January wrap-up part 1 – things I have read

We are halfway through January and I am having my start-of-year related panic, where I feel an intense need to be far ahead in all my goals, so I’m currently an overachiever. Also there have been two read-a-thons, so I’ve read quite a bit.

Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade
Ayoade on Ayoade is a satirical take on director interviews. Richard Ayoade is a movie director. He doesn’t really like interviews, and often comes across sort of perplexed by them. It’s also modelled on famous director interviews. Ayoade basically interviews himself. He makes one Ayoade seem like a brilliant, slightly insane, director, and the other Ayoade seem like a fascinated and frustrated journalist. I don’t think you’ll like it unless you really like Ayoade, and really enjoy his bizarre, off-kilter humour, but I really love him, so I loved it. It’s also full of weird, and very involved footnotes, and it’s amazing.

The Ring Sets Out by J.R.R. Tolkien
I decided, on a whim, that I would read The Lord of the Rings this year. I have a six-part version. The Ring Sets Out is the first half of The Fellowship of the Ring. It ends just as Frodo crosses the river and the Ringwraiths are washed away. I’ve never finished the Lord of the Rings. I don’t know why. I’ve always gotten to like, the end of Two Towers and gotten distracted, because I’m a child. I’m hoping that if I spread it out a bit it’ll be easier to reach the end. I’m making it sound like a chore, it’s not. I really like it. It’s very beautiful, and I like reading a familiar story. I like Frodo, and I like the Strider in the books, I feel like he’s more cheerful than Aragorn in the movies. And he’s… more comfortable with who he is, I think, which I enjoy. There are basically no women. In this first part the only woman of interest is Goldberry, Tom Bombadil’s wife. I knew this going in, but it’s so obvious when you’re aware of it. Dudes everywhere.

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
This is the fourth book in the Fairyland series. It’s not about September, although she does feature in the story. It’s about Hawthorn, who is a troll who was born in Fairyland. To keep up the balance between Fairyland and our world, children are taken from both worlds and become changelings. Hawthorn takes the place of Thomas Rood in Chicago. He grows up realizing he’s different and weird, because his father constantly tells him he does things, and asks questions that Normal children would never do and ask. It’s very beautiful, and wonderful, and it’s so cool to read from the opposite perspective to September, who is a girl from Nebraska visiting Fairyland. Hawthorn is so sweet and weird, and wonderful. I loved it.
Evna by Siri Pettersen
This is the third book in a Norwegian trilogy set in another world. It’s based on parts of Norse mythology. It’s about a young woman named Hirka who sort of straddles the chasm between this other world, our world, and another world. She’s of two worlds and no worlds. It was a beautiful conclusion, and it was a worthy conclusion. I really love Hirka. She starts out in the first book as sort of young, wild and different and scared. She ends the story being wild and different, but as strong and confident. She is a bit broken and vulnerable, but she has so much growth, and I love her, and I just want to hug her.

Shatner Rules by William Shatner
This is a tongue-in-cheek memoir. It’s about William Shatner’s life, his life in Star Trek, and his other projects, and also everything else he’s done. It also looks at the different rules he has for his life. He was 80 when he wrote the book, so he felt like he had some life experience to give. It’s funny, and I listened to it on audiobook, which was read by Shatner himself. And although I never really watched Star Trek, TJ Hooker, or other things he’s been in, I find Shatner fascinating. He’s weird, and has a big ego, but is also very aware of how he is perceived, and knows how to use it, and how to do good with it. He’s also funny and self-deprecating. It was fine. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was fine, and him reading it really helps.

Graphic Novels
Captain Marvel volume 2 and volume 3 by Kelly Sue DeConnick art by David Lopez
This second and third volume wraps up Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel arc. Captain Marvel, or Carol Danvers, travels around with Tic, and her cat (or is it a cat? No, it isn’t), and tries to get Tic out of trouble and to save the world, because you know, she’s Captain Marvel. I felt like I didn’t need all the context of Captain Marvel, I enjoyed it anyway. I like Carol, she’s complex and snarky and funny. And she’s a bit self-destructive, which I liked, not that she’s self-destructive, but that she gets to be complex that way. I’m tired, I’m not explaining myself well. But I really like her.

Pretty Deadly, volume 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick art by Emma Rios
Pretty Deadly is… I have no idea how to explain it. It’s about a young woman who has grown up under the tutelage of Death. She thinks of him as her father, and she is a Reaper. She goes out to get revenge on a man named Fox, who is the reason she had to grow up there and didn’t grow up with her mother and father in the real world. She also chases a girl named Sissy who seems to be important to the balance between life and death. It’s like fantasy-sci-fi-western-mercenary and it’s fabulous. It’s so brutal, and so beautiful, the art is absolutely gorgeous. The story is weird, and heart breaking and the concept is just amazing. I don’t know how to stop gushing. It’s so good. I think there’s going to be a new volume, but currently they’re just in issue form I think. I think the creators took a break from this, but are now back to it. I like buying them in trade though, so I might wait.

So those are the books I read in the first half of January. I shall be back with another wrap-up at the end of the month. I’m reading some bigger books, so there won’t be as many books in that one, but yes. Back at the end of the month.