September 2019: How Re-reads, Graphic Novels, and Sibling Book Club Saved My Month  

What I Read:

  • Death Note: Black Edition Vol. I by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
  • The Raven Boys (re-read) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Who Would Have Thought It? (school book) by María Amparo Ruiz de Burton
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
  • The Dream Thieves (re-read) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue (re-read) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Devil’s Highway (school book) by Luis Alberto Urrea
  • The Raven King (re-read) by Maggie Stiefvater
  • How to Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
  • Part of I Wish You All the Best (re-read) by Mason Deaver

What I Got:

  • Death Note: Vol. I
  • Dream Thieves
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue
  • Laura Dean…
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing (ARC) by Jesamyn Ward
  • Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo
  • Pet Sematary by Stephen King
  • A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

I’ll start off with an apology: Sorry for not uploading my middle of the month post! I’ve been busy and sick almost all month and when I haven’t been, I’ve been catching up on schoolwork and reading. Now, onto the book talk!

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Spidey’s back in the MCU, so I had to include him!

The most exciting aspect of this month’s reading has been re-reading The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater with my sister. Since the first book of the spin-off series comes out later this year (November 5), we decided to read a book in the series each week of September and then FaceTime to discuss. It was the one thing that got me through every week during this crazy month. The second two books still felt new to me because I’d forgotten so much. I was able to look at the series with a more critical eye, and even though I picked out a few nit-picky things that bothered me, I am happy to say that I loved these the second time around! The magic and whimsy and friendship/found family and history absolutely drew me in again. The Raven King is my new favorite book of the series despite the issues I found. While reading this book, I lost track of time for hours and hours, which doesn’t happen to me very often. I completely left the real world behind. This series saved this month—I got to chat with my sister weekly, read books I loved, lose myself in magic, and confront some of my own fears.

 

We are continuing with our sibling book club next month with just one book, as four in a month plus school was a bit much, so we will be reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. So pumped!

I read two graphic novels this month, both of which I was pleasantly surprised by despite the praise I’ve heard from other people. Death Note: Black Edition Vol. 1 was recommended to me by a coworker who loves this graphic novel series. I was a little skeptical at first, but I was determined to read it. I wanted to try out a manga, and what’s better than reading a friend’s favorite book? Let me just say, this story gets WILD. Light Yagami finds the Death Note of a death god, which allows him to kill people by writing their names in the book. Light is a genius, and the way he uses the book cunningly to get

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Reading at the cemetery!

around the international task force searching for him. His father is part of this task force, as well, and that adds a whole different layer to the story. The beginning wasn’t capturing me, but a few chapters in, I was hooked. I even stayed up late to finish reading it, and I can’t wait to continue with the series!

 

The other graphic novel I picked up was Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. I bought this on a whim because I’d heard Ariel Bissett, one of my favorite booktubers, recommend it highly. I expected not to be too interested in the story, but both storyline and illustrations were fabulous. The main character, Freddy, starts out by writing to a romance help column about Laura Dean, her on-and-off girlfriend. Laura Dean is a horrible person to Freddy, but Freddy thinks she’s in love with her. She chucks her friendships to the side at times and often feels inferior to Laura Dean. But this story is really about realizing your self-worth and making new friends and tending to the relationships you have with old friends. There are more important things than someone loving you in a romantic way, and this graphic novel shows that beautifully.

I’m going to stick How to Steal Like an Artist after the graphic novels because it is full of illustrations. I found it to be a concise and easy-to-understand summary of many themes we discuss in my Creativity Capstone class. Kleon encourages artists to use something you love as inspiration for your own work, and I can’t wait to take this advice with my writing.

Who Would Have Thought It? and The Devil’s Highway are two very different books that I read for my Chicanx literature class. I didn’t really enjoy Who Would Have Thought It? because the story didn’t pull me in. It is very 1800s family drama and racism and money and Civil War politics, which is not my jam. I enjoyed the sarcasm in the narration, but that’s about it.

IMG_1146.HEICThe Devil’s Highway, however, blew me away. It is the horrific true story of fourteen men who died trying to cross the border in the Arizona desert. It details the lives and motivations of the coyotes who led them, the people who survived, and the Border Patrol officers. No side is without a voice. This book rattled me to my core, just imagining these people dying in such a horrifying way to reach a place that will discriminate against them in the end. Urrea does a good job of not pointing fingers at just one side. He points out the faults of the Mexican government and the U.S. government, as well as the discrimination in both societies. If you can stomach it, I highly recommend this book as a way to understand more personally what the border is like. Although it’s a tough read, it’s an important one.

My failed attempt at re-reading I Wish You All the Best for queer lit book club has turned

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Already excited for next month!

out not to matter, because I have a cold that has kept me home and in bed most of the day. Fortunately, that means I have time to write this post and struggle through my homework (maybe…). Unfortunately, it means I don’t get to discuss one of my favorite reads of the summer with fellow book-lovers.

Next month is spooky month, and I can’t wait! I’m going to try to read Pet Sematary by Stephen King, my first truly spooky horror novel, as well as Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker. Fall is the best season (in my opinion) and I love reading fall-themed reads in October. Happy spooky reading!

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