BOOM BABY it’s March and I’m currently at 30/60 books!!!
Soooooo to be totally honest 25 of those are mangas because I spent most of February blitzing through Soul Eater, which I finally did finish. On the other hand, hooray I’ve read five books that didn’t have pictures!
For anyone who might be curious, here’s a brief timeline of my relationship with Soul Eater:
My high school best friend makes me watch a few episodes of the anime. I get hooked and start collecting the manga.
2011 – 2020
I collect the entire manga but stop reading after book five or six for reasons I am currently not sure of but may have something to do with my pervasive laziness and declining reading skills.
January – February 2020
I get fed up and read the entire series over the course of 1.5 months.
Overall I enjoyed the series. There were some things I didn’t like and some things that made me go WTF, but I liked the premise and loved the ending, even though I’m still salty about Arachne. The only thing about the ending that’s got me scratching my head is Gopher and his 9,000 Noahs, (1) because I’m still not sure what the point of Resurrected!Noah was and (2) I’m not really sure that Gopher actually deserved a happy ending. Still, he’s probably going to spend the rest of his life getting pushed around and verbally abused by those 9,000 Noahs, so I suppose it evens out in the end.
February Reading Stats
- The Merry Wives of Windsor – William Shakespeare
- The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker
- Soul Eater 6 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 7 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 8 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 9 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 10 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 11 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 12 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 13 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 14 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 15 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 16 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 17 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 18 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 19 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 20 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 21 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 22 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 23 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 24 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Soul Eater 25 – Atsushi Ohkubo
- Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
- The Siberian Dilemma – Martin Cruz Smith
Total Pages Read: 5,103
About that abandoned book: I don’t plan to make a practice of abandoning books at the drop of a hat, but I really couldn’t get into The Siberian Dilemma. Maybe it would help if I had the rest of the Arkady Renko series as background – this was the first Martin Cruz Smith I’ve ever tried, so that might’ve had something to do with it. In any case the characters didn’t draw me in and the writing was very choppy and non-sequitury, and before I knew it the book was due back to the library. I tried to renew it but it for some reason was unrenewable (maybe somebody had it on hold?) and I refuse to pay fines for books I don’t like so back it went.
To be fair, it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. Maybe I’ll try reading Gorky Park and work my way back up to Siberian Dilemma if I end up liking the series, but otherwise I don’t see myself trying this again anytime soon.
With Soul Eater safely out of the way, I finally got to start some new books!
Eleanor Oliphant was wonderful and I will be buying the audiobook as soon as I get to work tomorrow. The only thing that pisses me off is that stupid little sticker they keep insisting on grafting onto the covers of random books. I don’t care if this book is part of Reese’s Book Club. I don’t care if it’s Oprah’s pick. Get that shit off my book cover or at least make it removable so I can take it off myself.
Also I might’ve gone a little crazy at the library after getting Soul Eater off my list, but, hey, we all do that, right?
Last Saturday we had lunch with one of my uncles, who mentioned he’s been reading a lot of Japanese books and named names. He specifically recommended The Great Passage, so I picked it up at the library.
I’m only on page 73, but Great Passage has been speaking to my soul on many different levels: it’s about a man who has dedicated his life to words and all their possible meanings; he has this really awkward apprentice who’s so deeply invested in words that he literally checks out for five minutes to analyze the difference between the words agaru and noboru (both meaning “to rise, ascend”) when the girl of his dreams asks him to go to an amusement park with her; these two men are trying to produce a new dictionary before their publishing company can shut their project down; and, possibly most importantly, they eat a lot of amazing food in between dictionary work and now I really want Japanese food.
More seriously, I’ve also made it a goal to read more books by writers of color, particularly Asian writers. I realized some time ago that, although I’ve read hundreds of books, comparatively few of those books were written by people of color. If this is something you’re struggling with too and you want some more diverse reading options, take a look at my writers of color shelf. I only have 133 books on this shelf so far and some of the authors are repeats, but I know I’ll find more. 133 may sound like a lot, but when you compare that with the 725 books I currently have on my Want to Read shelf, it’s rather sobering. Of the almost 800 books I’ve marked “Want to Read,” only 18.3% were written by people who were not white. I did okay(ish) with my reading list last year, but I just realized that if you take away the mangas and miscellaneous graphic novels, which I generally don’t count, my 2019 book diversity percentage goes down like a lead balloon. Looking back over the five books I’ve read this year that weren’t mangas, only one of them was by a writer of color. I need to get better at this.
On that note, I’m really looking forward to reading my latest library haul, particularly The Dove’s Necklace. The only thing that’s kinda giving me pause about this book is that it only has 2.98 stars on goodreads, which seems strange to me, given that it won the 2011 International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Hopefully the rating is just the result of angry bigotry and not actual valid objections, because the inside cover descibes the book as a “brilliant, funny, profane, and enigmatic fever dream…as gripping as classic noir, nuanced as a Nabokov novel, and labyrinthine as the alleys of Mecca itself,” and I already kind of love it even though I haven’t actually started reading it.
Miscellaneous Reading News
I’m only in one book club on goodreads. I used to be in three, but I left the other two at the beginning of the year because I hadn’t been participating in them and I wanted to focus on the Coffee Break book club, which I’ve been actively participating in since joining. I’m not really sure what’s so different about this group because the other two were perfectly nice, but for some reason this one really lit a fire under my tail, possibly because it was the first group I’d seen that did monthly reading trackers and my OCD had spent its entire life waiting for this chance. This was the group that got me to sign up for my first-ever buddy reads, and I’m actually starting to consider the possibilities of the Book of the Month threads. I’ve never done a Book of the Month read but this month they’re all reading The Girl in Red, which happens to be on my Want to Read shelf and looks fascinating.
Actually fuck it I just checked the library catalog and found out there are seven available copies so now it’s on hold and I’m doing a Book of the Month read!!! Wish me luck!!!