My Buckeyes lost to the the Wolverines for the first time in 10 years. The Game was a depressing one to watch for OSU fans. I’m an alum who bleeds scarlet & gray, but give props to The Team Up North, they showed up to play!
So, what better time to avoid the TV and all the upset excitement than to update you on my reading?
I listened to The Fallen, #4 of the Amos Decker series by David Balducci. It’s not the newest, but I’m listening in order. Amos and Jamison are visiting her sister and Amos wastes no time in finding dead bodies. He does what he does and uncovers one conspiracy after another. Great listen, especially if you are familiar with run down towns suffering from the opioid crisis. I’m still reading and journaling Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pena Chodron. I go through stretches where I choose sleeping in to getting up early and doing meditative reading. Lately, I’ve been able to get up even just 15 minutes before my kid and that’s made a huge difference to the quality of my day. Coffee and quiet for even just a few minutes makes a happy mama. Are you a donut fan? I LOVE donuts. The only way you can ruin a donut is by putting coconut or sprinkles on it 🤮
Two graphic novels about two very different artists. Starving artist isn’t just a clever phrase, it was the truth for both of them. Let’s start with Basquiat by Palio Parisi because that’s the one I read first. I love this cover! He used these same colors the entire book. Jean Michel Basquiat wanted to be a star. He wanted to be famous and he worked hard on the streets of New York City to make that happen. He came into the money and fame but never kicked the drugs that would kill him at 27. It was a good snapshot of his short adult life. Monet: Itinerant of Light by Salva Rubio and EFA was a more comprehensive book, but, jeez, it sure soured me on Monet the man. This felt like a real biography, from what they chose to include and how they chose to tell his story in pictures and words. Monet was always broke, well except when he made a few bucks and lived large for short periods of time. He seemed to be clueless about many things, but he was unwavering in his belief in his art. I LOVED this book. The man, not so much.
This week we are learning about Oklahoma and we read the picture book Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre. A beautiful book that tells about an event in America’s history that hasn’t really gotten talked about until the last few years. Well done. The discussion and additional reading we did really upset Gage. I could’ve skipped it because it was upsetting, but isn’t that where the real learning and change happens? Yes, it is. I thought that the Black History in its Own Words from my graphics novel stack would pair nicely with Unspeakable. It’s a collection of creative portraits with very short quotes by a wide range of artists and leaders. It even included one of Basquiat who I talked about yesterday.
The Thirsty Mermaids is about three mermaids who’ve enjoyed the alcohol they’ve found at the bottom of the sea so much that they decide to change into humans so they can find more. These are not your normal 🧜♀️. I didn’t love the art but the mermaids grew on me and I ended up liking the lighthearted humor and story of friendship. 256 pages Bubble is based on a podcast. I’m not familiar with it but wonder if that might have helped me like it. The first little bit had potential and I liked Mitch the weird guy with the power to destroy whatever he wanted, but the constant one-liners took away from a real plot for me. This banter on a podcast would probably work. I liked the art and the sci-fi setting. 272 pages
Malibu Rising is the story of four siblings and their their parents. As an only child the bond between siblings is always fascinating to me so this reeled me in right away. I loved the multiple points of view and the early 80s California setting. The fact that this 1980s book is in the historical fiction category makes me feel ancient. It had an 80’s vibe but didn’t really feel like a historical novel. Well, except that no one has cell phones so maybe that’s all it takes these days. I really liked this story of the the Riva family and was happy with the way things wrapped up for the kids.
I’ve had The Four Winds on my shelf for a while, knowing that it was going to be a hard read emotionally. It’s nomination finally got me to pick it up. It took me quite a while to get involved in the story as it was very slow. Elsa, rejected by her family, gets pregnant, forcing the young man who was on his way to college to stay on the farm and marry her. It’s the 1930s Texas and drought and dust crush everything in their path. The story really begins when Elsa dares imagine a better life for her and her kids. This was a heavy book and to see Elsa grow and raise a spirited daughter in such impossible times made this a great read. I shed some tears and am still glad I read/listened to it. Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 1 I had already checked out of the library to read for this month. I knew nothing about Dune, no clue or interest in what it was about, but did see the promos for the new movie. This was adapted into a graphic novel by Brian Herbert (son of Dune author Frank Herbert) and Kevin Anderson. Because it’s adapted by his son I have to think it’s faithful to the original. This was well done and once I got myself focused it was easy to follow even for a newbie like me. Sci-fi politics, magical powers, and environmental responsibility make a timeless tale that still rings true, even if takes place on another planet. I really liked this one and look forward to the second installment.
I ❤️ both of these graphic novels! So different and, yet both so good. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg didn’t exactly draw me in at first because of its strangeness, but after the baby who was made into three boys grew up and came back together again I was hooked. As he went on his journey from the top of the world to the bottom I was captivated. You’ll recognize our shared stories in his storytelling, from Adam and Eve to Noah to the Tower of Babel. It’s full of humor, irreverence, magic, and outstanding artwork. This is a surprise favorite for me so far this month. 176 pages. I admit I picked up Klaus for the cover alone 😍. The story of Klaus, boy found in his dead mother’s frozen arms, is one from legends. I loved the art and the story. There was a proper villain, violence, and a monster, but there was redemption and love too. A fitting read for the Christmas season. 208 pages.
I listened to Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby and LOVED the narration by Adam Lazarre-White. His rich voice made the story of two fathers coming to terms with the deaths of their sons come alive. There was more violence and also more soul searching than I anticipated going in. I really like this one.
I read the first Persepolis a few months ago and loved the creative way Marjane told the story of the Irna revolution and aftermath. This
second graphic memoir was about her 4 year abroad and what finally brought her back home. I liked this one a lot too!
The Mailbox in the Forest is a new children’s book with cute story and lovely illustrations Mayu is a first grader staying with her grandparents over the winter break. Her grandparents inexplicably allow her to go into the forest by herself during the days and she finds a mysterious mailbox. A story about the joys of letter writing and friendships with people different than them. At just over 70 pages it’s a nice length for younger readers, but be prepared to explain why you aren’t letting them spend the day in the forest by themselves. I’ve included our latest postcard all the way from Russia (thanks postcrossing!). Love all of the stamps ❤️
I can feel the end of my book a day challenge coming. I’ve already read 375 books this year and still going strong.