February Reads 2015

February is a short month, and I’ve had long stretches of days of not reading, but, somehow, a whole lot of reading happened. Lots of comics, a few novels, poetry and short stories. Not a bad bunch.

the beesThe Bees by Laline Paull (Novel)

I was very underwhelmed by this. I really like bees, they’re weird and fascinating, but I found myself wishing I’d spent the time reading a non-fiction book instead. The story just didn’t work for me, in particular Flora’s ability to have every ‘bee power’ of every type of bee in the hive (regardless of whether something is true in the real world, if it doesn’t feel true to the fictional world of the book, it doesn’t work). I kept getting bored for a while, then getting back into it, then bored again, etc. I wonder if I didn’t get along with it because in many ways it reminded me of historical fiction set in a king’s court, and I don’t read/like a lot of that genre. A disappointing ‘meh’.

the wicked and divineThe Wicked and the Divine Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson (Comics)

I loved this. It’s about how every 90 years, twelve gods become human, are worshiped, glorified and hated, and then die 2 years later. In their current incarnation, they are rock and pop stars – this is a David Bowie-esque one, a Florence & the Machine type, etc. The colouring in particular is great, and the writing is a lot of fun. Definitely check this out. I can’t wait for the next one.

sagaSaga Volumes 1 & 2 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Comics)

I’ve been avoiding Saga because there’s so much hype around about it – which is always the worst time to read something. But, obviously, I caved. I thought it was pretty good – the artwork and colouring are really beautiful in places, I like the characters, but the story didn’t totally grab me. I will carry on reading it because I did enjoy it and the second volume was better than the first, but it didn’t blow me away.

9781844719068frcvr.inddSweet Home by Carys Bray (Short Stories)

I haven’t read a short story collection in ages and this was an excellent one to get myself back into it. All of the stories are strong and most of them broke my heart a little bit (in a good way). Really highly recommend this one. Full review here.

bitch planet 3Bitch Planet #3 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Robert Wilson IV (Comics)

I continue my love affair with this comic and it’s my favourite thing at the moment. This is the first of the ‘special thirds’ – every third issue has a different artist and is focused on one particular character. This issue gave the backstory of Penny Rolle, and why she came to be sent to Bitch Planet. Penny is such an awesome, kickass character and I love her. The final page ‘reveal’ wasn’t shocking, but it didn’t bother me because of Penny’s expression. I really liked this month’s essay in the back by Megan Carpentier and, as always, the back cover. I want to thrust this comic series into the hands of random passers-by. Can I do that? Maybe I will.

ODY-CODY-C #1 & #2 by Matt Fraction & Christian Ward (Comics)

This is a gender-swapped retelling of The Odyssey set in space. Yep. I haven’t read The Odyssey, so I found these first issues a bit confusing, but it made sense when I took my time with it. The artwork is crazy and so well-coloured. I think I’ll read this in trades rather than continuing in singles because I think I’ll forget who everyone is and what’s going on with a month’s gap each time.

florence and gilesFlorence and Giles by John Harding (Novel)

This is very enjoyable, mainly because of the narrator’s interesting use of language – using nouns as verbs and verbs as nouns. It’s got a good old-school ghost story feel and I just love a book with an unreliable narrator. Full review (along with the sequel) here.

the girl who couldn't readThe Girl Who Couldn’t Read by John Harding (Novel)

This is the sequel to Florence and Giles, but can easily be read as a stand-alone. I think I preferred this to the first one, as it’s a tiny bit less predictable and has far more unreliable, untrustworthy characters. Definitely worth a quick read on a blustery day. Full review (along with F & G) here.

the world's wifeThe World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy (Poetry)

This is a collection of poems from the perspective of the wives/sisters of famous/mythological men in history, like Mrs Darwin or Queen Herod. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, witty, but also thoughtful collection. I did find it a bit varied: some poems I loved, others I wasn’t bothered by. But it is a fun to dip in and out of, and a lot of the poems have an undercurrent of sadness.

sex criminals 2Sex Criminals volume 2 by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky (Comics)

I really loved the first volume, and, as the second came out on my birthday, I had to pick it up. This volume is a lot slower paced and focuses more on the characters themselves, their relationship after the initial lusty romance is over, and Jon’s mental health issues. It still retains its humour, however, including a porn parody of The Wicked & the Divine! A great series that I’ll definitely continue.

the invisible kingdomThe Invisible Kingdom by Rob Ryan (Graphic novel)

If you’re in any way familiar with Rob Ryan’s work, it will come as no surprise that this is an extremely beautiful-looking book. The illustrations on every page are stunning and fit well with the overall story. It’s a kind of fairy tale, about a prince who doesn’t really want to be one, and is suitable for all ages. It felt a bit short, but that’s probably a sign of how much I enjoyed it – I just wanted more – and it turns out it is part of a trilogy so there is more if you want it. Prefect bedtime story (because grown-ups need bedtime stories too).

Currently reading: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I’m only 50 pages in, so I could be here a while.

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