Archive for May 1st, 2016

May 1, 2016

April Reading

April was mostly a thesis-writing month, as is probably clear; nothing here is very long or heavy, and quite a bit of it is work-relevant. Still.


Penelope Lively, The Whispering Knights: Well this is defnitely Lesser Lively, though I did enjoy the image of a witches brew made from canned frog’s legs.

Penelope Farmer, The Summer Birds: I’d have to reread Charlotte Sometimes to check, but this felt very tonally different. I liked it a lot–it’s really good at invoking all the things that make Peter Pan and Wendy work so well: sex and flight and the promise of death.

Sheena Porter, Nordy Bank: At some point I’m going to have to write something making wild generalisations about changing relationships with plot and structure in fiction. I’m reminded of this every time I read children’s books from the 60s and 70s (which, at the moment, is all the time), but even more so when it’s one I didn’t already know well. This was my first time reading Nordy Bank, and I’m not sure how it’s a book about a girl and her dog and a book about being possessed by your Bronze Age ancestors and a book about camping and tramping in a minor key but it certainly is all of those things. I can understand why it’s not one of the Carnegie-winners that has continued to be popular, but I also liked it.

Becky Albertalli, Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda: I’ve written about this here. Short version: I thought it was cute.

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona: Adorable, and has moments where it feels like it’s touching on something raw and wonderful. But it doesn’t feel like enough–I’m not sure you can successfully invoke the depth of trauma that some of these characters have faced, or the scale of violence that they’ve either perpetrated or had to forgive their loved ones for perpetrating, without going a lot further than this comic was willing to.

Jean Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad, Asterix and the Missing Scroll: I didn’t think much of Asterix and the Picts, and rolled my eyes at the Relevant Social Commentary implied in an Asterix comic about leaked documents, and now that I’ve read this I find it rather slight. But then it does this thing on its final page that creates a metanarrative for the whole series, and. Well played.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze, Laura Martin, Black Panther .1: It may need a few issues (perhaps I’ll wait for the first trade) before there’s enough here for me to work out if I like it. For now, all I know is that I really enjoyed the art.

Kate Saunders, Five Children on the Western Front: I’ve written about this at length here. Short version: Touching, but I’ve read better and smarter fanfic than this.

Julia Quinn, Because of Miss Bridgerton: I enjoy Julia Quinn but don’t know what the point of this book was.

William Mayne, Earthfasts: I’m writing about this separately, and I’m not entirely sure what happens in some sections of it but Mayne is such a good writer.