I fell behind with my reviews last week because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. To make up for it, I’m back with 3 mini reviews in on post. I guess book reviews are like buses. You wait a week for a new one and then 3 turn up at once. Really though, it didn’t seem worthwhile giving any of these books their own post, which means that they’re all clumped together. Enjoy a bitesize analysis of my last 3 reads.
I’m having a nightmare with my photos at the moment. My Instagram feed is all over the place because I can’t the lighting consistent. The image at the top of this post was the worst to edit so far. Nothing went right and I was ready to pack it in completely. But I persisted and it will do. This book was my book club’s pick for Pride month and it was my suggestion. I normally don’t get too involved in the picking process because I was the last to join. I know it’s mental but it feels as though my opinion is less important than the others. So, I am a little worried about what they’ll think of this one. It’s been on my TBR for ages and I was looking forward to reading it. The book group is mostly full of people looking for gruesome murders though. I’m not sure this will be everyone’s cup of tea.
March hasn’t been the month that I thought it would be. I expected to read way more than I have. The fact that I’m falling behind my target it starting to get me stressed, which is also making it harder to concentrate on reading. It’s a shame. I didn’t manage to finish any of the novels that I’m currently reading for today but, thankfully, I can post a couple of super quick reads. One of them was something I read at the start of the month haven’t been able to get out of my head. The other was one I read on a whim this evening. That’s just how it goes I guess.
This weekend I, like so many other Netflix users around the world, sat down and binge-watched the second season of The Umbrella Academy. When the first series came out, I didn’t know much about it. All I knew was that it was based on a comic book series written by the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. Now, I admit that Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge is one of my guilty pleasure albums but I’ve long outgrown MCR. I didn’t expect to enjoy the show but Netflix is clever. It kept playing the trailer over and over until I couldn’t help but watch. I was quickly obsessed. It was a great show and the soundtrack was phenomenal. It felt new and nostalgic at the same time. I couldn’t wait for the follow-up season and, though the narrative wasn’t quite as slick, it was still bloody entertaining. So, when I realised I wouldn’t finish a book in time for today’s review, I knew I had to do something drastic. I bought the Kindle edition of the first volume of the comics. I had to see for myself.
All being well, I should finally be watching The Joker tonight. I’ve been trying to arrange a time to see it for ages. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to think about it. I try not to take too much notice to criticism before I see a film but it’s been hard to avoid most of it. I know there has been some backlash from female critics and some questions about the motivations of the Joker in it. But there has also been a lot of praise. Plus, I’m already biased against Todd Phillips thanks to his absolutely stupid comments about comedy and “woke culture”. Guy sounds like a dick and I’m assuming that his film is bound to match his outdated ideas. But, I still want to go in with an open mind. After all, the Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I thought I’d explore some of my favourite Joker centric Batman storylines. Quick disclaimer, I’m by no means a Batman comic expert. I’ve not read as much as I’d like to have read but I’ve read enough to get by comfortably.
After watching the adaptation of Hush the other day, I decided that it would be a good idea to go back to the graphic novel. I don’t know how long it’s been since I last read it but it’s been a while. Is it entirely possible that I’m doing it because I knew I was ever going to finish my current read in time for this post? Possibly. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that it was in keeping with my theme of the week. And it is one of those classic Batman story arcs. The kind that is so often referred to in lists of the ones read. But, if I’m honest, I’ve never been as big of a fan as other people. I didn’t know if I was just missing something or whether it actually was just massively hyped. Of course, it’s possible that the artwork was just making it seem better. I admit to falling for that so often. If a graphic novel is a bit meh but the artwork is gorgeous I’ll always rate it higher. But is that the point? Should it be let off for looking good if the story isn’t all that great?
This week I find myself having finished a few shorter reads that I want to talk about but that didn’t really fill a full review. Not wanting to drag something out for the sake of it, I’m going to combine them all in one simple post. Why not?
So, I’ve broken my book buying ban with only one fucking day to go in the month. Why did I do it? Because I knew that I wouldn’t finish either of the books I’ve got on the go by the time I had to write this review. So, I popped into my local bookshop to see if I could find a quick read that looked interesting. I found it in the small selection of graphic novels and, after reading the quote on the front, decided I couldn’t not read it. “A story of courage and heroism to inspire young people everywhere.” I mean who could ignore an endorsement like that? Especially when the back cover reveals that Malala Yousafzai was also a fan. The graphic novel version of Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner is actually the adaptation of the 2018 animated film based on the book. So, I have just read the novelisation of a film I haven’t seen that was based on a book I haven’t read. Whatever could go wrong?
I don’t read enough graphic novels but I do love them. To the extent that every time I read a great one I think to myself “I should read more graphic novels”. It was Sabrina that really got my heart pumping for a good graphic novel this year so when I was given the chance to read a new release from Pushkin Press. It is the prequel to Jakob Wegelius’ critically acclaimed The Murderer’s Ape. I hadn’t read The Murderer’s Ape but everything that I found out about it suggested that it would the kind of thing I loved. And the promise of a unique and rare graphic novel was something I couldn’t ignore. It arrived last Thursday and I immediately started reading it. I was done by Friday and I’ve already ordered Wegelius’ first book.
Every year the Man Booker Prize longlist comes and it becomes a massive list of books I want to read. Inevitably, I never get round to them all but I will try to manage one. That one then becomes my top pick for the prize because it is the only one I’ll ever read. Most of the time my picks don’t make it to the shortlist and, if they do, they never win the prize. It was only last year’s Lincoln in the Bardo that I correctly championed. This year the first and, thereby, only book I’ve read is the one causing a massive stir. For, in 2018, the Man Booker committee have decided to place a graphic novel on their longlist. It’s quite a huge step for a prize that is so often awarded to similar works all deemed to be of high literary value. Occasionally, you’ll get the odd piece that verges more on popular literary fiction, like David Nicholls’ Us, but it never makes it to the shortlist. These guys know what they like and that’s not going to change. So, for there to be a graphic novel on the list is a pretty big deal. For such an elitist prize to pick something so un-literary is unprecedented. I had to check it out for myself.