May Wrap Up

IMG_1034-2

 

May review pie chart

I had a pretty decent reading month in May, all things considering. I’m recovering from a major reading slump and after slowly getting though Misery, I decided to continue my read-through of Tamora Pierce, which was basically nostalgia-juice and got me back on track.

Misery by Stephen King | ★★★☆☆ | Ehhhhhhhh. I keep going back and forth on my opinion about Stephen King. Yes, this book was suspenseful and made me feel many emotions. Around the second half of the book, I couldn’t put this down. On the other hand, every King book I’ve ever read has pacing issues and I struggle to stay focused and actually read at certain points. Also weird sex stuff. I probably would have loved this a hell of a lot more when I was in high school and adored King, so I rate this 3 out of 5 severed appendages for nostalgia.

Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4) by Tamora Pierce | ★★★★★ | This was a lovely conclusion to the Song of the Lioness series, Pierce’s first series in the Tortall universe. As a kid, I was only able to read the Tortall books that my library had available, and I had never finished this particular set of books before. Even though some things are spoiled in later books, I loved reading about Alanna and felt really empowered throughout her journeys. The third and fourth books have some adult themes, so that may have been why I couldn’t find them back then. Regardless, even now I feel like I could learn to sword fight the patriarchy.

Wild Magic and Wolf-Speaker (Immortals #1 & 2) by Tamora Pierce | ★★★★★ & ★★★★☆ | Right after finishing Lioness Rampant, I went straight to the Immortals series. This was the series I re-read constantly when I was young. Daine was my goddamn hero. As a kid, I definitely wrote what I now know is fanfiction about Daine and her animal friends. However, I totally get why some people don’t like this particular series in the Tortall universe. I can see the pacing issues and the characters weren’t as relatable and real as I remember. At some points, Daine is treated much older or much younger than she really is and there is definitely one icky moment where (as a 12-year-old) she is sexualized by one of the teenage boys. It was taken care of in the story, but it’s definitely an unecessary moment that probably wouldn’t have been published if it came out in 2018. Despite that, I still love this series and Tamora Pierce for shaping my childhood and fueling my love for fantasy. Eventually, I will do a full review when I have finished re-reading (and reading some books for the first time) the entire series as it stands.

The Humans by Matt Haig | ★★★★★ | This is a new favorite for me and deserved its own blog post. See my full review here.

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 by Bill Willingham | ★★★★☆ | Surprisingly, I only read one graphic novel all month. Fables is my comic crack, though. I’m slowly collecting all the volumes in the Deluxe Edition and volume 4 is waiting for me. I can’t review this without spoiling the entire series, but I read these when I was in high school and have been enjoying going back through. This is one that was obviously written by a man, though. As a childfree and pro-choice woman, this scene came off as condescending and forced as Dr. Swineheart is trying to talk to Snow about alternative options when she is clearly not okay mentally or physically with her pregnancy:

IMG_0896

I N   C O N C L U S I O N

It was a very productive month, even if it was flooded with Tamora Pierce books. I re-read a lot of books, but sometimes when you’re slumping or having a bad time you just need to re-read old favorites. Next month I may take a break from Tamora Pierce and continue my read/re-read of Terry Pratchett instead. Let me know your thoughts on the books I read this month!

“The Humans” Review

IMG_0993-2

“I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. For those that don’t know, a human is a real bipedal life form of midrange intelligence, living a largely deluded existence on a small, waterlogged planet in a very lonely corner of the universe.”

 

S U M M A R Y

The Humans by Matt Haig is an interesting blend of science fiction and contemporary, about an alien that takes over a human’s identity to stop a mathematical principle called the Riemann Hypothesis from being solved. This hypothesis is essentially the solution to the pattern at which prime numbers occur, and according to the aliens, it would lead to catastrophe in human hands. Our main protagonist takes over the life of Professor Andrew Martin, an extraordinarily intelligent mathematician with a very poor relationship with his wife and son.

R E V I E W

★★★★★

This book is quirky, tongue-in-cheek, deep, and entrancing. It’s an interesting blend of sci-fi and contemporary. It deals with aliens and strange powers, but reads like a contemporary and has many themes commonly found in contemporary novels.

I have to say while reading the first few chapters, I almost put this down and didn’t pick it back up again. Reading about an alien with no previous knowledge of humanity trying to live as a human, I could barely deal with the secondhand embarrassment. Just keep that in mind if you decide to read this (which you should). It only takes a few chapters and it gets there. I ended up using so many tabs, I had to restrain myself from marking every single page.

IMG_1025-2

The writing is beautiful and incorporates math concepts and imagery to connect and compare the alien race to humanity. Haig expertly transitions from more calculated, scientific language to a more poetic and “human” language as the story progresses and as our main character begins to understand humanity.

Towards the beginning, he listens to Holst’s The Planets (an album I was tickled to realize I owned) and his interaction with music and art are important turning points for his character.

“Listening to music, I realized, was simply the pleasure of counting without realizing you were counting. As the electrical impulses were transported from the neurons in my ear through my body, I felt–I don’t know–calm.”

One of the joys I experienced while reading was listening to the music our main character mentioned.

“There was a Talking Heads song called ‘This Must Be the Place,’ which I played over and over again, even though doing so made me feel melancholy and crave to hear her voice again, or to hear Gulliver’s footsteps on the stairs.”

In conclusion, read this book. It’s a story about love and loss, repairing relationships, and familial bonds. It will make you cry and laugh and think about stuff. If you’re just done with humanity and its bullshit, this book may or may not change your mind.