Friends! It’s been seven months, it’s a full moon, my apartment is full of plants and I’ve been a librarian for a month already! A month! What a learning curve, what potential, what people.
And now I’m full of vim and drive and there’s a definite purpose: learn LOC subcategories, impress businesswomen on their lunch break by knowing the book they need for their bookclub that’s mis-shelved has a yellow spine (“A-ha, here it is!”), and write this shit down so I remember that I had an opinion about it. And still, rediscovering my love of reading after a really brutal, wring-me-drier than drought Grad School Experience, which I remember as always taking place after dark for some reason.
Apres moi, le deluge:
Try Not to Breathe,
Holly Seddon’s Try Not to Beathe
aka the book I had to keep Googling by author because the title is so vague and had so little connection to the book I was like wuhhh
. The book club I was briefly in said it was a conglomerate of all the Girl on the Train
read-likes they’ve done, which isn’t bad but whodunits have never been my thing. I forgot it soon after reading it (finished it Sunday am in the park), but I didn’t hate reading it….
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
There were many four letter names in Far From You: Kyle, Mina, Macy, Trev, which for some reason sounds so California, which is actually where it’s set. Someone smelled like “jasmine and gunpowder,” which charmed me. Glibness aside, it was a page-turner that was honest and urgent about addiction (not, “I was an addict,” but “I am an addict.”) and grief; this girl goes through so much trauma. Sophie is in a car accident because her bff’s brother runs a stop sign, and then she gets hooked on her pain meds, and then her bff/could-be-gf-in-the-future, Mina, tells Sophie’s parents so she’s sent to her aunt’s to get clean. When she comes back, it would be all’s well that ends well but Mina’s chasing down a lead on an abducted classmate and Mina is shot. In front of Sophie. And bleeds out. Nobody believes that Sophie and Mina weren’t in Little Taint, Nowhere to score more drugs for addict Sophie, so she has to find the killer, deal with her grief, fight her addiction, and not mind that everyone thinks it was her weakness that lead Mina to her death. She also attacks someone with bear spray and turns the bottom of her mattress into an evidence board.
A whodunnit, which I just said I didn’t read, but fast and pages were turned quickly. I’m interested in the guilt of Mina’s brother, which follows him throughout the book– one mistake started this whollleee thing, and Sharpe lets us know that exactly how often this kind boy dealt a bad hand thinks about his mistake. Which was, to be clear, a mistake. Also the story of a love story cut short between Sophie and Mina is such a grievous, well-captured thing. Their relationship truly felt cut off right in the middle of it.
The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, illus. Jon Klassen
I read The Nest
because I wanted to read Middle Grade… and so it was read. Fast, cause I’m an adult, but there’s this sense of disconnect I get when I read a LOT of MG. Also, this wasn’t my genre. So, Kid was being followed by real wasps? Does he also hallucinate? Was this a real mental illness, or a kid’s imagination? Not asking questions to critique, this really isn’t my scene and I’m just gathering my thoughts. Cool, though, and I thought about it. A good book about a new baby in the family, and a family adjusting to a baby with a disability.
The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjersten Malone
Ha! The Last Boy at St. Edith’s was suggested for me and a cohort of women’s college grads after our alma mater went co-ed. It (going co-ed) is an upset, people, let me tell you (and the impetus for this blog).
What’s also an upset is growing up. Being under appreciated. Things changing, like your mom starting to date guys or not knowing who you are and not knowing how to make friends. The last boy at St. Ediths, -Jeremy, deals with all of this. I thought I could look through this book and see my experience with college, but instead I really saw my adolescence, which is my bag. It was a first time novel, so I’m so excited to see what Malone does next. She did that thing where there was a due-for and well-developed revelation that half of his insecurities were brought on by feelings of un-sureness and anxiety, which, aren’t those always the culprit? An emotionally healthy book, I liked it.
This book is also real about money, and the financial reasons Jeremy has to stay at this school (his mom works there so they get free or discount tuition), and she’s real about parental neglect (the dad’s a piece in this one). The mom isn’t in this huge amounts, but she’s in it hugely, in that I feel as if I can imagine her steamy rightful anger at her ex and her situation.
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan. illus. Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson
Half of Paper Girls
takes place in the morning twilight! A liminal (fav word) time! I love it! Again, make it a movie. I imagine Emmanuel Lubezki will do the cinematography.
Read it. Read it read it read it. I started it on the bus and was transported right outta my seat. There was a weird gargoyle bugaboo interrogating a character with standardized test questions in the sweet Hereafter in the character’s anxiety dream (or was it??), which captures my high school experience in a few panels. High school blows!
The first bugbear in the real world is a fella in a fedora, which is legit. The next set of attackers (or maybe not attackers, but scary people) turn out to be weird-looking teenagers (also legit). And of course there’s shitty cops. But the real beasts, I think, are corporate white dudes from the future using the right language to get people to do their bidding. The guy’s wearing an Apple t-shirt. Yoinks, Scoob.
The colors in this are so dreamy. As is the style, the succinct repartee, the mix of full page art and panels. Juxtapose the creamsicle-colors against pterodactyls and understand my delight. There’s politics and I guess corporations vs individuals vs some sort of teenage underground… I don’t know, I can’t wait till the next volume. Forgive me if I messed something up, I’ll re-read it before the next volume, but in the meantime I’m gonna check out Saga.
ALSO. Ronald Reagan saying with a wink that, “Not everyone who gets shot dies” in another dream and handing off that motif of the Tree of Knowledge apple which is rotten with a bullet in it– what’s happening!!!