October rewind part 1

We are over half-way through October and I’ve already read like a crap ton, so I’m going to do a half-way point rewind. This is what I’ve read so far this month.

Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey
This is the second book in the Agent of Hel trilogy. It is set in a small town in Michigan. This little town, Pemkowet, has an active underworld, which basically means that the town is full of magic, wonder, danger, vampires, ghouls, and stuff, and the Norse goddess Hel lives in the underworld there. She has recruited demon-spawn Daisy Johansson to be her liaison with the town, and Daisy works with the police. In this book Daisy’s sort-of-boyfriend Sinclair, is haunted by his family and his heritage in Jamaica. Daisy has to deal with the bullshit his family comes up with and you know, being hell-spawn in modern day America. It’s fun. It’s very cool, and Carey is good at building worlds. Daisy is snarky and cool, and fun. The different mythologies work well together. There’s some unnecessary slut-shaming, which annoyed me, because there is also some very frank and honest discussion about sex, and Daisy’s relationships, but when it comes to Bethany Cassopolis suddenly her choices are wrong? It annoyed me. But overall the book is fun.

Now and Then by Gil Scott-Heron
This is my third poetry collection of the year. Because why not. Poetry is fun. I picked up this because I listen to the podcast “The Smartest Man in the World” by Greg Proops, and he talks about Gil Scott-Heron a lot, so I bought this. Gil Scott-Heron was an American Jazz and Soul poet from the 70s and 80s. Some of his poems are set to music, so some of them read a lot like songs. A lot of his poetry is politically focused on corrupt politicians, and race. I think my favorite poem was The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which is also his best-known composition. It was just so rhythmically beautiful and it was so badass, and the sentence: “The revolution will not be televised” is amazing. The collection was beautiful and tough and thought provoking. It’s awesome.

Sweet Tooth: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire
This is a graphic novel about a young boy named Gus. He’s a hybrid, he’s essentially a boy with deer antlers. He lives in a cabin with his dad. Something awful has happened, presumably a nuclear accident of some sort, everyone is sick, except hybrids like Gus. Gus’ dad has always told him to never, ever, go out of the forest, and never talk to other people. Then his dad dies and a man comes, finds him, and tells him he has to go somewhere else, somewhere safe. And it’s weird, and creepy, and it’s so harsh, and it feels cold and cruel, and it’s great. It’s so great.

Asking for it: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About it by Kate Harding, narrated by Erin Bennett
This is a non-fiction book about Rape Culture, it’s in the title. Okay. So Rape Culture is an expression that describes a cultural setting where rape is pervasive and normalized due to how we view gender roles and sexuality. The book is blunt and no nonsense. She talks about how rape is treated in society, the focus is on western society, because otherwise it would be a massive volume. (Although I would like to read a book about how rape is treated in non-western society as well.) It looks on how fame and power makes it a lot less likely you’ll be arrested or pilloried if you’ve raped someone, see Cosby. It looks at how the discourse is usually focused on the victim and what they should have done, and Kate Harding tries to focus on better ways to talk about rape. How gender roles need to change and how we need to see rape as abhorrent and rapists as abhorrent, instead of seeing “wild women” or women who drink and have consensual sex, as abhorrent. Clearly a lot of people already think this way, but there are people in positions of power, police, lawyers, news anchors, who still think women are wrong, and deserved it. And she also looks at the Internet as both a force for bad and good. It was great. There are awful things described, and it made me sad, but it was amazing. Harding is so honest and great. And the narrator was amazing.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Back to some epic fantasy. The Queen of the Tearling is about a young woman named Kelsea Raleigh. She’s just turned 19, and she is the queen of the Tearling. Her mother died a long time ago, but she has now come of age, so she is brought back from her foster family, to take up the mantle of queen. The kingdom, Tear, is a future, regressed version of earth. The people of America and England crossed… something, some sort of ocean, and they arrived in Tear, their new kingdom. So there are references to pop culture from our world, like Harry Potter, and Shakespeare. And there is a God, the church of Christ. The country is extremely corrupt, Kelsea’s mother was a very ineffective queen, and basically sold off her people to avoid war with a neighboring kingdom. Kelsea isn’t expected to survive long, her uncle, who has been regent, and her countrymen are all planning to kill her, so that’s fun. I liked it. I thought it was an okay fantasy novel. I like Kelsea as a protagonist, she’s very tough, and very dynamic. She also feels very real. She’s described more than once as not very attractive, and that she doesn’t come across very womanly. She obviously has a lot of issues about this, because she’s constantly told she’s homely. And she has some confidence issues. Which I found sort of nice. Which sounds weird, but usually women in these books are described as beautiful, or like they don’t care if they aren’t beautiful, and Kelsea seems more real and normal about it. Also, they’ve announced a movie, with Emma Watson playing Kelsea. And Emma Watson is many things, but unattractive she is not. I wish movies didn’t always choose a beautiful woman, but someone who matched the character in the book. It sounds bitter, but it changes her character if she’s no longer homely. I liked it. The uh… there are very few black characters in the book, and they’re treated… weirdly. They’re written like they’re very exotic and fascinating, and it really annoyed me. It was very weird and unpleasant. Also, they took a bunch of people to Cross to the Tear, but they only brought white people? Or did the other black or people of color travel in another ship which sunk? Because… what? But overall, it’s good.

Før de henter oss by Peter Franziskus Strassegger (Before they come for us)
This is the second book by this author. He’s my sister’s brother-in-law, well, he’s her boyfriend’s brother, but sort of. Anyway, it’s sort of a dystopian novel. It’s… really hard to explain. It’s about this couple, Oskar and Alma, who are old and who live in their old, dirty, grimy, neglected house in a sort of wasteland where the only open shop is a nearby gas station. And there are people coming in cars and getting their neighbors. Oskar seems to have dementia or Alzheimer and Alma looks after him, but since she’s also old she’s not really fit to. The book also tells the story of their courtship from when Alma was a teen, I’m guessing 16-17, and Oskar was a bit older, maybe early twenties. It’s not clear who is coming for them, or what happened to make this place so desolate. It’s so dark, and horrific, and sort of disgusting. It’s very honest and frank, and it’s uncomfortable. And just. I liked it.

Saga, volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
This is an ongoing graphic novel series about two planets who are at war with each other, and two people from opposite sides who fall in love, get married and have a baby. Then they’re hunted around the galaxy. Fun. In this volume, a prince with a TV-head and Marko, one of the hunted couple, are trying to find their families. There are new characters introduced and there’s fun stuff and people trying to collect dragon sperm, because why the fuck not? It’s just a beautiful comic, and I like the plot lines. I like the characters, and I love the art. It’s incredible.

Thor (2007), volume 3 by J. Michael Straczynski/Marko Djurdjevic
This is the last volume in the J. Michael Straczynski run of the Thor comics. Loki’s plans come to fruition and he gets into a nice friendship with Doctor Doom, so that’s nice. I really like the art. They’ve switched artist, but it didn’t make a huge difference. It was fine. The art is still great. I really liked the conclusion to the story. I like Loki’s weird plot, he’s always bringing a sense of fun to his psychotic ideas. So I want to keep going with Thor eventually.