Adventures in Reading – April 25 – May 1, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi (2016) – This novel is about Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian civil rights activist and former judge and lawyer who was forced out of her occupation, home, country, and even marriage by a corrupt government. Shirin details her civil rights work and the many ways the Iranian government tried to suppress her voice, including intimidating her clients, tapping her phones, spying on her, and harassing her friends and family. This was a difficult read, and sometimes I found it impossible to believe that a government could be so corrupt and cruel. It was an eye-opener and has led me to research more about Ebadi and Iran. I highly recommend it. Continue reading

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Adventures in Reading – April 18 – April 24, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine (2007) – This was Adrian Tomine’s first long-form graphic novel, which centered around Ben Tanaka, a Japanese-American man in his twenties who has a complicated relationship with his race and the way people perceive it. On the one hand, he claims that there’s no prejudice against Asian-Americans, but on the other he tries to fulfill what he thinks of as the Asian-American male dream: to bang a white woman. The disconnect makes him lose his girlfriend (who’s also Japanese-American), irritate his best friend and her girlfriend (both Asian-American), and spiral. The story is a bit predictable, but I did think the discussion of racial tensions, inferiority complexes, and fetishes was interesting. Tomine’s linework was clean, beautiful, and easy to read, and it made the book a pleasure. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – April 11 – April 17, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Comics Dementia by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (2016) – This graphic novel contains various shorts featuring some of the characters from the Hernandez Brothers’ massive Love and Rockets world, including Princess Anima, Roy, and Errata Stigmata. It’s an exercise in absurdity with the stories drawn by Gilbert Hernandez having no discernible plot, point, or beginning. I didn’t really like it. I found it confusing, pointless, and unfunny. I enjoyed Jaime Hernandez’ forays into Princess Anima, but there was so little of that that I basically gave up around page 120 and started skimming. Pretty disappointing. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – April 4 – April 10, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon (2014) – This book centers around the death of Tariq Johnson, who was unexpectedly killed when a white man, Jack Franklin, pulls up in front of him, gets out of his car, and shoots him multiple times. However, no one in the story is quite sure what exactly happened — was Tariq hassling someone else, did he have a gun, did Jack fear for his life, was this just a random act or part of a larger moment in time? The writing is excellent, haunting and even surreal at times, and though Magoon tries to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, she still manages to sneak in what “truly” happened, forcing the reader to examine their own biases. I really liked this book and read it very quickly. Absolutely recommend. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – March 28 – April 3, 2016

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. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – March 21 – March 27, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Things I’ve Been Silent About: Memories by Azar Nafisi (2008) – This memoir by Azar Nafisi (of Reading Lolita in Tehran fame) is about her family, especially her mother and father, their intersecting relationships, the Iran Revolution and events surrounding it, and surviving each other. Her family was highly political, and her father had strong ties with the Shah’s government before it threw him in jail on felonious charges. Her mother was a strong-willed, ambitious woman who thought the world was against her. It’s a very well written memoir, and Ms. Nafisi does an amazing job of recreating moments in her childhood and adolescence and making the readers feel her emotions. I thought she got a little too tied up with her mother, allowing her to overly dictate both her life and the events of the book. It was a tough read at times. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – March 14 – March 20, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Blown Away: American Women and Guns by Caitlin Kelly (2004) – This book looks into how women view guns, relying on anecdotal evidence and firsthand accounts. Unfortunately, it was very hard to read, and I only got to page 43. It was rambling and repetitive and attempted to persuade the reader that women would benefit from using guns without any real evidence. Perhaps the latter half of the book was better, but it was just too hard to read. This could have been an article.

Ongoing manga:

Dame na Watashi ni Koishite Kudasai (Please Love the Useless Me) by Aya Nakahara (ongoing) ch. 18 – Shibata’s worries about Mogami’s honesty and her willingness to trust him continue to plague her. She attempts to improve her work life by assigning another person as the leader and tries to keep Mogami away from the cafe – though of course it doesn’t work.

* Photo taken from http://womenofcaliber.com/tag/women-and-guns/page/2/

Adventures in Reading – March 7 – March 13, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

American Vampire, Vol. 8 by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque (2015) – This volume continues the run in the ‘60s and the Gray Trader/Worm arc. Skinner is still fighting the infection, but now he, Cal, and Pearl join up with the vampire hunters to infiltrate Area 51, head to space, and stop the Russians from nuking the US/the Worm. Despite how cool all that sounds, it wasn’t a great volume. Felicia, the badass head of the vampire hunters, returns but spends the whole time monologuing, everyone ends up being a traitor so it gets difficult to tell what’s going on, and the pace remained constant and slow. I like the arc, but this just wasn’t a great volume. Sad. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – February 29 – March 6, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (2014) – This book collects interviews from six transgender or gender-non-conforming teens and young adults and asks them about how they came to their gender expression, how their families and communities reacted, and where they are now. It attempts to be diverse, incorporating people from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds with different perceptions about what it means to be transgender. It took a little to get into the book, but I really liked it. It was nice to hear from transgender people who aren’t supposed to be figureheads or know everything about transgender people and their experiences. This was really low-key and accessible. Continue reading

Adventures in Reading – February 22 – February 28, 2016

What did I read (and finish) this week? Look below to find out!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (2015) – When Rebecca Porter studies abroad in Oxford, she doesn’t expect to fall in love with a Crown Prince. Nor does she expect all the media circus and royal family drama that surrounds it. The Royal We is essentially a slightly fictionalized account of how Kate Middleton and Prince William got together and is rife with melodrama. It was a pretty enjoyable book, but there was a lot of repetition in drinking, fighting, losing oneself, and having sex. Some parts I just skimmed. Continue reading