September wrap-up part 1

It’s been two weeks and I’ve finished six things, and I don’t want a massive wrap up, so like last month I will split it up. So this is what I’ve finished so far this month.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies. It covers her life from when she was about three years old until she’s 17. It tells the story of Angelou growing up partly with her grandmother in Stamps Arkansas, and with her mother in St.Louis and San Francisco. It chronicles her pretty tough life, growing up while segregation is still in force. Her grandmother somehow managed to get through the Wall Street crack and actually make money so they were relatively prosperous. Angelou has had a really fascinating life, she was raped when she was 8, her mother’s brothers probably killed her rapist, Angelou was the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Angelou’s prose is gorgeous. For a couple of chapters I sort of forgot she was a real person and it felt more like a novel, and then I had to make myself remember that Angelou is a person. I definitely want to read more of her work, both her autobiographies and her poetry. Mah, I loved it.

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
I did not love this. I sort of made myself finish. Well, not entirely, it was very fast paced and readable. This is about Vivian Gandillion, a 16-year-old loup-garou, or werewolf who lives with her pack in a suburb in Maryland after their old home burned down. Vivian lost her father, the pack leader, in the fire, and sort of blames herself. In Maryland they have to pick a new leader, and they have to raise funds to move somewhere else. It was so melodramatic and so whiny, and Vivian pissed me off, a lot. A lot of her is good, she’s confident, and tough, and gorgeous, and sexual, and she isn’t really shamed for this, which I liked. She can also be really conceited, and she’s way too emotional. I realize she’s a teenager who lost her dad and who can turn into a wolf, but oh my God. She’s like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Anyway. There was instalove, and there were so many tropes and oh good god. And it was wrapped up so simply in the end, after so much happened. GAH!

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
East of Eden is beautiful. Steinbeck is amazing. I will read everything he has written. Anyway. This is a family saga about the Trask family who are doomed to repeat the story of Cain and Abel in generation after generation. It’s also about the Hamilton family, which is modeled on Steinbeck’s mother’s family. It was very interesting, and it was so beautiful, and Steinbeck’s prose is so gorgeous. I wrote a review on this, here.

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan
So I have a weird interest in religion. I say weird because I’m not religious, at all. I just really like the concept. It sounds a bit odd. I like the idea that people make up stories to sort of structure their lives and to police themselves. It makes the social anthropology part of my brain get all excited. I also have a crush on Reza Aslan, because he’s got that hot nerd look. He’s a religious scholar with multiple degrees in religion, and he’s fluent in Ancient Greek. So he wrote a book about Jesus. Not Christ, but the historical figure of Jesus, a zealous Palestinian, Jewish man who was tortured and killed by the Romans because he basically revolted against them. It’s really fascinating, because he shows how Jesus of Nazareth was turned from this rebellious rabble-rouser to the peaceful man who represents the Christian church. How things in the bible are obviously lies, that Jews would have looked at and gone; this would never have happened, but which weren’t meant for Jews, but for the followers of Jesus, who wouldn’t know, but it would make Jesus more “holy” for lack of a better word. It was really cool. I like to read about religion, I like stories, I liked this. I listened to it on audiobook and that was also good.

F*ck! I’m in my Twenties by Emma Koenig
This is a book based on a blog of the same name. It’s basically a tongue in cheek guide to being in your early twenties. It was fun. It was simple. It was very witty, and I definitely recognized a lot of the anxieties and the sense of being lost in a way, and not knowing how to cope with all this responsibility, and the fact that you don’t know where you’re going. Because when you are in college or university you have this plan and you know vaguely what you’re doing, and then suddenly you’re done, and at least for me I didn’t really know what to do next, so I panicked and did another degree, so… that’s nice. Good way to cope with anxiety there. Anyways, it was fun.

The Wicked and the Divine: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles
This is volume two in the Wicked and the Divine graphic novel series. It’s about a pantheon of gods who come back every 90 years, stay on earth for two years, are revered and get all the fans and all the superstardom. So after Luci dies in volume One the main character, Laura, is sort of adrift, and she slowly works her way back to the world of the pantheon, and she decides to find out what happened. It’s very cool in how it looks at fandom, and extremism. The ending, oh mama, the ending. I think the next issues are out, and I almost want to read issues just to know what happens next, but I like reading trades too. You can’t end something like that! Anyway. I like gods, I like the art, it’s gorgeous. MORE!

So this was what I’ve finished so far this month, see you at the end of the month for wrap up number two.