Reading challenge part 2 (6-10).

Monstress

Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

Category: A book with pictures

I wanted to read a graphic novel for this category, and Monstress has been on my radar for a while. I don’t tend to read graphic novels but I really enjoyed Saga so am keen to read more. I found Monstress hard to comprehend, as we’re thrown right in the deep end and the back story is parcelled out in jumps back in time. Some of the characters look very similar and are wearing similar clothes so it can be hard to tell them apart, leading to more confusion about what exactly is going on. That said, even though I found it difficult to read, I did enjoy it… it may be that my own inexperience with graphic novels worked against me. 3.5 stars.

Who’s Afraid?

Maria Lewis

Category: A book involving a mythical creature

Maria Lewis and I agree that there are not enough women’s stories through werewolfism. Since she wrote one, I resolved to read it! (Did I ever mention my defunct PhD where I had to watch a bunch of werewolf movies?) Anyway, Who’s Afraid? was a quick read, enjoyable enough although flawed. My biggest issue was that I wasn’t too keen on the portrayal of the Maori side of the main character’s (Tommi’s) family. 3 stars

Tales from Outer Suburbia

Shaun Tan

Category: A book by an author you admire

Shaun Tan is rather well known for his picture books with their dreamlike, “something’s weird about this” illustrations and narratives. Tales is a collection of short stories and vignettes that continue this tradition, except that doesn’t really explain how well the illustrations work with the text. One story is structured like a newspaper article, surrounded by other headlines such as “Truth over-rated, explains Minister” (timely!), another is an instruction manual for making your own pet, another is a homage to unread poems. I think “Alert but not Alarmed” was my favourite, speaking to the times we live in, but with I think a hopeful message. “Distant Rain” was also up there, but honestly each story or vignette is good and beautiful. I only wish there had been more! 5 stars.

Liar

Justine Larbalestier

Category: A book with an unreliable narrator

Yeah I loved this book. As I said on Goodreads, it’s clearly not to everyone’s taste. For a variety of reasons though, it really spoke to me. You need to go in with eyes wide open, knowing you’re going to get taken for a ride and at the end will not really know what happened to you. But that’s ok. The protagonist, Micah, has been described as unlikable, but I could relate to her, even though I’m a terrible liar. She’s weird and outsidery and she seems to have sensory issues. There were quite a few scenes in the book where I felt the old ache of being an oddball at school. Part Two made me love it even more. I find it fascinating how much some people hate on this book. It is what it is and don’t expect it to be a straightforward package with “here is the end and everything is tied neatly with a bow for you” because it’s not. 5 stars.

The Guest Cat

Takashi Hiraide

Category: A book with a cat on the cover

This is a strange little book. It’s definitely not the kind of thing I would normally read… it’s description-heavy and the narrative moves forward slowly. It’s meditative, I guess. It didn’t thrill me, but I liked it in a quiet way. 4 stars.

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