Sunday, July 1, 2018

June Reads Part 1

June was another great month of reading so this will be a double post.

Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (adult graphic)

This is a thought-provoking, addictive series that left me with me with so many questions. I typically like to have more answers than questions when I finish a book/series, but the questions I have after this series are like doors that open to a world I thought I knew, but am now not so sure about. I am blown away by the art in each Alex + Ada. A fine example of Jonathan Luna's artistic brilliance are the blue dots that show up on the temples of characters who are communicating through thoughts. Occasionally Alex, one of the characters who uses both verbal and thought communication, uses both styles of communication in the same panel and it's very always clear which one he's using because of the blue dots on his temples and the speech balloon, which is outlined in blue and completely standalone. There is also a flatness to the art that makes me feel so incredibly empty and lonely, which is what the future is going to feel like if we keep increasing our dependence on technology. I am intrigued by Alex's feelings about Ada. There isn't a connection between them prior to his exploration of her possible sentience and it feels like his decision to explore her sentience is based solely on physical attraction. I wonder if this is Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna's way of asserting that humans will always be animals no matter how much we progress. I also appreciate the strong role android rights play in this series and how it mirrors present concerns in our society.

The Joy of Zentangle by Suzanne McNeill (adult nonfiction)

This took me nearly four months to finish because I tried almost every tangle and took my sweet time doing so. The process of repetitious drawing is very relaxing. There's no pressure to create something perfect, and it gives my mind an opportunity to process all the life stuff. Most often, my completed tangle looked nothing like the tangle in the book. Unlike other crafty things, I didn't fume or get upset about the end result. Instead, I would find a tangle I'd previously drawn, one I wanted to tinker with, and I would draw a fresh tangle from the old tangle, but this time connecting it to the new tangle. I ended up with stacks and stacks of paper, each filled with a lot of blobby splotches of lines, but I have been chopping them up and re-purposing them for my collages and journal projects. I can't wait to slowly make my way through this book again. But not before I try the rest of the zentangle books out there!

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (juvenile fiction)

Ivy is a lovable character who is dealing with four big issues, which is way too many for a twelve-year-old. Ivy's mom recently had twins and she's preoccupied with them. Ivy's also not sure she can trust her older sister anymore and feels like she has no one to talk to. And she really needs to talk to someone because not only does she lose her home in a tornado, she is also growing up and figuring out that she may like girls instead of boys. Then her drawing notebook (she refers to it as her hope chest) is stolen. It's the only thing that survived the tornado and is filled with pictures of girls holding hands. And the person who steals it is tearing out her drawings and leaving them in Ivy's locker with notes encouraging her to talk about her feelings. What a rollercoaster of a story! I really enjoyed the characters, especially Ivy's friends, June and Taryn, who were just as fleshed out as Ivy, and Robin, who owns the inn where Ivy's family stays after they lose their house. Robin's character provides much-needed assurance that everything Ivy is discovering about herself is not only ok, but also normal. At one point Robin tells Ivy, "If a person was questioning all this stuff, that person doesn't have to know all the answers. They don't have to be sure about anything. They don't have to label themselves as anything but a human being if they don't want to." It's definitely one of those moments in a book when an author is trying to send a message to the whole world, and I applaud the author's efforts.

Bow Wow by Judy Reinen (picture book)

This is a silly book with excellent photographs of a bunch of lovely dogs going about their daily business. Perfect for a laugh and perfect for storytime.

Mother Goose Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins (picture book)

I love when a grumpy character is really just a big lovable softie. Bruce, a gourmet chef bear, has some hilarious adventures with the ducklings that hatch from eggs he was planning to eat. I enjoyed the adult humor that popped up here and there - for example, when bear becomes "the victim of mistaken identity," and the outrageous illustrations like taking a shopping cart into the woods for "groceries."

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