August 10, 2015

Recent Reads

92. Citizen: An American Lyric
This short audiobook is superbly narrated by Allyson Johnson. 

This book has received rave reviews and awards in the poetry category, and while the language is poetic, it read more like mini-essays to me. How about we split the difference and call it a poetic-mini-essay collection?

If I had a dollar for every time someone called me "articulate", or said "you speak English really good" ..... You know what's exhausting? Constantly calling people out for their actions, or giving someone the benefit of the doubt and trying to educate them. Sometimes you are so exhausted that you have to just let it go. Let it go. Let it go. And then a close friend, a loved one, a cherished one, says something, or worse, does not even see how you are being treated, and your anger flares up again. And so it goes.

"I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background."

This book is a meditation on race in the United States, a tabulation of racially aggressive encounters both micro and macro, and the life long effects of surviving said encounters. I loved some pieces more than others, and while some of the pieces are specific to black skin versus brown, I related to each and every one. Time to armor up. Again. Rating: 4 stars.

93. A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)
So there is thing that happens that made me mad. Oh so mad. How mad you ask? Well, after reading that section I had a dream where I was yelling at Mr. GRRM while he sat across from me with a snotty smile on his face. I just wanted to knock that silly hat off his head!

This is book #5 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones), and at this point you are either gritting your teeth and committed to the bitter end, or you have already bailed. I'm a member of the former camp.

I'm not even sure how to summarize this story. There are more characters in this series than the Bible. If that is not true, I want to see proof, preferably documented as illustrated family trees with crest and motto information. This book is over a thousand pages, and it felt like I was introduced to about that many new characters. The key I've learned is to simply let all these people with strange names wash over me, and see who comes up again.

My current working model is to think about these books as a Game of Thrones Facebook group; there are people whose status updates you eagerly await and read with delight, and then there are those you'd de-friend if you could. There are sections of this book that are fantastic, but also large swathes that are a slog. I know (hope) that when (if ever!) the author completes this series all these threads will come together. Rating: 3 stars.

94. Therefore, Repent!
This graphic novel has such a fantastic premise: What if the religious right, are right? Once the Christians have floated bodily into the sky, life goes on pretty much as usual for the immoral majority, except that magic works, if you're willing to risk demonic mutations.

Unfortunately it does not deliver on that promise. The artwork is really great, but the story is way too convoluted, with too many sub plots that seem to lead nowhere in particular. It actually felt like I was reading an abridged version of a complex and wonderful story. Rating: 2 stars.

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