July 5th, 2020

Book 6 - 2019

Book 6: Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 144 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. In volume 3, as new parents Marko and Alana travel to an alien world to visit their hero, the family's pursuers finally close in on their targets.

Volume 3 of Saga finds us on Quietus, where Alana and Marko meet the author that inspired them. The reality of their lives now, the fact that they need to find a way to survive despite their fugitive status starts to sink in, partly due to the background influence of Marko's mum and the author, Oswald. For Marko and Alana, not a lot happens in this volume per se, but its interesting to watch the two of them try to work their future out. Meanwhile, a couple of journalists are trying to find out more about the Alana and Marko story, and it becomes abundantly clear that no one wants said story to get out. Finally, Gwen, Slave Girl and The Will try to determine their next steps, with Gwen and The Will at odds on what that might mean for their little hunt. There's a lot of different threads to this volume, but the action itself is mostly focused on everyone other than Alana and Marko until the very end. We also learn a lot about The Will in this volume, which add some new dimensionality to his character. Another interesting volume, though a little slower than the first two.

6 / 50 books. 12% done!

1328 / 15000 pages. 9% done!

Currently reading:
Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
Security Studies: An Introduction
edited by Paul D. Williams - 620 pages
Saga: Volume 4
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 152 pages

And coming up:
The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
Saga: Volume 5
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 152 pages

Book #35: One Night in Georgia by Celeste O. Norfleet

Number of pages: 304

What with the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement right now, this felt like an apt book to read, with its themes of racial discrimination. Most of the story is set in 1968, shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King; the narrator, Zelda, is a young African-American woman travelling to Atlanta with her friends, where they are to attend college; her companions are Veronica (mixed-race) Daphne (white) and Daniel (also African-American). The reader is also told that Zelda's father was killed by a police officer, in what appeared to be a racially-motivated incident. The book feels like a realistic portrayal of the time it is set in, with a scene involving the Black Panthers (my understanding is that they had a significant presence in the 1960s).

A lot of the story deals with racial discrimination, but writer Celese O. Norfleet is not out to target white people as inheritantly racist; as one of the characters states, "it's not black and white". So, in the novel, several of the white characters who Zelda and her friends interact with are opposed to racism themselves; for example in the aftermath of an incident where Zelda and her friends get racially abused on a beach, despite having just saved some white children.

It wasn't much of a surprise that the writer targeted the American police a lot, and they are shown to be the perpetrators of some of the most shocking incidents. The only real problem in this book was that the book's blurb talked a lot about the events of the last few chapters, and made them sound like they occupied more of the book. It's perhaps not surprising, as these are the chapters where the book really drives its points home about institutional racism.

But it's not just a book about racism, and in between the unpleasant moments, there are some really good scenes between Zelda and her friends, and it feels more like a road trip novel, and introduces some romantic elements at one point.

I enjoyed this book a lot; it was very upsetting in places, because of the racial incidents portrayed, but definitely one that I would recommend.

Next book: Hope Has Wings (Audiobook) (Stuart King, read by Simon J. Williamson)