shinyjenni: Alicia from The Good Wife, seen from behind, wearing a red coat, in front of a wall of bookshelves (alicia books)
incorrigibly frivolous ([personal profile] shinyjenni) wrote2016-02-01 10:55 am

Books and comics read in January 2016

Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Gotham Academy: Welcome to Gotham Academy
Dragon Haven - Robin Hobb
Companion Piece: Women Celebrate the Humans, Aliens and Tin Dogs of Doctor Who ed LM Myles and Liz Barr
The Pulse: Thin Air
Ms Marvel: Crushed
The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects - Deborah Lutz
A Man Lies Dreaming - Lavie Tidhar
Good Times, Bad Times: The Welfare Myth of Them and Us - John Hills
We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Resistance is Futile - Jenny T. Colgan
Ms Marvel: Last Days
The Pulse: Secret War
The Pulse: Fear

Gotham Academy: Welcome to Gotham Academy
This was a delight. It was a really good first volume, establishing the characters and setting, and giving them a mystery to solve whilst also setting up some overarching plot threads to follow up in later volumes, and I'm looking forward to more. I especially loved the tiny dynamo of unselfconscious enthusiasm that was Maps. ♥ (That scene where she's all dressed up in her suit to take her roommate to the dance! BEST.) Highly recommended.

Dragon Haven
It feels a little weird talking about this book, as it's the second book in a four-book sequence and the eleventh book set in the same world (the first being Assassin's Apprentice; I highly recommend this series if you're looking for a huge epic fantasy series with lots of feelings in it, and also dragons and boats and magic and whatnot), but I did just want to acknowledge how happy I was about it. I struggled a bit with the preceding volume, because basically no one liked each other, but this book really fixed that! While it's not exactly happy time everyone is friends now, the relationships have all developed in a really interesting way, friendships have begun to form, and also there was an m/m romance that I really loved both in its own right and because of what it did for one of the characters in it: helping him to be a better person and to be brave enough to fix his friendship with another character. ♥

Companion Piece
I really enjoyed this essay collection! While I didn't agree or get on with every part of every essay, I loved seeing such a multiplicity of different views. Highlights included [personal profile] purplefringe's love letter to Romana I (KROLL KROLL KROLL KROLL KROLL), the pieces on Harry and Turlough (two polar opposite characters of whom I am very fond), the the essay on Bernice Summerfield and narrative control, and the one on Barbara and other companions of her type. Plus I am ALWAYS here for defences of a) Polly in general and b) her making coffee in The Moonbase in particular. Overall, this book really exacerbated my desire to watch the whole classic series in order again. /o\

The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects
This was a fascinating exploration of the lives (and times - I especially enjoyed reading about the fern craze of the 1850s/60s) of the Brontë sisters, through the prism of nine objects, eight of which they definitely owned and one of dubious provenance, which Lutz uses to talk about their afterlife. It was really engagingly written, and although I didn't do a scientific survey, I feel like Lutz frequently referred to female authorities (Gaskell, Woolf, Lucasta Miller, Gilbert and Gubar etc), which I appreciated.

Resistance is Futile
Excellent sf romance! It starts out fairly light and fluffy, but ends up tackling ideas of morality, consequences and the needs of the many. With aliens and maths. I liked the leads a lot, and the supporting cast were also pretty great - my favourite was blunt queer genius mathematician Evelyn Prowtheroe. ♥

The Pulse: Fear
I loved this comic - it was so kind. Highlights included Carol taking a pregnant Jessica to meet Sue Storm for lunch, so she could talk to another superhero mother; the people in the crowd outside where Jessica was giving birth who were holding up signs saying "Good Luck" and "We <3 U Jessica"; and oh, Jessica's first meeting with Luke Cage. ♥ ♥ ♥ The first two volumes in this series were pretty meh for a variety of reasons, but I am so glad I stuck with it. (I was less fond of the New Avengers annual which closed out the volume, but it had some nice moments.)

Didn't finish:
(NB I made a vague resolution to spend less time this year on books that I wasn't that into, even if there wasn't anything really wrong with them, so this section may be longer this year than last. Basically I read a lot of three star books last year and while I don't 100% regret any of them, I do wish I'd read more four and five star ones.)

Black Wolves - Kate Elliott. I didn't exactly dislike this book, but I didn't exactly like it either, and it was SO slow. Goodreads reviews suggest it picks up about a third of the way through, but it's a long book and I was too bored and frustrated to force myself to slog through another hundred odd pages on the off chance that I'd start loving it. D:

Astro City: Life in the Big City. I don't really have any concrete criticisms of this (other than it being pretty dude-heavy), I just wasn't really enjoying reading it, so I stopped.

A short story I enjoyed this month:
The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan, in which Peter Pan is recruited into the Secret Service.

[identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com 2016-02-03 02:25 am (UTC)(link)
I've had trouble getting into Astro City, too. I really wanted to like it, but I didn't finish Life in the Big City, and the one about the Wonder Woman expy (Astro City: Victory) was just okay.

How was The Pulse? I remember trying to read it after I finished Alias, but something was wonky with the layouts on Marvel Unlimited and I couldn't get it to work and I've never really gone back to see if it got fixed.
ext_23287: (silk)

[identity profile] shinyjenni.livejournal.com 2016-02-03 09:14 am (UTC)(link)
I really liked the premise, but yeah, the execution just didn't click for me. Oh well!

I read The Pulse on Marvel Unlimited and didn't noticed any formatting issues, so maybe they've fixed it? The third volume I loved, but the first two not so much: Jessica didn't seem very Jessica-y in volume 1 (and after many volumes of Ultimate Spider-Man I'm really tired of Bagley's art); volume two was better in both respects, but it was a Secret War tie in, so the plot wasn't actually resolved and lots of it didn't make sense. :/ I was pleased I'd stuck with it because vol 3 was so good, but the other two are definitely skippable.

[identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com 2016-02-04 01:29 am (UTC)(link)
Good to know, thanks! Would the plot make sense if I just skipped forward to volume 3?
ext_23287: (she was my friend)

[identity profile] shinyjenni.livejournal.com 2016-02-04 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
I think so! Stuff from the previous volumes comes up at one point, but iirc it's all explained pretty well in dialogue.

[identity profile] ladymercury-10.livejournal.com 2016-02-05 12:52 am (UTC)(link)
Cool, thanks!