My mood this week and reading has been all over this week. I found three different genres to get me through it. Not only have I done a crap tone of picture books just for the quick read, I had to find humor, serious, and a mixture of the two.
I finished Murderbot Diaries V02 Artificial Condition by Martha Wells. I prefer the first one but did like the ending where Murderbot makes an interesting realization about how they have always just waited and “cleaned up the mess” of their humans without being able to be proactive and stop the humans from being well, human, and stupid. But now they have the chance and did they actual take it? And of course, I like the idea of how gender is explored (I admit the use of “ter” and “te” were hard on my reading-ear, but once I got into the swing of things, it worked). I like the idea that you could explore is Murderbot non-binary, or even no gender, or other gender. I like that you could make arguments about them being asexual (they literally have no sexual organs) or if they are autistic (they are a robot therefore their brain waves are not neurotypical even if they have organic parts in them). There is a lot that goes on in less than 200 pages. And there is the “fourth wall breaking” that can be clever and annoying, but since we learn about ART well, it was mostly clever. And there are some fun one liners that might be cliché but do help counter the violence that I would say is not for the under 13 reader set (though I am sure there is worse in movies).
I then went to clean my brain with Hilo Book 6: All the Pieces Fit by Judd Winick. This series wraps up Hilo’s story. Which is a good thing as I was starting to be a little tired of the “boy antics” and armpit farts (and who does not love a good armpit fart? But sometimes it is just a bit too much) that encompass the comic book uber bright colors and minimalistic details. Yet, I like the idea (a lot like Murderbot) the concept of what is a “human” and what is “good” and what is “evil.” It is all done on a child level, therefore not too deep, but deep enough to have a fun story and one that might give you a little subliminally idea of right and wrong. And there is enough adult humor, so the adult reading is not completely dealing with only the antics of a couple thousand robots, a few humans and a talking cat named Polly (who has some colorful turns of phrase). Granted, there was one large plot point I am not sure all kids will understand, and there is a big sadness (one of the main characters sacrifices themselves for the others), but still, this is a good series. Books seven and eight continue the characters story by focusing on another character of the book, so you are not left hanging.
(Trigger warning) And finally, I read a relatable, wonderful, horrific look at depression and the world around us during this time with This is How I Disappear. I am not sure if the book is autobiographical, or based on the experiences of Mirion Malle, but if they are, they are one tough cookie. Our main character, Clara, is dealing with not just a lot, but a lot of a lot. She has a dead-end job with a big-ol’ a-hole boss, she is unable to finish her new book, her past is haunting her (and when it doesn’t that worries her too), her depression is getting worse, her therapist is useless and her friends care, but maybe not the way Clara wants them to. After all, they all seem worried she is going to kill herself, but she’s fiiiine! No need to worry. Or is there? You see, Clara does have it all together, when it comes to everyone else. Her advice is spot on, but she cannot translate that back to herself. With an emotional ending, Clara’s life starts to have a light at the end of the tunnel. The illustrations of this graphic novel are black and white and oddly minimalistic. Yet, some of the most intense ones I have seen. Who knew watching someone sit on the toilet was going to be sad and funny? Or a shower very unerotic? And when Clara is explaining how she is disappearing, her image of the page follows. As mentioned at the start of the paragraph this book has trigger warnings: the talk of suicide and sexual assault are included. Plus, there is heavy drinking included. (This is translated by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam).