📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, by John Le Carré

The movie adaptation of this book is what really got me into Le Carré. It’s twisty and cynical and compelling—just a great book. Not perfect, of course: Its age shows uncomfortably in some places, including the way it entirely fails the Bechdel Test. I can’t help but give it a full rating, though.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Marry Me a Little: A Graphic Memoir, by Rob Kirby

This comic memoir of (same-sex) marriage has excellent art, tells a good story, and hits on very important points for the time we’re in. I picked it up on a whim and really enjoyed it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Call for the Dead, by John Le Carré

This week, it felt like it was time to revisit George Smiley. Smiley has been something of a comfort read these past several years, but it’s been some time since I visited the actual books, instead preferring the BBC Radio 4 dramatizations. They are superb, but I decided to listen to the “full” audiobooks this time through. Not all are available theough my library, but the best ones are, and that works just fine for me.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Ex Machina (Book One), by Brian K. Vaughn and Tony Harris

I recently read a lot of Saga, it’s not too long ago that I gave Y: The Last Man a readthrough, and I’ve tried this series before, so I was expecting to like this. I did see enough in there to see why it’s so often hailed as a classic, but I found it too edgy for the sake of being edgy or editorial when opportunity allowed. Lind of disappointed, and not planning to read further.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition, by Julia Kaye

I am not normally a fan of the comic strip genre of comics, but this was a good and important read.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Strong Female Protagonist (Book Two), by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag

I’ve skimmed the archives for this webcomic several times in the past, but I’ve never gotten this far in the story, and it was a delight to do so now. I was not sure this would live up to the first book, but it’s so, so good at using superhero tropes to explore philosophy and ethics. I really, really like this series.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Strong Female Protagonist (Book One), by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag

I hadn’t realized this webcomic had been released in print volumes, and I honestly couldn’t remember how far I’d made it through the webcomic archives, so I leapt at the chance to read a collection. I think I might like this deconstructive “realistic” take on superheroes more than any other. The questions are interesting, the art is uneven but compelling, and the characters resonate with me. It’s a great read.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Ted Lasso (Season 3)

This was an uneven final season for a show I really enjoyed. I wish they’d made it tighter and better structured, and maybe it doesn’t deserve the score I’ve given it. I’ve enjoyed the whole of these three seasons (and so many small moments in this one) too much to rate it any less, though.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for How to Resist Amazon and Why (Updated & Expanded), by Danny Caine

Look, this is the kind of book that I bought knowing already that I’d agree with its thesis, so maybe you shouldn’t read my review of it. Nonetheless, I think Caine does an excellent job of bringing together many of the arguments against Amazon. This company is bad news, and while it’s hard to escape it entirely, I think the world would be a better place if more of us did less to support it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Eternity in the Ether: A Mormon Media History, by Gavin Feller

I have been looking for this kind of book for a long time, and some of my recent publications would have been stronger if this had come out in time for me to reference it beforehand. It’s not perfect: Some wording is awkward and the conceptual framework (while interesting) could be stronger. However, it’s invaluable for the history it offers and I expect to cite it regularly in the future.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development, by Richard Howard

I picked up a copy of this book at the 2023 World Conference of Community of Christ, after it being on my wishlist for some time. It does an excellent job of examining the subjectivity of Restoration scripture by tracing its evolution over time. I remarked to a friend earlier this week that it’s a shame it was written in the 90s (and originally, the 60s) rather than now, when there’s so much more available to do this kind of work.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Astro City (MetroBook 3), by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross

This is new Astro City material for me, even though it’s been around for a while. There’s still a lot of what makes Astro City great in the long “Dark Ages” story, but not enough to make it shine. I think I like Astro City best when it takes a quick dive into an interesting story, plays with some tropes, and just hints at a broader world and continuity. This tries to explain too much and be too connected, and in doing so, I think it loses a lot of the magic.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron, by Alexander Freed

This book took me a while to get into. I gave up on the print version a year or three ago, and even the audiobook wasn’t doing great at capturing my attention for a while—I had to rush to finish this before it was due back to Libby. I’m glad that I stuck it out, though, because I liked what I got. I never read the X-Wing novels from the old EU, but I wanted something like what I imagined they were.

🍿 movieblog: ❤️🖤🖤🖤🖤 for Firedrake the Silver Dragon

This movie knows that it’s a pale imitation of How to Train Your Dragon, but the lampshading is half-hearted, the story and dialogue are weak, and the performances feel like cash grabs. On top of that, it seems to go out of its way to include some casual racism just to make sure it doesn’t hold together. What a disappointment.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Astro City (MetroBook 2), by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross

This volume isn’t quite as good as the last (mostly because of the filler material that it concludes with), and it has some of the same problems with trying to do diversity but sometime undermining itself. However, I still think the best superhero stories are the ones that pick at and play with tropes, and I haven’t seen anyone do that better than this series.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Astro City (MetroBook 1), by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross

I love Astro City. It is definitely not percect (the creative team is a bunch of white guys, and sometimes, that’s painfully obvious), but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best wholesale reimagining of superhero tropes out there. I’ve read every single story in this volume before, and I read them now with a more critical eye than in the past, but I had a great time rereading them all.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Mountain in the Sea, by Ray Nayler

A recent episode of The Incomparable covered this book, and even though the reviews were mixed, it seemed up my alley, so I gave it a try. It’s very obviously a book of ideas and is sometimes clumsy and didactic. That said, I wish I had taken more time to sit with those ideas; I rushed through the book to finish it before my loan was up, and I’m sure I missed bits.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Superman: Secret Identity, by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen

This is a fun concept—a teenager named Clark Kent who’s tired of the jokes about being named after the fictional Superman suddenly develops Superman’s powers and has to figure out how to live with them. Busiek strikes me as the perfect person to write a story about how a world familiar with superhero tropes would deal with their becoming real, but as much as I love little bits of this story, I just don’t know that it will ever stand out as a favorite of mine.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Danger and Other Unknown Risks, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

I really wanted to like this more than I did! North and Henderson are one of my favorite creative teams in comics, and North’s dialogue and Henderson’s art come together in perfect ways throughout the story. At the end of the day, though, I don’t know if there was enough to that story or to the worldbuilding to really interest me. There are neat ideas in here, and the plot comes together in smart ways at times, but neither feels fleshed out enough to really stand out.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Red Team Blues (A Martin Hench Novel), by Cory Doctorow

I’m a couple of days late on writing this post: I started listening to the audiobook within hours of Doctorow sending out Kickstarter rewards on Monday and had it finished within a day. I often introduce Doctorow to others by saying that his books sometimes read like op-eds—but that that’s a good thing. I found that to be true in this book. I don’t know that I liked it as much as Walkaway (though I never expected to like that one!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn

This book is one of the mainstays of the old Star Wars EU. I hadn’t read it in years, but after exploring some of the new canon and hearing the news about a likely remixing of it into a Dave Filoni movie, it seemed like a good time to revisit. The audiobook production was great, and even if I’m not planning to finish the trilogy, I enjoyed checking this title out again.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for The Book of Forgiving, by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

I have enjoyed going through this book. It’s the kind of book that invites personal action instead of just letting you read it, and that’s felt overwhelming at times (particularly as my life has gotten busier in recent weeks), but it’s a good invitation, and I know I’ll need to revisit this slowly and deliberately to get the most out of it.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Star Wars: Bloodline, by Claudia Gray

I read (and listened to) a lot in the early months of this year and have hit a wall recently. This audiobook was a nice way to get back into reading; I’ve felt a hunger for Star Wars media recently, and this book came recommended on a podcast I’ve sampled. It’s fun to get more into the new canon: I thought this did a good job of setting up some of the Episode VII worldbuilding, and it reminded me of the fun I had reading through the old EU growing up.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

I’m sure that I’ve read this before, and I expected to really enjoy a reread, so it was kind of a disappointment to, well, be so disappointed by it. The book is interesting for its interrogation of whether new technologies are less rich than old ones—an argument that has clear relevance today, as perhaps illustrated by Bradbury’s alleged reluctance to allow for an ebook version in the early 21st century. I’m not opposed to this kind of argument, but I think it’s easy for this kind of claim to get tied up in hand-wringing about civilizational decline and old/high culture being better than new/pop culture—and I feel like Bradbury ultimately has more to say about the latter than about the former.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Obsidio, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

After the weak middle volume in the trilogy, I wasn’t sure that I’d revisit the final one, but I’m glad I did. This book gets back to what made the first one so interesting: A mix of YA tropes, epistolary creativity, and moral complexity. It was self-indulgent at times, but it earned it by not shying away from the horror of the conflicts its teenage characters were the heroes of.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèli Clark

I wasn’t sure about this novella at first, which was a bummer because it’s beloved by the folks at The Incomparable. As I kept reading, though, I got sucked in and wound up loving it! It makes the most of its short length, easily working in the worldbuilding and even lampshading the tropes it uses to do so. The characters are fun, but what stands out the most is how deliberately and delightfully non-Western it is.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for La réinvention du nom de Dieu [Reinventing God's Name], by Gérard Siegwalt

A few months ago, I began listening to the Radio Télévision Suisse show Babel again; I have an off and on relationship with the show and decided it was time for another on. I was impressed with an interview Siegwalt gave discussing this book and put it on my list. It turned out I could buy it from the Swiss publisher, which offered a flat 5€ shipping fee, even to have it sent here to Kentucky.

📺 tvblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for The Good Place (Season 1)

My spouse and I watched all four seasons of this show more or less as they came out. The past few months have seen some pretty big changes to our family schedule, and we haven’t has as much time to watch TV together, so we recently decided to rewatch The Good Place (since episodes are short). It’s a very rewatchable show; you can get a lot out of it once you know what’s yet to come.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe

This is a frank, vulnerable memoir that I learned a lot from; I’m glad for Kobabe’s willingness to share eir story. I also appreciated the art style. I’d been meaning to read this in print a while ago but had checked out too many books from the library and had to return it before I got to it. I’m glad it was available on Hoopla so I could read it on my phone instead of mindlessly scrolling through TVTropes.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤 for Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This book has a lot going for it: Good worldbuilding, an interesting “disaster dominoes” plot, and a good audiobook performance. I love the first book in this series, so I ought to like this book too! I did enjoy listening to it, but I just don’t find the characters as interesting, and it feels more like it uses YA cookie cutter archetypes than the last book. Enjoyable, but not my favorite… and leaving me wondering about whether to finish out the trilogy.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Saga Volume 10, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

Well, this is the last of the PDFs I got from the Humble Bundle, and I think that means I’m caught up on Saga in trade paperback format. I’m hooked, though, so I’ll have to find other ways to keep up with it!

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Saga Volume 9, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

Heck of a volume right here; I can see how it would be frustrating for the series to go on hiatus right after this, and I’m glad I’m reading the series post-hiatus. It’s interesting to see just how willing Vaughan is to change things up hard, and I wonder how this will affect the running themes of the book moving forward. As usual, it’s also fascinating to follow the beautiful, very weird art.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Saga Volume 8, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

This volume is a perfect encapsulation of everything Saga: I think it hits on all the main characters, it’s weird in delightful ways, it tackles heavy subjects (but sometimes veers into edgy for edgy’s sake), and it left me excited to read more.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Saga Volume 7, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

At this point, I’ve read so much Saga this week that it’s hard to remember what happened in what volume. That said, even if Volume 7 ended on a downer, I remember that I liked what I read here.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ for Saga Volume 6, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

I don’t know what it is about particular volumes of this series that makes them rise above the rest, but this was one of them. Maybe it was adorable Ghüs becoming a badass when needed or a father-daughter reunion or something else. Whatever it was, this series continues to deliver.

📚 bookblog: ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 for Saga Volume 5, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

Still reading, still enjoying! It’s interesting to watch the stories and themes play out (sometimes slowly) over time.