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2017 Books in Review




2017 was one of the hardest years of my life. I was cobbling together employment for six months, my mom got cancer, and I had a mouse living full time in my bedroom and ended up couch surfing for weeks. BUT ON THE PLUS SIDE, I read more books than I have any other year. Because of the cobbling together employment thing. Which, when it didn't go well, involved me sitting by the lake in June, reading. So it could have been worse. MAYBE.

So! Books this year. A whole lot were comics. Because when you are dealing with depression, you want to have some minor victories. And my minor victories were almost entirely in the form of finishing a ton of comic volumes. 48 of them, anyway. SO SOME QUICK REVIEWS:

COMICS

Silk Volumes 0-1. Hot DAMN, I love Silk. This took me by surprise because I don't really care about Spider-Man as a character or comic series, and Spider-Gwen is ughhhhhhh but SILK. She was in a bunker for years! Kind of like Kimmy Schmidt. But Silk is super awesome and is kind of like Spider-Man but also way better and I want to read all the Silk please.

Black Panther Volume 1. I WANTED TO LIKE IT. But it was fine. The movie looks super cool, though!

She-Hulk Volumes 1-2. This is the Charles Soule one where it's like, "she is She-Hulk BUT ALSO SHE IS A LAWYER" and about all her lawyer problems. I super like it, but also I have some issues/questions around the point of She-Hulk, because the Hulk's thing seems to be like, yeah I have this amazing strength, but also there's this anger that drives it and it's unmanageable and I have to learn how to deal with all that, but She-Hulk never seems to have that problem and pretty much always has it under control? So it is less morally INTERESTING. But this series is still great.

Loki: Agent of Asgard Volumes 1-3. I don't even like Loki! But this series was awesome. For sure read it.

The Vision Volume 1. DARK IT'S SO DARK don't read this if you have depression.

The Ultimates by Mark Millar Volumes 1-2. My review of Volume 2 says it best: "The Ultimates is the closest I've seen to a comic being a movie. The plot was kickass, the writing + illustration were awesome, and I was just a huge fan of it. V2 was def better than v1, but mainly because there was a lot less random sexism, AND Black Widow showed up. A+."

Batman: Arkham Asylum. This is SUPER DARK but also really really really good. Aside from Batman Returns, I've never really given a shit about Batman, but this is intensely great.

Doctor Strange: The Way of the Weird (volume 1). I didn't know anything about Doctor Strange and refused to see the movie because of Benedict Cumberbatch being in it, but this was maybe my favorite comic of the year. I asked for volumes 2+3 for Christmas. All the Sorcerers Supreme in all the dimensions are being wiped out! But who is doing it! And why! What's their DEAL. Man, this was great.

FICTION

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I read this way after everyone else because I usually don't go for fiction, but I wanted to feel part of the cultural ZEITGEIST. So I brought it to Mexico when I went for a friend's wedding and read it on the beach, which felt very appropriate, and one of the blessings of reading very very popular lit occurred when a random lady walked by and exclaimed "I LOVE THAT BOOK." So thanks for that connection with humanity, Missing Lady Lit. You create relatability.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Who doesn't love Sue Monk Kidd. I mean, I'm sure there are people out there who don't, but everyone I've mentioned this book to goes "oh I LOVED it," and The Invention of Wings was also great and she seems to usually deal with race but really try and I super like her and her stories.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. My friend sent me this years ago and said I would like it, and then I finally read it and DID like it. Great job, friend. Sorry I am garbage at reading things in a timely fashion. It took me a while to understand what this book was doing, so lemme just tell you: this lady keeps living her life over and over again! Starting from a few times where she dies as a baby and then she keeps makin' it a little further each time! It's really really good and deals with England in WWII and one part has stuck with me real hard and you should read it.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Vampires, but GOOD vampires. And a well-built-with-words weird vampire town (this'd be Coldtown). My review is more descriptive than this, but basically, I don't usually like YA, but I love Holly Black, and this was great.

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting. The sex dolls and dolphin lust book with the daring airbrushed cover! I refused to read Nutting's other book, but I really really liked this one with all its damn weirdness and technology commentary and also that dude who falls in love with dolphins.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I hated this book and don't wanna think about it again so I'll just link to my review in the title.

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. This is on most classic lesbian literature lists. The writing is fine; it's not bad. The main character is likable, but the most important and crucial for the time in which it was written thing is that the main character is continually like "oh, you don't like that I'm gay? You can fuck off then." This came out in 1973 where that was not the popular representation of gay people ever. If you were gay, you died alone, committed suicide, or "became" heterosexual. This book is def better than The Well of Loneliness, so if you're picking books off the list, pick this one.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty. It's about being Black in Los Angeles! Kind of! I'm not totally sure I got it, but it felt important and interesting. Also I went into this novel thinking it was about jockeys because of the cover, so it's possible you will get it more if you go in having any kind of real knowledge about its plot. [note: I actually finished this on Jan 1, 2018, FORGIVE ME]

NONFICTION

American Notes by Charles Dickens. OH MY GOSH DICKENS WHY. This is a collection of his notes about his trip to America in the 1840s and basically he was grumpy the whole time and this is him at his worst in terms of both mood AND writing and here is Dickens's American Notes Summarized So You Never Have to Read It.

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Loved it. Read it.

She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan. What a damn great memoir. Jennifer Finney Boylan started out life being called James. She's Not There covers her "life in two genders" as the subtitle goes. ALSO I INTERVIEWED HER LAST YEAR and was very excited to do so. She wrote a mystery called Long Black Veil that just came out. She's written a bunch, but I'd start with She's Not There.

American Eclipse by David Baron. Remember how there was an eclipse last year and people watched it through cereal boxes?? Well this is about the 1878 eclipse and how Maria Mitchell is a badass lady who trekked to the West with her students but Elizabeth Cady Stanton's daughter wasn't allowed to go and they did science


Crash Override by Zoƫ Quinn. The original target of Gamergate harassment! She wrote a book, and she talks about online abuse and how to deal with it and it's REALLY good and you should read it.


HERE'S TO 2018 AND ALL THE READING IT MAY CONTAIN.

Comments

  1. Wishing you a much better 2018 than 2017 was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! But also so many good books happened!

      Delete
  2. Am now off to read your review of Coldest Girl in Coldtown (a book event for which I temporarily dyed my hair blue, in homage to Tana and Holly Black herself), but hey, friend, I hope that 2018 is better by leaps and bounds for you. And I’m so glad that not being able to read/concentrate was not one of the collateral bits of damage from your Worst Year. Errr, that’s practically a double negative, but you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry you had such a rough 2017, friend. *hugs*
    I am also looking forward to 2018 and new books and learning about them from you. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hooray for all the reading and making the best out of some less-than-stellar times in 2017. I am confident in the betterness of 2018.

    ReplyDelete

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