September 2017 reading round-up

The Story Book by William Bouguereau, 1877.

After finding myself in a bit of a reading rut in August, I tried a few things in September to get myself reading again. I tried YA, rereads and graphic novels. It all helped, and now I’m back on track and have made headway in a couple of long books: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and A Little Life by Hanna Yanagihara. I think both will be challenging and upsetting, but hopefully also rewarding.

This week, Tim and I took a holiday at home, making a little more of our lovely city than we’d usually fit into one week. We went to the Old Vic theatre, the zoo, the Arnolfini art gallery and a very funny science show called You Can’t Polish a Nerd. Plus some great restaurants, our favourite pub quiz and some very lazy lie-ins. It was pretty great and definitely relaxing.

And then September becomes October, and autumn is most definitely here. Time for some Daphne du Maurier, if I can get through the Ellison and the Yanagihara quickly enough.

Books read

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
This YA novel about a school in Virginia in 1959 that is forced to integrate black students is interesting if a little over-simplified in its language.

Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre
Investigative journalist Jack Parlabane’s first outing is an exciting adventure that opens with a dead body and goes on to attack the Tories and NHS management. It’s really fun.

Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre
The second Parlabane novel opens with a puzzle of a crime: a mega-rich newspaper tycoon and his wife are murdered, four known criminals are caught fleeing the scene, but fledgling lawyer Nicole has proof that they aren’t guilty.

Boiling a Frog by Christopher Brookmyre
In the third Parlabane novel, he is in prison for breaking into the headquarters of the Catholic Church of Scotland. How he came to be there is gradually pieced together in flashbacks.

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis (story) and Michael Gaydos (art)
I decided I wanted to read all the Jessica Jones titles, beginning with this series started by Bendis in 2002. She is a badass, super-powered PI with a dark history and some superhero friends who both cause and resolve problems. The second volume Come Home, where Jessica searches for a missing teenage girl, is particularly excellent.

The Pulse by Brian Michael Bendis (story) and various artists
This is supposed to be a continuation of Jessica Jones, centred around a column called The Pulse at The Daily Bugle. But Jessica plays a much smaller role here, and this version of her is less well rounded, not to mention the much more old-fashioned often sexist artwork. I did like getting to know J Jonah Jameson and other Bugle characters.

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
These three intertwined stories illuminate the past, present and future of beekeeping and the importance of bees to humans. They’re good stories but the overall effect is a little didactic.

Jessica Jones, Vol. 1: Uncaged! by Brian Michael Bendis (story) and Michael Gaydos (art)
It’s 2016 and Jessica Jones is back, with a storyline that effectively picks up about a year after The Pulse ends. She’s just been released from prison and she won’t tell anyone where her baby daughter is hidden. She’s the good old dark Jessica of Alias days, with gorgeous art to boot. Nothing yet meets the heights of Come Home, but I’m hopeful.