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Kaethe

Kaethe

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We Don't Eat Our Classmates - Ryan T. Higgins

We Don't Eat Our Classmates - Ryan T. Higgins, Ryan T. Higgins

It's impossible for me to choose which of the two books I read today about friend-eating will have the longest or strongest effect. All libraries would be wise to stock both, just in case.

 

Library copy 

Gnomes - Wil Huygen, Rien Poortvliet 

Gnomes - Wil Huygen, Rien Poortvliet

The art is still lovely, but the text is so twee, so folksy and back-to-nature, but also sexist as hell.

 

Library copy 

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover - Sarah MacLean 

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover - Sarah MacLean

Borrows the hero, surprise twist, tragic backstory and all from another of her own books.

Initiates, The: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs - Étienne Davodeau 

Initiates, The: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs - Étienne Davodeau

No surprises: two friends who know nothing about one another's fields spend a year learning and then appreciating their two fields, and the reader learns alongside. There's no drama,  just a slowly developing knowledge and discernment. Because it is a story about middle-aged white French men primarily, it can be hard to grasp the references. It was good, but I remained at a distance and never really felt any emotional attachment.

 

Library copy 

Geraldine - Elizabeth Lilly 

Geraldine - Elizabeth Lilly

More picture book tropes I am over: men in neckties for no discernable reason except gender-marking, and gendered insults like "drama queen". Geraldine loses a point for putting most of the girls in dresses, but I love Geraldine being the only giraffe in her new school, an excellent metaphor for all kinds of visible difference.

 

 

Library Copy

The Quiet Place - Sarah Stewart, David Small

The Quiet Place - Sarah Stewart, David Small

An antidote to the toxic attitude toward immigrants of color right now. As if people of Northern European descent somehow have a more valid claim to American citizenship than indigenous people of the continent. It's like demanding that the UK remain for Romans only. 

 

Set in 1957 the dresses are spot on an appropriate, and matched with mid-century furnishings, signage, and motor vehicles.

 

Library copy

So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo

So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo

Really I don't have any interest in talking about race. What I want is to be a better human in a way that is helpful to other human beings. Oluo is someone I follow on Twitter. Her writing is wonderfully clear and straightforward and also surprisingly kind.  But so practical! Mostly I try to avoid ever talking to anyone about anything, but this book lays out for me concrete times and places and ways to use my privilege to benefit others. Surprisingly kind because withstanding a lifetime of abuse by society should enrage everyone. Our culture is cruel and dehumanizing and grossly unfair, and some days it is all I can do not to run screaming. This is what we have made and it is awful and cruel and murderous. It is prejudiced and short sighted and stupid and it is only the astounding grace and kindness of individuals in the worst moments that make it worthwhile.

I want to make life easier and better and more just for everyone and I thank Oluo for taking the time to share her wisdom and determination and to encourage me forward in the light. Right now feels very dark, so I am grateful to all those who can show me a way forward and give me hope not just that we can do better, but that we will rise up and choose to do better. Sometimes just looking after those closest to me is all I can manage and not even do that well. But more often I can listen, and learn, and witness, and maybe, just a little more, I can speak. And remember, every day that humankind is my business.

 

Library copy

Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir - Tom Hart 

Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir - Tom Hart

So apparently I'm on a sequential art jag: graphic novels and memoirs and history. There's no way a memoir about the time just after the inexplicable death of his very young daughter can not be heartbreaking, but that's certainly not the main emotion I felt on reading this. Of course I felt so sorry for the author and his wife, and a little terrified at the possibility of one of my own children dying, but also something else. Undefinable. It's such a vivid and concrete telling of a few short weeks of the worst kind of grief, and although my own experiences haven't resembled his at all, still, I empathized with every moment. Probably every parent thinks "how does one go on after losing a child?" Tom's particular path, although shared with his wife, is still only his. But it gives an example of how one gets through such a terrible grief.

 

So vivid, and so personal, but he doesn't dwell on the death itself, so I didn't cry until the very end, reading the long list of names of people who helped him through that awful time. I am always moved by the kindness of others.

 

Library copy

Check, Please!: #Hockey - Ngozi Ukazu 

Check, Please!: #Hockey - Ngozi Ukazu

So not a Halloween Bingo book.  The vlogged and tweeted adventures of a Georgia boy on the hockey team of a New England college team. There are hijinks, there is bonding, there is a truly astonishing numbers of pies. And almost entirely angst-free. I'll be enjoying Bittle's further adventures in real time: checkpleasecomic.com

 

Library copy 

Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" - Philip Plait

Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" - Philip Plait

A good book for people like me who haven't studied astronomy in a very long time and could use a refresher. Nice job covering some very common questions and misconceptions. And a fair amount of time debunking non-science of the Young Earth or aliens-among-us or astrology fans.

 

The only reason it took me so long to finish was Halloween Bingo interceded. I spent a month just getting other books out of the way to be ready for my bingo choices. Only to discover that the real horror is willful ignorance.

 

Fair warning, this is sixteen years old, so not exactly cutting edge. There are no gorgeous Hubble depictions of astonishing beauty. (I really like those kinds of books, too)

 

Library copy

Kill Creek - Scott Thomas,Bernard

Kill Creek - Scott Thomas, Bernard Setaro Clark

Sometimes an author creates awful characters and clearly relishes that. Highsmith did that. Most crime novelists do I suppose, either as victim or criminal. Harris' Hannibal Lector is another. What's noir but sexy awful people doing one another in?

 

These main characters are not awful But it feels as if Thomas is filled with contempt for them. There's fat shaming and slut shaming and flyover shaming: what possible horrors can the house hold compared to these?

 

Library copy

Truly Devious for Baker Street Irregulars

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

This is weird and why I consider my own ratings to be bunk: In June I picked this up read the first chapter and abandoned it. Just wasn't what I felt like reading. But it was on the list for Baker Street Irregulars, and I usually like Johnson, so...and I made it to the second chapter and then I was reluctant to put it down. Loved it. So Gothic romance and Nancy Drew and Sherlock and a boarding school too. Nom nom nom. I liked Stevie even as she exasperated me.

 

 By this time seems like I should be better at telling the difference between Not for Me and Not for Now, but no. Midnight in the Garden was probably the first book I picked for this Bingo, and I gave up entirely. Twenty five or so years ago I loved it. Go figure. 

 

Library copy 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2018 update

My card with my bingo and so many cats! The possibility of blacking out my card without a bingo had occurred to me.

 

Calder is unimpressed.

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury for Creepy Carnivals

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

The prologue begins with an opening line reminiscent of A Christmas Carol: "First of all, it was October, a rare time for boys."

 

Forty or so years ago I read this and identified with the boys, of course I did. This time I couldn't. So it was just a bunch of wordplay and monologuing and there was no horror to it anywhere, just an ad for an imaginary place I wouldn't be welcome. He did say some nice things about libraries, though, so I'm giving it a couple of stars.

For Creepy Carnival

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

Chapter thirty-one

 

Nothing much else happened,  all the rest of that night.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 189 out of 416 pages.

The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

It's predictable in some regards, but that isn't bad necessarily: more suspense than horror. The science is poor and the reliance on guns is just stupid when zombies respond to sound. But I quite like Melanie: I'm looking forward to seeing her in a more active role.