Books I Am Reading

I am a former libarian. I. LOVE. Books.

bookshelves full of books

Since I have moved back into Ohio, I have rediscovered some of the books I had left behind when I moved to Arizona. (Because, obviously, I can’t fit all of my books into my car along with my other belongings. I need clothes on my back, yo.)

Believe it or not, I used to have a larger book collection than what’s pictured above. What’s pictured was nearly one fourth of what I used to have. I have since sold books, donated them, or given them to friends and family.

The books I have now are the books I actually want, and that I enjoy reading.

I want to share my reading list with you because not only is it long, but it may have some books that you haven’t read yet.

Books like…

blacksad comic book

I’ve read this book countless times and I never get tired of it. The watercolor paintings and the character art is just gorgeous to look through, and it has engrossing mysteries. It’s like a Disney noir detective comic and it’s brilliant.

poison chris wooding young adult novel

“Poison” is a rather dark young adult fantasy, but I remember reading it and falling in love with it when I was younger. I’m re-reading it and rediscovering some of its brilliance, especially in its later chapters.

The story is about a girl named Poison (in her village the kids pick their own names), whose baby sister is whisked away to the faerie realm. So Poison goes out to rescue her. And on the way she encounters deadly faeries, a cannibal, a kingdom of spiders, and master storytellers.

If you haven’t read it yet, and you’re a fan of young adult literature, read it. It’s worth it.

We'll Always Have Paris by Ray Bradbury

“We’ll Always Have Paris” is actually a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury which (if I have it right) had not been published before 2009 or thereabouts. I inherited it from my uncle who loved his work. I read and fell in love with Fahrenheit 451, so I was excited to read his short stories.

I’ve only read the first short story in it so far, called “Massinello Pietro,” which is tragically hilarious. It’s about a man who gives animals away as charity and sings and dances in the wee hours of the morning before he’s taken away by the police. And it’s based on a person Bradbury was neighbors with.

I’m excited to see what else he has written.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I’m re-reading “American Gods” because I absolutely adore this book. It’s unlike anything else Neil Gaiman has written and it still has a special place in my heart.

I’m also a wee-bit jealous that he somehow managed to blend worldly mythologies, road trips, history, and American kitsch so well. There’s no other work like it, and I don’t think Gaiman himself would ever be able to replicate this kind of magic again.

Upon re-reading it, I’m seeing all of these elements that I never noticed before in the work. The smaller details that, in the end, are giveaways to what will happen in the end.

It’s just brilliant.

reading lolita in tehran

I am a sucker for books about books. (I want to re-read “The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop” by Lewis Buzzbee for that reason).

“Reading Lolita in Tehran” is fascinating and a great eye-opener to a culture with oppressive censorship laws. This was written at a time where the cultural police would hound you if a stray hair fell out of your scarf, it was that bad.

But in that time, a former university professor gathered some of her best students and they would gather in her living room. And they would read and discuss Western literature, like Nabokov’s “Lolita” (not for the faint of heart, but a very haunting look into a villain’s psyche), “The Great Gatsby,” the works of Jane Austen, among others that Iran had banned because of their scandalous-ness.

I haven’t made it far into the book, but it’s been great so far.

the flight of the falcon by daphne du maurier

“The Flight of the Falcon” was a book I tried to read when I was much, much younger and thought I was Matilda, but the book is definitely made more for adults.

Now that I’m two chapters into it, I can see why the book eluded me as a kid: it’s about a tour guide in Italy, haunted by his past, whose tour gets derailed when an old woman from his childhood is murdered.

This book is by the same author as “Rebecca” (I haven’t read it yet, but it was made into a brilliant Hitchcock film). One thing I will give to du Maurier is that she writes brilliant atmosphere. You can feel the tension in the air with her words. I don’t know what happened to her in her life that made her writing so dark and foreboding, but she channels it well into her work.

And here are some books I have finished rather recently:

re play by christy lijewski

I actually finished reading the entire “Re:PLAY” series, which is 3 volumes long. It’s great to see the artistic progression throughout the three volumes because C. Lijewski’s work does improve throughout.

What I never realized when I read this as a younger person is that one of the main characters is a trans person. At the time I never really thought twice about it. I just went, “Oh. He was a boy but now she’s a girl. Ok cool.”

Granted, the romances in this work can be problematic. However, the characters are nicely developed and the back-and-forth banter can be hilarious to read. Combine that with the (incredibly detailed) art and the series is worth a look.

fun home alison bechdel

I never read “Fun Home” before, except for a short excerpt that appeared in a Best American Comics Anthology.

I can relate very strongly to the themes of the book, because it does talk about Bechdel growing up in rural Pennsylvania with parents who may or may not like each other. The book is also a great bildungsroman – a coming-of-age story, in which Bechdel grows into her identity as an out lesbian woman.

The narration can be hard to follow at times. I wonder if Bechdel was a grad student at one point, because sometimes the vocabulary can be unnecessarily convoluted.

I do sympathize, however, when she talks about her English classes at college, and how the professors would see particular themes in works where there’s no real evidence to support their idea. That notion does circle back into Bechdel asking herself, “Am I like my professors? Am I reading too much into the life I have lived with my father? Am I seeing elements that are not actually present in my life?”

Plus, you know, the art is lovely.

The book was a great read, so if you haven’t read it yet, you should.

Next Wednesday I’ll talk about some of the mini-comics and zines I have gotten over the years. I’ll see you then!