Yesterday was my first day of winter camp (I’m doing a Harry Potter theme and– horror of horrors- there are several students who have never seen Harry Potter and don’t know who Voldemort is. Excuse-Moi, tiny tots, first of all- How dare you. ) Despite my fear that the cultural context through which I see much of my life is aging as quickly as I am, work’s been pretty good this week. Monday through Wednesday I was desk warming, which really just means dicking away the hours on my computer, getting a lot of reading done, and getting free lunch.
(Most of the teachers are confused as to why I have to stay if I’m not teaching, so I have my fingers crossed that someone will plan a revolt in my honor, but honestly it’s not much trouble for me.) I thought I’d share with you what I’m reading today and what I’ll be reading over the weekend! (And probably into my desk warming next week as well.) My plans over the weekend aren’t solid yet, but I’m thinking I’ll be spending some time in Daejeon, looking for winter clothes and buying a backpack (RIP my cheap one from Forever21. You’ve served me reasonably well, you piece of crap.)
At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson.
This is a short story collection that was RAVED about by the hosts of All the Books, my favorite book podcast. I don’t actually read a lot of short stories, but I want to try to write them in the new year, so I thought I’d go for it. This is really, really good. It’s also really, really depressing.
It’s not depressing in the “my lover is dying of cancer, I came back from war with my leg blown off, we can’t get pregnant and our marriage is failing” sort of way that much of contemporary fiction seems to be, though. It’s depressing in the “how did I just get attached to a magic monkey, please don’t leave your half-fox half-human baby, god humans are ultimately powerless in the face of the inexplicable” sort of way. The writing is beautiful, but I find myself having to take the book in in small doses, to deeply think about each story, and then try to climb out of the pit of deep thinking each one flings me into. I definitely need to read more short stories, that’s for sure. Will probably finish this one this weekend.
2. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling
I know, I know. Starting the year off with a re-reading already? For shame. But I listened to the first five on audiobook last year, and I just felt a little weird not finishing the series. Plus I feel like I need a brain break between the River of Bees stories. (Not that re-reading what is possibly the saddest book in the Harry Potter series is a brain break, but la.) I would have liked to listen to this audiobook too, really, but the act of reading it is a nice re-visit, and I love seeing Rowling’s prose. It’s not that it’s that technically adept, it’s that after a few sentences you forget you’re reading prose at all. *Sigh* Fangirling.
3. Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews
Ok, I admit, this was probably a mistake to buy. I’ve heard so much about this book being so #SCANDALOUS for its time, and so much about VC Andrews being a formative author for people in their teens, especially 80s and 90s teens, that I just thought “this is probably an important one to read!” and bought it late one night on a wild impulse with the very last of my gift card money from Christmas.
Weatherly. Look. You’re an idiot. I say this with love, sort of. Also hatred. I started reading this (I didn’t even bother reading the sample. Really, Weatherly? Really?) and quickly realized that it was… well… kind of shit. Truly, like pervy, horror Sweet Valley High shit. I’ll finish it, but mostly because I’m so annoyed with myself for buying it instead of some good book on my wishlist that I can’t justify not finishing it.
Edit: this is all a lie, after reading another page and hating it, I found out that– surprise! Amazon allows returns and refunds of some digital books. Guess who’s $9 happier?
4. Low Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender
This is another one that I think is going to be disappointing, but I don’t really fault myself for this one. It’s been on my wishlist for SO LONG. The basics: thousands of years ago, mankind moved underwater to escape massive radiation from the sun, and sent probes into the galaxy to search for other habitable planets. This picks up, I believe, when they get word back from those probes? Sounds good, right?
Underwater cities have long been a fascination of mine (one of the first “novels” I wrote around age 8 had the characters finding Atlantis), and since playing Bioshock and Bioshock 2 the fascination has become obsessive. Unfortunately,what I’ve read so far has not really impressed me plot-wise, and the dialogue is pretty clunky. Still holding out hope, but after reading Saga, I think I’m spoiled for other graphic novels at the moment.
5. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
I picked this up after seeing it in a Christmas haul on Padfootandprongs ‘s Booktube channel. She described it as “Disney princesses go to Hogwarts” and I found it on Scribd for free, so it was really meant to be. I’m only a little of the way into this, and LOVING IT so far. It’s like… Soul Eater but sweet and funny? Once Upon A Time but not ruined by ABC? It’s Ella Enchanted but you don’t have weird Anne Hathaway dancing sequences stuck in your head while reading? It’s middle grade, and I would have been obsessed with this book in middle school. Excited to get further into it.
I will say: the cover. Who did that to this book? WHO? I would redesign the cover in a vintage-y fairytale style, or even designed like a textbook from the school, because the cover art is too ‘dramatic manga sister v sister battle’ for me. But alas.
This is also going to fill the “POC Author from America” square on my Book Bingo, which has so far been ignored (there are a huge amount of white western male authors on my 2016 reads list so far, but I’m hoping to step up my game with that pretty soon.)
Finished this Week
Saga Volumes 3-5 by Brian K. Vaughan (graphic novels)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audiobook)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (audiobook)
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (audiobook)
Alice by Christina Henry
I’ve discovered that I will read pretty much any Alice adaptation, especially one that seems like a strange, scary book version reminiscent of some of my favorite PC games. (American McGee’s Alice, and Alice: Madness Returns. Talk about strange and scary Aliceventures.) I’m not opening this one until I finish the Currently Reading pile, though!
(Read fast, me! The suspense is killing you!)
That’s it for this Friday Reads, what books are you planning to read this weekend?