This month brought another mix of different stuff, but this time comics do indeed feature.
‘Almost Love’ by Louise O’Neill
For once, the brand new books everyone are talking about in my Facebook bookclub came into my library account in the past month. I was particularly interested to see how, if at all, Louise O’Neill‘s style changed when writing for adults. Donal Ryan and Liz Nugent‘s latest also came in, but O’Neill‘s was the only one that I got to read any of. As always, the characterisation and choice of topic are tough; that of a young girl with everything going for her obsessed with a married man who doesn’t treat her too well. There has been some criticism about the main character, who is taking her frustrations out on others and frankly behaving like a spoiled child most of the book. However this is Louise O’Neill‘s style: showing you a woman who you may not like very much, but it doesn’t make what’s happening to her any more deserved. It makes for intense, but intriguing, reading.
‘Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years’ by Various
This has been on my tbr pile for months and I’m going to take my time soaking in the absolute vastness of the experience of reading so many years. But it came at a great time to even out my mood reading the previous choice. Although iconic, some of the earlier issues featured are nothing short of hilarious. Although the tone of early Batman was intended to be on the lighter side, similar to the TV show, I don’t think some of the laughs were as meant. For example, in her first appearance, Cat Woman has quite an extravagant car and there’s a later issue where Bruce is trying to hide his alter-ego from the ever inquisitive Vicki Vale and the solution is to distract her with ‘look over there’ and similarly silly behaviour. All in all, what I’ve read so far has been entertaining.
‘Anatomy of a Scandal’ by Sarah Vaughan
Edging on the side of serious again, although with a hint of the populist crime genre, is a book I only just heard about. It had been coming into the library where I work for some of our patrons but I had assumed by the title it was the same populist genre I can be quite dismissive of. However looking a bit deeper shows just how relevant this title is. From the point of view, among others, of a lawyer whose job is prosecuting those accused of rape. This particular narrator makes clear that the public can often be a lot more sympathetic with the victim of the unknown predator and quick to judge the victim who had been drinking or somebody victimised by relationship rape. This rings true, at least with the trial outcomes, with some of the more recent cases in the public eye. I’m less than half through, but so far it is compelling reading.
‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir
Another somewhat lighter pick, despite the desperation of the situation the main character finds themselves in, is The Martian. For somebody who knows next to nothing about space travel, nor the equipment needed to travel with this book is refreshing thus far. I’ve wanted to read it since, admittedly, the Hollywood film came out and I am about 30 pages in. When astronaut Mark Watney gets left behind on a mission to Mars gone awry, he estimates that he will last at best 400 days. But that’s only if the water purifier and oxygen equipment doesn’t fail. This you think, would be a bleak topic, if not for the interesting thought that has gone in to imagining such a mission, dumbed down for the layperson reader. The opening also sets up the tone as it means to go on; spiked with just enough wit to keep the book from getting bogged down in the situation.