On to the next Read Harder challenge! It will probably not shock you to learn that I was a big fan of comic books and related media as a teenager. Suffice it to say that my brother and I collected Marvel Comics trading cards.* But I hadn’t read an actual comic book in a long time when I decided to tackle task #6: read an all-ages comic.
Squirrel Girl was originally introduced as a joke in a one-off Iron Man comic. She’s young mutant with ridiculous powers–the proportional strength and speed of a squirrel, plus the ability to talk to squirrels–who nonetheless managed to help take down Dr. Doom. She’s appeared as comic relief in some other Marvel adventures. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is her solo debut. Since I wasn’t particularly in the mood for angsty superheroes this seemed right up my alley. I was not disappointed.
Since I started Read Harder 2017 with an obvious (for me) pick, I wanted my second book of the year to come from one of the categories that took me further out of my comfort zone. I picked #4: “Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author.” Mexican author Laura Esquivel’s debut novel Like Water for Chocolate quickly caught my eye.
Mama Elena is a widowed rancher who runs her large household with an iron fist. It has long been tradition in her family that the youngest daughter remains unmarried in order to care for her mother in her old age. That duty now falls to Elena’s daughter Tita, a sensitive teenager who is also a gifted cook. When a young man named Pedro falls in love with Tita, Mama Elena informs the couple that Tita will never be allowed to marry. Pedro then proposes to Tita’s older sister Rosaura in order to stay near the woman he loves–with both joyous and painful consequences for all involved.
I was on the fence about trying the Read Harder challenge until I got to #20 on the list: “Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel.” That tipped me firmly into the “yes” column because I had the perfect book on my wish list: Hold Me by Courtney Milan, one of the smartest and funniest writers I’ve encountered during my long blog hiatus. Hold Me is set in the same world as my favorite Milan book, Trade Me, and I couldn’t wait to pick it up.
I liked Hold Me and recommend it, but with a caveat: you kind of have to ignore some early missteps if you want to root for this romance.
::dusts off blog, again::
::coughs as dust fills the air::
It’s been a while, Interwebs! Long story short, my partner and I expanded our family last year (baby, not dog). Six months later, we moved to a new city and I switched jobs–really, switched careers. Reading for pleasure sort of dropped to the bottom of my to-do list. I managed to finish the latest Kate Daniels* novel, but there is a very sad pile of abandoned, expired library loans in my Kindle account.
So I am doing two things to rekindle my love of reading. The first is coming back here. The second is tackling the Read Harder 2017 challenge.