Supernova, by Marissa Meyer, is the third and final installment of the Renegades series. Renegades is a series where certain people are either born or develop powers, some go on to become heroes and others villains. This is the familiar setting for pretty much any superhero story right? Well, this series has the added layer of romance between a villain and a hero. The romance itself isn’t the main plot but it is an important part of the story. Meyer also manages to create a world where first the Anarchists (or villains) tried to rule Gatlon City and they pretty much had chaos, people just vying for power left and right with no structure to follow. Then the Renegades took over after defeating the Anarchists and now you have a world with rules about who can be a Renegade (basically part of a superhero crime force) and the rest of society. The Renegades are trying to control everything but aren’t being super successful at keeping everyone happy.
As both sides struggle for power, an Anarchist has infiltrated the Renegades as a new recruit, that’s one of our main characters, Nova. She’s super smart, observant, resourceful, and very determined to gain the inside scoop to help the Anarchists come back into power. She’s accepted into a Renegade patrol unit where the other main character, Adrian, and his teammates are enforcing the rules and keeping Gatlon City safe. Of course, there are secrets between many of these characters, shifting points of view from Nova to Adrian, and a great variety of superheroes with the same variety of superpowers.
I so loved the aspect of friendship and chosen families, Adrian is adopted and his teammates are more than just his friends, they are family. Same for Nova, with her parents and sister dying when she was little, her fellow Anarchists became her family. In many ways Adrian and Nova are two sides of the same coin and throughout the series they learn that their lives have become intertwined in more ways than they can imagine.
If you’re looking for a different kind of superhero story, definitely check out this series! There are definitely some things that I think could be improved in the second installment but this third one is pretty great.
What’s your favorite superhero story? What superpower would you have if you could choose one?
You have the right to say who you are without setting it in stone. You have the right to ask questions, to live with and in doubt, to try things on for size. Your life is your experiment. You can try to catch mist. When you learn that you can’t catch it, you can go outside and feel it on your skin.
I received this book in my subscription of the Feminist Book Club (FBC) box for June and I’m so so happy that I got to read it! As part of the FBC membership we also get a Q&A with the author, which happened earlier today. It was so great to hear from the author about their process and their experiences since writing the book.
A Year Without A Name is a snapshot of various moments throughout the time when Cyrus Dunham was exploring their gender and their body identity. These snapshots go from his childhood to the present time in the book and it’s very circular. It’s not a book that’s easy to understand right away because it deals with a lot of dissociation form the moment and also emotional trauma. Dunham takes us back to the time in their childhood when they tried to fit into being a girl and the feeling of failing at that because they did not identify as a girl. Then the feeling of having to choose between being a woman or a man in the present, along with everything that comes with that decision.
For me it was very valuable to learn about the experience of struggling with gender identity through Dunham’s point of view. It is amazing how they managed to translate those feelings and thoughts as they were happening and construct a memoir around those moments in time.
In the Q&A Dunham talked a bit about how they like to write into questions and not necessarily answers. That is exactly what A Year Without a Name is, it is an exploration into questions. Questions about gender, about the role of people in a world built around a gender binary, about the relationship of our selves and our bodies. It made me question my own relationships and not necessarily have answers but simply explore those questions for myself. The quotation at the beginning of this post embodies that idea that each individual should be able to explore and experiment however they like, try certain ideas, beliefs, identities, for themselves and see what fits and what doesn’t. We don’t have to have answers or the expectation of an answer when we explore our bodies and identities.
If you are looking for a memoir about gender identity exploration definitely check out A Year Without A Name, it is an incredible opportunity to see someone’s experience in their exploration of self, one that is not often in the spotlight.
I finished The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander today and what an amazing work by the author! This book is so well researched and put together that it’s accessible for anyone.
The term mass incarceration refers not only to the criminal justice system but also to the larger web of laws, rules, policies, and customs that control those labeled criminals both in and out of prison.
The New Jim Crow details and tells the story of how the current system of mass incarceration came about in the United States, which affects black men most of all. Alexander takes us back to the beginning of slavery, the “end” of slavery, the start of the Jim Crow era, the “end” of the Jim Crow era, and our current criminal justice system at detail. To go through everything would take a long time but I want to highlight some of the things that impacted me the most, and which I hope will resonate with others as well.
Follow the money! I didn’t know that the reason why the War on Drugs is based a lot on politics and money (not a real worry about people’s health). Politicians, starting with Regan (the War on Drugs creator), made incentives for police departments to pursue the arrests of people for drug possession. If it weren’t for these incentives, the police would have no reason to go looking for people who have drugs as much as they do. All of the raids on homes with no-knock warrants, sending SWAT teams to find drugs and shooting first all come from these incentives. It is in the best interest of the police departments to arrest people for drugs because each arrest gives their department money while other arrests don’t have those same incentives.
Each arrest, in theory, would net a given city or county about $153 in state and federal funding. Non-drug-related policing brought no federal dollars, even for violent crime. As a result, when Jackson County, Wisconsin, quadrupled its drug arrests between 1999 and 2000, the county’s federal subsidy quadrupled too.
The Lockdown p.98
Say now that someone is arrested. The sentencing for drug offenses is just illogical and it’s all based on politicians wanting to not be seen as “soft on crime” so they implement “3 strikes and you’re out” laws or minimum mandatory sentencing. For example:
Because [Edward] Clary had been caught with more than fifty grams of crack (less than two ounces), the sentencing judge believed he had no choice but to sentence him — an eighteen-year-old who had no criminal record — to a minimum of ten years in federal prison.
The Color of Justice p.141
The fact is, even after people who are arrested get out of prison, they are still under the really impossible situation that they are now labeled a “criminal”. They have to check that box saying that they have a criminal record and can’t apply for a myriad of things, including government aid for housing, food stamps, some licenses for certain jobs, and even voting is restricted.
One parent barred from voting due to his felony conviction put it this way: “I have no right to vote on the school referendum that … will affect my children. I have no right to vote on how my taxes is going to be spent or used, which I have to pay whether I’m a felon or not, you know? So basically I’ve lost all voice or control over my government … I get bad because I can’t say anything because I don’t have a voice.”
The Cruel Hand pg.201
There are so many heartbreaking stories within the pages of this book, from arrests to sentencing to life in prison, to life after prison, it’s just a lot! I just touched on a few things that Alexander dives deep into throughout the book so I highly recommend that you read it if this is of interest to you. Alexander leaves us with some thoughts on how this system could potentially be changed. The bottom line is that it’s not an easy thing to fix. It can’t be fixed with a law or a presidential signature. It will require a complete change in the thinking of a majority of our society. We can’t keep ignoring and turning off the news when black people are obviously being treated like second-hand citizens. We can all help in different ways for there are many things to do, from small acts of kindness to participating in social justice activism. The least we can do is inform ourselves of what is happening with the criminal justice system so that we can see past the political gestures of being “hard on crime” for what they are, reinforcements of the current system.
I highly recommend this book as well as the documentary 13th, which also talks about the system of mass incarceration and also features Michelle Alexander as one of the experts. I leave you with that full film (available for free on Youtube) and hope you’ll be interested in getting informed about these issues.
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland is such a wonderful book. It features four queer characters: Eva, Celeste, Steph, and Gina. They started a band called Moonlight Overthrow in high school that became incredibly successful to the point of having world tours and Grammy wins as well as a large fandom. For various reasons the band breaks up and each of them go their own way. Eva goes off to college while still writing songs for other artists, Celeste is now a big pop star giving world tours, Gina is an actress working on movies for Netflix, and Steph is simply back in their hometown with their family. The four of them were best of friends but now they don’t talk and haven’t seen each other since their breakup. Not only that, Eva and Celeste’s relationship ran much deeper and now they are both heartbroken and trying to move on. When a storm ravages their hometown they all decide to come back together for one concert to raise money for the town and perhaps, in the process, repair their friendships.
In this book we go back and forth between the time when the band was together to the present time when they are organizing and rehearsing for their concert. We also get a look into the fandom via tumblr posts and chats between fans of Moonlight Overthrow. It was a very cool way of seeing the importance of the band to not just the band members but also the rest of the world.
For me my favorite character was Steph, they are non-binary, uses they/them pronouns and is pansexual. They had the hardest time while in the band because it was basically marketed as a “girl” band and Steph wasn’t out about being non-binary so that was very difficult for them to be themself while touring with the band. Seeing the whole situation from their perspective was interesting and I identified with them because of their sense of duty to their family. That feeling that we need to be there for our family first and foremost even if that means putting our own dreams aside sometimes. Additionally, this was the first book I’ve read with a non-binary main character and it really helped me practice using they/them pronouns more. I think for that reason alone I will remember this book for a long time and it will also push me to read more books with non-binary characters since it is important to me to be able to naturally change to/from they/them as I do from he to she and vice versa.
Another cool thing about this book that I loved was the love of music. Eva is a very talented songwriter, since the band’s breakup she has been writing songs for other artists and those songs have been at the top of the charts. The way she talks about music and truly loves creating melodies and writing songs is clearly felt through Moreland’s writing. That being said, I’m so so sad that I can’t listen to Moonlight Overthrow’s songs! I actually imagined a lot of their music like that of BTS + Taylor Swift + Demi Lovato. With catchy melodies, amazing lyrics, and out-of-this-world vocals, simply amazing! (OMG can you imagine that collaboration?!)
All in all, this book is about fandoms, chosen family, friendship, queer love, and the love and magic that music brings to people.
I recommend this book to anyone who is part of a fandom, anyone who loves their friends like family, and anyone interested in reading a book with LGBTQ+ representation.
What is your current favorite band/artist/song? Let me know in the comments!
I have books on my bookshelves that I haven’t read yet but I acquired a long time ago and still need to read. An even bigger list is housed in my Goodreads account though, currently I have 1161 books listed there that I’ve marked “Want To Read” and they go all the way back to 2010! It is fair to say that in the past 11 years my reading interests have probably changed so it is very likely that I will not be actually wanting to read all of those books anymore. In this post I will take ten random books from my Want To Read list from Goodreads and decide if I want to keep them or if I need to remove any of them. I will also be adding one of those (from whatever is left, if anything) to my list of books to read next. Also, I’ve taken inspiration from Tanja’s Bookish Memory check as inspiration for this post. I hope to do this once a month since it’ll be a fun way to get to some of those older books in my list.
Here’s the list of the 10 books I will either keep or remove! Any guesses as to which will go vs not?
The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich: I added this book in 2018 so not TOO long ago… This book is the eighth installment in Erdrich’s multi-generational stories about the long-lasting effects of colonialism on Ojibwe peoples and communities. I’ve so far read Tales of Burning Love (fifth installment) so it’s not necessary to read them in order I don’t think. I love Erdrich’s writing, she does an amazing job capturing emotions and just immersing you into the story. You really feel like you know the characters. This particular novel is centered around a rare moose skin and cedar drum created by an Ojibwe artisan, we follow the history of this instrument and all the lives it has touched throughout its existence. So that’s an easy keep. NOTE: It was just announced today that she won the Pulitzer prize for her book The Night Watchman!
The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini: This book was added in 2015 and I didn’t remember anything about why I would have added right away. So looking at the synopsis this book is about a man who doesn’t seem to have much going for him in his small town in the Midwest. All of a sudden he realizes that he has the ability to grow limbs back (wonder how he realizes that…) and he goes on a hero’s journey to save a woman form her abusive husband. Back in 2015 I was very into horror and gore films so I can see why I would have added this book. Looking at it now I am not as interested in reading this so it will be removed.
In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination by Margaret Atwood: I know why I added this right away, Margaret Atwood. I love her writing and I probably didn’t even look at the synopsis before adding this book to my list. Looking at the synopsis now I am still very much interested! So this book is nonfiction and it is an exploration of the science fiction genre, it includes various essays on the subject as well as her reviews on various works of science fiction by authors like Ursula LeGuin, Aldous Huxley, Kazuo Ishiguro, etc. This is one of those books I like to read from time to time that aren’t exactly a story but an analysis of something that will help me understand more about why things are the way they are. Very nerdy, I’ll be keeping this one.
People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry: Well, I just added this book the other day! I’ve been venturing more into the romance/contemporary genre in the past couple of years (like one or two books a year hahaha) and this one seemed like fun! Basically two best friends have taken a vacation every year no matter what, but at one point they had a falling out and haven’t seen each other since. One of them wants to try and have another vacation with them to see if they can repair the friendship (and maybe something more can blossom?) So yeah, I’ll definitely keep it!
Plague of the Dead by Z.A. Recht: Ha! This is from my zombie obsession days! Back in 2012 I was watching all things zombie but hadn’t ventured into zombie books. This is a book about a virus that spreads and turns people in to zombies, a military strategist pairs up with a journalist to try to combat the plague and well, that’s it! If books were food this would be junk food, not a great nourishing read but maybe fun? The thing that has made me decide to remove it though is that it is part of a 5 book series soooo no time for that! If it ever comes across and I have Nothing else to read I might pick it up. For now I shall remove it.
A Person of Interest by Susan Choi: I don’t remember why I would have added this book honestly. It is a mystery thriller which is a genre I don’t really read at all. The book is about Professor Lee, a mathematician, who is all of a sudden in the FBI’s suspect list as a suspected bomber. It seems like the only reason for the suspicion is that Prof Lee is seemingly not affected by the attack. I’m sure that the book might be more complicated than that with twists and turns buuuut I’m not very interested in the genre right now so I’ll remove it.
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan: Ah well… umm yes, the Percy Jackson series! I wanted to read these at some point but then I saw the movies and then I wasn’t interested anymore? In fact, my sister just got the first book of the series because she wants to read them but I’m still not super interested. This is actually the third installment in the series so I’ll be removing all the books from the series except for the first one. That way I can grab the book from my sister whenever and read that one and decide then if I want to continue.
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton: A children’s book! I really do like reading children’s books from time to time and this one just looks wonderful. It features a diverse group of American women who have made a difference in their respective fields. It talks about Harriet Tubman, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, and Sonia Sotomayor, among many others! I would still like to read and have this book so I will keep it.
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr: I added this book the same year it came out, a nonfiction book about Silicon Valley, the world of automation mixed with science, philosophy, and ethics. While it is very much still a big topic today and one that I’m still interested in, I wonder if this book will be outdated (seeing how fast technology moves nowadays). I’m inclined to remove it and if I still want to read a book on the topic I’m sure there will be more current books on the subject that I can find.
Collected Stories by Gabriel García Márquez: Gabriel García Márquez is a Colombian author and I really want to read his most famous novels “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera” first. This particular book is a collection of 26 of his short stories and it would be awesome to have this in my library at some point but even though it’s not a high priority for me right now, I’ll keep it in the list.
Out of the 10 books I will be keeping 5/10! As I mentioned I will be adding one of these books to my immediate list of books to read and I will simply pick the oldest book which is…. ha! Collected Stories by Márquez! The one I said wasn’t a high priority is now a high priority! I will be looking for the Spanish edition next so I’ll likely be reading it in July!
What a fun twist at the end there XD
Anyways, this was a great thing to do with my Goodreads Want To Read list because I was getting a bit worried that it’s too big and quite unrealistic, especially since I keep adding books almost every day! If there are any books that I’ve removed but you feel strongly that I should have kept, let me know! And vice versa 😀
How many books do you have in your Goodreads Want To Read (or general Want To Read list)? I certainly didn’t think I had that many but I’m also not surprised that that many would be removed the first time around.
Happy Friday and I hope you have a happy weekend full of wonderful reading!
When I was in middle school in Mexico I went to a private all-girls school and one of my classmates was blind. She was one of the smartest people in the class and as far as I can remember, she participated in just about every activity we had with just some assistance from the teacher. I can’t quite remember how it happened but there was a news story about her and her achievements in school and she tried to make her case to the interviewer that what she really needed to further succeed was a computer for blind people. I remember that she was upset later because when the news came out there was no mention about the computer, just a lot of praise and amazement that she was blind and yet she was doing so well in school. Now I understand that the interviewer and the media only wanted that feel good story but didn’t care to further help her with what she truly needed. I also understand now that she was probably one of the more fortunate blind people in Mexico, able to get an education at a private school with teachers who seemed to be able to help her as best as they could. Otherwise, I would encounter blind people in the subway, singing, playing an accordion while someone led them through the crowded aisles. I now have more of a perspective on how it wasn’t a consequence of their lack of sight that led them to beg in the street but because of society’s lack of support.
In Disability Visibility I was able to learn about many other types of disabilities and the people who live with them. How they live, how they try and thrive in a world that doesn’t seem to care much about them. It’s a book about the realities and not about feel good stories, like the one told about my middle school friend. I loved the diversity of people that we hear from, we hear from men, women, non-binary people, queer, straight, trans people, and more! To try to summarize all of that here would be impossible but trust me that throughout this book you get to meet many amazing people and learn about what they’ve been through and what they hope to accomplish. Alice Wong put together a great array of stories and you can also see more of her work at the Disability Visibility Project website.
As I finished each story I went to see what the author was doing now or to learn more about them and their endeavors. I also stopped a lot to think about what I had just read, to process and let it sink in. These are not easy stories to read, in fact, quite a few of them have content warnings at the beginning of each story so it makes it easier to read carefully.
There were some stories in the book that really did blow my mind in the sense that if disabled people were given all the resources that they needed to thrive, they would be able to contribute so much to society! Specifically I think of the story by Wanda Díaz-Merced, which is actually a TED talk that was transcribed for the book. Wanda Díaz-Merced is an astrophysicist who lost her sight late in her career, but she managed to find a different way to study space and one that ended up giving more information to scientists than by just visual means. As non-disabled people we think that there are only so many ways to do things in our lives, but in fact, there are many ways to do things. If we can be more open minded, there really would be endless possibilities! These aren’t stories of people doing things despite their disability, these are stories of people using all of themselves to live their life as best as they can and fight for what they believe in.
I highly encourage non-disabled people to read this book. There are endless social aspects that affect people with disabilities, from public transportation, architecture, scientific research, legal rights, etc., but where they are not given a thought. I realized for example, my house is not accessible to people who use wheelchairs! My workplace does not have an elevator to the second floor! We can at least start noticing and asking for the people in charge to make things accessible to disabled people around us. And even more importantly, we can empathize with their stories and the obstacles that are put in their lives and help remove those obstacles as best as we can.
I finished Eternals by Neil Gaiman today! It was a very different kind of read for me because I don’t normally read comics. This was a compilation of the seven volumes that came out in 2006-2007. However, the original Eternals comics were written by Jack Kirby back in 1976. The reason I picked this particular comic is because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming out with an adaptation of the Eternals and since I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman’s works it seemed like the obvious place to start for me.
The Eternals are 100 beings that were created by the Celestials. The Celestials are another type of being that came from outer space and basically started out a kind of experiment on Earth where they examined an ape-like creature (precursor to humans), played around with its genetic material and created what would be the perfect being, one that wouldn’t age, would have special powers, and would live to protect the experiment that they were setting up. On the other hand they created the Deviants, who had an unstable genome, were prone to constant mutations, and which created deformed beings that were not ideal.
In this particular set of comics we find that the Eternals have forgotten that they are immortal and that they have superpowers. They are living like normal human beings as medical students, party organizers, scientists, and even gardeners. One of the Eternals, Ikaris, does remember and is trying to get others to do the same since there’s some trouble brewing. We also get a peek at how the superhero world is doing, there is now mandatory registration for superheroes and even a superhero reality competition!
Another thing that was very interesting to me was the philosophy and theories on the origin of life on Earth. Of course there are multiple theories on how intelligent life came about but the one saying that it came about from outer space is a very popular one. While we can have many theories regarding the origins of life, it is something that we might never really know for sure how it happened. These comics give a possible answer of these Celestials, scientists in their own way, setting up various experiments in what might be many different worlds (can’t imagine they’d only do it once on Earth), and seeing what happens. It was also cool to see the flashbacks to how the Eternals interacted with ancient civilizations, from Egypt to Greece to Mexico and how they were basically the gods in those ancient civilizations. That in itself made me curious to go and read the other installments of these comics.
The characters were interesting but I did feel like there was less character development than I expected and I’m not sure if it is because of the format of the story (comic vs novel) or if it has to do with the fact that I haven’t read all the other comics featuring these characters. That being said, there were some characters that I did like right away, like Thena and Zura. Thena is a scientist in her human life and actually is creating some weapons for the government while Zura is a homeless man who is lost in his mind. After they remember that they are Eternals they awake other characteristics, like confidence, leadership, and determination to figure out what they need to do next.
The artwork was wonderful, I loved all the colors and the intensity that Romita was able to bring to each scene and each character. I also loved the fonts that were used in different panels to show that some characters are probably talking in different languages or are speaking telepathically. It was very intuitive and just a great addition to the experience.
I mentioned previously that I’m changing my rating system and well, there isn’t one! Ha! I realized that rating systems aren’t particularly consistent unless I stick to a specific type of book or genre or even author. And so what I will be doing now is talking more about who I’d recommend read the book. Sort of a “if you like this you might like this” etc.
Overall I really enjoyed this comic, like I said, I’d like to check out the other installments involving the Eternals at some point as well. I would recommend this collection of comics to anyone who wants a background on who the Eternals are in preparation for the Marvel movie. I’d also recommend it to people interested in a very different kind of superhero story since the Eternals are not self-described superheroes. Their priorities are definitely different than the Avengers’ so it’s a really interesting perspective.
Do you read comics regularly? Are you a fan of the MCU?
Imagine a flat world that lies on top of four elephants, which are standing on top of a turtle, which is flying through space. That’s the Discworld! A fantasy world created by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, known for his satirical novels
In 2011 I discovered the works by Terry Pratchett via a friend of mine who recommended them to me. The Discworld series intrigued me because it was not a straightforward series. It requires a map, a guide, an order. I’m sure that when the works came out since 1983 people simply read the next book as they came out so one can definitely read them in the order that they were published. However, my friend shared a map/guide with me that has been super helpful in figuring out which book to read next. From that guide (which I can’t actually find anymore because it’s outdated) I created the following guide for myself:
So in the image above you can see that I separated each group of novels and was marking when I owned a book (first bullet) and when I finally read the book (second bullet). There are also some floating short stories and novellas that are connected to some of the groups of novels but are not really their own book (as far as I know). I actually checked out “A Blink of the Screen” from the library and read all the short stories from there. My goal is to buy it eventually since it does have some cool illustrations. It is now 2021 and I’m nowhere near done buying or reading all the books in the series!
As you can see the guide is now updated with all the released novels and some of the group novel titles have also been changed from what I had previously. Depending on your interests you could easily just read one group of novels or jump around depending on what you’re interested in reading. I’ll try to summarize each group of novels a bit:
Science Novels: These books are really about the science of our own round planet Earth as seen through the eyes of some of the Discworld characters. These do not follow the other characters’ stories although there is a plot throughout while they teach the reader about the science of our world. (Not a good place to start!)
Rincewind Novels: The Rincewind novels are called that because we follow a wizard named Rincewind. He’s a bit of a clumsy guy who most of his peers think is more trouble than is worth. Unwillingly, Rincewind tends to get into a lot of trouble and into the strangest of situations! I started my Discworld journey with The Colour of Magic although now I know that the author considers Sourcery a better place to start (even though it’s the third one chronologically in the story… curious). So far this group of novels is the one I have read the most of and it is also the largest group of novels. Definitely a good place to start!
Industrial Revolution: I haven’t read any of these yet but these novels have to do with technological advancements in the Discworld and how the characters (who are technologically at a medieval level) react to such advancements. For the most part these take place in the main city of Ankh-Morpork. (Also not a good place to start!)
Watch Novels: I’ve read the first of this group of novels and it was so so funny! All of these books tend to have me laughing but this one was just excellent. It follows what would be the police force of the city of Ankh-Morpork and how they deal with crime and enforcing all the laws (or not). This is also a good place to start!
Death Novels: These are my favorite novels hands down. We follow the character of Death, a personification of death, as they go around doing the job of meeting people at the end of their lives and showing them the way into the next thing. Death’s dialogue is always in CAPS so it gives you a sense of their presence in the page. These novels are philosophical but with a tongue in cheek type of dialogue. Funny, heartfelt, I just love them! A great place to start too!
Tiffany Aching Novels: I haven’t read any of these novels but if you follow the publication dates, these novels started to come out in 2001, almost 20 years after the start of the Discworld series. For that reason alone I’d say these novels would best be read after reading at least one of the other Starter novels or a whole group of novels so that you have good knowledge of the world. I haven’t bought any of those yet and I think I’ll probably read them nearer the end of my journey through Discworld.
Ancient Civilizations: I can’t explain how excited I am to get to these novels. These two novels are about ancient mythologies of the Discworld, one of the books is reminiscent of ancient Egypt while the other is generally about religion and philosophy. The adjacent short story in this group of novels, “Death And What Comes Next,” is a conversation between Death and a philosopher, it is available online here and I honestly recommend it without any need of reading any of the Discworld novels (read it! takes 5 mins! trust me!)
Witches Novels: This is my second favorite group of stories. We follow a group of witches who are probably the most sensible characters in all the novels I’ve read so far. They can use magic but choose not to and work as healers in the Discworld. These are a good place to start!
So as you can see, the Discworld can be enjoyed from many different perspectives. If you want to follow wizards, Death, witches, or just stay within science and philosophy, there’s something for you. One of my favorite things about these novels are actually the footnotes! These are 9/10 a source laughter and I always look forward to getting to the next footnote as I read. British humor and satire are the style of these fantasy novels (plus a lot of puns!) I hope you’re able to read and enjoy the Discworld!
Let me know if you’ve already ventured into the Discworld or which of the different novel groups grabbed your attention!
June is here! We are almost half way through the year and it seems to me like yesterday was barely March? Anyways… last month I read 6 books! This coming month I am not sure how many I will actually finish but here are the ones I’m currently working on:
The Stand by Stephen King: This book is about a pandemic… (I know, I know). It centers a couple of different characters who live around the United States and it’s about they try to survive. As with most Stephen King books there is a supernatural aspect to it but we haven’t gotten to that part yet. I’m reading this as a buddy read with a friend from high school. It’s more than 1000 pages long (as are most of King’s books) and we are going slow, about 200 pages a month. We are currently reading to page 253 and I’m on page 150. So far I’m really enjoying the characters that King has chosen to follow although I’m left wondering ….where are all the people of color?!
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander: I’m reading this book for a book club with fellow Questbridge Alumni. This book is a non-fiction work that describes how the current mass incarceration system came about. Why are there so many black men targeted for arrests? What does the War on Drugs have to do with it? Is the system racist? Yes! So then, why can’t it just be changed? All these questions are answered throughout the book with very thorough explanations and evidence. I’m on page 137 of 329 and I’ve already learned a lot. This is one that I’m annotating left and right (so much so that I have finished one of my highlighters!). There’s a lot to learn so if anything, this is just the start of my own education. I will finish this by the end of June since that’s when we have our monthly meeting.
Disability Visibility by Alice Wong: I got this non-fiction book as part of the Feminist Book Club subscription box! It’s a great subscription box if you’re interested in social justice and intersectional feminism. Anyways, the book is a collection of essays by disabled people from all aspects of life. There are lawyers, artists, mothers, students, activists, etc. This book is very eye opening and has given me a lot to think about, in terms of language, accessibility, and just stereotypes and biases I have about disabled people. I’m on page 164 of 309 and I’ve been stopping and learning more about the people in the book as well as checking my own responses to each story. Again, a lot to learn here! I will also finish this book this month because the next book comes next week!
Reinas Malditas by Cristina Morató: I’m reading this book as part of a book club with my friends from Mexico (though we have people tuning in from Canada, Texas, and various parts of Mexico City). This book is in Spanish and it tells the stories of various royalty figures in history, including Empress Sisi, Mary Antoinette, Queen Victoria, etc. All of these women had difficult lives trying to fit into the roles that they were put into (very few chose to become Queen of X place). So far we have read about Empress Sisi and I was not impressed with the writing. It reads more like a TMZ article than a serious biography so I’m not exactly trusting of the author based on that. So far I’m on page 120, learning about Mary Antoinette’s childhood, better than Sisi’s chapters so far! Since we read about 150 pages per month, you’ll keep hearing about this one for a while yet.
So those are the books I’m currently reading slow and steady, two will be finished way past the month of June. There are more books I want to read as well, these are lighter reads that I think I can read a bit more quickly:
Eternals by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by John Romita Jr: In preparation for the Eternals Marvel movie I wanted to read the comic it’s based on. With most other Marvel movies it’s hard to read the comic because it could span so many and they could take inspiration from so many different comics (plus the multiverse and oh my). But with Eternals I was happy to find that it’s all compiled into one volume, it’s about 200 pages and it collects volumes 1-7 of the original comics. I don’t know much about the plot and that’s okay by me!
The Sandman Omnibus Vol 1 by Neil Gaiman: Another Neil Gaiman on my list! This is also in preparation for The Sandman series that is in the works by Netflix. This comic follows Morpheus, the Lord of the Dreaming and his interactions with various gods, humans, and other mythical creatures. I have had this giant book for a few years now and haven’t read it because…. well… if I’m honest, it’s intimidating! This is easily the heaviest book I own. It is 1040 pages so not the longest but because it’s high quality comic book pages all in color well, you can imagine! I am super excited to read it though and then I will need to get Vol 2… gulp.
Supernova by Marissa Meyer: The third and final installment of the Renegades series! The series is about a group of superheroes who are trying to enact order on a city that’s been previously victim of a lot of conflicts between superheroes and villains (to the detriment of all the powerless humans). We follow a villain and her quest to get rid of the superheroes who just try to solve everything with their powers. She’s infiltrated their ranks and gotten super close to many of the superheroes so at this point she’s super conflicted. (As are some of the superheroes!) I’ve been enjoying this series and can’t wait to see how it ends.
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan: This is the third installment of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. I’ve read the other two books in the past two years or so. I kind of like to spread these out a bit, kind of like candy. Not sure what to say about this without spoilers but basically we follow a group of very wealthy people, there’s romance, there’s drama, there’s a lot of name and brand dropping. Basically a whole other world from mine XD (Talk about escape!)
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland: A stand alone debut novel about friendship, rock bands, and queer romance! Need I say more? Okay okay I’ll say more. We follow Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph who are members of Moonlight Overthrow, a band that’s become super popular. With the rise in fame plus a romance with two of the band members the band is in trouble of falling out! A storm that ravages their town forces them to get it together and find out just how strong their friendship really is. I learned about this book because the author and I graduated from the same college (albeit different years so I don’t think we ever overlapped.)
And that’s it! HA It might be a lot but since the comics should read fairly fast so I’m hoping that I can get through all the books mentioned. With the heat starting up here in sunny San Diego I expect I’ll spend quite a bit of time reading on the porch in the evenings.
Have you read any of the books mentioned above? What are you most excited to read in June? Do you have a favorite spot where you read during the summer months?