Saga, Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2017, 146 pages)
The saga continues… ha! But seriously, I’m ready for volume 9 and I wish I didn’t have to wait until October for its publication.
The family drama continues as Hazel and her parents try to survive in the midst of a chaotic universe. The social commentary in Vaughan’s work combined with Staples’s amazing artwork make this a series not to be missed. I’d definitely recommend Saga if you haven’t already picked it up. Sure, there are parts that are graphic, but there’s so much packed into each volume!
Star Trek: Boldly Go, Vol. 3
by Mike Johnson; illustrated by Josh Hood, Megan Levens, Tana Ford
(IDW Publishing, 2018, 144 pages)
This graphic novel follows members of the “new” original series from alternate realities in multiple unexpected forms. For example, Kirk shows up as a plant in one reality and a woman (Jane Kirk) in another. The paths of characters from different realities intersect in different plots (e.g., plant Kirk might have been paired up with male Uhuro in a storyline). It was a little hard to follow sometimes, but interesting to see the characters in different forms. For fans of Star Trek.
Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2015, 152 pages)
Well, I apparently read this volume about three years ago… I’m glad I read it again, though! It was so fun getting back into Saga after an unintended hiatus. We still have the same cast of characters, people are trying to stay alive, others are trying to kill… This would end up being spoiler-y for anyone that isn’t as far in the series or who is considering picking it up. For all three volumes in this post I’ll just say that Vaughan and Staples continue to work their magic. It looks like volumes 8 and 9 have moved up in my TBR pile 🙂
Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2016, 152 pages)
Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2017, 152 pages)
What Did You Eat Yesterday? Vol. 1 by Fumi Yoshinaga
(Vertical, 2014, 200 pages)
I honestly can’t remember how this series even caught my eye but the subject matter (fabulous food, relationships, comics) is certainly in my wheelhouse. This was actually my first time reading manga so it was a fun experience to adjust to the different reading format.
The story focuses on two men who are in a relationship. Shiro is a high-powered lawyer who reveals nothing about his sexuality at work. He enjoys spending his free time cooking delicious meals for himself and his partner, Kenji. Kenji works as a hairstylist and owns his sexuality. They occupy very different worlds but they bond over their shared meals.
Yoshinaga offers detailed descriptions of the food Shiro prepares and also includes recipes at the end of each chapter. I appreciated the artistic styling of the book and I’m actually curious to see how Yoshinaga further develops the main characters. There are a lot of plot points introduced in this volume and I’m intrigued by how they might get resolved. I’d give another volume or two a try before making my final decision on the series though as you can see from my star rating, I wasn’t blown away by any means.
Hurts to Love You (Forbidden Hearts #3) by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 2018, 369 pages)
The final book in the Forbidden Hearts series wrapped things up nicely. Keeping things in the Kane and Chandler families this book focuses on Eve, the youngest (and only) daughter in the Chandler family. She is getting ready to celebrate the wedding of her brother and his recently-reunited high school love, Livvy, but in the midst of wedding details she finds it harder and harder to ignore her attraction to Gabe Hunter, a surrogate-Kane if ever there was one.
Gabe was the child of the Kane’s housekeeper and was effectively raised with the Kane children. Tall, rugged, handsome, tattooed, known for his sexual prowess… he’s the man Eve has had her eye on since she was a teenager. What Eve doesn’t know is that in the midst of the wedding planning Gabe has developed something of a crush on her that he regularly tries to brush off.
While both Eve and Gabe try to deny their mutual attraction it seems like all the mishaps leading up to the wedding day are conspiring to get them to spend more one-on-one time together. Eve helps that along by deciding to put herself out there in a way she hadn’t really done before. As the two find themselves getting closer family secrets find a way of coming out… Neither Gabe nor Eve is sure they can handle the ramifications.
There’s no question that the first book in this series (Hate to Want You) was the one I enjoyed the most, but this one didn’t disappoint. I’m glad I discovered Rai’s writing and will turning to her when I’m looking for another contemporary romance to round out my TBR pile.
My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon; illustrated by Cat Farris
(Oni Press, 2018, 176 pages)
My Boyfriend is a Bear is a graphic novel about a young woman and a bear who fall in love. The bear says little more than “grah,” but they seem to be able to communicate. The relationship is no secret. The bear is the life of the party, drinking and playing Twister with the woman’s friends. Her parents are skeptical though (you can’t have kids with a bear). The story, complemented well by brightly colored drawings, elicited a range of emotions. It was hard to put down. Highly recommended, but not for kids.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
(Hachette Books, 2016, 260 pages)
This is the second title up for discussion by the SCC Between the Covers book club. Prior to picking this up I was familiar with Lindy West thanks to her Op-Ed pieces in the New York Times as well as the work she did prior to that on Jezebel. I initially approached this book as a collection of essays but had to recalibrate when I came to the realization it was a memoir. That helped explain why it seemed like the book progressively got darker. Granted, I laughed throughout as I was reading, but there were some sections that were significantly more humorous than others.
West covers a lot of ground in this book. It’s more than just a memoir; it talks about body image, rape culture, relationships, loss, the world of comedy, online trolling… and she does it all in a way that makes the heaviness of the subject matter seem almost “bearable.” While I was reading I found myself comparing her work to some of Roxane Gay’s essays that touch on similar issues and it was interesting to think of how their tones come across differently.
I’m glad this was our March selection for book club and I’m glad it got me to read more of Lindy West’s work (specifically her writing in The Guardian). If you want to hear more I guess you should come to the book club discussion on 3/28! 😉
Women and Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
(Liveright Publishing, 2017, 115 pages)
Despite the amazing reviews this book was getting, I found Mary Beard intimidating as an author. I was scared her work would be too academic and “high-minded” for me given how little I know about the Greco-Roman world (Beard is a well-known Classicist). When I saw my library’s copy of Women & Power I couldn’t resist checking it out and seeing if I could handle it… To my pleasant surprise, I could! This was much more readable than I’d thought it would be. I psyched myself out based on the author’s biography. Sure, you have to pay attention to what you’re reading – she packs a lot of punch in this slim volume – but this is accessible to the non-academic. Plus, there are pictures throughout 🙂
Hailed as a “feminist classic” already, Beard looks back at the history of misogyny and how women have been “put in their place” for ages. Her first essay addresses the silencing of women and her second looks at the relationship between women and power. We’ve been conditioned throughout history to determine who “deserves” a voice and who should have power based on a male lens. We’ve been guided by a history that prized men and devalued women. It’s time to acknowledge that and redefine how we interpret what power looks like.
I was surprised at what a pleasurable reading experience I had with this title; especially given the subject matter. Beard’s writing style was accessible and has me eager to see some of her earlier work.
If you’re intimidated by this book but keep hearing about it, pick it up! If you enjoyed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists this should also find a place on your to-read pile.
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
(Simon & Schuster, 2015, 260 pages)
Georgia grew up on a vineyard in Sonoma but she reached a point as a teenager where that life was just too quiet for her. She pursued her law degree and moved to L.A. Now she’s engaged, preparing to move to London, and ready to start on a new adventure. Until she discovers that her fiancé has been keeping a pretty big secret from her. A big enough secret that she has to head home to try and regroup.
The home Georgia returns to, however, isn’t the one she remembers leaving. There’s something going on with her twin brothers, her parents are keeping secrets, nothing seems to be the way it should be… and in the midst of this Georgia still isn’t sure what she’s going to do about her wedding.
Eight Hundred Grapes is about remembering who you are and not losing sight of that. While I didn’t find myself as immersed in the book as I was with the first Laura Dave book I read (Hello, Sunshine) I can see why it got so many good reviews.
The Flintstones, Vol. 1 by Mark Russell; illustrated by Steve Pugh
(DC Comics, 2017, 168 pages)
One of my favorite co-workers, Kelly M, convinced me to pick up this graphic novel. I’d been hearing about it off and on but I wouldn’t necessarily have gone out of my way to pick it up for myself. Then Kelly pitched it and I figured I’d give it a shot.
This satirical interpretation of The Flintstones was entertaining and hit on a lot of issues you wouldn’t anticipate finding in a graphic novel about this classic t.v. show. You can check out a more in-depth review on Slate. Just know that I plan on seeing where they take the rest of the series 🙂 This was a quick read with surprising depth.