July 2018 reading round-up

Reading woman (portrait of artist's wife) by Ivan_Kramskoy
Reading woman (portrait of artist’s wife) by Ivan Kramskoy, 1863.

This has not been my most prolific reading month, and it might be my worst month yet for reviewing the books I read. But on the plus side I really enjoyed them all.

My lupus has been flaring, so I have watched a lot of junk TV. But I have squeezed in some “high culture” too. We went to see An Ideal Husband at the Theatre Royal in Bath, which was a lot of fun. It was a transfer of one of those West End productions with an all-star cast and generally I don’t find them to be as good as the star-free plays I see more often, but there is a certain pleasure in seeing famous faces up close.

I also watched the Netflix special everyone’s been talking about: Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette. It is genuinely brilliant. It’s funny and upsetting, smart and different.

Books read

Martin John by Anakana Schofield
This is a strange novel about a strange man. Schofield uses a fractured structure to inhabit a fractured mind. It’s a disturbing read, as it should be considering the topics it covers. It’s also occasionally funny, in a very very dark way.

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen
I have always liked Andersen’s comics, so when I saw she had a book out, I snapped it up. She writes and draws with comedy and pathos about her own life, from the small everyday moments of shopping or being online to the big stuff: friendship, love, career, mental health.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
In a post-apocalyptic San Francisco where most humans have moved to the off-world colonies, it is Rick Deckard’s job to “retire” – kill – escaped androids. The difficulty with this is that the newest line of androids – the Nexus 6 – are so human-like that it takes a time-consuming test to identify them. Like the film, this book deals with the complex issues surrounding artificial intelligence. It’s fascinating and highly entertaining.

Your Name vol. 3 by Makoto Shinkai
This is the final part of the story about body-swapping, possibly time-travelling teenagers Mitsuha and Taki. I’m not quite sure that volumes 2 and 3 lived up to the promise of the first part, but I still enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to watching the anime film of it.

Dead Girls by Alice Bolin
This essay collection starts with analysis of America’s cultural obsession with dead girls, from tabloid coverage of real-life murders to TV dramas. It moves on from there to being about Bolin’s coming of age and moving on to the next step, which for her was realising that her heroes have flaws.