April 13, 2015

Recent Reads

34. Bumperhead
The first thought that came to mind when I closed this graphic novel? So what? This is a meandering coming of age story, about a young boy who is bullied, and abandoned by his parents in various ways. There is a log of the girls he crushes on, the music he loves, and the main events of his life from young boy to older man, but the story lacked any emotional impact. The most interesting thing was the iPad subplot. On the plus side, I did like the black and white artwork. I am clearly not the target audience for this one. Rating: 2 stars.

35. A Life In Hand
Well, I'm not even going to pretend to be objective about this one. This book has been out of print for years, and I've searched high and low to find a copy. Finally got one from a neighboring library system, and it is dog eared, and musty, and marked up, and the mustiness made it hard for me to read, but I loved every single page. It is rare that I read a book, get to the last page, and want to turn around and start reading it again. I have resisted that impulse so as to be kind to my lungs, but this is a book I plan to own.

The author explores keeping a journal of one's entire life - the beautiful, the mundane, lists, sketches, everything but the kitchen sink. There are wonderful writing and sketching exercises, and some of her rather impressively intimidating artwork in the back of the book. I have loved her other work, but this one is my fave. A book I plan to dip into regularly. Rating: 5 stars.

36. The Solitude of Prime Numbers
I love prime numbers, and this is the second book in as many months that has math and prime numbers as a theme. One of the wonderful things about reading translated works (Italian in this case), is that I get a little taste of the culture the story is based on. 

Alice and Mattia experience traumatic events in their childhoods that leave them damaged in ways that most people cannot begin to understand. When they meet as teenagers, each recognizes a kindred spirit in the other, and a friendship blossoms. 

This is a bleak story, so is well suited to reading in the winter, when the weak sun barely warms your skin. The author does a masterful job of inhabiting both the male and female characters in a way that seems authentic. The characters are complex, and awkwardly themselves, and I often felt like shaking them - both could have really used some therapy to work on their wounding. I am not a happily-ever-after junkie, nor do I need things tied up in a bow - after all life is more complicated than that - but while this was a quick read, I found myself not quite satisfied when I turned the last page. Rating: 3 stars.

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