The photos go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.
OMG AWESOME EPISTOLARY SCIENCE FICTION!!!!!!!!!
I tore through GEMINA [Amazon] fast as ever I could, which proved to be pretty fast because it's as absorbing as it is lengthy. THERE IS SO MUCH COOL SHIT IN HERE, Y'ALL. SO MUCH. I GEEKED THE HELL OUT OVER IT. NOW I WANT TO GUSH ABOUT IT AD NAUSEUM, BUT ALL THE STUFF I MOST WANT TO ZOMG OVER IS SUPER SPOILERISH SO I'LL RESIST THE URGE.
I will tell you it shifts the action to Heimdall Station and follows different characters than ILLUMINAE did, so don't go expecting a slew of familiar faces right off the bat.
It'll also leave you eager for the grande finale.
I geeked out just as hard over JULIET TAKES A BREATH by Gabby Rivera [Amazon | Scribd], but in a totally different way. It's such a true book, y'know? Juliet is a young lesbian from the Bronx who comes out to her family mere hours before she hops on a plane to spend the summer interning with her favourite feminist author in Portland. She has this gloriously messy, complicated, intersectional journey as she encounters a passel of new ideas and struggles to figure out how she fits into the world.
Part of me wants to tell you everything about it, but most of me wants to mull it over inside my own head. So I'm gonna urge you to pick it up if you have any interest in contemporary fiction, and leave it at that.
Now I'm even more excited to see what Rivera does with Marvel's AMERICA next year.
I finished THE PROMISE OF CANADA (which I showed y'all last week) and tried to settle in with a book about progressive approaches to disability in Canada. I chose it from the library's New & Noted section because it had disabled contributors, but the introduction made it pretty clear the text was aimed solely at able-bodied people and that the disabled writers only got a slice of the first chapter each.
I actually started this one so long ago that I didn't even have to shell out a Scribd credit for it. It's a fabulous collection of Walker's essays (following IN SEARCH OF OUR MOTHERS' GARDENS), and I was most happy to devour the last hundred pages on Wednesday evening.
I might sample Walker's poetry next.
Please note how I managed to make Murchie pose nicely with the book but failed to get him anywhere near good light. Dammit, winter.
My dip into HARDBOILED WONDERLAND AT THE END OF THE WORLD didn't go so well, but I'm enjoying Haruki Murakami's AFTER DARK [Amazon | Scribd Audio]. It blends the everyday with the really fucking weird, and I appreciate that all the women have their own shit to do. I struggled to find audio time last week, but if all goes well I'll have finished it by the time you read this.
Moto Hagio's OTHERWORLD BARBARA [Amazon] made a wonderful stopgap while I decided which title from my prose stack I wanted to read next. This is the first of two large hardcovers from Fantagraphics that collect the complete series, and you can bet I'll be haunting my library's website until they've preordered the second one.
The manga opens with a young girl who lives on a fantastical island called Barbara. People fly, children remain the same age for decades, and nobody ever seems to die, though they're all hyper aware of the war that rages in the outside world. When we zoom out in the second chapter, it turns out Barbara is a narcoleptic girl's dream, visible to observers like the dream pilot who's travelled to her treatment facility to see if he can wake her up.
Except it's not quite so simple as that, and each chapter adds another layer to the mystery. The whole thing is really convoluted and cool, with all sorts of meditations on dreams, families, and the experiences that connect people.
I plucked Teju Cole's KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS [Amazon] out of the library's New & Noted section more or less at random. I wasn't familiar with Cole, but his bio stated he was born in the United States, raised in Nigeria, and widely featured in international venues for both writing and photography.
IE, he sounded pretty durned interesting.
He is. He's also a posh fellow who writes about a large variety of posh things I've never encountered myself, which is probably why he wasn't on my radar. Even though I lack a lot of reference points, his prose is so gorgeous I can't help but want to wallow in it.
As I write this, I've finished the segment on things he's read (most of which were by men, but many of which were by international writers and/or people of colour) and started the one on things he's seen (or heard, as he includes at least one piece on music alongside the essays on film, theatre, painting, and photography). It's fascinating stuff and I look forward to the rest of the collection.
And now for something completely different.
Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson's JUGHEAD reboot [Amazon] is a ton of fun. Juggie's horrified when a new principal takes over Riverdale High and replaces the cafeteria's usual delicious offerings with high-nutrition gruel, and his suspicions rise as further changes come into effect. He hunts for answers, with frequent dream sequences in which his adventures as a knight, a time cop, or a superhero give him the insight he needs to figure out the latest problem he faces in the real world.
There are tons of jokes and clever bits, and Henderson's art is a great fit for these characters. She's especially good at conveying the desperate (yet cartoony) drama that ignites within Jughead's soul when he's gotta eat gruel and/or run obstacle courses.
This volume also contains the issue where Juggie is canonically confirmed as asexual. Hurray for representation!
Also, I think Murchie and Jughead would get along really well since they both like eating beef and sitting on couches without moving.
Next week: Maybe an enormous stack of TWIN SPICA. Probably some historical fantasy and a romance or two.