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« November, 2023 »

Trussoni wrote another thriller that I liked just fine but did not love. This is a more ambitious book that is loosely about the history of angels, their odd position in modern-day society, and a group that is dedicated to both keeping secrets about them and also finding out the truth. It was good but the pacing was SO uneven (there’s a whole massive story-within-a-story that is sort of dumped into the middle) that ultimately it wasn’t my jam but might be someone else’s. I’m still going to try the next book in the series because I like Trussoni’s plots.

Whispers Underground

This is another book from the Rivers of London series, we’re meeting more different magical beings and getting more non-magical people trained up in some of the magical arts. It was a good story, a little too much of it took place underground in the gross sewers but other than that I’m continuing to enjoy this series and am curious to know where it goes next.

Save It For Later

Powell is the illustrator who made March, about John Lewis’s personal activism arc. This is a series of graphic essays about Powell’s own inspection of what being a parent, and a white person, means during a time when the American flag, police and even elected officials can be... wrong. He discusses his own feelings and how he and his spouse decide to talk to their daughters about political events of 2016 til about 2021. Very poignant and well-told, and not unhopeful.

Generation Ship

This ship has been en route to a potentially-habitable planet for 250 years with strict rules in place for working and living including a maximum life expectancy. Now with the new planet within reach, there are a worrying number of survey probes that approach the planet and then... vanish? Or something, it’s unclear because the flow of information is spotty for various reasons. Factions arise about how to manage this possible problem. A very lively novel and one of the few where “one story told through multiple perspectives” didn’t bug me.

The He-Man Effect

A graphic novel about the commercialization of childrens' toys and some of the major players who tried to encourage it or tried to stop or mitigate it. I’ve been on the fence about a lot of Brown’s books who I guess is going more by “Brian” now. I love his illustrations but the storytelling always feels flat. This one is my fave of his so far. Even so, the “your” in the title implies that we’re all the same age and had the same experiences. As someone a little older than the target demo here, that didn’t resonate with me and some of this stuff felt like it was happening to younger kids.

The Naked Tree

This was a graphic novel re-working of a well-known novel that takes place in Seoul during the Korean War. The author made some changes to the story (adding and removing characters, she mentions in the afterword) and while it’s seemed well-received from other people, I could not follow some of the story lines and timeline shifts and wound up confused at the end of it. It’s a hard story, told during the conflict that destroyed communities, and this is the backdrop. There are also a lot of plot points around family loyalty that might have made sense with more explication but seemed to not totally resolve in this format.

I Could Hardly Keep from Laughing

This is an illustrated collection of Vermont humor which I picked up because it’s illustrated by a local guy who I help with computer stuff. He’s quite good. It’s got a lot of the droll humor that I think people associate with old school Vermonters. There’s a little bit of “You’re not a REAL Vermonter unless....” posturing which was not quite my taste coming from a bunch of guys who went to Harvard, but I’m a flatlander so what do I know? As someone who has “only” lived in Vermont for 25 years a lot of this rings true and was a fun read. Great pictures, some funny stories

The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England.

Sanderson usually writes fantasy stuff which is not usually my bag. However this book veers much more towards sci-fi and humorous sci-fi to boot and it was EXACTLY my bag. Funny, with an interesting plot line--you can kind of tell what it is by the title--and a gradually revealed main character. Only suggestion for future readers: splurge on a print (or at least color) copy because there are many adorable illustrations that should not be missed

There is No Right Way to Meditate

This is a short and sweet graphic novel that talks about various ways people can meditate or even think about meditation. I’ve had a regular (albeit short) practice for the past eight years or so and this book’s advice and positive suggestions rang true to my experience. Good for someone who is thinking about starting a practice but also maybe concerned they will do it wrong.

Moon Over Soho

The next in the Rivers of London series and I enjoyed it a bunch. It’s somehow easier to appreciate cop stories if they’re from another culture that isn’t quite so gun-crazy. I’m liking the evolution of our main protagonist who is learning magic slowly and in his own way and I liked the general plot about something bad happening to jazz musicians. But what exactly is happening? And why? Also featured a spooky abandoned library so it was right up my street.

The Rivers of London

A sort of cop procedural only with a little bit of low-level magic in it as well. Our protagonist has a mom from Sierra Leone and a dad from London and he’s a newish police officer, decent at the job but in over his head with this new “Wait, magic is real?” realization. As the reader, you get swept along trying to figure it out at the same time as he does. And the general cop plot has to do with a local slightly-magical crime, but also settling some disputes with the beings who oversee some of the magical elements of the Thames. A great story and one in a longish series. Glad I picked it up, was fun to read when my partner was on a London vacation especially.

Deaf Utopia

One of the few younger-person memoirs that I’ve enjoyed lately. DiMarco is a 5th generation Deaf American and this is about his life to date including participating on America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars, exploring his sexual orientation (and how and when to come out about it) and some of the choices he’s had to make especially when asked to put his Deaf identity on the back burner. A great read, especially for people who may not know a lot about Deaf culture.