What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!
Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi (2006) – This memoir focuses on Shirin Ebadi’s life as a female judge in Iran during the 1960s and 70s until the Iran Revolution forced her from her position. Afterwards, she became a prominent lawyer, taking on cases that highlighted the Iranian government’s sexism and cruelty and worked to solve human rights violations. I liked reading this in counterpoint to Azar Nafisi’s memoir Things I’ve Been Silent About because it showed two very different sides of Iran during this time period. Azar’s family life was overly political and connected with the Shah while Shirin’s was apolitical and eventually more revolutionary. This memoir was a bit drier than the former since it focused at least partially on the law, but it was also more balanced and presented a more considered, measured view of the Revolution and Iranian people. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading her newest book, Until We Are Free.
Heart in a Box by Kelly Thompson and Meredith McClaren (2015) – This book follows Emma, a girl who’s undergone a brutal relationship that just makes her wish that she didn’t even have a heart. A mysterious man takes her at her word, removing her heart (metaphorically, at least) and allowing her sweet release from her pain. Of course, she eventually learns she needs her heart to experience any emotion and undergoes a long journey to get the pieces of it back. Along the way, she heals, learns more about herself, and gains greater understanding of others. This is a really good book with great art and a cool execution. It lacked a little in originality, but made up for it in the characters. Definitely recommend.
I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You by Yumi Sakugawa (2013) – This short graphic novel narrates a person trying to articulate just how in “friend-love” they are with another person and how they’d like the relationship to proceed. It’s very cute and a little sad, but wonderfully articulates the way we feel about friends and potential friends. I enjoyed reading it.
Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice (2014) – Soppy centers around the relationship between Philippa Rice and her illustrator boyfriend. It shows the little moments in their domestic life, including reading next to each other, sleeping awkwardly on each other, and getting into pointless fights. The art is minimalistic and cute but perfectly portrays the understated atmosphere of a relationship. I loved it.
Ashita wa Docchi da! by Yamamoto Kotetsuko (ongoing) ch. 1 – 5 – This yaoi manga focuses on Kirara, a beautiful boy that just wants to be tough like his childhood friends the “Rabid” Tosayamada brothers. However, as he enters high school, he realizes that he’s in love with one of them, which causes endless heartache, especially when he learns his friend not so secretly hates homosexuals. It’s a surprisingly cute story with a surprisingly mature attitude to the harassment homosexuals face in Japan. I wish there was more.
* Featured image of Shirin Ebadi taken from http://alchetron.com/Shirin-Ebadi-518276-W