Even though this challenge didn’t start until January 25th, I was able to get four books read (both Lumberjanes volumes count as one). Of course, it helps that they were split between audiobooks and graphic novels.
I decided to expand my list by writing about my thoughts on the books I read. Usually, I blow through my books without much more thought that “me like” or “me no like”, but wanted to add some actual substance. Well, substance-ish as I don’t like reading or writing long, in-depth reviews.
Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks
Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger, read by Moira Quick
Gail Carriger’s Alexia Tarabotti books are among my favorites, and I have read them (and their manga versions) many times. I like her dry humor, snarkiness (very much toned down in the Finishing School books), and how she uses comedy of manners.
Waistcoats & Weaponry was a reread. The final book in the quartet, Manners & Mutiny, was recently published, and I wanted to brush up on the plot before reading it. I had just started reading this book when I learned of this challenge, so I switched to the audiobook. I enjoyed it overall, though the book as a whole feels like more like filler than actual plot progression. Sophronia and her denseness regarding Soap and boys in general was a wee bit annoying, but those complaints aside, Sophronia was strong, creative, and intelligent. I love the idea of “finishing” school, especially one in a dirigible.
What If? by Randall Munroe, read by Wil Wheaton
This book was the talk of the Christmas tree in my house. Both my brother-in-laws are avid nerds (nerds, not geeks as they are all computers and no fantasy), who couldn’t stop talking about XKCD and Thing Explainer and all things Randall Moore. Even though the book cover is amusing, I would never have picked the book on my own. That being said, I loved the dry humor and how geekdom references were tied into scientific principles. This is a book my father would have loved. Wil Wheaton was also an awesome narrator. He has great inflection and sounded more like he was chatting than reading.
Top Ten Great Graphic Novels
Lumberjanes Vol 1 & 2 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters
Lumberjanes is now one of my new favorite graphic novel series. It’s geeky and weird and has a skewed sense of humor. I want to be a Lumberjane. I want to go to camp and have Indiana Jones-like adventures. I like Girl Scouts, but we don’t have awesome badges like Pungeon Master (“The best kind of punishment”) and Jail Break (“Run as fast as you can”), and we never had crazy camp adventures. Well…I never did at least. My daughter swears there is a 6 foot tall turkey wandering around her Girl Scout camp.
Riley is by far my favorite character. Her sanity is on the far side of left, which makes her great as comic relief. She reminds me of Betty from Rat Queens (another graphic novel series), but with a lot less drugs and candy.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
I bought this book at Powell’s last summer as a birthday present for my daughter. My step-mother lives walking distance from Oaks Amusement Park, and when we visit we always stroll by on the path behind it. Back to the book…Astrid reminds me of my daughter, and to some extent, me as a child, specifically in how she pouty-reacts to embarrassments and stumbling blocks. The story of growing up and growing apart felt real, and I liked how Astrid ultimately handled her disappointment at not being chosen as a jammer by giving her new friend, Zoey, a confidence boost.