Slowly slowly being able to read more…
Bitch Planet #10 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine DeLandro (comics, fiction)
It’s impossible to spoiler-free review a series as it gets further down the line, so I’ll just say, as usual, that I hate the delays between issues, but I love this comic forever and always.
Paper Girls vol 2 by Brian K Vaughan & Cliff Chiang (comics, fiction)
I loved the 80s’ vibe of the first volume, but found the plot a bit rushed and kind of so-so. Because of [spoiler], this has less of the 80s’ vibe but the story really got into its stride. Super enjoyable with excellent colour-work from Matt Wilson as always.
Saga vol 7 by Fiona Staples & Brian K Vaughan (comics, fiction)
I’d been going off Saga a bit, but this volume pulled me right back in. It mainly focuses on Hazel and family, which I much preferred to when volumes are constantly jumping around the universe. Fiona Staples’ artwork is beautiful as ever, and there are some amazing bits of writing from Vaughan, particularly when describing [sad spoiler] and when Hazel is giving a one-line insight/commentary in her narration. The way it ends on just black pages was absolute perfection and I hugged it to my chest. Can’t wait for volume 8.
Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine (poetry / non-fiction)
This is about loneliness, grief, mental health, death, television, and how to live in a world where all that exists. What I love about Rankine’s work is that it’s always emotionally raw and flows freely but at the same time has this real control. I didn’t like it as much as Citizen, but even work that’s not her best is completely incredible. I think in narratively-linked prose poetry, especially Rankine’s prose poetry, I’ve found the kind of poetry I like.
Do What You Want edited by Ruby Tandoh & Leah Pritchard (non-fiction)
There are no hard copies left of this limited-edition zine about mental health, but you can still get an ebook copy. And you definitely should. It’s a mix of essay, comics, illustration, and recipes that covers a wide range of mental health issues by a wide range of contributors. It’s so incredibly good and there will definitely be things in here that resonate deeply. I had to read it slowly, because the very first essay/interview about ‘why should I go to therapy?’ hit me hard in the heart. It’s good.
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss (novel)
There is so much hype around this book so I was little apprehensive going into it. It wasn’t quite as good as the hype (though, what is?), but it was still a great read. Told from the perspective of a stay-at-home dad, it juxtaposes the family trying to rebuild and work out how to live a ‘normal’ life while living with the constant anxiety that one of the daughters could literally drop dead at any moment, with the rebuilding of Coventry cathedral and the rebuilding/anxiety of living through the blitz. There’s some really beautiful writing and thinking through of the ideas, but it got a little repetitive towards the end, particularly the Cathedral passages. Definitely worth a read, and I’m going to check out Moss’ other work.
Also on the blog this month:
Some book recommendations for Mental Health Awareness Week
A review of Richard III by Northern Broadsides at Hull Truck Theatre
Currently reading: The City & The City by China Miéville