Reading Weeks April 3-16

School’s back on and it’s a busy quarter this spring!  Lots of manga, graphic novels, and mainly audiobook reading.

7261699Eon by Allison Goodman

Rating: 4 stars

I have been hearing about this book on booktube for a while, and as someone who loves dragons, girls disguised as boys, and fantasy based on cultures and places outside Europe, this book was something I needed to try.  And I really liked it.  Chinese and Japanese Imperial culture isn’t something that I am particularly drawn to, but Goodman did such a good job of capturing just what it is like inside the head of someone bounded by the restrictions and rules of this East Asian-influenced society.  I am planning to listen to Eona ASAP (I am so excited to see how it contrasts now that Eona’s gender is out there.

Moonshot SOFT CoverMoonshot: Indigenous Comics edited by Hope Nicholson

Rating: 4 Stars

I’m taking a class on Indigenous Systems of Knowledge, and this book happened to come in off the really long holds list at the perfect time.  This is a collection of graphic novel/comics written by and about Native Americans.  They  I am not big into comics/graphic novels, but I found this really enjoyable.  I loved a lot of the art styles and the Native epistemology informing the stories.  I was grateful for the introductory texts which helped orient me in the cultural context of the story, and the way that cultural insiders would understand the allegories.

25659433In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan

Rating: 5 Stars

love this and I got it in the first round from the library holds.  I wanted to just sit and read it straight.  I love Isabella as a character, she’s pragmatic, logical, driven, scientific, and yet still has emotions, and passions, and feelings.

A Bride’s Story, Vol. 7 by Kaoru Mori

Rating: 4 Stars

This one was interesting and showed an even different way of living in the highly diverse Silk Road of the 19th Century.  The English researcher is just a small aside in this story, which focuses on the friendship of two women.  I liked seeing the acceptance of different bodies, and the lack of commentary on burkas.  They were presented as part of the clothing of these women, just like all the rest of the clothes.  That said, there was a lot of nudity in this book.  Nothing graphic or gratuitous (the women make friends at the bathhouse, where women are having baths), but def a lot.  Overall, this wasn’t my favorite bride’s story, I still love the stories of Amir and her family best, but I’m excited for our next journey on the Silk Road!

2491366Shirley, Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori

Rating: 3 Stars

Shirley is a book of short manga stories about maids in England in the 19th Century.  Mori describes it as “practice” while she was still developing her skills and story for Emma.  Pleasant, fun, fine.  Unsure if I will pick up Vol.2.  Maybe.  Probably.

Emma Vol. 5 & 6 by Kaoru Mori

Rating: 4 Stars for both

Mori’s manga are often described as “slice of life” manga, which I believe has a specific name in the manga community but I’m a noob and don’t speak Japanese, so am not sure of the correct term.  As an outsider, my read on them is that they are slow, but in a good way.  The stories take some time to build, and that’s ok.  I was pretty ho hum about the first couple Emma volumes, but people love

Emma follows the story of a maid, Emma, in 19th century England who meets a wealthy young man and they fall in love, except society is not cool with wealthy people and poor people mixing.

I love fantasy of manners, and I love stories about forbidden love, usually because it take the lovers realizing that the only thing keeping them apart is social construction.  Emma starts slowly, but in Volumes 5 and 6, we’re into the tension of them wanting to be together and having to be apart.  My library doesn’t have Volume 7, so I don’t know what I’ll do for the next bit, because Volume 6 ends on quite a cliffhanger for a story that has been very quiet up till now.

196430The Truth About Stories by Thomas King

Rating: 5 Stars

I have a group project on this book for class, and holy moly!  King gave this material as a set of five lectures for the Massey Lectures in Canada in 2003.  Our instructor gave us the audio of the lectures and King is an AMAZING speaker.  He talks about stories, storytelling, and oral history, threading Native history through his lectures.

Listen to King read his text here (he is AMAZING).

20983362Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Rating: 3 Stars

I love the cover, and I love the concept, especially with the trouble that would come up for a women traveling back in time, or a black man traveling back in time, or them traveling together (miscegenation!)  But. . .it was just kind of boring.  I didn’t really connect with the characters.  I find stories about classical musicians boring  so the beginning was a drag for me and even by the end Etta was just a bit flat.  I quite liked Nicholas, except when he got all possessive and all “having-man-feelings-must-make-decisions-for-us-both.”  I listened to it on audio, which I realized part way through might have been the reason I was having trouble keeping track of the scenes.  It felt like we jumped scenes randomly, but perhaps there just wasn’t enough of a break in between them for me to be able to hear the change in scene visible on the page.

Currently Reading:

The Many Lives of Hadley Monroe by Bec McMaster

Sparks Fly by Alexandra Bracken

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Update (July 15, 2016):

Spring quarter got waaaaay intense, plus kids + life + summer job falling through and trying to find a new one.  I only finished one of the above “Currently Reading” books, Hadley Monroe, which was 3.5 stars for me.  It was good, but the setting (lil’ Southern town) just wasn’t my preferred setting, and I like McMaster to do her looooong writings/world building.  But it’s, Bec, so obvs yeah.

I think I got burned out on Bracken after Passenger  which just didn’t work for me.  It was a bit dull and I just needed a break.

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