September was part reading slump, part week of manically reading All The Things. In the rough order I read them:
Really enjoyable graphic novel that has the shape of a short story, about Evie’s childhood fear and fascination with sharks. The artwork by Joe Sumner goes really well with the story, and I particularly like how the sharks are painted differently from the rest of the panel, as it makes them both more and less real at the same time. Quiet, and worth your time. Full review here.
Translated by Clarence Brown. This was the inspiration for Orwell’s 1984, one of my favourite books, and you can very clearly see where he got his ideas from. We isn’t, at least initially, as purely dystopian as 1984, and has some of the elements of ‘utopia’ in Brave New World. It’s written in the form of diary entries and is surprisingly readable, as most of my previous encounters with Russian literature have made me expect it to be very dense. It’s definitely worth reading to see where modern dystopian fiction came from, but I still prefer 1984 as it takes the ideas a little further and adds more complexity (even if it’s now apparent it’s much less inventive than I used to think).
It feels like we’ve been waiting for this issue forever. It finally arrived! This is the final issue in the arc and, unfortunately, because of the delay it lacked the punch it could have had if the issues had come out on a regular schedule. But, despite that, it’s still my favourite comic and it makes me want to go out and smash the patriarchy so that’s got to be a good thing. The first volume comes out in October. It won’t have the essays that the single issues do, which is a shame because that really elevates the comic to a whole new level for me, but it’s still worth picking up if you want to smash the patriarchy too. Which of course you do.
Oh. I didn’t love this like I wanted to, especially after hearing so many people rave about it. It’s very readable and I wanted to keep turning the pages, but I just wanted more from it. It didn’t explore the themes in as much depth as I would have liked. And, at the same time, there weren’t many spaces left open for you to explore them yourself, which meant it didn’t leave me thinking about everything that had come up when I finished. For example, when Peter (and we) find out the real, heartbreaking, reason the Oasans were keen to become Christians, Peter is horrified, and then it’s mostly forgotten about as the book moves to concentrate on his relationship with Bea. Additionally, the minor characters felt paper-thin, and, at times, described in a way that was a little racist and stereotypical. I did like the end, though, and how it was ultimately left open. And the book is a good exploration of connection, and disconnection, in relationships. It’s a book I want to keep on my shelf because the cover is so pretty, but I don’t think it’ll stay there for long.
Translated by Philip Gabriel. This is one of Murakami’s more ‘normal’ novels, without his usual magical realism weirdness. However, as is typical for him, it centres on a male protagonist who is depressed and trying to find his way in life, particularly with his sort-of girlfriend. I enjoyed it, particularly how it’s mostly about how events when you are young can affect you throughout your life, and how the way you perceive yourself can be different from how others do. It has a couple of big problems (which I won’t go into because spoilers) but was enjoyable to read (and it’s good to listen to Le Mal du Pays at the same time). It wasn’t as good as Norwegian Wood, which explores similar themes, so I’d recommend reading that one first.
Also on the blog in September:
A review of the Northern Ballet’s adaptation of 1984
Plans for October – writer’s of colour month
Currently reading: October is writers of colour month on this blog, and I have an excellent pile of books to read. I will hopefully have at least a couple of guest bloggers, and some recommendation lists. If you are a book blogger/youtuber of colour and would like to guest post about anything literary-related, get in touch! You’d be more than welcome.