I read a lot. This is a selection of what I read this week (12/21/20 through 12/26/2020) that I think you should read, too.
*Robin McKie’s Early humans may have survived the harsh winters by hibernating for The Guardian: God, if only this were true now.
*Vivienne Nunis & Sarah Treanor’s Why Africa’s animation scene is booming for BBC: The title is misleading here. Surprised? Anyway, we know why the animation scene in countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, and others are growing: quite simply, it’s because more money is being invested into it. What’s important here is the people making it happen and the incredible projects they’re creating.
*Karim Zidan’s Tinfoil gloves: why has MMA become a breeding ground for QAnon? for The Guardian: QAnon, the conspiracy theory cluster exploiting the very real problem of child sex trafficking to peddle very fake stories for the enrichment of leaders and ego inflation of adherents, seems to be a growing phenomenon among MMA athletes and fans. Zidan believes it may have something to do with the sport’s more “outsider” status and general insecurity about acceptance when compared to leagues like the NFL and MLB.
As always, my weeklies/weeklies-ish:
*Huda Fahmy’s Yes I’m Hot in This
*Phylecia Miller and Jules Rivera’s Hi, Phylecia!
*Taejoon Park’s Lookism
*Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail
*Linda Sejic’s Punderworld
*Jessi Sharon’s The Sea in You
*Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus
*Sensaga’s Ham and Mat
*Steenz’s Heart of the City
To get myself in the Christmas spirit, I spent most of the 24th blasting through some of the Junji Ito manga in my collection that I hadn’t read yet. Specifically, Gyo, Tomie, and Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu. Of the three, I thought Gyo featured the most innovative premise, Tomie had the better pacing even though I found it a tad too long and repetitive, and Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu was just plain hilarious with how it used the creator’s signature body horror style to comedically express the many, many frustrations of cat ownership. The edition of Gyo I have also includes some of his shorts, including my personal favorite and original introduction to Ito’s work, The Enigma of Amigara Fault. These vary in quality, sure, but Ito’s work is never, ever outright bad (or even disappointing) and he still stands head and shoulders among other body horror artists. Nobody should question his legendary status.
On a much, much lighter but no less supernatural note, I also read author Suzanne Walker and artist Wendy Xu’s sweet-natured queer witch-and-werewolf romance Mooncakes. Protagonist Nova works in a local witch shop with her grandmothers and reunites with childhood friend Tam, whose wolf magic is the key to ridding the town of an insidious demon-summoning cult. Both the story and the art are adorable, and the world Nova and Tam inhabit is so rich with details and charm (Nova’s cousin Terry!!) that I would never, ever complain if Walker and Xu decide to revisit it someday. If not, though, that’s still OK.
Completed Things that Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett this week, specifically the chapters about his involvement in Black Lives Matter, food security and nutrition, encouraging more girls to enter STEM fields, and pan-athletic social justice effort. I enjoyed the second half of the book just as much as the first, and Bennett is such a thoughtful writer whose commentary concerns itself primarily with intersections between race, class, mental illness, disability (especially concerning youth football), and gender.
Also picked up Adiba Jaigirdar’s The Henna Wars, about a young Bengali lesbian whose crush (not Bengali) opens up a rival henna shop for a school project. It’s one of the best explanations of the differences between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation that exists in fiction, I think. The ending is kind of rushed, but I still recommend it as a solid YA romance with extremely important themes.
Lee Dobecka’s Genrequeer: A Mini-Memoir compiles the author’s poetry and brief thoughts on being nonbinary, queer, and bipolar and finding personal power in identities the world tries its damndest to disempower. Definitely needs to be read in order and in its entirety rather than bits and pieces.
See you next week, fellow bookish buffs!
Writing is real work. If you would like to support the labor I put into this post, or if you want me to retire early so you never have to read another thing I write, please consider making a small compensation to my Ko-fi.