Hello, and welcome to my November books wrap up. This month, I read 11 books. Six of those were either graphic novels or manga.
First this month, I read Truly Devious. It’s about Stevie Bell who got accepted to a prestigious school, Ellingham Academy. That academy will accept students from varied backgrounds. Students pay nothing, they cover everything. So that’s why it’s very competitive. Stevie still can’t believe she actually got in. The reason she wanted to get in is because she’s really into murders, crimes, she loves trying to solve cases. One reason why she wanted to go to that academy, Ellingham Academy has an unsolved cold case from a long time ago. The founder’s daughter and wife both disappeared, died. So she wants to figure out what happened. I really enjoyed reading this, it does a really good job with weaving mystery, and putting in hints you can use to figure it out yourself. Some things were a little predictable, but still. Overall, it’s a really good read.
Princess Mononoke: The First Story. It’s written by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s all watercolor, and it’s big. It’s gorgeous. But this is not the same as the movie that was released later, after the publication of this. This is the original, about a samurai who was at war, it ended, he was exhausted and went into the forest. He runs into a mononoke, a big wild spirit. And that spirit saves his life, and says in trade, he has to give his daughter’s hand in marriage. That’s the story. It’s really quick to read through.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Ava is born into a family where everyone has something peculiar about them. Ava was born with the wings of a bird. She says hidden until she’s 16, and decides, enough. I’m done, I want to get out, see the real world, I want to explore, I want to learn more. It’s a really complex story with a lot of details about her family’s past, about them currently. It’s really gorgeous writing, I really enjoyed this.
The Incendiaries. It’s about two people, Will and Phoebe. They meet at college, and fall in love with each other. Phoebe… As time goes on, she starts falling into a cult, a terrorist cult. Will struggles with his upbringing as very religious, trying to get rid of that and not get trapped in that. And seeing the person he loves being pulled into a cult, trying to figure out what to do with that, how to approach that. The way it’s written is very fragmented. It jumps, sometimes it will take a while to figure out it’s in the past, oh it’s– It doesn’t say year, it doesn’t say when. It’s written from the perspectives of both Will and Phoebe. It’s a really interesting writing style. I thought this was a really good story, I really enjoyed this.
Witchy. It’s a graphic novel set in the witch kingdom of Hyalin. The length of your hair determines the strength of your magic. If you’re considered strong enough, you’ll be conscripted into the Witch Guard. But if it’s considered too long, and you’re considered a threat, you’ll be killed – a witch burning. This follows Nyneve, whose father was killed in a witch burning, because his hair was too long. She’s afraid for her own life because her hair is really long. She hides it, everyone thinks she has short hair, that she’s not very good at magic. She’s afraid of being conscripted into the Guard. I’m going to stop there, because I don’t want to ruin the story. This is really well… It’s gorgeous. I bought this, I started reading it and I liked it too much, I had to buy it. It’s gorgeous. And it has unexpected representation in it. There’s one trans person in this, I won’t tell you who, read it and find out. But that was a nice surprise. Even though the situation was a little bit negative, how we find out. But the point is, there’s a strong trans character in this. That, I like. The whole world of Hyalin, and how magic works there, it’s gorgeous. And I can’t wait for the next book, there has to be another one. The way this ends, I need the second one. Like, now.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. This is about Delilah Dirk, who has traveled all over the world. She’s been to Japan, Indonesia, France, all of these places. She has many talents – fighting, archery, thieving, and so on. She has adventures, gets into trouble all the time. She has her own boat. She meets Selim, the Turkish lieutenant, and recruits him to join her on her adventures. This is a really good adventure. This is a graphic novel, all the illustrations are fantastic. I really enjoyed this, I plan to get the next books in the series.
Mooncakes. Nova is a teen witch and she knows a lot about magic, because she grew up in her grandmother’s bookshop. She also works there. One day, there starts to be reports of a white wolf in the forest. She needs to investigate, and she finds out that it’s her childhood best friend, Tam. Tam is a werewolf, they’re battling a horse demon in the woods. So Nova, of course, said that she’ll help Tam, and recruited her grandmas to help. This is a really cute graphic novel, and the representation in this is fantastic. Nova is attracted to Tam, they grew up together and flirted. Tam is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Nova’s grandmas, two grandmas, are lesbians. Yes, I really liked this. I really liked how the story was told, how magic was shown in this. Yes. I would recommend this.
My Brother’s Husband Vol. 1 and 2. Yaichi is a work-at-home dad, who has a young daughter. He’s divorced from his wife, but they still raise her together. One day, Mike Flanagan, a big Canadian, shows up at their door and says that he was married to his brother, Ryoji. Mike came to Japan because he wanted to see where Ryoji grew up, and meet his family. The family reluctantly lets him stay with them while he’s in Japan. This is really touching, because at the beginning, it’s clear that Ryoji and Yaichi have been estranged for many years, no contact. So Mike showing up was unexpected. Yaichi was not the most accepting of his gay brother. This is him really learning about his own prejudices. And it will also explore gay culture in Japan. I love the daughter. She’s really sassy and she’s great. She’s completely accepting of Mike right away, no problem. That’s how children always are. She helps her dad really change his mind and perspective. I want to add, this is a manga, not a graphic novel. So you read it from right to left. At the beginning, it took time to get used to. But once I kept going, it went quickly. I almost started reading other books right to left. Wait, no this is an English book, no! Left to right.
Sing, Unburied, Sing. Jojo and his sister Kayla live with their grandparents in Mississippi. Their mother is sometimes there, but she’s a drug addict. Their mother sometimes sees her dead brother, and dealing with that. Their grandmother is dying of cancer. A lot of family drama. Jojo’s white father is released from prison, so their mother decides the whole family has to go pick him up from prison. The journey of that. This has really unique writing. I… It took me a while to get used to it, but I thought this was really great, really well-written. I would recommend it to people, yes.
In the Dream House. This is a memoir written by Carmen Maria Machado. This memoir talks about her abusive same-sex relationship. Carmen Maria Machado struggled with expressing her experience. This is… I’m warning you, if abuse of any kind is a trigger for you, this is not the book for you. This really does not sugarcoat the abuse. It’s really in your face and the way it’s written is really powerful, really different. It’s not linear either, it’s not. It jumps around. Talking about this time in the relationship, at the beginning, at the end of the relationship. I just… I… It’s really good. I would recommend–if you liked Her Body and Other Parties, you probably will like this book, but this talks about really intense abuse, so be aware of that.
That’s the 11 books I read this month. I hope you found something new to read, and let me know if you’ve read any of these. And… Thanks for watching, see you tomorrow.
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