February Reads – 2018

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I read 4 books in February that were all across different genres. Be sure to follow my adorable book model on Instagram: @tonksreads

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
finished February 3rd, 2018

First Sentence: “My parents found out I liked girls, and they kicked me out.”

My take: Bingo Love tells the story of two young women falling in love in a place and time that was not accepting of queer relationships. The story follows their lives as they grow apart and then back together again. The art in this story is stunning. I loved that the main characters were both queer women of color. The story had a ton of heart, but it also felt rushed, simplified, and void of nuance and layers. I wanted their story and their personalities to be flushed out and deep and instead what I got was a predictable plot line. I think maybe if the writer and artists had told this story over a series of books it could have been more effective. There is so much potential here and I enjoyed reading it but I wished for more.

Pages read: 92 pages

My rating: 3/5 stars

If At Birth You Don’t Succeed 
by Zach Anner
finished February 3rd, 2018

First Sentence: “It’s 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning and I’m bouncing on a trampoline surrounded by a film crew, shouting jokes into a camera.”

My take: Zach is freaking FUNNY. I audibly laughed a lot during this book. At the same time, I felt bogged down with so many details. It often felt that Anner was sharing the the names of every person he’s ever worked him, the names every show he has written and acted in, and the names of every woman he has ever had a conversation with. I felt the book could have been edited and condensed into a more effective, hilarious, and uplifting package. That being said, I am a bigger fan of Anner’s after reading this and I am charmed and uplifted by his message. I’m realizing I’m done with the “celebrity essay” genre unless something particularly remarkable and new comes around.

Pages read: 338 pages

My rating: 3/5 stars

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
finished February 13th, 2018

First Sentence: “People who move to New York always make the same mistake”

My take: WHAT?! For a book that was so unknown and so short I’m thoroughly horrified and thoroughly impressed. This novella is  dark, gritty, mysterious, gory, unforgiving and unforgettable. A retelling of a racist Lovecraft “The Horror at Red Hook”,  this book is told with lens on past and modern racism and brutality This is a mythical horror fantasy (or weird fiction) for our age. It begs the questions: “What makes someone a monster?” and “Who should we really be afraid of?” Chills everywhere.

Pages read: 149

My rating: 5/5 stars

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
finished February 22nd

First Sentence: “In the beginning, you lived inside the Egg”

My take: MaddAddam is the third and final book in the MaddAddam trilogy. The first book, Oryx and Crake, totally shook me up and made me want to read more. The second book was not as good but still interesting. MaddAddam, to me, was the least interesting of the three books but Atwood is such an incredible writer that I couldn’t hate it. It reads as another expansion pack to the first and most interesting book. In the story the God’s Gardeners and the Crakers rebuild society together and tell the stories of the past, passing them down to future generations.  It still had very fascinating and well-written sections but ultimately did not live up to the excellence of the first book. I would highly recommend Oryx and Crake to other readers but I hesitate to recommend the whole series

Pages read: 394

My rating: 3/5 stars

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