I like using seasonal transitions as an opportunity to reflect on what I’ve recently been up to, and so I thought I’d share the books that I read over this summer, with my one-sentence reaction reviews. They’re listed in the order that I read them.
Baddawi – Leila Abdelrazaq’s stunning graphic novel about her father’s experiences as a Palestinian growing up in a refugee camp in northern Lebanon. An essential read.
My Solo Exchange Diary Vol. 1 – The sequel to Nagata Kabi’s My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness. Although I recommend starting with the previous book, this was a refreshingly honest read.
In a Lonely Place – Hardboiled Santa Monica noir pulp written by Dorothy B. Hughes and originally published in 1947, this novel features a misogynistic, oh-so-clever serial killer protagonist who we get to watch cat-and-mouse with an intellectual housewife/psychiatrist who’s got his number. The movie that was made with Humphrey Bogart absolutely BUTCHERS this wonderful bit of writing because Bogie didn’t want to be a villain. What a shame!
Satan’s Sweethearts – Poems about historical female serial killers – tough reading material, but interesting.
The Reek of Red Herrings – A mystery set in a small rain-lashed coastal town in Scotland, which I picked up from the library because summer needs cold weather mysteries at some point, and I liked the pun. This book is part of the Dandy Gilver series, which I hadn’t read before – the protagonist was enjoyable, and there was a lot of taxidermy, so yay.
Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition – Julia Kaye’s charming and frank print collection of her Up and Out webcomics, focusing on her transition. Another book I think everybody should read.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas’s powerful, personal, immediate novel about a 16-year-old who ends up witnessing a police officer murder her childhood best friend. Holy f*cking relevant – this book should already be required school reading – but adults should pick up a copy, too. This is the book I’m giving as a gift to all my reader friends/family for the holidays this year – shh, don’t tell them!
The Best of Margaret St. Clair – I picked up this collection of science fiction a couple years ago, and finally sat down and finished it this summer. A nice mix of unsettling horror/50s scifi sensibility.
Everything is Flammable – Gabrielle Bell’s graphic novel about the author’s complicated relationship with her mother, told after her mother’s house is destroyed by a fire – a very frank, beautiful book.
Princess Princess Ever After – Katie O’Neill’s graphic novel for kids about two princesses teaming up to solve each other’s problems, and their charming love story. A really positive, cute book. I wish there had been queer love stories like this around when I was a kid!
As a bonus, I’m currently in the middle of reading The Expendable Man (the last novel written by Dorothy B. Hughes), Emily X. R. Pan’s The Astonishing Color of After, and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.