Reading Diaries: Supergirls, Mysterious Webcomics and the Obsessive Tendencies of Fandoms
Romona: Last night I finished Stephen King’s new release Finders Keepers, the second book in the Bill Hodges trilogy. The story begins with the theft of a famous writer’s unpublished work and focuses on the obsessive tendencies of fandoms. It’s similar to Misery in depictions of the fans’ fixations on the writer. Finders Keepers has a strong beginning and ending, but a sluggish middle. The last few pages set up a fun premise for the next book, so even though I didn’t enjoy this as much as Mr. Mercedes, I am pumped to get my hands on book three.
I also finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. I never knew much about Jobs, and kind of ignored him while he was alive. He seemed like a real prick and I didn’t pay him much mind. But this biography did such an excellent job describing him that I really like the guy now. So, I highly recommend it.
Outside of that, I went through a couple shorter reads with Jay Hosler’s Clan Apis (all about bees and their life cycle) and Alice Miller’s For Your Own Good: The Hidden Roots of Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence (a good but depressing read).
Ginnis: My biggest reading focus this past month is moving from reading multiple books at once and never finishing them to starting and finishing one book per week (comic reading and research not included here). I have been really interested in learning more about the industry side of comics so I finally finished Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story and Mike Madrid’s Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines. For the third week in my new goal/project, I am currently on Peter Coogan’s Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre. The local used bookstore’s comic book section has expanded in the last few years from three-four bookshelves to an entire section and encompasses a section of books on comics where I have found Bradford Wright’s Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America, Maurice Horn’s Women in the Comics, Trina Robbins’ A Century of Women Cartoonists, and several others. I like reading about comics as much as I like reading them.
Wendy: I vowed that I would get through the pile of books beside my bed and have been using the various Worlds Without End reading challenges to maintain that focus. I’m kind of obsessed with reading challenges and am doing a number of them this year to help me reach my goal of 100 books and graphic novels. I’ve managed to settle on the following with Worlds Without End:
2015 Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge
The Pick and Mix Challenge in 2015
2015 I Just HAVE to Read More of That Author Challenge
Read the Sequel 2015
Clear the Shelves Challenge
My current read, Starship Troopers by Robert E. Heinlein, which fits into several of these challenges. It also fulfills my desire to read more of the older works of science fiction and fantasy that have supposedly shaped the genre. I’m also participating in an audiobook challenge through a Goodreads group. My current listen is Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, which was recommended to me following my praise for Elizabeth May’s The Falconer.
I started the month with Finding Audrey, the first Young Adult novel from Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic series. I’ve never been a fan of the Shopaholic series, but I’ve always enjoyed Kinsella’s standalone novels. They’re great summer reads – flirty and funny and easy to read. Finding Audrey is a bit different. It’s still got a number of funny moments but it also tackles anxiety is a very honest way.
Feeling as though I was on a roll with authors who were writing YA for the first time I decided to give I am Princess X by Cherie Priest a shot. The novel follows a mysterious webcomic (which actually appears interspersed throughout the text), and a young girl searching for her best friend.
It was also a fun, humorous read with a few serious elements mixed in (like murder and child abduction). I really enjoyed this book and I need to get my hands on a finished copy so I can actually read the “webcomic” in its entirety, as the review copy I had only had a few examples.
Unfortunately, what started out as a great book month had a really anticlimactic finale with Armada, the sophomore novel from Ernest Cline. I had been eagerly anticipating this novel after loving his début, Ready Player One, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations. The references felt forced, the plot was kind of silly and for the most part I was simply…bored.