Sep. 2022 Wrap Up Pt. 2
Now that we are solidly in October, it's time to tell you what I read in the second half of September. Grab a snack. It's a lot of books.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo - I tried to start this last spring. I just wasn't in the right head space for it. The beginning is very weird and magical realism-y. This time, I blew through it and loved it! It is The Great Gatsby told by Jordan Baker. Baker is a Vietnamese orphan adopted by a missionary and brought to America. Her adoptive mother died within a year of their arrival in the U.S. and Jordan was raised by her mother's parents, the wealthy Bakers. She is bisexual and also has some interesting skills with paper. The story is told through all the scenes that must have happened in the original, but since it was told by Nick Carraway, didn't include these scenes without him in them. I thought it was fantastic!
Magical Boy Vol. 1 by The Kao - This is YA graphic novel about a trans boy whose mother is really upset that he won't wear dresses and be graceful. It turns out all the women in her mother's family are secret superheroes. When he comes into his powers, his magical costume is a frilly dress that his mom wore. The more he works to fight the powers of evil that are creeping out of the cracks, the more his costume changes to reflect his true self. It was a lot of fun.
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes - I had heard mixed things about this second in the series. Some people loved it, and others were disappointed. Therefore, my expectations were lower than they would have been just based on my experience of reading the first one. Perhaps that helped, because I really liked this one. The team of mystery-solvers is really pulling together. They are not competing, they are working together to solve the mystery. There is a third book in the series, but I have no idea what they are going to be doing because the thing they'd been trying to find out in the first two got found out at the end.
Matrix by Lauren Groff - This one got five stars from me, mostly based on the merit of the language. I didn't love some of the plot points, but overall the story was great. Marie is a bastard half-sister of someone in the royal court. She was wild and unruly and a country bumpkin, so the queen made her the prioress of an abbey in the middle of nowhere England that only had a few nuns and they were slowly dying of some disease. Marie quickly got over her devastation at being separated from the queen whom she had a massive crush on, and got busy pulling this abbey up with its bootstraps. The rest of the story is about Marie making this abbey into a prosperous safe haven for women and a help to the nearby community. Also, she still had a crush on the queen. She made enemies, of course. She also made a lot of friends. She became very powerful.
Creepy Cat Vol. 1 by Cotton Valent - I don't remember where I found this, but my library had it so I ordered a copy. I read it in about 30 minutes. It's a collection of comics about Flora, who inherits a creepy house that includes Creepy Cat. The cat can multiply itself and then eat all its copies to become one cat again. It can grow or shrink and hide in plain sight. The comics are cute and sometimes funny. There is a local policeman who has a crush on Flora and regularly helps her find Creepy Cat.
A Companion to Jane Austen by Claudia L. Johnson and Clara Tuite - I finally did it! I finished this massive tome! It only took 6 weeks. Most of it was very pleasant. There were a couple of essays I didn't care much about. And there was one that went way over my head. I gathered that it was about trying to pin Austen's works to a "period" (i.e. Romantic, Victorian, etc.) but it used a lot of what I consider made-up words. Mostly, it was gratifying to read essays about my favorite author's works and think about the points they made about things I hadn't thought of before.
That is five books on this list, which makes a total of 9 books altogether for the month of September. I feel like any month in which I read something every day is a good month.