The Leaves Are Falling And The Book Pages Are Turning: My Autumn Reading

Not only has 2018 come to an end but also the season that is sometimes known as autumn or Herbst, and other times as automne. Spread over the year, I managed to read 38 books and 11 were read in this season. Now it is time to look at what I read the past season. So let's get right into it with:

Totempole

by Sanford Friedman

After finishing "Totempole" it shot right onto my list of favourite LGBT+ read but why?

Totempole by Sanford Friedman
It is a coming of age novel that follows the life of Stephen, who is queer but grows up in a very heterosexual world. "Totempole" offers one of the most realistic stories of coming to terms with your queerness and accepting yourself. There is never outright violence, and neither is a overly political. Instead, Stephen follows religious and societies standards - such as, find a girlfriend, don't play with yourself ...

Nowadays, I feel ashamed for the fact that it had been on my TBR pile for years because it is phenomenal. Even though, it was written and published in 1965, I still feel that it is relevant today and that LGBT+ of this time and age can relate to some or most of the things Stephen goes through.




Someday

by David Levithan

Someday continues the story that started in "Every Day". A is a sentient being who wakes up in a different body every day, in "Every Day" he falls in love with Rhiannon but because someone wants to harm A and Rhiannon, they flee. Now, they try to lead their life - hoping that Rhiannon is going to be happy and to never meet X again.

This is where Someday picks up and it further looks into the workings of the universe that surrounds "Every Day." Different questions are answered: can you stay in a body for longer? What does it do to the original owner? Are there more people like A? While some answers are not given, the right questions are being asked: such as why essences like A and X exist.

"Someday" is a sequel everyone could hope for. It has the same old characters which have matured and developed, a new mystery they have to work together on and a cute side plot. However, you can't read it unless you have read "Every Day" in advance.


Loving A Warrior*

by Melanie Hansen

If there was one thing that Matt had always wanted to achieve, it was to become a SEAL. The training is brutal and demands a lot of a physical and personal sacrifices, and the last thing he can use is to start developing any kind of feelings for another man in his team. This happens when he, quite literally, bumps into Shane.

Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
This book has impressed me from start to beginning - it is adorable, cute and an emotional-rollarcoaster. It only takes a few pages until you start to root for Matt and Shane as a couple. It is so obvious that they want each other. How can they not see that things are perfect?

Hansen does not rush things either. In fact as the book goes on the development of their relationship so it is smooth perfectly paced. They start out as swim-buddies, then they become friends and start to deeply care for each other. All of this while the chemistry between Matt and Shane causes you to get addicted to "Loving A Warrior."



What If It's Us

by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

When I explained why I had my eyes on "What If It's Us" I wrote "I think that there is a tragic lack of fluffy LGBT+ literature, so fingers crossed that this book can soothe my soul!" And by mid-October I had my answer, which is a two letter word: no.

While there is nothing wrong with fluffy love story when it is well done, "What If It's Us?" is ... not well done. I found it hard to find any chemistry between Ben and Arthur. Their cuteness peaked at one third of the book and afterwards it was more awkward to read. In addition, I felt that Arthur is an annoying character which doesn't exactly help when you want to root for the relationship. Then I couldn't quite subscribe to the idea why everything always had to be Ben's fault and Arthur could have some irrational emotional outburst without listening to Ben but Ben wasn't allowed to have any issues  ...




One Too Many Lies*

by L.A. Bowen

"One Too Many Lies" was an effort to stick my leggies into a new area of literature. This one being verse story telling. The whole story of Paige's coming of age are presented through free verse poems. While this sounds like a new way to tell a story, at least to me, it fell flat on me. Two mayor reasons caused this:

First, I am not too fond of free verse poetry. While this can be used to put emphasis on certain words and moments. Each of the poems felt the same, they did not evolve and half-way through the book I got tired of the style. This feeling was later replaced by annoyance. Yikes.

Second, "One Too Many Lies" emphases on the character development. However, Paige remains the same bland and stereotypical teenager until three forth of the book when an event changes her thinking. While this can be done well, it felt rushed and artificial.



Heavenward*

by Olga Gibbs

Heavenward by Olga Gibbs
Heavenward tells the story of Ariel - who is seemingly a normal teenager until she gets taken into the world of the angels and it turns out that she is one. Not only is Ariel an angel but she also represents a game changer to the on-going war. However, who can Ariel trust, and which side is the "right" one?

"Heavenward" has all the right ingredients for an enjoyable young adult fantasy novel: angels, plot twists filled with lies and deception, good and descriptive writing alongside with a bit of humour.



Nach dem Horizon Links

by Christopher Many

transl.: After the horizon left

Christoper Many decided to live the dream of a road tripper: he took an old Range Rover, added a living and bed room to the back and decided to drive through the whole world with it. All in all, his journey took the better part of eight years.

Many starts in Russia, driving through Mongolia before changing the continent to North America. After North America?  Of course, South America and then Africa before the long journey back to Europe.

An enjoyable essay is dedicated to every country he visited. These are shared with humour, wit, and also insightful details. Many is a great story teller and he does not judge cultures even when they are stark different from what is known as the European norm. Furthermore, Many went a step further than the traditional road tripper who sticks to driving from City A to City B, instead he went deep and drives wherever his heart takes him, regardless of the road situation..

All in all, "Nach dem Horizon Links" is an insightful and enjoyable read that appeal to hidden dreams of every road tripper.


Miracle Creek*

by Angie Kim

"Miracle Creek" starts with a simple mystery: in 2008 someone lit a match underneath an oxygen chamber and killed a child and an adult. A year later, the trial starts and what appears to be simple case becomes more and more twisted as the cracks appear within the story.

This was the first book that I had been given where I thought that my wee blog is unworthy. It was so overwhelmingly good that I felt that a blog with at least 10k instagram followers and 5k on Twitter should have gotten it, not me, who at the time had not even broken 900 followers on Twitter.

The reason for this is because the mystery presented is simply perfect: one time you listen to the side of the accuser and it makes perfect sense and a moment later the defense presents her case and you don't know what to believe in anymore. Up until the end you are unsure what the truth is. Furthermore, the characters are well rounded and an additional layer is added and treated well through the Korean heritage and immigration process.

On top of this, the writing is simply beautiful. It is not harsh or the fastest paced book but it pulls you closer and gets you hooked by how beautiful and oddly poetic it is written despite the cruel and sad story.


The full review is going to be available at the beginning of April


Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise | The Search | The Rift 

by Gene Luen Yang, Bryan Konietzko et al.


After binge watching Avatar twice and realising that my life was without meaning now that it has finished, my friend lent me her comic book of the series in order to restore some of my will to live.

These volumes continue the adventures of Team Avatar after the series had finished, you get to know what is going to happen to the Fire Nation's colonies, what happened to Zuko's mother and see how all the four nations living alongside happily.

All in all, it was first plunge into the comic book genre and a lovely closing chapter to the adventures of The Last Airbender.


Leah on the Offbeat

by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
When this had been gifted to me, my enthusiasm had been limited because I had been let down by "What If It's Us?". So I decided to pick this up for a rather lengthy train ride to Zürich.

However, "Leah on the Offbeat" is a pleasant surprise! Leah is a grumpy high school girl, who does not want to admit that she has a crush on Abby, and as time progresses things become even more difficult when Abby starts making innuendos towards her. Maybe she is interested too? ... No can't be she is straight ... right?

"Leah on the Offbeat" touches various topics - most notably is that the love story features two bisexual main characters. Then there is the part of the story in which Abby is questioning, even though "is she queer too" is not my favourite trope, it had been done in a quite funny way. Then the book also touches on racism.

Leah also progresses as a character. At the beginning, I had been a little bit annoyed by her but as the story goes on, she becomes a bit softer and I even began to pine for their relationship. Leah is written in such a way that you can emphases with her behaviour. The most important aspect that made "Leah on the Offbeat" work but let down "What If It's Us?" is chemistry!


Feminists Don't Wear Pink ... And Other Lies

by Scarlett Curtis et al

It's not every day that I pick up a feminist read, however, Mariya had read it a while ago and enjoyed it, so when I stumbled over a copy in Zürich, I decided to give it a go. After all, I had an 8 hour train ride ahead of me which means plenty of time for reading.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect: angry rants? Academic reading? Stories about how horrible men are?

Instead "Feminists Don't Wear Pink ... And Other Lies" offers a collection of essays on what feminism means to each author. This includes all types of story. Women who acknowledge feminism and wonder a little if they are "true" feminists. There are also sad stories, like the essay of the trans woman Charlie Craggs who also mentions being raped during her transitioning. This part almost made me tear up, but then it is balanced out by a funny period story. I had never read a funny period story before this book, and in all honest, neither had I ever read a period story before.

In the end, it made for an insightful and surprisingly easy read that was filled with different stories  about what role feminism plays in their lives.



Have you read any of the books from my autumn reading? Let me know in the comments below! 


Books that I had been given in exchanged for an honest review are marked with *.

28 comments :

  1. Sounds like you read some interesting books in 2018. Hope you find more great reads in 2019.

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  2. I didn't know Everyday had a sequel! I'll have to look into that!

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    1. Yes, it got released in autumn last year. Had to check it out

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  3. Great post. I have a couple of the books on my TBR list.

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  4. These look so good. A few are on my TBR! I haven’t heard of Totempole but am very intrigued now.

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    1. It's a great book. I fell in love with it

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  5. I am so impressed with the number of books you read and what you say about them. Bummer about What If It's Us -- I'd seen that on a lot of Best Of lists, but your assessment caught my ear. Great post.

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    1. Thank you, and yes, I know it's a "didn't work for me" assessment but I also discovered that I am not alone with that ...

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  6. Almost all of these are new to me and sound really good!

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  7. Glad you read Feminists Don't Wear Pink to see that all feminists aren't man-hating, angry, or ivory tower academics. That's why we need books like this! Sounds like some other good ones too. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah, I really enjoyed it. :) Thanks for the comment

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  8. I've read some of these!I loved your reviews of each although we have differing opinions on one,

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  9. Currently reading Miracle Creek! I'm excited to read What if It's Us! ��

    https://jendbibliophile.wordpress.com

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  10. Miracle Creek sounds right up my alley, I can't wait to read the full review!
    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca

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    1. It's such a great book! I'll be sure to send the review to you as soon as it goes public :)

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  11. You've read so many books O.o I really like the sound of Nach dem Horizon links, sounds like a perfect book to keep my German at a decent level during summer vacations this year!

    x Envy
    Lost in Translation

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    1. I would be perfect for that. It's complicated German and a relaxed read. Let me know what you think of it ♥

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  12. Oooh these books sound so interesting, I've added a few of these to my to buy list!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

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  13. Sounds like a great list of books, thank you for the recommendations! I really want to read Leah on the Offbeat especially as I enjoyed Love, Simon so much. Great post! <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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    1. Read it! I am sure you're going to enjoy it :)

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  14. What a beautiful blog you have plus an amazing review

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  15. What a great combination of books. Looks like some great reads. Lovely post.

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  16. Really enjoyed Leah on the Offbeat

    www.tbrandbeyond.com

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