Been a while, hasn’t it. I blame school and work mostly haha; it’s just been hard juggling everything and then things just started piling up. Well, I’m slowly working my way through all that, getting settled in some routines and whatnot. So we’ll see! I’ve got a ton of book reviews I’d love to do, but too long may have passed since I’ve read the books. :/ Still will try to keep this semi-regularly updated. Was in a nice once-per-week groove for a while, so maybe I can get back to that! I graduated back in late June, though that same week I was promoted/transferred at Barnes & Noble to a full-time position, so now I’m adjusting to that haha.
May was entirely books for school, with the exception of catching up on Saga (which I did in a single day), listening to The Two Towers, and reading Gaiman’s latest picture book Cinnamon, which took about 5-10 minutes. By far the busiest quarter for me in terms of how many books I had to read for every class.
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce. I absolutely loved this—it was just fascinating to get this view into “the artist’s”/Joyce’s life and his formation. The philosophical points and thoughts were my favorite bit, as it just really worked for me and was an interesting read. 4.5/5 stars.
- Cinnamon, by Neil Gaiman. So I had listened to the audio of this before, as it’s included in the Neil Gaiman audio collection, but seeing it brought to life was honestly a joy. This story is just so incredibly amazing—which, yes, is Gaiman’s norm, yet this somehow goes above that because it also has incredible themes about insecurity, introvertedness, dealing with being different, etc. And I love it for that. 5/5 stars.
- The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien, Audiobook. LotR is my favorite book, period. I found an amazing audio production of it that combines bits of the film score with sound effects and different voices that was really incredible. I can’t wait to reread the actual novel soonish. 5/5 stars, if that even needs to be said. =P
- The Wolfman and Other Cases, by Sigmund Freud. This was…interesting, to say the least. It was fascinating to follow Freud’s logic, though I always strongly disagreed with his premises and the conclusions he made from them, which also made it half frustrating. So while it may have been interesting, I still can’t really say that I liked it, even if I am glad I read it. Yeah, a bit of a contradiction, but… *shrug* 2.5/5 stars.
- Saga vols 1-7, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. So I had read the first three volumes before in the Deluxe Book One, and I had been waiting for the Deluxe Book Two to come out (I also started collecting the single monthly issues for when the second Deluxe book would end). So I re-read the first Deluxe book, read the second, and then read vol 7 in the individual issues. Yeah, it was an amazing day haha. So many people have already sung Saga’s praises, but I’ll just reiterate that the art and writing is just incredible. 5/5 stars.
- Venus in Furs, by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Really didn’t like this—just wasn’t for me. I remember saying something in my Goodreads review how like I’m not sure if I’d rather read this or 50 Shades, because this is undeniable well-written, but 50 Shades at least I can make fun of. I’m still not sure, haha, but this definitely is just my subjective dislike of the book. 1/5 stars.
- Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. I really enjoyed this, though I feel like because I had to read it for school, and because I pushed myself to just read it quickly, that may have hampered my enjoyment a little bit. I’m also really curious to know how it’d be without knowing the main “spoiler”, but of course because it’s so engrained in our culture, that’s kinda impossible. Still, loved the writing and the subtle creepiness. 4/5 stars.
- Morte D’Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory. Sort of. I’ll be honest, I skimmed about 80-90% of this book, because the class I read it for was structured horribly and I didn’t really have any other choice, as we had to write papers as we read (so I read enough for those and skimmed the in-between). I enjoyed what I read, though, and I hope to read the whole book some day.
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, by The Pearl Poet. I was very, very surprised by this, as it’s easily now one of my all-time favorite books. 5/5 stars.
- Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Another book I was very surprised by, as I had always heard such great things about but wasn’t sure if I’d actually enjoy the book. I did, though, immensely. 5/5 stars.
I’m pretty ashamed that I only read three books in June (and not even any comics), one of which was for school, the reason being that I didn’t read for a couple weeks before I graduated nor the week after, as I was busy with school work and then adjusting to a full-time job, etc. I have been doing slightly better since, though, and hope to continue juggling everything better!
- The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I didn’t like this nearly as much as I was expecting to, and I think the main reason is because I was burned out from school and just forced myself to continue it even when I didn’t feel like reading. There were some things I liked, though, so I definitely plan to go back and re-read it. 3/5 stars.
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. Incredible, and I’m really sad I didn’t read this earlier. I was afraid this wouldn’t live up to the hype, especially since it actually took me a little while to get into at the beginning, as the writing style is a little odd. That said, though, it was certainly worth it, and is easily now one of my all-time favorite books. Atwood, too, has skyrocketed to a place among my favorite authors, as I’ve since read two of her other novels, and I can’t wait to read more. The Handmaid’s Tale, though, is incredible, relevant, and strongly-written. 5/5 stars.
- The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. There’s a reason this book has been so highly praised, and it certainly deserves all of that. It’s heartbreaking and intelligent and definitely a book that should be widely read. It’s better than Catcher in the Rye, I’d say, and would be the better book to be taught in school. 4.5/5 stars.
So, as I said, July was a little better but I still only read four novels (though to be fair two were over 500 pgs). Sigh. This full-time thing is actually pretty hard, haha. I also did read a ton of comics, though—ones that I picked up in June and July but didn’t get a chance to read—but I’ve only listed the two, as they were the ones where I read the majority of an arc this month.
- Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. After reading We Should All Be Feminists earlier this year, I knew I needed to read more of Adichie. Not only was the content great, but the writing itself was beautiful, and that was definitely true with Americanah as well. A slower read, but an incredible character study and relevant and moving read. 5/5 stars.
- The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. Really, really enjoyable. I’ve always been a fan of mythology (and Greek mythology in particular), and so it was really enjoyable to see this take on the story of Penelope and Odysseus from her perspective and from a feminist author. My only complaint is how short it is. 5/5 stars.
- The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker. Read this for a book club and it was…okay. As an English major I appreciated a lot of the random rants about poetry, but I really didn’t care about the character or the plot otherwise. 3/5 stars.
- Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood. Another great book by Atwood, and a really fascinating character study of Grace Marks, someone I hadn’t heard of until this book. 4.5/5 stars.
- Batman/The Flash: The Button, by Various. A really enjoyable crossover that bridges the gap between DC Rebirth and Doomsday Clock this November. My little geeky heart loved it. 5/5 stars.
- Paper Girls vol 3, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. This is how I’m getting my fix waiting for Stranger Things season 2. I love this series (especially the art), and this was another great volume! 5/5 stars.
Book Hauls for July
So with my birthday at the beginning of the month (which included used bookstore adventures with my girlfriend), a recent full-time job, my graduation from college and the need to treat myself haha, and BookOutlet recently having free shipping for over $35…yeah, it was a good month. XD
My girlfriend and I found an amazing used bookstore in Los Angeles called The Iliad, where I found these amazing old editions of Fevre Dream and Windhaven, by George R.R. Martin! Plus, The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood and The Portable Dorothy Parker.
We also visited a few other used bookstores and comic stores where we found the rest. I’m particularly excited about the Neil Gaiman book (I actually hadn’t heard of it before! But includes an awesome set of interviews with many of the other creators he’s worked with) and the complete set of Wonder Woman: War of the Gods!
And after seeing a slightly beat-up copy at a used bookstore, I ordered Sandman: King of Dreams online haha. My Neil Gaiman collection is growing and growing, and nearing completion!
Then comes my first BookOutlet Haul! All of these are books I’ve been meaning to read for a while (with the exception of The Anthologist), and I was particularly excited to expand my Atwood collection! With that cover especially! The two Murakami books I got from Book Depository, and I really am in love with that series of covers. The Beast POP I finally got because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, and there’s many things I love about the Beast, so it was about time I got his POP!
And lastly, this includes both my second BookOutlet Haul as well as Shelf Life, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and Joseph Cambell, and Margaret Atwood’s Payback. For the BookOutlet ones, once again they were all books I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Borges, specifically, I’m incredibly excited to read! And then of course I had to get the Aragorn and Arwen POPs. I had a bit of a roller coaster getting a hold of one of these, but I finally did!
I just started The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and it’s amazing so far! I remember wanting to buy it shortly after it came out from the UK cover alone. Then I sorta just got the idea in my head that it would be great, and that anticipation has been building ever since. Plus, I just kept hearing that it was, truly, actually great. Well, it had a lot to live up to, but with the knowledge that it’s a debut novel, it really has been.
I need to make a proper post about Atwood at some point, but I really have been getting rather obsessed with her lately, and as such I’d like to continue reading more of her work. Probably The Blind Assassin, but possibly something else.
And speaking of continuing things, I really need to get back to my Star Wars novel marathon, probably beginning with Rebel Rising. I’ve been meaning to read Robin Hobb forever, and I finally picked up Assassin’s Apprentice with that incredibly beautiful cover, so I hope to get to it soon. Borges and Summer of Night are books I’ve been meaning to read, so we’ll see if I get to them this month.
Hope you’ve all had a great couple of months!