fuck yeah reading: 2017 books

January 1st, 2018 10:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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So 2017 was a terrible year, for a variety of reasons. I wish I could say that the books (like the dogs) were always good, but the truth is that I read some pretty bad ones, and my reading slump wasn’t exactly helped by my depression and anxiety and general state of panic. But 2017 will go down as the year I really dove into comic books; some of my favorite reads this year (shout outs to Fetch, The Last Unicorn, Bitch Planet, and Kindred) were graphic novels, and I suspect I had a little more luck engaging with this format on those days when my brain was feeling especially slow and foggy. This was also a pretty great year for YA fiction that sticks it to rape culture; see, e.g., The Nowhere Girls and Vigilante.

As is the custom, here’s a complete list of my reads this year, with my top picks starred. And you can check out my Year in Books on Goodreads here, which looks lovely but is entirely too much to screencap.

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fuck yeah reading: 2017 book list

  1. The Furies by Natalie Haynes (2014)
  2. The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis (2017); reviewed here
  3. The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (2017); reviewed here
  4. Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2012); reread: originally reviewed here
  5. Kinski by Gabriel Hardman (2014)
  6. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson (2016)
  7. The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones (2012)
  8. The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson (2014); reviewed here
  9. A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen #2) by Roshani Chokshi (2017); reviewed here
  10. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (2015)
  11. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls edited by Hope Nicholson (2016); reviewed here
  12. Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun (2017); reviewed here *
  13. Final Girls by Mira Grant (2017); reviewed here
  14. Final Girls by Riley Sager (2017); reviewed here
  15. Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel (2017); reviewed here
  16. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (2017)
  17. A Colony in a Nation by Christopher L. Hayes (2017)
  18. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill (2007)
  19. Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Guts by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2013)
  20. Wonder Woman, Volume 3: Iron by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Tony Akins (2013)
  21. Wonder Woman, Volume 4: War by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudžuka (2014)
  22. Wonder Woman, Volume 5: Flesh by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudžuka (2014)
  23. Wonder Woman, Volume 6: Bones by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and Goran Sudžuka (2015)
  24. By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain by Joe Hill (2014)
  25. The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn Graphic Novels #1-6) by Peter S. Beagle, Peter B. Gillis, Renae De Liz, and Ray Dillon (2011) *
  26. Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen (2017); reviewed here
  27. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013)
  28. How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick (2017)
  29. Bitch Planet, Vol 1: Extraordinary Machine (Bitch Planet #1-5) by Kelly Sue DeConnick (2015); reread
  30. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (2007)
  31. Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Taki Soma, and Valentine De Landro (2017); reviewed here *
  32. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (2015)
  33. For Want of Water: and other poems (National Poetry Series) by Sasha Pimentel (2017); reviewed here
  34. Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt (Narwhal and Jelly) by Ben Clanton (2017); reviewed here
  35. Best Vegan Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2016 edited by B. Morris Allen (2017); reviewed here
  36. Lady Mechanika, Volume 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey (Lady Mechanika: The Lost Boys of West Abbey #1-2) by M.M. Chen, Joe Benítez, Peter Steigerwald, Martin Montiel, and Beth Sotelo (2017); reviewed here
  37. Lessons from Shadow: My Life Lessons for Boys and Girls by Shadow Bregman (2017); reviewed here
  38. Feminist Fables for the Twenty-First Century: The F Word Project by Maureen Burdock (2015); reviewed here
  39. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler, John Jennings (Illustrations), and Damian Duffy (Adapted by) (2017); reviewed here *
  40. Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks (2017); reviewed here
  41. Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown (2014); reread: originally reviewed here
  42. Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann (2014)
  43. Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss by Patrick O Malley (2017); reviewed here
  44. Unleashed by Amanda Jones (2017); reviewed here
  45. A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong (2016)
  46. The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl from Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig (2017); reviewed here
  47. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown (2015)
  48. Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J. Georges (2017); reviewed here *
  49. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (2017); reviewed here
  50. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (2016); reviewed here
  51. The Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990 by Miriam Elia and Ezra Elia (2013)
  52. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown (2016)
  53. The Little Queen by Meia Geddes (2017); reviewed here
  54. Sorrow of the Earth: Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull and the Tragedy of Show Business by Eric Vuillard; translated by Ann Jefferson (2017); reviewed here
  55. A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow (2018); review coming next year
  56. Dogs in Cars by Lara Jo Regan (2014)
  57. Vigilante by Kady Cross (2017)
  58. Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie (2017); reviewed here
  59. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman (2016)
  60. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (2015) *
  61. The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan (2017); reviewed here
  62. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (2018); review coming next year
  63. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (2015)
  64. #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale (2017); reviewed here
  65. Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery by Mark Matousek (2017); reviewed here
  66. Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes by Anne Elizabeth Moore (2017)
  67. Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link (2015)
  68. Ghost City by Madeline Claire Franklin (2014)
  69. Comics for a Strange World: A Book of Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand (2017); reviewed here
  70. How to Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal (2017); reviewed here
  71. If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men by Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal (2017); reviewed here
  72. A Is for Asteroids, Z Is for Zombies: A Bedtime Book about the Coming Apocalypse by Paul Lewis and Kenneth Kit Lamug (2017); reviewed here
  73. Be a Unicorn: and Live Life on the Bright Side by Sarah Ford (2017); reviewed here
  74. Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters (2015)
  75. Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim (2017); reviewed here
  76. Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times edited by Carolina De Robertis (2017)
  77. The Creeps (Deep Dark Fears Collection #2) by Fran Krause (2017); reviewed here
  78. The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson, Ernie Colón, Jane Mayer (Introduction) and Scott Horton (Afterword) (2017); reviewed here
  79. Touch by Claire North (2015); reviewed here
  80. How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green (2017); reviewed here
  81. My Depression: A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados (2015)
  82. Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh; translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger (2013); reviewed here
  83. Rolling in the Deep (Rolling in the Deep #0.5) by Mira Grant (2015)
  84. Fliers: 20 Small Posters with Big Thoughts by Nathaniel Russell (2017); reviewed here
  85. Three-Fifths a Man: A Graphic History of the African American Experience by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón (2018); review coming soon
  86. peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva (2017); reviewed here
  87. In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut Opdyke (1992)
  88. Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant (2017); reviewed here
  89. Menagerie (Menagerie #1) by Rachel Vincent (2015); reread: originally reviewed here *
  90. Survivors’ Club: The Complete Series by Lauren Beukes, Dale Halverson, Ryan Kelly, Iñaki Miranda, Mark Farmer, Eva de la Cruz, Clem Robins, and Bill Sienkiewicz (2016); reviewed here
  91. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (2017); I didn’t review it, but if I had, this is what I might have written *
  92. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion (2012) *
  93. Burger (Object Lessons) by Carol J Adams (2018); review coming soon
  94. Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire (2017)
  95. Cry Your Way Home by Damien Angelica Walters (2018); review coming soon
  96. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (2017) *
  97. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)
  98. I Wore My Blackest Hair by Carlina Duan (2017); reviewed here
  99. Helium by Rudy Francisco (2017); reviewed here
  100. Wild Embers: Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty by Nikita Gill (2017); reviewed here
  101. The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit (2017)
  102. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (2016) *
  103. Pines (Wayward Pines #1) by Blake Crouch (2012)
  104. Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen (2018); review coming soon *
  105. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story by Debbie Tung (2017); reviewed here
  106. Babyteeth, Volume 1 by Donny Cates and Garry Brown (2017); reviewed here
  107. Sugar Town by Hazel Newlevant (2017); reviewed here
  108. POS: Piece of Sh*t by Pierre Paquet and Jesús Alonso Iglesias (2017); reviewed here
  109. Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems by Ntozake Shange (2017); reviewed here
  110. Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed by Chris Eliopoulos and Ig Guara (2010); reviewed here
  111. Comics for Choice: Illustrated Abortion Stories, History and Politics edited by Hazel Newlevant, Whit Taylor, and O.K. Fox (2018); review coming soon
  112. Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles #2) by Sarah Andersen (2017) *
  113. Elsewhere, Volume 1 by Jay Faerber, Sumeyye Kesgin, and Ron Riley (2018); review coming soon
  114. Black, Volume 1 by Kwanza Osajyefo and Jamal Igle (2017); reviewed here
  115. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (2017)
  116. Love Is Love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting by Marc Andreyko, et al. (2016)
  117. OINK: Heaven’s Butcher by John Mueller (2015)

 
bonus list: miscellaneous

  1. My Rad Life: A Journal by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl (2017); reviewed here
  2. Start Where You Are Note Cards by Meera Lee Patel (2017); reviewed here
  3. Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy: A Journal by Robie Rogge and Dian G. Smith (2017); reviewed here
  4. The Daily Question: My Five-Year Spiritual Journal by WaterBrook (2017); reviewed here
  5. 30 Days to Peace: A One-Month Creative Journal by Waterbrook (2017); reviewed here
  6. 30 Days to Joy: A One-Month Creative Journal by Waterbrook (2017); reviewed here

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-12-31

January 1st, 2018 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-30

December 31st, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @MuslimIQ: A troll DM'd me that he was "confused how I could be a women’s rights defender while being a practicing Muslim?"
    This was my… ->
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    Which means the SEQUEL (yes. Sequel) to Simon Vs. is coming out soon.
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    To this very day, the city is… ->
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tweets for 2017-12-29

December 30th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @JuddLegum: Roy Moore denies that he lost the U.S. Senate election, even after Alabama's Republican Secretary of State certified his opp… ->
  • RT @ScottHech: The gall of Rick Gates. Should be grateful his white privilege allows him to be home with his family. Thinking of all of my… ->
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  • RT @amysfrenchhorn: so while I’d love to be as tough and badass as rosa, I got a stapler, paper clips, index cards, etc for Christmas and a… ->
  • RT @AriMelber: It is huge news that a Trump hotel revenue director says Trump met with her to talk *revenue details* & whether *being Presi… ->
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tweets for 2017-12-28

December 29th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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December 28th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-26

December 27th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Babyteeth, Volume 1 by Donny Cates and Garry Brown (2017)

December 26th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“I Was a Teenage Apocalypse”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

Sadie Ritter is sixteen, pregnant by some d-bag, and hiding it from everyone but her older sister, Heather. As if that’s not enough to deal with, her newborn baby boy Clark (after Superman! I legit snorted at that one.) is either a demon spawn, or the future King (of what, we don’t know, seeing as Volume 1 cuts out so quickly). In just the first few weeks of motherhood, Sadie’s had to contend with a mohawked assassin, a demon racoon unwittingly summoned from a hell dimension by her son, an honest-to-goodness warlock, and two warring factions of mysterious Illuminati-type fanatics who want to destroy/worship little bloodsucker Clark. A mother’s work is never done, amirite?

Babyteeth is … a lot of fun. It’s got a dark, cheeky sense of humor that gets you laughing at unexpected moments, and I loved the pop culture references – everything from Buffy to REM – which are sprinkled throughout in just the right amount. I mean, just check out the single issue titles!: “Another Hellmouth to Feed”; “I Was a Teenage Apocalypse”. (They’ll age well, I expect.)

The art is a little rough for my taste, but the cover gallery in the back is stunning, so probably it’s an intentional stylistic choice. I dug most of the characters, even though there’s not a whole lot in the way of character development, or at least not thus far. The collection does end pretty suddenly, though – I thought the first collection could use at least one more issue to provide a little clarity.

3.7 out of 5 stars? I usually roll my eyes when people get so specific, but this is too good for a mere 3.5, and not quite good enough to merit 4 stars. I’ll definitely pick up Volume 2 when it comes out, but I won’t exactly be popping out of my skull with anticipation until then. (RIP, little chickens. RIP.)

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-12-25

December 26th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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December 25th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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December 24th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-22

December 23rd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Sugar Town by Hazel Newlevant (2017)

December 22nd, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Goes down like cotton candy.

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

Just your average polyamorous romance story: a lesbian dominatrix from Oregon and a bisexual cartoonist from New York meet and fall in love, despite their geographic challenges (‘You’ll be my New York girlfriend!’) and other lovers (who, spoiler alert, are wonderfully supportive). It’s a sweet story with eye-popping illustrations (the colors! so sumptuous!) and a healthy, progressive approach to sexuality and dating.

Really my only complaint is that it’s so short. More, please! I need to know how Argent and Hazel handle the long-distance thing! And it would be totally rad to see that dinner party with the lovers and the ex-lovers!

Happily, I just downloaded an anthology of comics about abortion, Comics for Choice, which – and I didn’t realize it at the time – is edited by Newlevant. So that’s a pretty great consolation prize, anyway.

But seriously, Return to Sugar Town? Anyone?

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-12-21

December 22nd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-20

December 21st, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-19

December 20th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill (2017)

December 19th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“She is alone. | And oh | how brilliantly she shines.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for allusions to rape and interpersonal violence.)

We are the blood
of the witches
you thought were dead.

We carry witchcraft in our bones
whilst the magic still sings
inside our heads.

When the witch hunters
imprisoned our ancestors
when they tried to burn the magic away.

Someone should have
warned them
that magic cannot be tamed.

Because you cannot burn away
what has always
been aflame.

(“Witch”)

It is the law of the universe
that even ghosts understand
as long as they matter to someone
they still exist and in your heart
they stand.

(“Ghost Story”)

I really wanted to love this collection of poetry more than I did – although this isn’t to suggest that I didn’t enjoy it. Nikita Gill’s poetry is powerful, passionate, and fiercely feminist. With Wild Embers, she fans the flames of rebellion – against a culture so steeped in misogyny and sexism that it’s taken as the norm, the default, the air we breathe – and at a time when we need it, desperately. Whether reimaging sexist fairy tales and myths or challenging abusers – including her own – Gill’s words cut deep, to the bone. They’re also accessible and satisfying, in a way that poetry isn’t always.

Yet she often employs similar imagery and themes, such that the poems start to feel a little repetitive by the final quarter of the book. Less might be more here. Also, I wish she’d taken the idea of giving each part its own unique theme and run with it a little harder. The first section is so clearly about humanity’s relationship to the cosmos, the starstuff that coalesces in our atoms and spirits … and yet, with the exception of parts III and VI (fairy tales and mythology, respectively), she mostly abandons themes (or at least more apparent ones) after so skillfully priming her audience for them.

Overall, though, it’s a valuable collection of poetry, raw and full of hope and resistance.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-12-18

December 19th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-12-17

December 18th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @IWriteAllDay_: As promised, I am back to discuss how calling Valkyrie "male-coded" is not only racist, but queerphobic as it erases que… ->
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    See what you missed in this week’s chaos! https://t.co/Z3WRuWiulw ->
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    RT + follow by midnight 12/21 for a chance to win my arc of THE CRUEL PRINCE 👑 🖤🗡
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tweets for 2017-12-16

December 17th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • 4 of 5 stars to Elsewhere, Vol. 1 by Jay Faerber https://t.co/9ZleiOF5RD ->
  • RT @Alyssa_Milano: I have been a victim of each component of the sexual assault spectrum of which you speak. They all hurt. And they are al… ->
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    GamerGate was always a hate group
    GamerGate was always a hate group
    GamerGate was alwa… ->
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    Trump administration is prohibiting officials at nation's top public health agency (CDC) from using these s… ->

  • RT @yashar: Heather Heyer’s Mom: I Have to Hide Her Grave From Neo-Nazis https://t.co/fTjQcOurHL ->
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