Can you believe 2020 is over halfway over? This year has simultaneously gone by at a painfully slow pace and also faster than any year ever has. I think it’s because everything is happening all the time.
Has this affected my reading? Probably. I feel like I’ve started reading a lot slower than I used to. Even so, I think August was a pretty dang good reading money. In August, I read three novels and one graphic novel. I also gave two of these books 5 stars and nothing below 3 stars. I also branched out and read some adult contemporary and historical fiction. I’m going to call that a win.
Allow me to tell you about the books I read, as I finish my delicious Slurpee (cherry flavor FTW!).
Summary: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?
My Thoughts: This novel is a brilliant exploration of racism, colorism, family, and identity. It tackles the complexities of race as a social construct as well as a reality, allowing the reader to ponder what race really means. I also just really love the interpersonal relationships here, namely Jude and Reese, Jude and Desiree, and Desiree and Early. The Vanishing Half is definitely worth the read!
Summary: Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
My Thoughts: I don’t think I’ve read a book this wholesome that made me feel this soft in years. I love Linus and Arthur and the kids and all their relationships. I know this is a stand-alone, but I’m just saying… a sequel from Helen or Zoe’s perspective? So we get more of these characters and their relationship? I wouldn’t be opposed, Mr. Klune.
Summary: In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix’s efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.
My Thoughts: Aside from Emira, her friends, and her relationship with little Briar, what I love most about this book is its careful critique of white allyship. There’s nuance here that characters like Alix and Kelley miss that, through Emira, the reader learns about. And, while this book is very much an important conversation on race relations and so-called “progressive” politics, it’s also an exploration of character. I loved Emira right from the beginning and went from viewing Alix as well-meaning but misguided to realizing how off-base and self-involved she really is. I highly recommend this book, especially to people who like to pick apart the complexities of life.
The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars by Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko and illustrated by Veronica Fish & Irene Koh
Summary: After a refreshing sojourn in the Spirit World, Korra and Asami return to Republic City but find nothing but political hijinks and human vs. spirit conflict! Pompous developer Wonyong Keum plans to turn the new spirit portal into an amusement park, potentially severing an already tumultuous connection with the spirits. At the city’s edge, Zhu Li enlists everyone she can to aid the thousands of hungry and homeless evacuees who have relocated there. Meanwhile, the Triple Threats’ ruthless new leader, Tokuga, is determined to unite the other triads under his rule, no matter the cost.
In order to get through it all, Korra and Asami vow to look out for each other— but first, they’ve got to get better at being a team!
My Thoughts: As much as I love TLOK and Korrasami, I found the story in this comic arc lacking in anything all that engaging. I wanted more out of it than it gave me. There were definitely some interesting concepts and I do still love these characters and this world, but it was all executed too fast for me to really get invested. I will, however, still be continuing with the comics because I need more of Team Avatar 2.0 in my life.
What did you read in August? Tell me about it in the comments!