October 22 2020

Future girl, by Asphyxia

Future girl front cover

Future girl, by Asphyxia

Title: Future Girl
Author: Asphyxia
Genre/ issues: Illustrated novel. Near future dystopia. Food insecurity. Deaf community and sign language. Censorship.

I finished this wonder of a novel today, and I’m feeling all the feelings. Visually stunning is a given – check out these interior shots, or head over to Asphyxia’s website for more of their stunning artwork!! The narrative voice of Future Girl is so powerful and compelling.
This is Piper’s art journal, and I love how the colour and intensity of the art and collage in the pages reflects her journey as she negotiates complex relationships with her mother, her friend and her new maybe boyfriend, as well as her relationship with food in a near-future Melbourne dealing with a food crisis.
We also gain deep insight into her experience of life as a d/Deaf person in a hearing world, and how powerful and important it is to be able to communicate on your own terms. Piper’s struggle to communicate as a Deaf person is effectively paralleled with the growing concerns over increasing censorship in a world where communication is all filtered through a monolithic IT corporation. Asphyxia plays beautifully with the idea of voice – spoken, written, signed, painted or texted, our voices matter, and EVERYONE should have the right to use theirs.
I’ve always been interested in learning to sign, but I have to confess to previously not having fully understood the depth, complexity and beauty of signing as its own distinct and unique language. This book was eye-opening to me about some of the issues around accessible communication for the deaf community. I know that I’ll always be a hearing person who can sign a little, and that my relationship with this language will always be as an outsider, but it’s something that I’m committed to starting to learn now, rather than just always thinking about it. This book is a wonder, and it’s high on the list of best books I’ve read this year, and ones I’ll be recommending for a long time to come.
Future girl interior page

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 72/100

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

October 16 2020

The unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol 1: Squirrel Power

Squirrel girl

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol1: Squirrel Power

Title: The unbeatable Squirrel Girl vol 1: Squirrel Power
Author: Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Genre/ issues: YA. Superheroes. Graphic novels.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl could have been written for me. Curvy girl superhero. Quirky. Funny. Clumsy. Easily distracted but totally loyal to her friends. I adore this comic, and I’m glad I ordered the first three trade paperback editions at once, so I don’t have to wait for the more! A good friend recommended this one, and I’m so glad she did. Doreen Allene Greene is an absolute joy.

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 65/100

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

October 2 2020

Lumberjanes, Vol 2 Friendship to the Max

Lumberjanes

Lumberjanes Vol 2: Friendship to the Max

Title: Lumberjanes volume 2: Friendship to the max
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Genre/ issues: Comics. Mystery. Adventure. Supernatural.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

A quick catch up post – I thought I’d posted about this, but then realised I had expected to read a lot more graphic novels last month so was going to post them all together. Instead, this was one of only 4 books I read in September. It’s worthy of its own post, regardless. I love Lumberjanes. It’s smart, funny, quirky and cool. The diversity of strong female characters gives me endless seratonin. Volume 2x Friendship tor the Max, sees the campers encounter some characters you might be familiar with from Greek mythology, but in a whole new way. Such a great comic series!

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 63/100

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

August 29 2020

You brought me the ocean, by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh

You brought me the ocea

You brought me the ocean, by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh

Title: You brought me the ocean
Author: Alex Sanchez
Illustrator: Julie Maroh
Genre/ issues: Graphic novel. DC universe. Queer fiction.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

You remember a few months ago I posted about wanting to get into reading comics and graphic novels more? Well, this shelf is now officially full and I need to shuffle the bookcase to start a second one. I think I’ve done it!
I picked up You Brought Me the Ocean at Kings Comics last weekend when I visited, and I’ve just read it in one sitting. Sweet, thoughtful, and beautifully illustrated by Julie Maroh, it’s the story of Jake, who lives in the desert but is obsessed with the ocean. Jake is dealing with a lot of complications – his best friend, who wants them to go to college together and stay close to home. His mother, who wants to keep him safe and as far away from water as possible. His strange blue birthmarks which glow when he comes into contact with water. And his developing attraction for Kenny, swim team captain and class rebel. This is a great coming of age graphic novel, with lovely messages about family and communication, a super-sweet romance and coming-our story, and some pretty cool appearances by some iconic characters from the DC universe. A good solid 4/5 read for me, nothing too confronting or difficult, some great racial diversity amongst the main characters and the types of families presented, and a relatively quick read. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 56/100

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

August 28 2020

Comic catchup

Comics

Snowpiercer and Umbrella Academy

Title: Umbrella Academy
Author: Gerard Way
Illustrator: Gabriel Ba
Genre/ issues: Graphic novel. Superheroes.

Title: Snowpiercer
Author: Oliver Bocquet
Illustrator: Jean-Marc Rochet
Genre/ issues: Graphic novel. Dystopian fiction. Climate change. 

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

A few more graphic novels – all finished last month but I forgot to post about them for posterity/ tracking purposes for my reading challenge. Volume 3 of Snowpiercer, which was probably the most disturbing of them all for me, and volume 1 and 2 of The Umbrella Academy. I love Umbrella Academy, and enjoyed reading these after watching the series. Snowpiercer 3/5, UA a solid 4.5/5 for me.
Streaming services have really tapped into something, haven’t they? Comics and graphic novels are excellent source material for TV adaptations, and some of my favourite comic reads this year have come about because I’ve backward mapped – watched the show, loved it, read the comics, and then moved on to whatever else those creators were responsible for. I’m definitely adding Gabriel Ba to my list of people to investigate more – the artwork in UA is stunning.

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 57-59/100

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

August 7 2020

Snowpiercer, volumes 1 and 2

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer, vol 1 and 2

Title: Snowpiercer Volume 1: The Escape and Snowpiercer Volume 2: The Explorers
Author: Benjamin Legrand
Genre/ issues: Sci-fi. Climate destruction. Class. Graphic novel.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I’ve been working backwards in my journey with Snowpiercer. I started with the TV series, watched the movie, and then tonight I read volume 1 and 2 of the source material, the graphic novel translated from the French. Black and white artwork helps to underscore the stark landscape and even more grim future that humanity survives in, on Snowpiercer, one thousand and one carriages long. If you’re into graphic novels and have enjoyed the series, this is a great read. I think the TV show is still my favourite out of all of the versions of this story so far, but I really enjoyed reading the origin in these two volumes, and am looking forward to the third one arriving soon. For my TL followers, this one probably isn’t a good YA read – it’s mature, adult and graphic in multiple senses of the word.

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 50/52 and 51/52

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 26 2020

Sandman sundays

Sandman

Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

Title: Sandman
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre/ issues: Graphic novel. Supernatural. Mythology. Fantasy.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Sandman is arguably one of Neil Gaiman’s most well-known and wide-ranging creations. A stunning comic series, it’s been republished in a few different formats, and the Omnibus edition is one of the most treasured items in my collection. My ex-husband gave me volume one as one of the last gifts of our relationship – and, it must be said, as one of the only gifts he gave me that showed he knew what mattered to me. The second volume was a gift to myself, shortly after our divorce was finalised and I decided to treat myself to something I really wanted. And volume 3? Well, my wonderful partner gave me that for Valentine’s Day this year. So, it’s safe to say that the whole collection is meaningful to me in more ways than just the epic and fantastic story it contains.

The wonder that is Dirk Maggs is responsible for another fantastic incarnation of Sandman – the audiobook adaptation. It’s sensational, and I’ve been listening to parts of it each Sunday since it came out, and reading along with the comics. So far I’ve listened to the chapters that would have comprised Volume 1 and 2 of the graphic novel editions – Preludes and Nocturnes (#1-8 of the comics) and The Doll House (#9-16). I’m counting the graphic novel editions towards my book tally, rather than the Omnibus, which is 4 graphic novels combined, and also longer than the first installment of the audiobook.

The audio cast is stunning – a who’s who of the entertainment industry. Standouts for me so far have been Kat Denning as Death, the fantastic quirky goth girl who is one of my favourite characters, James McAvoy as Morpheus, and Michael Sheen as Lucifer. The stunning audioproduction is tied together with narration from Neil himself, sometimes reading the narrative elements of the original comic, and sometimes filling in additional details that are needed for context without the visual elements on the page. It’s a masterpiece, and I’m very glad I have it – even if it meant I had to break my self-imposed Am@zon ban, as it’s only available on Audible.

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 47/52 and 48/52

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 14 2020

Labyrinth: Coronation Volumes 1 and 2

Labyrinth

Labyrinth Coronation

Title: Labyrinth: Coronation Volume 1 and Volume 2
Genre/ issues: Graphic novel. Fantasy. Prequel.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth was one of my favourite movies growing up, and Bowie’s Jareth was, not surprisingly, my favourite character. I’ve just finished reading the first 2 instalments of Labyrinth: Coronation, a great comic series about how Jareth came to be goblin king. Told through a series of flashbacks whilst he waits impatiently for Sarah to either find the castle or give up, it dives into the nature of generational trauma and class. What do I think of it? Well, I’ve enjoyed the flashes of scenes from the movie that are interspersed throughout. The art is stunning. I like it enough that I’ll read volume 3, and I’ll be glad to have it in my collection. But, truth be told, that’s probably as much for nostalgia purposes as anything else. It probably won’t make any top 10 favourite reads lists for me this year – and that’s probably lucky, quite frankly, because it’s getting pretty crowded at the top of the 2020ReadingChallenge leaderboard. 

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 41/52 and 43/52

June 12 2020

Love is love: a comic book anthology

Love is love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting

Love is love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting

Title: Love is love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting
Genre/ issues: Comics. Love. Queer fiction. Pulse nightclub shooting.

Shop local where you can: search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia.

Blurb: The comic industry comes together in honor of those killed in Orlando. Co-published by two of the premiere publishers in comics—DC and IDW, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talent in comics, mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families. It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is you love.

It’s pride month. A year ago, my daughter and I were at Stonewall, the place where a black trans woman threw a brick, and a revolution was sparked. 4 years ago, the Pulse nightclub shooting happened. Today, we are surrounded by Black Lives Matter protests, as black and indigenous people continue to be more likely to suffer institutional and systemic racism, and queer people are more likely to be attacked or discriminated against. If all lives matter, can we as a society start acting like it please?
I read Love is Love today, a comic anthology by a tonne of artists which raised money for the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting. I am so done with racists and bigots, and I’m not the target for any of their hatred, as a fairly privileged white cis-het woman. I can only imagine how the queer community, and BIPOC, are feeling. 

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 33/52

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

May 9 2020

Dragon Hoops, by Gene Luen Yang

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Title: Dragon Hoops
Author: Gene Luan Yang
Genre/ issues: Graphic novels. Sports. Race. Life journeys.

Shop local where you can: search Indies to locate your closest independent bookstore, or find it on Booktopia.

In order to get myself out of a bit of a reading slump, I’ve been smashing though some books that are new styles and genres to me. Graphic novels and comics have been high on my list lately, but I usually pass right on by sportsing books. This one looked interesting though, and that first impression was upheld by the wonder contained in its pages. A graphic novel from the point of view of the author, a teacher at a school whose basketball team were headed for a State championship, and who was looking for a new story, Dragon Hoops is fascinating. Part personal narrative, part historical exposition, part cultural analysis, it doesn’t shy away from dealing with difficult topics, like the former coach of the school who faced historical sexual assault charges, or the questions about whether treatment of individual players may have been the result of unconscious racial bias. It’s self-reflective, thoughtful, gently humorous, and so compelling that it had this non-sportsing geek girl sitting on the edge of her seat hoping for a last minute win at the championships – even though, really, that’s not what the game is all about. It’s still satisfying though, right?
The recurring motif of the importance of a single step, small but so powerful, really struck me, and had me thinking about all those steps I’ve taken in my life.
This is a compelling graphic novel. I thought I’d read it and then pass it along to someone else, but I loved it so much that I’ve just added it to my newly-created graphics shelf on my bookcase. Off to stalk the author, and get everything else he’s worked on. I love his style. 

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 25/52

Happy reading,

Tamara