Greed. This is written by Clive Cussler, and I’ve mentioned this before. He’s one of my many favorite authors. After an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico of oil rigs trying to revive a dying field, NUMA is tapped to try to figure out why so many oil fields around the world are dying. Adventure, wrecks, explosions, guns. Your standard Cussler book. It has quite a bit of commentary on the environment, oil use, our dependency on it, switching to alternative energy like solar, tidal, and whatever. I thought this was good, pretty good. I enjoy any of Cussler’s books, so if you like his books, or know of his type of stories, this fits in that pretty well.
That’s it for this month. I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, discuss below. Really quick before you go, I want to ask you a question. I recently, kind of recently, had a haul from the Seattle Public Library. They had a huge book sale, and I got… I don’t remember how many books, but I think 12? 14? I don’t know. It was a good amount of books. So would you be interested in a haul video/post, or nah? Let me know.
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