Books I Read in 2018 & Think You Should Read in 2019

In 2018, I hit 100 books read, just under the wire. I opened and ended the year reading trade paperbacks of Saga, volumes 8 and 9 respectively.

I also attempted to do a book a week (52 books) challenge. I made it 33 weeks, or 63% in my completion of this challenge. I, of course, read comic books too, and a few other books. I stretched myself to review the challenge books, which I ended up finding a bit too daunting and slowing down my progress.

I’ve upped my level of grading — on a 1-5 scale — and what I consider a 5 vs a 4 vs a 3. I had far less 5 star books in 2018, and it wasn’t because I read less books.

My goal #1 in 2018 was to read more full prose and less comic books, success. Goal #2 was to clean up my comic to-read pile. I feel failed at that after I got sick this summer.

This year, I’m looking to read 100 books again, and I’d like 40 of them to be books I already own. My single issue comic book pile does not count, but graphic novels and all my other books do.

Here are my book recommendations for those I gave 5 stars to in 2018:

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles1. Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan

Genre: pink lions who don’t wear pants, personal is political, 1950s, comics
Recommended for: those who felt everything in 2018

Impactful. Exit Stage Left was impactful and left a mark each time I read it. I smiled. I cried. I felt things. This book follows Snagglepuss who navigates the Cold War as basically Tennessee Williams. Continue reading “Books I Read in 2018 & Think You Should Read in 2019”

Shit I Read in 2014 & Think You Should Read in 2015

If you haven’t already read them that is. 🙂

In 2014, I focused on reading books that I already owned, with the exception of new comics, and that were already sitting on my shelves. I bought less books than other years, and my shelves, like the melting ice caps, have migrated to even more books read. That was my small win.

Goodreads says that I read 96 books in 2014. I probably read more than that because I’ve been shit at tracking the new comics (when they finally come out in graphic novel format) that I’ve read. Not to mention, not all comics are collected in graphic novels.

Here’s some amazing stuff you should read too:


Lumberjanes Vol. 11. Lumberjanes Vol. 1
by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen

Genre: YA comics, Feminist comics, Holy Kittens
Recommended for: EVERYONE

This comic book filled my feminist heart with glee. I know, I rated a comic book number one, but yes, it is that good. Lumberjanes is about a group of teenage girls at camp, and they are — next to the Pawnee Goddess — my favorite group of fictional girl scouts. The girls come from diverse backgrounds, and they solve the supernatural mysteries of the camp with their unique skills and friendship.

Plus, Lumberjanes has catchy phrases like “Friendship to the max!” and “Holy bell hooks!” I do love a catch phrase. It’s pretty rare to see a book filled with girls, much less girls valued for their brains and brawn and who love and care deeply for each other. Lumberjanes reminded me of my very best times with my female friends.

In early 2014, Lumberjanes was the book pointed out by privileged comic book dudes to be ruining comic books for them. I’m pleased to say it lives up to its hype, and it’s done so well that Lumberjanes is now an on-going series, determined to ruin comics forever.


Sister Outsider2. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
by Audre Lorde

Genre: Intersectional feminist essays, Quotable poets
Recommended for: EVERYONE (adults)

Why hadn’t I read this before now? The main question I kept asking myself over and over when reading Sister Outsider.

When I was a child, I spent lots of time in Catholic and Lutheran churches and around people who found great comfort in the Bible and its teachings. (Personally, it either bored, enraged, scared, or seemed like common sense to my younger self.) But if I had to pick text which moved, comforted, and expanded me in the same way, it would Sister Outsider. Continue reading “Shit I Read in 2014 & Think You Should Read in 2015”

Sprinkles Around the Web: April 15th Edition

Sprinkles from around the web

I decided to add “equality” given that I do read a lot of articles with intersectionality that cover stopping a lot of -isms, and they are all equally important. As always, these are links that I found interesting and you might too.

Me

Books Nominated for 2013 Hugo Awards!
Woohoo! Chicks Unravel Time & Chicks Dig Comics were nominated for The Hugo Awards. Big congratulations to the editors, all the other writers, and everyone else involved in the production and love of these books. 🙂

Cute Animals

Black and White Friendship Story of a 4-Year-old Girl and Her Cat
Yep, pretty sure I was exactly like this with my cat as a child.

Entrepreneurship

The Skills Most Entrepreneurs Lack
Very interesting.

Equality

Donglegate: Why the Tech Community Hates Feminists
One of the best articles I’ve read about the larger messages and lessons from Donglegate.

How to talk about a woman’s looks
Yep, even President Obama messed this one up.

To my daughter (should I have one)
A lovely thought from my friend Susie. Continue reading “Sprinkles Around the Web: April 15th Edition”

Books Nominated for 2013 Hugo Awards!

Huzzah! Both Chicks Dig Comics and Chicks Unravel Time, which I contributed to, are nominated for Hugo Awards. Congratulations to the editors, all the writers, and to everyone else who also contributed to these books.

Ironically, both are nominated for the same award, in the Best Related Work category. Both are rad books and products of the love and hard work of everyone involved. I don’t think I’ll be making it out for the awards in person, but will be celebrating all the fun with everyone else online as they’ll be streaming it.

Buy Chicks Dig Comics and buy Chicks Unravel Time, and then you too can party along. 😉

Chicks Dig Comics and Unravel Time
Whoo! Both books nominated for Hugo Awards.

G. Willow Wilson’s The Butterfly Mosque Book Review

Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson

I fell in love with G. Willow Wilson’s The Butterfly Mosque hard. Which seems like an odd thing to say about a memior, particularly one by someone still alive and who’s only a year older than myself. (Also we live in the same awesome city of Seattle.) Wilson’s memoir is about her conversion to Islam, about her marriage to an Egyptian man, and about forging her own identity as an American Muslim learning to live in Egypt and the Middle East in a post-9/11 world.

While Wilson and I live very different lives, I was drawn in by both the beauty and truth in The Butterfly Mosque and the telling of a story about building an identity that is different from the various ones prescribed by society — whether American, Muslim, or Egyptian, in this case — and standing up for what works for her. I highly relate to taking the path that works best for oneself instead of the easy road. And Wilson certainly does not take the easy path.

One thing that stood out in The Butterfly Mosque was Wilson’s warmth to her world and the people around her. This is a story about the creation and evolution of love and of family, as much as a story about her faith. Continue reading “G. Willow Wilson’s The Butterfly Mosque Book Review”

Favorite female writer: Gail Simone (Day Twenty-Eight)

Gail Simone

Comic book writer Gail Simone
Gail Simone is DC Comics' leading lady author and one of my favorite comic book writers.

I’m pleased to say that I have a lot of favorite female writers. But I am the type of person to seek out female authors on purpose. Gail Simone is one of my favorite comic book writers. She’s written for such book as Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Gen13, and Secret Six, and she’s greatly added to the canons of some of my favorite female characters.

Simone started off as a fan. A comic book fan who noticed that women characters were mostly ignored, tortured, and killed to serve the stories of the male heroes. Simone created a database of sorts cataloging all the atrocious torture and deaths women characters were subjected to in far greater numbers than their male counterparts. She coined the term, “Women in Refrigerators” for these unfortunate acts.

Simone caught the eye of DC Comics, and they decided to hire her as a writer. She’s been on their payroll ever since. Simone’s run on Birds of Prey is one of the most celebrated “female-friendly” comic books out there. The reason being not just that Simone can craft a good story, but because she treats her characters — whether female or male — the same. The Birds of Prey is a team largely composed of women, mostly protecting Gotham City (though they do venture out). At the heart of the team is Oracle (Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl), Black Canary (Dinah Lance), and Huntress (Helena Bertinelli). These women and others not only have adventures and defeat bad guys, but they are genuine friends and family. In a genre where women rarely have their own agency in stories, it’s even more rare that women work together and become friends with each other. Simone says she didn’t set out of create a “female-friendly” comic book, but by DC Comics hiring a woman writer with the sensibility to tell women’s stories, Birds of Prey was able to reach an expanded audience with women fans.

Simone also had a great run on Wonder Woman, where she not only reunited Diana with her mother, but even let Wonder Woman have a love interest again. On the other end of the spectrum, Simone’s Secret Six is about the nasty things villains do to heroes and do to each other, proving that women writers can be just as sick and twisted as their male peers.

I highly recommend checking out Simone’s writing: Birds of Prey Vol. 1: Of Like Minds and Wonder Woman: The Circle.

Also, Simone’s going to be at GeekGirlCon, if you want to meet her in person and attend a convention with lots of other geeky women.

Favorite classical female character: Deborah (Day Twenty-Six)

Deborah from the Bible

Deborah Under the Palm Tress by Adriene Cruz
Deborah Under the Palm Tress by Adriene Cruz

When I was in religious school, my 7th grade theology teacher skipped over the story of Deborah, and really, all the stories about women in the Bible as they just got too incongruous with the view of the patriarchy we were learning. As a budding feminist and a quick reader, I decided to read these stories while he was going on a tangent I could ignore.

Deborah is featured in the Old Testament in the Book of Judges. She is the only female judge. The judges are warrior-leaders of God and deliver His word to the people.

Deborah is a prophetess who leads the Israelites against the Assyrians. She foretells the coming battle and clearly sees how the Israelites can win. Deborah is portrayed as strong and independent, perhaps hearkening back to the matriarchal roots of Judaism as her story could come from 12th century BCE.

Deborah’s story also features another woman Jael. Jael is actually the one who kills the Assyrian leader when he seeks refuge in her tent.

This story stands out for me because my teacher skipped it, and I read it anyway and was pleased to find out that Deborah was awesome. So awesome she also has a dimensionless number named after her. Read Deborah’s story in Judges.

Favorite female romantic relationship: Kate Kane and Renee Montoya (Day Twenty-Four)

Kate Kane and Renee Montoya from DC Comics

Kate Kane and Renee Montoya
Kate Kane and Renee Montoya are just adorable and kick-ass.

I love Kate Kane and Renee Montoya’s relationship as depicted in 52 and Detective Comics. I’m a little bit of a sucker for opposites attract. Of course, Kate and Renee aren’t that different than they first appear to each other and perhaps that’s the real reason why they break up.

While Renee and Kate come from different backgrounds — Renee is pure working class, while Kate is a rich socialite — both have a law and order background and then later become superheroes. Kate and Renee hook up right after Kate’s kick out of the military due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Renee’s a newly minted cop. As Renee heads toward a detective promotion, Kate finds herself asking how she can make the world better, only to run into the Batman himself. Of course, on the personal side, Kate’s out to her family and accepted, and Renee’s still very much closeted.

When Renee becomes the Question and Kate is Batwoman, they rekindle their relationship briefly in 52. But when the Religion of Crime decides that they need to sacrifice Kate, Renee tries to shut the organization down and save Kate. Kate would much rather save herself. She ends up pulling a knife out of her own chest and stabbing her captor, only to pass out into Renee’s arms.

Both Renee and Kate are very stubborn women. Women who want to save the world and themselves. They don’t like relying on others.

Perhaps some day, Kate and Renee will hook up again. But Renee will have to stop being so stubbornly independent, and Kate will have accept help more often. Because they are so adorable together.

See how their journeys start coming together, buy 52 Vol. 1 and The Question: The Five Books of Blood by Greg Rucka.

Favorite female platonic relationship: Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean (Day Twenty-Three)

Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean from Marvel Comics’ Runaways

Nico and Karolina
Nico and Karolina have a wonderful friendship.

Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean from Runaways have a wonderful platonic friendship, despite starting off as being almost complete opposites. Nico is a goth-influence teen and good with magic. Karolina is a blonde Californian teen, who’s actually an alien and can fly with rainbows. Their parents were life-long friends, but the girls never really got along with each other.

That was until Nico, Karolina, and the rest of the Runaways find out that their parents are actually super-villains. And oh yeah, they all have some kind of superpowers or near superpowers.

When the kids runaway from their families, Nico becomes one of their default leaders, and soon Karolina becomes her confidant. There’s a little awkwardness as Karolina has a crush on Nico, and Nico isn’t interested and straight. But the women become best friends.

Together, they keep the group stable, and they are the ones to make sure that the younger Runaways are taken care of and that the team has a home.

One of my favorite scenes between Nico and Karolina is after they throw a Runaways‘ prom. As Karolina watches everyone being happy, she starts missing her girlfriend Xavin. When she becomes visibly upset, Nico calls off the prom. Instead, Nico and Karolina hang out together and comfort each other as best friends. The scene is an incredibly sweet moment of girl bonding.

Get to know Karolina and Nico, buy Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy.

Sprinkles Around the Web 2/4-2/17/11

Sprinkles from around the web

Links that I enjoyed around the web. No one else’s opinion but my own.

Me

Me, Tammy, and Jasmine at the APCC New Year Celebration. A great day with some wonderful and talented friends.
Me, Tammy, and Jasmine at the APCC New Year Celebration. A great day with some wonderful and talented friends.

Uploaded a ton of photos. Check them out.

Fandom

NBC casts Wonder Woman! ‘Friday Night Lights’ star lands coveted role I’ve never seen Adrianne Palicki act, however, I am so happy that this is going forward. For real this time.

What Superhero Comics Look Like A great little article breaking down how Osborn #3 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios is scripted and put together art-wise, also how it applies to the very best of current comic books.

10 Reasons the Star Trek 2 Screenplay Still Isn’t Done

3) Everybody wanted Uhura to kick some ass this time around. But they couldn’t figure out how to have her kick ass in a teeny minidress, without needing a lot of strategically placed lens flare. The writers spent two months trying to figure out a plot reason why Uhura might have to put on some pants, or maybe some leggings, for part of the movie. What if they go to a planet of leg-biting monsters, and she has to put some protective leg coverings on? Or maybe Spock shows her a special Vulcan ritual, in which practitioners must wear pants as a sign of devotion to pure logic?

Andy Warhol, Nico, Robin And The Bats! Esquire Magazine Photoshoot 1967 This is an amazing. I’m such a Factory fangirl. If I could go back into time, I would go there and hang out.

Legend of a Cowgirl An amazing Firefly fanvid about Zoe. Just perfect. I love it. Continue reading “Sprinkles Around the Web 2/4-2/17/11”