Top Five Wednesday: Required Reading

I hated very few books I had to read for school, but I didn’t love very many either. Most I just slogged through, but wound up feeling some sort of appreciation for them when I was done. But most of the books I did love, I still consider to be some of my very favorite books of all time. So extra special thanks to the English teachers/profs who chose/taught these so well:

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

An answer I suspect will be a common one. I read this in 9th grade English and loved it. I reread some or all of it every year or so and it’s been interesting to see how my reading of it has changed over time. P.S. — I still haven’t finished Go Set A Watchman, so let’s not talk about that yet.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This was actually the last book I was ever required to read–in my junior year of college. Really beautiful, and interesting and it was evident it was a favorite of the professor’s as well. It was engrossing, but at the same time challenging, in the best possible sense. Not difficult to read, necessarily, but this twisted reality in a way that really made me think deeply about it.

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The Chosen by Chaim Potok

So this is almost cheating, because I read this in a book club I participated in in high school as an extra-curricular, but I would never have picked this book up without it being on the list for that group, so I’m counting it. The Chosen is one of those books I can’t quite entirely explain my love for. Maybe it’s the simple, striking prose, or the shattered innocence arc of the plot or something, but it’s been an absolute favorite of mine ever since I first read it nearly 10 years ago.

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I was reading another Fitzgerald recently–The Beautiful and Damned–and I was reminded why I loved The Great Gatsby so much. Fitzgerald makes you stop and go back and reread what you just read, just for the aesthetic of his sentence. The last couple of sentences make up one of the best quotes ever. “Gatsby believed in the green light…”

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The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini

Another extra curricular book club choice, but it was also assigned over the summer for AP English Lit and I put it off for awhile, knowing what was coming. A really haunting story about friendship and forgiveness, set in modern Afghanistan, an eye-opening look at that country for me.


Top Five Wednesday was created by GingerreadsLainey. To view the complete list of participants (and add your name to the list!) click here for the Goodreads group.

Comic Roundup-June/July

Series I’m Following-Issues

25356679Kaptara by Chip Zdarsky and Kagan McLeod

I think Kaptara has a lot of creativity and a lot of promise, but after only three issues, it’s still finding its footing. It’s funny, but I could use a few more serious moments I think. Or something. I don’t feel particularly invested in it at the moment as I feel so little for the characters. But it’s still early.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples 16148398

The fifth arc of Saga ended at the beginning of July and it was just as gut-wrenching as every other finale in this series so far. Saga was the first comic book I ever read (a year ago now, which is crazy, I still feel like a total newbie) and it continues to be my favorite. It balances humor and weirdness and action and emotion perfectly.

6839093Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Issue #50 released at the beginning of July, concluding the tenth arc of this planned twelve arc series, and I can’t even begin to explain how epic it was. I’m dying for the next installment because the epilogue little teaser in this was way too much.

We Stand on Guard by Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce25698374

I’m not even caught up on Brian K. Vaughan’s backlist, but I knew I had to run out and get this. I usually don’t get hooked by one issue of anything, but this did it. Unusual conflict, major apocalypse, ragtag band of revolutionaries. I was sold.

25484756Injection by Warren Ellis

This one is really beautiful to look at. I read the first three issues all spread out over a few weeks and I’m kind of lost, but that’s one of those things that is probably my fault, not the story’s.

The Fiction by Curt Pires and David Rubin25766953

Read the first issue of this so far and I quite enjoyed the premise (getting sucked into the story! Every reader’s wish come true!) and the action of the first installment. Definitely going to continue with it.

Trades

23228585Sex Criminals Vol 2: Two Worlds, One Cop by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

You wanna know something pathetic? I only just now got the reference in the title. Moving on.

This volume slowed down a bit, taking time to develop characters. The plot advanced a lot more slowly than I might have liked, but it had some beautiful serious moments. It also, of course had some unbelievably hilarious moments as well (Suzie at the gynecologist and The Wicked and The Divine parody are coming to mind first here)

Ms. Marvel Vol 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson, et. al.23546843

This volume somehow made me fall in love with this series; I was pretty indifferent about it before. But this was adorable and fun. It seems to have found a sweet spot for its irreverent charm and I’m really looking forward to following it more closely in the future.

8932593Y The Last Man Deluxe Edition: Book 5 by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan Jr.

It took me almost a year, but I finally finished this series. I stopped halfway through this volume because I didn’t want it to end, but when I finally got there, I really liked the conclusion. Even though it hurt a little bit.

East of West Vol 3: There is No Us by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta22358464

I feel like I’m finally starting to get/get into this series. I want to reread it and try to understand it a little bit better before I pick up volume 4, because I think it is going to go some very interesting places and be worth the effort.

22554204Lumberjanes Vol 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen

This was really cute. I love the colors and the go-girl, strong feminist attitude of the whole thing. It also had its moments where it was funny, but it had more where I thought it was trying way too hard to be funny. I do really like most of the characters, distinctive and fun, but I hope they get some more depth to their personalities as the series goes on. I’ll pick up the next volume when it’s out and see where it goes.

The Wicked and The Divine Vol 2: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie24666002

This is another series that has a great concept and is really beautiful to look at, but seems to be missing something. This volume turned around at the very end and had an awesome, wtf cliffhanger ending, but the rest of it was kind of slow and repetitive in theme.

What are you reading? What should I be checking out? With Saga and Chew on hiatus I’m in need of some more amazing series to be excited about.

July Reviews

Another month, another reviews post. I had a super busy month, so it just flew by, but I did manage to finish a YA fantasy novel that I bought on a whim, some non-fiction choices that have been on my shelf for awhile and fun summer YA contemporary. Not very racially diverse, but it did turn into a No-Boys allowed reading list, which is always fun to do once in a while. 
19367070Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

A short and lovely little stand-alone fantasy novel. Yes, yes a short, stand-alone fantasy novel. It did feel a little bit too short to me, not explaining some oft the politics and thing quite enough, but at the same time I did like the simplicity of it. No lengthy, boring backstories and histories, but very vivid characters and an entertaining story, so if you’re in the mood for some low fantasy but don’t want to commit half your year to a massive series, definitely check this one out.

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Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

So I love the show, but I got done with this book and loved it even more. It dances around explaining why prisons are broken, showing rather than telling how all-consuming and transformative they are, forcing prisoners to adapt to the system, learning only those skills that will not serve them well on the outside. I didn’t really think this book would make me think as much as it did, and I valued it a lot for that.

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Susan Cain’s TED Talk was recommended to me by a career counselor at college, back two years ago when I was struggling to find a job and I found a lot of comfort and inspiration in it at the time. I haven’t watched it again lately, but the book for me did not resurrect those old good feelings. It didn’t feel like it expanded on any one idea, instead reinforcing the duality of introvert/extrovert, rather than exploring some sort of spectrum. I felt like a lot of ideas were touched on and then restated and stated again, without getting any great development. Like a TED talk, only long and boring rather than entertaining or enlightening. I think it’s an interesting piece, but I don’t know that I got all that much more out of the 300 page book than I did the 10 or so minute video.

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

This was a quick read, despite its apparent thickness, and a fun one. One girl finds herself without her best friend and gains her independence by completing the list of dares she left behind. It was cute, nothing crazy dark or sad, and a fun book to fly through in the summertime.

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And that’s all folks! A short and sweet little review post this month because I spent the second half of the month watching Supernatural on Nextflix thanks to a recommendation from my IRL friend (and blog reader!) Savanna. Bitch.

(If she doesn’t comment “Jerk” and/or none of you know the reference, I’ll look like such a terrible person.)