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« July, 2021 »

Midnight Water City   book icon  
by Chris McKinney (2021)

read: 29 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

A gritty cop novel in a future that is part utopia and part dystopia with a deep look at the one brilliant woman who (maybe) got the planet there and the cost of doing so. It’s a future with a stark distinction between the haves and have nots which affects how the cop (a friend of the brilliant woman, sort of) can get his job done. A lot going on, other reviews call it “neo noir” and I think that is spot on.

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City   book icon  
by Guy Delisle (2012)

read: 25 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

Other than the Sinead O’Connor earworm, this book was a really great year-long sketchbook of being the trailing Canadian spouse of a woman working for Doctors Without Borders. There’s a lot going on in Jerusalem, between the various border walls and crossings, to the relationship between the non-profit workers and the people in the surrounding communities. Delisle doesn’t get too judgey about it but does do a credible job drawing what he sees.

The 22 Murders of Madison May   book icon  
by Max Barry (2021)

read: 24 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

A multiverse story by Max Barry about a spurned man who becomes a murderer and the pursuit of his target... across worlds. And some people who try to stop it. Some somewhat difficult (for me) violence, because you see the main female character getting brutally killed over and over again, but a complex story that wraps up well

The Quiet Boy   book icon  
by Ben Winters (2021)

read: 20 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

A vaguely disturbing legal thriller of sorts with a lot of gradual reveals and more than the average amount of sorrow. The Quiet Boy was raised in a family where he was supposed to be the protege to his father, the dad who has a final (we think) undoing. Then there is a murder, and a conflict, and it needs to get sorted out, and it’s complicated. Had read another book by Winters, this is nothing like it but was equally good to read.

Rabbits   book icon  
by Terry Miles (2021)

read: 15 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I definitely judged this book by its cover, a weird technicolor rabbit, even though the book has basically nothing to do with rabbits. This is the book Ready Player Two (or One) wanted to be. A weird technothriller where improbable things always bear further scrutiny. I was left w/ a lot of questions, but unlike w/ most books, I didn’t mind. Seattleites of a certain age will especially love this because it goes all the places you probably went and it was nice to see those places alive again.

Solutions and Other Problems   book icon  
by Allie Brosh (2020)

read: 14 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

It’s a pretty rare humor book that will get me laughing out loud. Brosh has a really wacky sense of humor and an ability to laugh at her past self that feel authentic. She goes deep into some low-key stuff and skirts over some heavier stuff like her own mental health challenges and a serious breakup. This is a thick volume that cohered (I felt) better than her last book and I was happy to read it.

Boxers   book icon  
by Gene Yang (2013)

read: 10 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

The companion to Saints. No idea why it took me so long to read these, they were wonderful & have sent me down a rabbit hole of getting straight on my Chinese history. Yang has a marvelous way of finding a personal thread to weave through an epic time in history. This book shows some of the same characters as Saints but from a very different perspective.

How To Mars   book icon  
by David Ebenbach (2021)

read: 10 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Fun and quirky “The Martian meets The Truman Show” (kinda) which didn’t go in the directions I was expecting. Six people are selected to go on a one-way trip to Mars for a reality show. The cameras roll while they live their lives and this story is broken up by occasional quotes from the company that sent them there, telling them ridiculous things that aren’t super helpful. They mostly handwave the science aspects of this trip and talk a lot about interpersonal dramaz. Enjoyable all the way through.

Saints   book icon  
by Gene Yang (2013)

read: 9 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

I’ve been making up for the last year of no graphic novels from the library with a vengeance. This was great, I knew it would be. It tells the story of the Boxer Rebellion from the perspective of the Christian converts who were on one side of it. I’ve got Boxers in the queue.

Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel   book icon  
by Jason Reynolds (2020)

read: 8 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

I did not read the novel this graphic novel is based on but the story comes across pretty well. It’s a really gripping story about growing up in a tough neighborhood, with a moral code that doesn’t always serve you, where revenge is not optional but you’re not always sure you’ve got the right person Lovely watercolors by Danica Novgorodoff that are so well done. Written by Banned Books Week honorary chair Jason Reynolds. Have not read the longer novel, I suspect it’s heartbreaking.

The Order   book icon  
by Daniel Silva (2020)

read: 7 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

My mostly-favorite Israeli assassin/spy series, but this one is mostly about... the pope? I learned some things about Pontius Pilate and about the Vatican (and their library) but it was maybe a bit too much time with Jesus for me. The loose idea: someone kills the pope and there is a shadowy conspiracy to put in a new pope and Allon is called in to help out. It was a good read with a memorable storyline but at the same time you wind up with a ton of sympathy for his long-suffering wife (also a spy!) and their kids.

Displacement   book icon  
by Kiku Hughes (2020)

read: 7 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: graphic novel

A look at the Japanese internment camps through the eyes of a modern Japanese American teenager who grew up in a family who had family who were there and never talked about them, and are now living through the Tr*mp years. The story is told through a sort of time travel lens where suddenly a modern girl is put back in time and in the camp. Poignant and informative.

I Was Their American Dream   book icon  
by Malaka Gharib (2019)

read: 6 July 2021
rating: [+]
categories: graphic novel, non-fiction

An excellent graphic novel about being an American kid of immigrant parents from 2 very different cultures--Egyptian and Filipino--and forging your own way while still remaining close to your family. Gharib does a really good job at showing you not telling you how her family’s cultures interrelated as well as talking about herself in a way that is poignant and funny at the same time.

Mariposa   book icon  
by Greg Bear (2009)

read: 1 July 2021
rating: [+]
category: fiction

A sequel of sorts to Quantico. I both liked it a little more as a story but also grew tired of Bear including every possible near-future technology that he knows about. And yet, pretty interesting future predictions from a book over 10 yrs old. A page turner.

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