Monday 4 April 2016

Things I Read in March

Oh man. Not only am I late with my Things I Read in March post (I'm tryyyying to post them on the first of each month... I have now failed), I've also just opened it up hoping to see it already started and... it is not. I am such a deadbeat blogger these days that it's unreal, and I apologise profusely for my failings!

Mostly to myself. But anyway.

Things I read in March! There are quite a lot of them because comic books are magic. We won't talk about things I reviewed in March because that is basically nothing, but reading happened and that's all that matters? Maybe.

If On A Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
I was going to review this fully but it's definitely not going to happen, so here's how I feel: I'm glad I finally read If On A Winter's Night A Traveller because I feel like I've been 'meaning to' read it forever and just never manage to, but it hasn't become an instant favourite. To start with it was because I felt like the reader ('you'- the book is written in the second person... Kinda...) was assumed to be male and I was not down with that, but I forgave that when this was rectified later on. However, for me it was almost TOO inventive, in that, although it made me think about the nature of reading and all the different ways one can be a reader, it's so odd that it doesn't give you characters or even really a plot and I just don't have time for stuff like that.

In short: I think it would be awesome to study, but didn't really do anything for me as a general fun reading experience.

Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
Texts from Jane Eyre is fully awesome. It sets my heart on fire and brings me joy. It's kind of gimmicky but it's also pretty spot on, and I especially recommend the Wuthering Heights section, which is so awesome I had to send it to Frances in its entirety (sample: "Cathy: do you want to make out right now? Heathcliff: god no. I want to wait until you're dead and then rip up the earth over your grave and crawl inside" BECAUSE THAT'S NORMAL!) There's also a lot of Shakespeare, but since so many of the classics are covered, you're probably going to find something to tickle your literary funny bone.

Kick Ass by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
I think that's the cover off just one of the issues of Kick-Ass, but never mind... Kick-Ass! I watched the film a very long time ago (ok, like 6 years) and it was pretty great, and I finally got the chance to read the comic because Bex is great and lent me all the comics in the world. I'd love to tell you that I remember this really well but I kind of don't... I feel like it was deeper than the movie and more intense about the nature of violence, but I could be very wrong because of how long ago I saw the movie. This is therefore a total bust and I'm sorry I started to be honest, so let's just say... I read this! I definitely liked it. Boom

Kill Shakespeare Vol. 4 by Andy Belanger and co.
HAVE I EVEN TALKED ABOUT KILL SHAKESPEARE HERE BEFORE OMFG?! So. I totally wrote a bit of my dissertation on the first two volumes of Kill Shakespeare because I am a fool who thought it was a good idea to write about comics (it was, I had a lot of fun with it, but I probably could have got a better mark by writing about, like, feminism or something. But anyway.) What these comics do essentially is take characters from Shakespeare and pit them against each other, keeping their character traits in tact but shifting them round to fit the writers' desires. The Mask of Night is maybe my least favourite of the series (so far... I'm so hoping that there are more!) but that doesn't mean it was bad, just that it was shorter and there weren't that many characters involved, and also it finished with millions of pages left and I felt tricked because I'd taken it on a bus to read and then had nothing to read. SO RUDE. But anyway. As a Shakespearean Master and someone who likes comics a normal amount, I fully recommend this series in general, and this volume is totally fine too.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

This is an adorable, teeny novella by Rainbow Rowell, the maestro of everything I want to read in life. I read it in less than an hour, and it's about a guy and a girl who meet in line for the new Star Wars film and it is, dare I say it again, just adorable. Clearly I don't have any more adjectives for it, but it's worth a read and more than worth the actual £1 it cost me.

Armada by Ernest Cline
I have... Feels about Armada. I'm not sure if I'm going to review this properly or not (recent form says: probably not) but I think we all wanted Cline to write another Ready Player One, and this is not that. I was really unsatisfied with the ending, I was actively bored at the beginning, but at a certain point this changed from a book I didn't really care about to one I couldn't stop reading, even if the ending didn't satisfy me at all. I don't really know what you're going to take from that, but that's how it is, basically. 

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor and Park ended up being the only book I finished for the rereadathon, but I loved it so much more than I remembered loving it. I have already reviewed it here, and stand by everything I said in that review, but it just seemed to have so much muchness this time around. I think I might be a little bit sensitive to doomed love stories at the moment, but it just filled my heart with joy and then sadness, and it's just so perfect. I need there to be Rowell clones made up so they can produce about 20 books a year and then that's all I'll need to read. Can someone get on that please?

Marbles by Ellen Forney 
(can we all tell yet that I'm getting bored of finding images of book covers...)
I found Marbles in the library on literally the 30th March, and by the end of the day I'd finished it because of the magic that is comic books. Although this book hit so many of my sweet spots (comic book, memoir, mental illness) I found that I didn't really love it as much as I wanted to, or at least thought I was going to. The memoir deals with Forney's bipolar diagnosis and how she dealt with it (not very well) and although I like her drawing style and actually her storytelling, I think I had more of a problem with how things went down, in that I was frustrated with her inability to follow medical advice and then being surprised when things went wrong. The book also sort of promises a look at the connection between mental illness and creativity, but only follows through on it to a really limited degree before turning swiftly back to Forney and her specific issues. Basically, not my favourite comic book memoir ever (Fun Home or Persepolis, if you wanted to know).

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
I have been reading Everyday Sexism for approximately a billionty years, but I have had to stop reading it quite a lot of times because I just got too ridiculously angry to carry on. I finally finished it on the last day of the month, but I was definitely almost too ridiculously angry to finish it ever. I think this is a really important book, but I also think it won't necessarily reach the people who need it the most- women who don't know about feminism, women who think that feminism isn't needed anymore, men who catcall, abuse, attack and generally demean women every single day in a myriad of ways. The book is part stories from real women about the abuse they face on a daily basis, and part Bates's own words and work, shoring up individual tales of woe with stark and damning statistics to make it clear that this isn't just the story of one woman, but that of many many women, every single day. 

I can't promise that it won't make you hate the entire world and the way it is skewed towards one gender (and race... and sexuality... etc etc) but it might also make you want to change the world, the way that I think Bates's Everyday Sexism project has, just a little bit. If nothing else, it provides you with so much ammunition against the people who say 'but what's wrong with catcalling anyway? I think it's flattering!' and so many other things besides. If you are an English person, the kindle version of this book is only £1.99 on amazon, and I really can't stress enough how important I think it is that people read this book, anger and frustration aside. Take as long as you need, and as many anger breaks as necessary, but please just read it. 

BOOM, March done. I also started a few books in March that may or may not get finished in April, but either way I think I did a pretty good job this month, especially considering how much time getting obsessed with yoga took up! WOO GO READING.


  1. Yay, more mini reviews to read! I am a big fan of the mini review these days, I'm such a frickin' lazy blog lady now, seriously.

    OMG Texts from Jane Eyre is finally OUT! Totally missed that happening, the American version's been on my wishlist since... I want to say years ago?... but the English edition has taken so frickin' long to come out, dude! I must read Kick Ass, I have the movie but that was mostly due to Aaron T-J being in it, so... *no shame*

    It's so frustrating when people get mental health advice then don't follow it (especially medication), but... I kinda get it too, because when I'm in that place I get super weird and self-destructive. Like, "dark films are probably a bad idea right now... I'll see how many I can watch in a week" or "miserable music will definitely make me feel shit... I'll listen to it every night before bed". Mental illness, man. Devious little shit, it is. If you want a look at creativity, Touched With Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison is amazing. It's more academic, but very readable and mostly about mercurial artists and poets and writers of days gone by, who are ALWAYS fun to read about.

    1. Hey, I wrote literally one review IN March, and this is it. The rest. I am THE laziest, for reals.

      I got Texts from Jane Eyre over Christmas! I feel like it was half price but that could be a lie... There was definitely some kind of deal on it anyway! I can't decide if I want to keep it or not yet (because... So funny! but, space...) but if not then you can totally have it! And yes read Kick Ass, so gooooood!

      See, hers isn't so much 'I'm going to do bad things because I wanna' it's more like 'oh I'm having a manic episode rn but I'm really enjoying it and it's making me super creative so I'm not going to take lithium because it might reduce my creativity even though it will also likely stop a REALLY bad depressive spell' BUT BUT BUT I should probably say that I've only had depression and not mania (mania? I feel like there's a better term for it...) so I don't know how good that is, only how bad depression is and how I'd do literally anything not to experience it again... does that make sense? Touched with Fire sounds good though! Will have to check it out.

  2. Posting your monthly reading wrap-up on time is overrated.


  3. I really, really, really, really want to read Kindred Spirits. That is all.