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A very straightforward YA graphic novel about a small town in Oklahoma that is dealing with some parents who want the popular fantasy series banned because it promotes witchcraft and is “obscene.” Spoiler alert: the book is not obscene. Even though the small town is not great for our protagonist, he finds some fellow travelers at the library and in places he doesn’t expect. I enjoyed it, a quick read. It really seemed like it could have been written just this year but in fact is over a decade old.


A graphic memoir from Ai Weiwei which uses the structure of the Chinese zodiac to tell stories from the life of Ai Weiwei. If I did not already know about Ai, I am not sure this book would have helped me learn the facts about his life (though there are some) but it does really give you a sense of, for lack of a better word, why he has the vibes that he does. Gorgeously illustrated with fairly prosaic text, I still would have read this if it were 10x as long.

Fight Me

It seems petty and a bit naive for me to say that this book had a few too many fight scenes. I loved Grossman’s book Soon I Will Be Invincible and I very much liked this one but it felt a little tropey and norm-y and I’m used to more diverse stories nowadays. The one person of color who has any real role to play is referred to as “the black girl” a few times and all the characters seem very cishet. Nothing wrong with that, it’s certainly a choice one can make, it just sees very old fashioned.This was a fun superhero origin tale--here’s when they’re young and cool, here’s where they’re older and jaded--that hewed more towards more traditional superhero types of things.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Janzen grew up Mennonite. She left the church about the time she went to college, got a higher ed degree and got married. Then it turned out her husband was a jerk with mental health issues who left her for “Bob from Gay.com.” As part of putting her life back together, she moves back in with her family and re-immerses herself in the Mennonite world only this time as an outsider, somewhat. It’s a gentle story, at times a bit funny and even as she’s describing some of the odder statements or practices of her family, she does so with love.

Alien Clay

If you like Tchaikovsky, or Van DerMeer, you’ll like this. Yet another novel including hte phrase “fruiting bodies” which I always took as a Van DerMeer thing. This story takes place on a prison planet, it’s an exploration of a whole new ecosystem where what we’ve come to know as “organisms” are true symbiotic colonies. Lots of ruminations about individuality vs. the whole and the concept of sell outs, takeover, and ultimately, revolution in the face of extreme resistance. A somewhat brutal book (it’s a prison planet) but I liked the protagonist and enjoyed thinking about the science

Indian Burial Ground

This is a Native vampire tale. Sort of. It’s about multiple generations of people in a small community--dealing with suicide and alcohol use disorder and all manner of bad things--who work on a way forward while bad an inexplicable things happen all around them. Medina is a member of the Tunica Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. This story takes place in a fictional Louisiana tribe. I usually have a hard time with stories that have too much trauma in them but this one kept me reading. Mind the CW at the beginning, it’s no joke.

The Ministry of Time

This was not so much a time travel novel as a novel of what it means to be out of place, not where you’re meant to be, among your people. This is a stirringly poignant novel that hovered just on the edge of “too much” for me. The main protagonist spends a lot of time in an anxious tension about their relationship. It’s got a lot of funny bits, can be a bit uneven, but overall just a well-done story about a near-future earth where we can kidnap people from the past to try to solve current problems. Kind of. I’m not usually a fan of “ripped form the headlines” fiction that only dabbles in historical accuracy but this one has some pretty well-interwoven Franklin Expedition trivia in it too.

Ocean’s Godori

I enjoy a good sci-fi space romp that doesn’t get bogged down in too many “But how does the spaceship take off/land exactly?” physics details and this is a good one of those. The Alliance is a big Korean spacefaring concern. A ship takes off with a quirky assortment of misfits with different backstories. There is some drama, a lot of interesting personalities interact, the main character is female and charismatic in an odd way that is hard to pin down. The story seems to end somewhat in the middle, so hoping there’s a sequel.


I did not like this author’s first memoir so it’s on me that I thought “Oh I wonder if this is about the synthesizer guy?” (yes, and also no) and still read it. It’s a memoir about the nature of memory and what we know about someone who is no longer with us, and some looking into family history. Kurzweil’s dad is a transhumanist who, among other things, wrote a chatbot to talk to his own late dad. Many pages are just not that interesting (for someone not part of the family - I’m sure they’re interesting to them), and appear to be transcribed verbatim from interviews. Despite the cover: it’s not really a love story. Definitely not my jam.

Welcome to Forever

This is a pretty ambitious book that mostly worked (for me). It’s a story about memory in a near future where memory editing and storage is possible. At the center of it is a gay love story and some pretty deep thoughts about what it means to share a life with someone, and how much of that is your memories. Since the book is a lot about the life of the mind, there’s a lot of thinky “in your head” stuff about longing and loss. There are some inception-like “Is this real or is it a simulation? Or a simulation inside a simulation?” bits so if those are dealbreakers, this is not the book for you. Got murky occasionally, mostly great.

The Mighty Bite

I somehow picked this up thinking I might learn a bit about trilobites but this was actually a more standard kid graphic novel adventure story about a trilobite and his friend the walking whale as they try to... win a video contest? There is some good trilobite content at the end. It was a fun and well-illustrated read. I may be one of the few people who was not super familiar with Hale before this. Fun book.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow

This is the second (and last) book in a series where I adored the first book. But where the first book had a decent amount of whimsy & things that are cool to look at and learn about, this book felt like one large slow-motion trolley problem with a pretty high degree of suffering and trauma throughout. I’m the first to admit that this is a me thing, but as much as I love Pulley and her writing, I felt like this book was almost something to be endured. There was a deepening, sort of, about the relationship but the entire thing is making one person anxious and the other person doing a lot of machinations behind the scenes but also being vague and weird a lot of the time. Loved the descriptions of Japan, disliked that it was one long suffering exercise.