The last six books I read

I forgot to do a wrap-up when I finished five books so I read another one. So this is a wrap-up of the last six books I read. The fun never stops here.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Akata Witch is about Sunny Nwazue who has recently moved with her family from the US to her parents’ homeland of Nigeria. She’s African, and she is albino, so she can’t go outside and play soccer with her brother, even though she is a good athlete. When she moves back she discovers that she has magical abilities. She is one of the Leopard people, essentially a witch. She discovers she is part of a quartet of students who learn magic and change reality. They will have to use their best at their studies so they can defeat an evil criminal. I thought it was good. It probably owes a bit to Harry Potter, but it stands very well on its own. It was good, and funny, and it’s clever. Sunny is tough and cool, and she’s strong. I liked her a lot.

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea by Yukio Mishima
I read this for Conrad’s Reader’s Inc. Goodreads book club. It’s really strange. It’s about a young boy named Noboru who lives with his mother. He is in a group of friends who really idolize youth, and seem to think of adulthood as a defeat. Well not adulthood, more parenthood. They have this very purist view of youth, and they really hate fathers. The sailor is a man who starts dating Noboru’s mother. They have an immense respect for him, for no good reason, and then he sort of falls from grace basically by wanting to marry Noboru’s mother and become Noboru’s stepfather. They’re very violent and… there is a scene in one of the first couple of chapters with a kitten, which made me feel physically uncomfortable, and it made me put down the book for a bit. Mishima was a sort of tragic character, who had a strong belief in the empire of Japan, and he initiated a coup d’etat in 1970 to reinstate the emperor. It didn’t really work out, and Mishima performed a planned Seppuku and died. The act of reinstating the emperor and of seppuku are wrapped up in glory and honor, and that is also what he explores in the book.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister
All the Single Ladies is a look at singledom in the United States. Traister looks at the history of women living as single women, without husbands or wives. And how the movement of feminism and women going into the work place made it easier for women to live alone, because they can support themselves. Although single living for women predates feminism. It was really interesting to read the history of single women. And Traister also looked at the power that single women have, they are one of the biggest political powers in the US, and not a lot of politicians try to harness it. It’s a look at friendship being more important than a romantic relationship at times. It was really fascinating, and I listened to the audiobook, which was smashing.

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
This is about Jason Taylor, a 13-year-old boy who grows up in a little town in England. He lives with his mother, father and older sister in the 80s and he has a pretty normal life. Everything seems to be normal, he tries to fit into the hierarchy at school and not fuck up. He is terrified that his classmates will find out that he stammers and that he writes poetry. At the same time the Falklands war starts and suddenly the town of Black Swan Green is dragged into the world, and the world comes to Black Swan Green. I really liked it. Jason is so sweet and weird. I feel like Mitchell was really good at capturing how young men talk, or at least, how I assume young men talk and interact. It was really cool how Jason referred to his stammer, he sort of gave it its own name and personality and refers to it as Hangman. It’s not only a great coming of age novel, but it’s also a beautiful look at how age makes your sibling relationships change. I love David Mitchell’s writing. It’s very engaging and beautiful. 

When We Were Alive by C.J. Fisher
C.J. Fisher, or Chelsea Fisher, is a YouTuber, and a writer. She didn’t get a book deal through her YouTube channel, she is a writer who happens to have a YouTube channel, and she is absolutely hilarious, so I recommend checking her out. When We Were Alive is about three men who are connected through time. Bobby is a young boy in the 40s who wants to be a magician. William is introduced in the 70s and he’s in a hotel sort of working as a gigolo and he feels most alive when he is in pain. He doesn’t work as a gigolo for the money, or any pleasure he might get from the sex, but for the pain he feels and the disgust he gets from it. The last man is Myles who is writing to his biological mother who he has never met. It was really weird, and fascinating. Myles is a very unlikeable person, in my opinion, which isn’t a deal breaker in my eyes. He seems to be living outside the world and he doesn’t seem to understand how humans interact with each other. It was really interesting. It was really weird. Bobby and William are more likeable, but they’re suffering and it leads them to make unpleasant and unfortunate choices. I really liked it. I thought it was beautiful, and weird.

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
I first heard of this from Rincey over at Rincey Reads on the YouTubes. It is about immunization and vaccination. Eula Biss is not a health care professional, she’s a poet and she writes this book around her pregnancy, the birth of her son and the early parts of his life. When her son was born she was worried about vaccination and did a lot of research into vaccination and inoculation. I really love science made easy and digestible, because I am not a scientist, but I like science. So I enjoy when non-scientists write books about science. She looks at the history of vaccination, it started out as people basically infecting people with a less dangerous strain of disease to immunize people against the more dangerous strains. It was really easily understandable. She also uses vampires as a metaphor, which I think worked really well.